Within a half hour, I receive a notification that one of my friends’ farms is getting attacked by foxes. Would I like to lend a helping hand, the game implores? As my avatar has nothing better to do than watch the six pieces of dirt I own do their dirt thing (if you scroll your mouse over each plot, it tells you the percentage in which that land’s crop is ready for harvesting), I accept, and within a few clicks I’ve somehow saved the day; my courageousness is rewarded with a bunch of experience points and I think some coins. Not sure what else to do with my time, I use some money to buy a sack of wheat and eggplant seeds, since this is no doubt the path to some of kind of protection from the elements. And probably more foxes. (On a truthful side note, I was terrified of wild dogs as a child, and it’s slightly disconcerting that Farmville knew to exploit my previous fears and make a fox battle my first challenge.)
I leave the game running all afternoon while I work (there’s some irony in there somewhere, I just know it), and throughout the day there are no less than four more neighboring wildlife attacks that demand my attention. I don’t know how my Facebook Farmville friends knew so quickly that I was in the mix, but I proceed to systematically save them from raccoons, gophers, crows, and whoops, looks like that pack of foxes isn’t through just yet, because I have to chase them off a second time. God, they’re persistent. After each rescue, the game helpfully suggests that I surprise my friends by watering their plants, since they’ve been too gone or too lazy to do it themselves in the recent past. Sure, why not?
I feel compelled to comment here that the way in which Farmville deals with wild varmints is quite unlike the approach taken in real life. If your solution to fox and raccoon attacks is to simply chase them from one farm to another, of course they’re going to come back; these are creatures of opportunity. No, in my experience (and as any farmer worth his salt knows), I’ve been taught that a .22-caliber rifle, a variety of burlap sacks, and a reliable spade-headed shovel is far more effective in keeping one’s property fox-free when their numbers have risen to the level that your farmland has fallen under their siege.
Step 1) Find the fox; Step 2) Fatally wound the fox with your .22-caliber rifle; Step 3) Douse the entire fox in antifreeze, thus poisoning any surrounding cannibalistic foxes who try to dine on their fallen friend; Step 4) Place the fox in a burlap sack; Step 5) Bury the fox. Repeat as necessary.
Also, let’s be clear about something here. While I’m sitting on a few clumps of dirt with a couple pockets worth of seeds and nothing more than my regrettably manicured hands with which to chase off these wild beasts, every single friend I saved from encroaching fauna possessed, lavish, lavish estates. I might be going out on a limb here, but most farms don’t have villas (1 million coins), tea houses (38 FV Bucks, whatever those are), or shoe houses (100,000 coins; it’s just what it sounds like, an Aesop’s Fables-style house shaped like a shoe), in addition to dozens upon dozens of plots for various plants, fruits, and vegetables. And animals. Oh yes, the normal livestock you might expect from the average American farm are all there—horses, cats, chickens, sheep, pigs, cows, and the like—but my more elite farming buddies even possess tigers and monkeys. And elephants. So in summation, my rich friends, with all their fancy buildings and exotic animals and wildlife, felt the need to call upon their most destitute newbie neighbor to chase away a few pesky predators with his bare hands. Classism, indeed.
While I admit I’m new to the game, it’s also worthy of note that there appears to be no systems of sanitation or irrigation in place for each respective farm. As is common knowledge, most farm animals defecate, and such waste is generally distributed throughout the property’s fields for purposes of fertilization. Thus advances the great agricultural circle of life. If a Farmville software developer happens upon this review, allow me to suggest the addition of a manure spreader attachment for the tractors (reasonably priced, of course).
It also appears that every single farm sits on completely level ground, which in the real world would no doubt promote large quantities of standing water throughout any given property. This would naturally lead to unhealthy breeding levels of both mosquitoes and flies, which are known for spreading disease. (To be fair, I haven’t played the game long enough to know whether or not your farm can be wiped out by various forms of the Black Plague.)