[Update: Apparently, the five minute recharge timer has already been considered too long, as Zynga has tweaked the time to one Jolt every 60 seconds. It's likely things will continue to change in the future as Zynga tries to find the right balance, so keep that in mind.]
Ah, Zynga.com. A website with so much potential, allowing gamers to play CityVille, CastleVille, Hidden Chronicles and more with players from all over the world, all at the same time. What better way is there to make progress in your favorite games than to post a request for an item and have it answered by potentially hundreds of thousands of players all at once? If you ask me, this is a Facebook gamer's dream come true (regardless of the fact that games like FarmVille and Pioneer Trail still aren't available to play within). However, as it's not content with leaving well enough alone, Zynga has now limited just how much progress you can make (and how many players you can help) in a single session via the introduction of "Jolts."
Each game on Zynga.com now comes with its own Jolt Meter, presented at the top of the gameplay activity ticker on the right side of the screen. If you're trying to help random players progress in their own games, you'll now be limited to helping other players with this Jolt energy system. Note: Helping zFriends has remained an unlimited process. Now, a single successful click on another player's feed item will take one Jolt point, with these points recharging at a rate of one Jolt every five minutes.
On the one hand, this helps some players that have a difficult time helping anyone, as there are many posts that are often clicked on so quickly by so many players that it seems impossible to gain your own rewards therein. On the other hand, posts fly by so much more quickly than one every five minutes (more like one every five seconds), that it seems rather inevitable that some posts will now be ignored entirely either due to this overwhelming amount of posts or lack of worthwhile in-game rewards. What this will likely ultimately result in is a slowdown of progress for players across the board, and where progress slows, players are surely to lose interest.
Ultimately, this entire Jolt Meter seems like a fairly arbitrary limit put into place by Zynga to get users back into purchasing City Cash, Estate Points, etc. in its games rather than asking the community for help. With so many players refusing to pay real money (and for understandable reasons at that), it will be interesting to see how this effects the overall Zynga.com space, and how many players choose to play their games there instead of on Facebook.
What do you think of this addition of the Jolt Meter? Will it change how often you play games on Zynga.com?
[Image Credit: Bling Cheese]
Do you have an answer not listed above, or simply want to share your feelings on Zynga.com? Sound off in the comments!