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FarmVille - to cheat or not to cheat?

What is cheating in FarmVille?

Quote from Zynga TOS:

You agree that you will not, under any circumstances:
d. Use cheats, exploits, automation software, bots, hacks, mods or any unauthorized third party software designed to modify or interfere with the Service or any Zynga game experience;

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 experience".
Interfere is a negative term meaning making impossible or difficult. It has been mentioned over and over again that people use the snag bar to find items for their own game and to assist other players to complete missions and quests. That is not "interfere" but improve and enhance the gaming experience.

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.

As per Zynga TOS, automation programs that do not hack the Zynga server i.e. do only what a player can do from within the game, (e.g. autoclicker, snag-bar) are not cheats.

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,  ...
There is nothing much else to justify such attitude. FarmVille is a non-competitive game.

If greed and envy are all that you get from FarmVille, go do something else, like get a (real) life!

The eternal stumbling block about the snag bar is of course those pesky trees.
Some people claim they can't get any trees because other players use the snag bar.

Boo hoo hoo. Who's to say that someone else just hasn't a faster computer or connection.
More likely the players who posted the trees have MORE FRIENDS.
That has nothing to do with anyone "cheating," only with statistics.

bulletBeginning players have few(er) friends, and most likely many of those friends have been playing longer and have many more friends than the complainers do.
bulletYou may have seen that I post a lot of trees, but you can’t seem to get any.
bulletDoes that mean that someone is cheating? Not at all.
bulletI have over 600 friends.  They all can see my feeds and they all want that tree. Only one will get it.
bulletYour “fair share” of my trees is only 1/600.
bulletYou should expect to be disappointed 599 times before you catch one of my trees!


bulletI have certainly seen those little pop-ups with the same name over and over again. So what if someone does get a lot of trees? Get in line and keep trying.
bulletIf you really want a lot of cartoon trees, make a lot of facebook friends and just ASK them to send you trees!
It is my experience that players are generally helpful. That is how I got most of my first 500-so trees…

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.
FarmVille is really the only one I play, but from what I have seen, the other games pretty much are the same pattern e.g. already 8 farms in FarmVille, and counting; with more new items than a person can even keep up with, etc....)

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?

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Page last modified: November 16, 2012
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