(Here’s a Philippine flag made of flowers in my virtual farm. I used forget me not for the blue portion, red poppies, white roses and yellow poppies for the others. The brown spots are newly planted orange poppies. The flag would be there until August 21.)
Once upon a time, a girl met her crush walking with his girl on the school lobby. She didn’t know she was crushing on him big time until that scenario snapped her. She ran to the other side and pretended she was minding her assigned plot/field for the gardening class. She hid there and confessed her hurt with the planted crops, unaware that she was already watering the ripening cabbage and soil with her tears.
That was the first time I cried for a guy. Puppy Love? Maybe. With God’s grace, the crops survived the saltiness (and bitterness?) of my tears. Hahaha. I didn’t know I’d ever admit this embarrassment, and in my blog. It was not embarrassing at all that time because no one else knew it unless anyone saw me (meron nga kaya?). While I narrate this right now, I hardly mind at all but just laughing out. I know a number of high school batchmates read this blog but don’t leave comments. I know you’re giggling out there. 😀
The memories of my gardening class actually flourished when I started playing Farm Town (FT). Especially when I was planting cabbages since that’s the very same crop that witnessed my tears. FT reminded me much of the days when we were asked to plow, filter the worms and other soil’s parasites, plant seeds, witness the crops grow, water it, see beans leaves climb and crawl, harvest it, and eat the harvested crops which were the result of my sweat, hardwork… and tears. 😀
Vocational Agriculture was an elective subject in my highschool following the state colleges curriculum. (Almost tantamount to a major = 2.5 units, eh. Like having my Anatomy and Physiology class as a 5-unit subject when I was a freshman in college. Lol. A major for somebody completing BS Accountancy. I enjoyed the class, anyway.) While most of my classmates abhorred it, talk about exposure to sun and dirt, I liked it a lot. I don’t know why, maybe because it was like experiencing another kind of life that time. I even remember devoting almost all of my weekends that school year going to my plot/assigned field. Yeah, I was that engrossed. (Or maybe I was too masipag to visit/work on my plot during the weekend knowing that my crush-classmate would probably be there, too. Hahaha.)
On the other hand, being a virtual farmer requires a different level of attention. When Jeanny invited me to play FT, I never thought I’d enjoy it. I tried it out of curiousity. Thanks to this game that I reactivated my Facebook account. That after logging in I go directly to FT application, most of the time. And just like most of the virtual farmers, I was hooked.
The issue screams when you’re hooked to a game or something but you are time-constrained. Since FT is just but an extra-curricular activity, it definitely should not affect our work. I had to find means to make things reasonable (e.g. I could only play past midnight during the weekend, there were few times I failed my self-imposed rules). I never wanted to succumb to addiction, but yes I became addicted to a certain extent. I would admit that during the early stage, I would think of my farm before going to sleep and the first thought as I woke up goes to, “are my crops ready for harvest?, etc.?” I even plotted the Return on Investment (ROI) Analysis for each seed to my planner.
(With Redlan. He was going to harvest the pineapples. Mind you, he’s the fastest harvester I’ve met.)
A friend before embracing virtual farming asked me, “What do you get from playing Farm Town?”. “It’s therapeutic,” I said. The charming background music actually adds to that. Though I mute it most of the time because I loved my playlists more. Playing FT or any game will and should generally be a stress reliever. That’s why whenever I notice that I’m already playing unreasonably, I try to wake myself up. I wanted to play responsibly.
I’ve finally leveled up from being a Tycoon (level 33) to Green Wizard (highest level, 34) last weekend. At 150,000 experience points (XP), I was able to buy the (most coveted) mansion which costs 1,000,000 FT coins. Wow, everyone wish this isn’t just virtual farming.
How did I become a Green Wizard without involving unnecessary stress and too much hardwork?
(a) I always reminded myself that it’s just a game and I just need to enjoy it. Though in some days, this became a priority among my online activities. Lol.
(b) There’s an inherent competition (either competing with yourself, a neighbor, a family member, a friend, etc.) on several factors: leveling up, aesthetics, number of neighbors, outstanding balance of FT coins, etc. All the time, I know that I could and should never top all these. At different stages, I was attracted from leveling up to farm’s design, so on.
(c) Since I have a full-time job, I had to strategize on planting and harvesting behaviours/patterns. I would plant most of the time 3-day crops due for harvesting on the last day of the workweek. I would take care of the leveling up part on a day of the my 2-day weekend, I would plant 2-hour or 4-hour crops in a series to level up faster.
(d) Balance of FT coins was the least of my concern until I reached level 33 (had to save for the mansion). On a previous banker’s perspective, what will you do with your millions of FT coins while you’re still in a lower level – be satisfied with your balance without any interest accruing on it or invest a portion of it in buying real estate (i.e. small house, farm house, barn, pond and expensive items) to help me level up faster. If you’re a regular to my farm, you would notice the occasional renovation but you would hardly notice that the number of tangible assets there are materially moving. I would sell two farm houses for a ridiculous amount (to tell you, they have an unjust depreciation system in FT, e.g. if you buy a small house today at 70,000 FT coins and whether you sell it in the next hour or next month, the reselling price/net book value would be 2,100 FT coins).
So whenever I have enough FT coins, I never kept the funds idle. I’d buy different stuff. Hence, I leveled up fastly. Your most immediate question? How did I remain liquid and secure about sources of funds? Please read the next point.
(e) Building connections is very important. I have business partners – neighbors and plain buddies (people I met at the marketplace who hired me or vice versa and accepted each other as FT buddies) whom I’ve entered into an agreement that we will exclusively hire each other during big harvests. However, we occasionally hire other farmers to do the harvest for us whether small or big to help back the community especially the newbies.
The marketplace is a good arena to observe and learn people’s behavior. Farmers gather there to hire or get hired. I rarely go there to seek employment though (i.e. harvesting job) since I have the exclusivity thing. But when I was a newbie, I’m a suki there. Until I also noticed that there’s recession in the marketplace. So many farmers seeking employment, less jobs available. In general, while there, I avoided the rude and irritating players who kept on begging. For me, the best way to spend time there while waiting for opportunities is to converse with each other (there’s a chatboard there) about their location, culture, virtual farming, etc. Or as the old saying goes, if you have nothing good to say, just clam up. As to re-hiring non-neighbors, I don’t give another chance to those who don’t observe basic farming etiquette (LOL, ang arte ko) e.g. giving thanks for hiring them, etc.
(f) Keep on strategizing.
(g) In general, I begin with an end in mind. When I knew that I liked it, I wanted to reach level 34. Now that I graduated, expect me to retire soon (i.e. not to religiously play). I’d play mainly for the sake of helping my neighbors and/or newbies as source of harvest.
Should you try playing Farm Town? It depends. It’s really addictive. If you think you won’t be able to responsibly play, try no more. BUT, you’d miss the fun. Lol.
Whichever game (or anything) you’re hooked into right now, be responsible. It’s supposed to make you feel and get better.
PS. I had a fever on Thursday afternoon. I was motivated by FT to recover faster, so that I can play. Hahaha. Of course, there’s another way to read that one.