Upon beginning a farm, the player first creates a customizable avatar which may be changed at any point. The player begins with an empty farm and a fixed starting amount of “farm coins”, the primary currency in the game. Players also earn XP (experience points) for performing certain actions in the game such as plowing land or buying items. At certain XP benchmarks, the player’s level rises. As the player obtains more items and progresses through levels, crops and animals become available to them via the “market” where items can be purchased using either farm coins or “farm cash”. Farm cash is earned by leveling up or completing offers, or purchased for real money.
The main way a player earns farm coins is through harvesting of crops or visiting their neighbors. The player does this by paying coins for plowing a unit of land and for planting crops, such as tomatoes on it, finally harvesting them after a certain amount of time has elapsed. The amount of time it takes for a crop to mature, and how much money a crop yields when harvested, is dependent on the crop planted and is noted on its entry in the “market” dialog. They will wither, or they will be of no use when a crop-specific amount of time has elapsed, the amount of time being equal to 2.5 times the amount of time taken to grow the crop (for example, crops which take 8 hours to grow will wither after 2.5×8=20 hours). However, a player can use farm cash to purchase an “unwither” to rejuvenate the crops or can use a biplane with “instant grow” to cause crops to be immediately available for harvest. Although the biplane can be purchased with coins, this special feature is only available for farm cash. As a player levels up more, crops with a higher payoff and economy will become available. Sometimes a crop will need a permit that costs FC in order to be planted.
Livestock and other plants
A player may also buy or receive from friends livestock and trees or bushes, such as cherry trees or chickens, which do not wither but instead become ready for harvest for preset amounts of money a set amount of time from their last harvest. Trees and livestock cannot die.
Like most Zynga games, FarmVille incorporates the social networking aspect of Facebook into many areas of gameplay. Players may invite their friends to be their neighbors, allowing them to perform five actions on each other’s farms per day by “visiting” it. Neighbors may also send gifts and supplies to each other, complete specialized tasks together for rewards, and join “co-ops” – joint efforts to grow a certain amount of certain crops.
Neighbors may also send gifts to each other in the form of mystery gifts with expensive, but random items, special deliveries with building supplies, or by choosing a particular item to send. They cost the sending user nothing. For Farmville’s 2nd birthday, a series of different mystery gifts were added to the Gifts Page.
Decorations can be purchased in the market for coins or cash or can be sent in the form of free gifts.Decorations include many items like buildings, hay bales, fences, nutcrackers, gnomes, flags, topiaries, etc. There are sometimes limited edition items depending on the theme such as a Valentine’s Day theme, halloween theme, winter theme, etc. Decorations also give experience points (xp) depending on the cost. During the summer, Zynga releases an event called “The 7 Days Of Summer”, where they rerelease a different theme every 24 hours.
Farmville English Countryside
This expansion was rolled out in mid to late March 2011. It is a secondary farm, accessible from the user’s own. At first, going to one would pause crop growth and benefits on the other. In response to fan communication, Zynga introduced the option to turn off pausing when traveling between the farms. The English farm introduced sheep breeding. After certain tasks are completed, it can be utilized on the main farm. After completing all the EC quests, players gain the ability to transfer items between farms.