Andy's Workshop

Game chat and stories along with some articles probably for the more geeky among us,
all written by me, Andy.

Click here for my Frontierville Addiction Therapy Guide

Friday 13 January 2012

Quoting disaster...

"You can't trust 75% of the quotes on the internet."
- Christopher Columbus c:1492
I don't doubt this blog will stir up a few suggestions I'm a Zynga crony etc. It seems criminally unfashionable these days to have positive feelings about the company that gives us our games, and Lord knows I have my problems with how they run Frontierville... But sometimes folks are so eager to Zynga-bash it just gets silly.

I place some of the blame on Social Media, it's so easy now to copy and paste a status, or click share, that often we don't think to go DEEPER. It's how scams trap us, we just click, or share, or like a post... without wondering, like a river, where is the source and what's been peeing in it.

Recently I reckon most of us here have seen the CAPS LOCKED and infuriated little status doing the rounds at the moment about a statement released by Zynga, something loosely saying "we don't care about older players, only new ones."

I've seen a goodly number, as have the other admins. They're heartfelt and emotive in their own little way but here's the teeny tiny problem. It's based on a sinkhole foundation. Looks solid enough but poke around and the whole thing falls through the floor. The entire basis of the status is false.

For starters, let's look at the crux of it, this is the statement:

"Zynga has expressed a strange sentiment to explain their recent departure of players that they don’t care as much about retaining existing users as they do attracting new ones. While veteran players of games like Farmville and Mafia Wars get fed up with the company’s games or service, Zynga is content to just keep releasing an endless stream of titles in hopes that by getting new players, they outweigh the tide of old ones leaving."

The problem here is this is suggested to have come from Zynga, spoken, written, even just intimated. The reader is left believing this is the words and feelings of Zynga. Then the posters will add their own heartfelt emotive comment regarding how dare Zynga think like this... aiding new people to fall in the trap with every share.

So, to the truth of where it came from. The words above weren't based on any Zynga comment, on any statement, on anything anyone had broadcast. They were based on one man's report into the release of Hidden Chronicles, the new hidden object game from Zynga.

His point was that he felt in releasing new games such as HC he FELT that Zynga were just wanting lots of new people playing new games instead of working on the ones they had. Unfortunately this opinion was picked up, someone out there didn't quite read it properly, cocked their Caps Lock Button and let rip.

This is one guys FEELINGS written in a blog, it's not an article in the magazine, it's a contributor blog on the site, one that contains individual thoughts and ideas, much like this one of mine.

He is suggesting that developing a new game is Zynga ignoring old players and just wanting new ones. This is what this contributor has decided in his head that is now being ripped from the comfort of its context and spread as if it's quotes from Zynga.

In part I blame the writer himself (who admits he's new to journalism but has written some good stuff). In using the strange phrase "expressed" he was, himself, suggesting this was something that had come from Zynga, instead of something he felt from seeing the HC release.

In fact, in context, it's more about how Zynga are following, rather than leading, the gaming landscape on Facebook and to be wary of investing in their stock. (Which is fair enough, Hidden Chronicles IS nothing other than a Gardens of Time ripoff, but that's not suggesting there's anything bad there)

Let's take a look at some facts specifically tailored to the game we love:

Frontierville is glitchy. Yes it is. It could do with the Trail ripping out, a LOT less of a flood of new stuff and some serious recoding to make it more efficient and stop crashes with Flash when opening Collections or the Rodeo etc.

Frontierville needs a big overhaul and possibly a complete change in mindset, less stuff, less begging, better optimisation. This is true, right now the game has become less fun to play, it's become more of a chore.

But bringing out a new game means squat to the ones we have. There's a strange assumption Zynga have one development team and a new game draws people from an old one, which is untrue. Every game is its own little autonomous being. It has its own developers, its own program team, its own communication team...

Zynga is like a massive shopping centre (that's Mall for Americans). A big building made up of lots of smaller, independent entities, a symbiosis if you will. Adding a Starbucks in the food court won't mean it's crewed by the shop assistants of Foot Locker.

I like to consider this blog something of a Switzerland of Neutrality when it comes to Frontierville (although I know others don't...) I've pointed out where the gamers have done silly things or misunderstood, I've also pointed out where ZYNGA have done silly things or, in fact downright stupid ones.

Yes, I will defend Zynga and resist the ever increasing number of Zynga bashers who give every glitch a Machiavellian plot and suggest evil intent in pretty much everything that the company do. But I'll also point out where the company are wrong, and if they really HAD said they didn't care about the gamers who've been with them for years (as a gamer who's been with them for years) I would be shouting it at them and at my own gaming friends on my status.

