FarmVille - to cheat or not to cheat?
What is cheating in FarmVille?
Quote from Zynga TOS:
CHEATING AND HACKING -
When interpreting legal jargon, one has to read the entire sentence, not just part of it. The sentence clearly states that it is prohibited to use automated programs that are designed to modify or interfere with the Service or any Zynga game experience. This also means that automation programs and bots that are not designed to modify or interfere with the Service or any Zynga game experience are not to be considered cheats.
As such, by the Zynga TOS the use of the snag bar ( www.gamersunite.com ) or other automation programs (e.g. FV autoclicker) is NOT prohibited, because these programs are not designed to modify or interfere with the Service or any Zynga game experience. These programs do exactly what a player does, i.e. clicks on links to find items and assist other players; respectively clicks on plots to harvest/plow/plant. This as opposed to using a program that would hack and modify the server files in ways that a player not normally can from within the game.
The snag bar is not "designed to modify or interfere with the service or game
This interpretation is supported by my own experience. When I was sent an invitation for GU, I contacted Zynga customer support. I was not told that it was prohibited. I was told that "it was not recommended because it could cause problems with my account;" without specification what those problems would be.
Why would people claim someone else is cheating?
greed / envy : I don't have those pretty cartoons they
have, they level up faster than I can, ...
The eternal stumbling block about the snag bar is of course those pesky
Boo hoo hoo. Who's to say that someone else just hasn't a faster computer or
Have no illusions about it:
Zynga can easily identify people who use automated programs. That is really not difficult because every program has its own "signature" patterns insofar that it repeats certain actions in specific timing patterns. It would not be difficult to monitor at the Zynga server level for such specific signatures.
On the other hand, Zynga is very much aware that they design their
games nowadays in such way that it is almost impossible to keep going at more
advanced levels without some kind of automation. The game design is such that
further expansion it is self-limiting. Once you have 500+ farmville friends, the
feed page sometimes scrolls down faster than you can read it because there are
so many postings. Only some degree of automation can help the player to keep
going from there on.
If Zynga would really start claiming that any and all automation is prohibited, (instead of that which interferes with the service) and start enforcing that by monitoring the signature patterns of such automated programs, they would have to evict at least 3/4 of their players past level 100. That would be financial suicide for a company that is already doing badly. After all, who would buy their precious cartoons then?