Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cafe World

I've played more than a few Facebook games, but after awhile they all seemed to be repetitive and...well...boring. It also didn't help that many of them had difficulty working properly in the Facebook interface and by the time some of the problems got fixed, Facebook updated their programming and the game interfaces were problematic...again.

This is still going on today. It's kind of a pain, especially with Zynga games because they're so neighbor intensive. So why is that a problem?

Well, because just when I build up a decent set of neighbors in Cafe World (CW), they get so irritated with the faulty game play and all the problems which Zynga seems to be very slow to fixing. that they decide to quit playing and block the game. So, that means, I'm losing neighbors and game players all the time and I've had to resort to fan websites to build up neighbors that play CW.

Okay, so everyone does it, so why should it seem like a big deal? Because Facebook would prefer that you only "friend" those you actually "know."Um...well...that's all fine and dandy if your friends and family actually play these games, but for me, none of them do, and I'm not alone.

I have to admit, I've actually met some very interesting people through game play, even people in my own state I never would have met if it weren't for Facebook games. So, I don't mind needing to find gaming friends.

I do have a problem with overzealous games, as do most people. Then, I discovered farming games. I tried Farmville, but that game has never loaded right and takes forever just to get to the screen and then freeze, so I stopped wasting my time there. Plus, there was too much to do. Same thing with many of the other Zynga games. There are just too many tasks/goals, and some of them can be so difficult, if not impossible to accomplish, so I gave up even trying as it took all the fun out of playing.

News flash - most of us average game players don't mind a challenge, but games are a way for us to escape the stresses of our everyday lives and have a little fun in the process. I like video games, I do, but the last thing I want is to be repeatedly frustrated by game tasks. Some of them I'll do, some of them I'll skip if I can, and some of them I'll have my husband do if I need them to continue to play the game.

So, when I discovered Farm Town, I began to enjoy it, but even that one got old...the growing times were annoying and they took too long, so I kind of only play that game once in awhile. I like it, I just wish it didn't take so long to grow stuff.

That's why I liked Cafe World, there were so many items to cook that took under an hour, and a ton you could cook in 5 minutes. It made it easy to play the game when I wanted to, for as long as I wanted to. Then, the more I played, the more challenges popped up. That was all great and everything, until they put these ridiculously short time limits on goals, requiring you to cook hideous amounts of long cooking dishes (some up to 2 days), and making the only thing that can help you (timed spices) cost Cafe Cash, and too costly to even desire to pay for it, making the game begin to become unplayable. 

Some time back, I wrote about how I thought Cafe World should make different types of spices and make it easier for us to get spices to help us spice our dishes.

Well, they sort of did. Unfortunately, the last week or so, one of the ways - The Food Polls - haven't been working for most of us. It's not counting all the voting we are doing and it's forcing us to post a poll several times a day. So, is this a Zynga problem or a Facebook interface issue? Either way, I'd think the Zynga developers would be trying to fix it as soon as possible, but players don't seem to be seeing much improvement.

There's also another problem, Cafe World developers keep adding new timed goals and taking some away, and every time they do it messes up the functionality of game play - something that continues to annoy long standing and loyal players.

Loyal game players are getting so annoyed with these continual problems that they have been dropping off the radar for months now. In fact, some time ago, I hired several people for my ice cream cart, but only 2 of them play now, so it's impossible to get the number of people CW requires to operate the ice cream cart.

I've since added a ton of new neighbors, but even these new ones have begun to reach their limit and are torn between playing and quitting. If CW wants to retain these game players, they need to listen to them, and change a few things for the better. Here's what could be improved:

1. Timed goals can be a fun challenge, but the timer for each goal should start when the individual player actually chooses to start the goal. For example, the Joe and Lisa wedding challenge had 20 parts, and not everyone got the same amount of time because of the goofy way the global start timer worked, which was hideously unfair when the timer should have started for each individual player when that player chose to start the challenge rather than on a global clock that started at an unspecified time that no one had any clue of. That was the dumbest thing. Not only that, but if you accidentally hit the "back" button on the goal - like I did with the Joe goals - I didn't see the Joe goals again until I had 5 days left on the Lisa goals. Boy was I surprised - and miffed and frustrated - when I saw that I only had 5 days left to complete 10 more goals. I had no shot whatsoever of earning that groom stove...grrr!

2. In timed challenges, the goals should fit the timing.

2a. For instance, when there's only a couple of days to complete as many as 10 parts to a challenge, and you're only going to give 10 days in which to complete them, then the items you need to cook should not take you that long, especially when you require that 50 items be cooked. 50 dishes that take 1 day to cook for 1 part of a goal is ridiculous at best, especially when we are limited in the number of stoves we are allowed to have.
  - yeah, I get it, it's CW's way of forcing us to use spices. That would have worked, but I used mine all up just mere days before for the winter challenges, and no way was I going to invest in more spices - not at the prices they're asking for!

2b. That's not the only problem. Considering collecting items by asking neighbors directly can take days, even weeks as I continue to discover, the collected items should be done through global posts so those that are playing regularly can opt to pitch in. It's even taken me longer than 24 hours on occasion to collect things through global requests. It's these parts of goals that are keeping players behind. Why not require things to be purchased with coins for some of the goals? That would mix it up.

2c. The limit on the number of stoves, and for many players counter space, is cruelly low. If it weren't for my concentrating on the Buck stoves, I wouldn't have had nearly enough stoves to complete the Lisa goals I did complete. And no, I had no shot at making any of them ultra stoves. Sure it sucks, but I have 5 stoves each with multiple burners (1 with 4, 2 with 3, 2 with 2).  But seriously, why only 1 stove every couple of levels? Why can't we have more stoves, especially when there are timed challenges to complete?

3. What's with all of the spices (outside of salt and pepper) costing Cafe Cash only? I understand why the newer spices should be as they do much more than just help cooking time along, and even instant spices since just 1 works to complete a dish that takes a couple of days, but why can't we buy 12hr, 6hr, and 1hr spices with coins? Seriously, we should be able to buy some of these spices with coins.

4. Hello, I keep clicking to give people stuff and it says I'm earning 1000 coins and 500 cafe points. The coins appear, but the cafe points don't always show up. That's an inconsistency that needs to be fixed.

Okay - Buck's back, but 120 servings (Kabayaki) at 12hrs per dish! 20 light tubes (asking people directly) and I've got 5 days to do all 5 of them! WTH? Seriously, I appreciate the second chance at the stoves, but why only 5 days? I have 5 stoves that need to not only be completed, but 5 stoves to upgrade to ultra too! That's a bit of a crunch! It would probably take me 5 days per stove just to finish expanding them! The only way to finish these tasks anywhere close to on time, you need a ton of spices, which isn't necessarily all that fair because you can really only get the amount of instant spices required is to buy them outright. 

Like I said, I enjoy the challenges, I just wish there would be more time for the timed challenges, or cooking dishes that didn't take as long. Right now, I only have a couple of 50% stoves, and even with them, cooking 120 dishes at 12hrs per dish for 1 part of the upgrade to ultra challenge for 1 stove seems to be completely impossible. At this point, I'm going to do what I can do to finish expanding the other 4 stoves. If I'm able to get 1 to ultra, it will be a miracle....


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