But I'm not. Because they haven't. We can THINK they do, we can SUGGEST it... But I don't think they do, and I think that for logical reasons.

Older players are more invested. Older players are more addicted. Every company wants more customers through its doors, but every company also knows that one person who keeps coming back (even if treated badly) is worth ten one time customers.

A new player to Frontierville might well see all the missions on offer and just quit. They wont have created their homestead, wont have become invested in the Fanny/Hank love affair and marriage. They won't feel attached to the game enough to get addicted, to pay for Horseshoes, to keep on, and on, and on, even if it's painful going.

New players will quit.

Even the blogger himself mildly contradicts himself when he points out Zynga's success is in its huge user base, a user base made up of old and new players alike. He is pointing out that Zynga rely on all players, not just new ones.

We've put up with some serious Hell in our time with Frontierville, and we're still here. THAT is why Zynga knows they need to hold on to the older players, the addicted players. THAT is why the statement above, as lovely and dramatic as it is, is nothing more than one man's feelings based on the release of a new game, taken out of context and given a false official tag, like a fake police badge.

The original blog can be read HERE.

Now let the accusations... COMMENCE!


  1. thank you for this. I am so sick of everyone just reposting because they believe everything they read on FB. Come on people. Check it out before you repost it. Frontiervile/Pioneer Trail does have a lot of issues and can be very frustrating but if you contact them they are always very nice and helpful and try to correct your problem. In stead of bashing them try contacting them instead.

  2. Well said..Thanks for clearing a lot of "bull" up :)

  3. Kudos to u for takin the time to do this as well as keepin us updated ... =)

  4. I love the live chat for Frontierville, it is the best way to resolve gaming issues. Other games with glitches, well it is very hard to contact them for help. I am one who is addicted to Frontierville for sure.

  5. Well said Andy, agree 100%, I am one of the original players and through thick and thin have stuck with it. Still love it even though it has taken over my life xx

  6. I think clarification is always good. Besides in my opinion compared to other zynga games frontierville is not so bad at all. I can't even load 3 of the others anymore and almost quit another in december when I lost most of my neighbors (down to 5 who still play.) You make a good point about checking our facts before reposting stuff and I will put it this way 'getting all worked up over something' without checking the facts. This is true to many things on facebook. Thank you for sharing.

  7. as always well said, and thanks for taking the time to check into this and let us know, I have been seeing this quite a bit, but found it VERY hard to believe, would just be bad business.

  8. Well said and thanks for clearing up a few issues that i had.

  9. I can not say that Zynga has always been nice,,,,I have an email from Vivian a Zynga rep who said that yes Live Chat is for premium customers but when she was asked how much some one has to spend to become a premiun customer sh esaid she couldnt say how much HAD to be spent to be a premium customer. Seems you do find some that will help ,, but then there are those who wont help a bit and say wait patiently for a fix!!! I am still waiting

  10. A classic case of Chinese whispers, with no thought process going on from the readers. The pen, truly is mightier than the sword ;) (for the stupid people at least) lol.

  11. Thank you ....well said...I totally agree with you, I am an addicted player....when I first started I didn't know what the heck I was doing and quit....Then found it again now I am on here almost 18 to 20 hours a day.....and love every minute of it.....not all the glitches but you have to remember you have to take the good with the bad to make a success. And you hit the nail on the head zynga's support team......THEY ARE WONDERFUL TO DEAL WITH AND THE BONUSES THEY GIVE YOU IN RETURN WHEN YOU HAVE AN ISSUE ARE VERY GOOD. THANK YOU FOR READING A VERY ADDICTED PLAYER....HEHEHHEHEHEHEHEHEHE

  12. I agree in reposting stuff without checking into it. However, the issues we are experiencing are issues that have been problems since early on. They have not been corrected. Zynga continues to roll out new missions without correcting the known major connection issues. If they truly wanted to keep their older players, they would try to make the game easier to play by fixing these issues. I love FTV but its so hard to stay connected. One or two neighbor visits and I have to exit and go back into the game, reload, and go back to another friend. Loading takes a long time. I too am an original player...dont know how much longer I can stick through it though.

  13. i think zynga are like every other company in the uk that has a customer service will get good & bad reps, some will always be more helpful than others...many people are to quick to moan about zynga, but as you say, most continue to play because at the end of the day we like the game....thanks for taking time to explain the status that i had seen often

  14. What a well written article, Fronteirville has become hard going lately, too many mission etc everything said above, but I started playing Fronterville at beginning and have always found it the most enjoyable of all the games, some I have tried and gave up, others I pop in and out of, I am just hoping Zygna will hurry up and listen to our suggestions and get the game back to how it was!!

  15. In my humble opinion and experience, Zynga is doing what they can to keep old and new players a like, knowing that if us older players leave and tell 10 of our friends and they tell 10 of their friends etc, it will snowball and they will be relying solely on new players who will become overwhelmed and quit. Also, the older players need to realize that these people are just starting out (how did you feel when you first started, I know for me, there was more than one day I wanted to quit) so when the new players post, we need to click their posts and help them too not just our good old standard list of friends we help. Sorry, that's my 2 cents worth

  16. Thank you for sharing. I do appreciate it. I feel more opposite when I suddenly, without notice, discover my reset changed to 11 pm, once a day, and when I sleep. My reset was 6 am and 6 pm, twice a day, and when I am awake. The math is fairly simple: once a day 50 items total whether collected/requested/gifted from twice a day 50 items collected, unlimited (variable set by neighbors capacity) requests received, twice a day gifting neighbors. I feel most opposite when I can Not fill any requests and can Not accept any returned gifts from my 25 - 35 active friend/neighbors for weeks, not just a few days but weeks. I feel very much more opposite, frustrated, and deeply concerned, when I contact Zynga several times, both by email and live chat, and I am repeatedly told 'Facebook changing to Timeline has caused it and Zynga has contacted them and are waiting for Facebook to correct it; in a simpler word -lies. I am an addict to the Facebook game from the beginning but not played continuously due to limitations, complications, and impossible missions/quests set by Zynga for Facebook players who support children/food/rent/utilities before considering (which means never) spending money for horseshoes.

  17. Thank you for clarifying this for me. I have to admit I read and re-posted that statement when i saw it on FB and of course felt bad about it after I found out the truth, but my wall was so full of Frontierville stuff i couldn't find the post and gave up looking for it. I am addicted to the game like a lot of you (even ask my fiance lol), but i stick with it. If something acts up too much i don't play for a couple days. If i don't finish a mission in time, it's annoying; but i have so many neighbours i don't even know who actually play's the game anymore so if i get what i ask for i am not going to complain. The only thing bothering me right now in Frontierville is Holiday Hollow, I mean how many pieces of wood and gears does a girl need, and the fact i constantly run out of cheer and it cost cheer to collect bonuses. Oh well I guess that's what happens when i spend time with my family over the holiday's instead of doing my missions LOL. You all have a great day

  18. Well said Andy. Too many post stuff to their status just because others do it. Post and re-post!!!!That is one thing I don't like about FB. Thanks for putting some folk right.

  19. no matter what i will always be a loyal player as a matter of its the only 1 i the game and i just suffer through all the glitches and whatever they throe at me .its the challenge i love...

  20. Thanks Andy, well said. I am a very old player LOL, not by years LOL I do enjoy the game and as long as they let me I will be playing. Thanks again for backing the people who have provided us with the games we play. Have a great day!!!

  21. I too have seen multiple Zynga slams. At times I get frustrated by the game too. But what I will say is that Zynga is THE place for games. They have a very nice variety of different games to play each one has its own following. They must be doing something right as there is little competition in the world of Facebook. They are not perfect and personally I think that they could spend a little more time training their customer support people. That is where their true issue is. I have had many good people help me from their support, but I have had more who simply don't take the time to understand the issues that are presented to them and employ quick fixes that simply tick people off.

  22. I think the problem with this story was that we as zynga game players don't feel that when we have problems and have to work with support that they don't care how we feel! They are very rude sometimes and don't help at all.
    So when we see a story like this we tend to believe it.
    Zynga keeps turning out all of these games when the last one is not working correctly. We just want the games to work! Everyone should know that all of the different games have their own programmers. And we understand that there is a turn over in this field.
    I do think with our without the story that was printed that most of us do feel that zynga does not care if the older players stay or not. Just to give you one example...One of the new games have had problems for a month and today they finialy took the game down and fixed it.
    We really don't want much! Just the game to work.

  23. My biggest issue has been Cafe World. I just quit after being a long time player. So many issues on that game and it is extremely frustrating. Hope they fix it soon or there will be an exodus from that game as well. Lots of people are sick of the lags and the loss of connection, as well as a myriad of other problems with it. If it worked right I would still be playing, if they fix it I will go back, but not until they do.

  24. I have been a frontier player from the week it started. I have tried to play for and can't. I've dealt with the glitches and problems over the years, but now it's to much. I have been trying to reach customer at Zynga for months and they have been ignoring me. They keep dumping on new quests before fixing old problems. I already gave up Cityville and Cafeworld is next. They can't expect people to spend real money if they can't play the game. You can defend them but the problems are real and they are losing real players.