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Follow the dark path or use the light

17: Strategic Gifts and Gifting

Farmville Walkthrough and Guide

by CMBF  

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Chapter 03: Strategic Gifts and Gifting

Gifts in the game are a bit more complicated then it may first appear, because of how they have been implemented.  The basic structure of the gifting system makes it easier for a neighbor or friend to send you the same gift you sent them than to make their own choice whenever they log in and have received a gift from you.

Because of that most players assume that any gift that you send to them is a gift that you want to receive -- which can work out very well for you if you remember to send the things you actually want to receive, right?  Right!

An overview of the gifts that you may want to be strategic about includes:

-- Mystery Boxes --

As of July 2010, Zynga removed the Mystery Boxes from the game and replaced them with the weekly Mystery Game -- however there are still special Mystery Boxes that are added for events and promotions -- often containing unusual or rare items.  The following Mystery Boxes are currently active in the game, and thus are worth trying to get!

Note that these boxes DO count for the 'They of Mystery' ribbon, so if you are trying to complete that you will want to get and open as many of these as you can manage!

American Express Mystery Box (Added  May 10, 2011)
--Arjuna Tree
-- Black Pig
-- Durian Tree
-- Farmhands
-- Fertilize All

Spring Mystery Box (Added April 11, 2011)
-- Brown English Lop
-- Garden Table
-- Spring Picnic


-- Mystery Gifts --

First it should be noted that these are NOT the same thing as a Mystery Box -- these are the odd dark purple boxes that have long been available but that have a changing contents to them.  The purple Mystery Gifts Box does NOT count towards the 'They Of Mystery' ribbon FYI.

The following items are currently available in the Mystery Gifts box but some of them are very very rare and so will require you to open a lot of these boxes!  Each of the items is listed with its rarity noted, the rarity being how likely it is to be obtained with the opening of the box.

20 Free XP (common misc item)
1,000 Farm Coins (rare misc item)
Almond Tree (uncommon tree)
Birdfeeder (common decoration)
Black Pig (common animal)
Blue Butterfly (common decoration)
Breadfruit Tree (uncommon tree)
Brown Cow (common animal)
Brown Squirrel (uncommon animal)
Buffalo Topiary (uncommon decoration)
Calf (common animal)
Can of Fuel (common misc item)
Chicken (common animal)
Chinchilla (ultra rare animal)
Cowprint Stool (ultra rare decoration)
Date Tree (uncommon tree)
Duck Topiary (uncommon decoration)
Elegant Topiary (uncommon decoration)
FarmVille Cash (ultra rare misc item)
FarmVille Flag (common decoration)
Flower Bucket (uncommon decoration)
Grass Pile (uncommon decoration)
Greenery (rare decoration)
Grey Tabby (rare animal)
Guava Tree (uncommon tree)
Harvester  (uncommon vehicle) English Farm Only
Hot Air Balloon (ultra rare decoration)
Jackfruit Tree (common tree)
Lawn Chair (common decoration)
Long-tailed Duck (rare animal)
Mandarin Tree (uncommon tree)
No Raccoon Sign (ultra rare decoration)
Old Bike (common decoration)
Olive Tree (common tree)
Ossabaw Pig (common animal)
Owl Statue (common decoration)
Pinwheels (uncommon decoration)
Pomegranate Tree (uncommon tree)
Rose Pinwheel (rare decoration)
Saanens Goat (common animal)
Seeder (uncommon vehicle) English Farm Only
Starfruit Tree (common tree)
Tractor (uncommon vehicle) English Farm Only
Tricycle Planter (common decoration)
Wax Apple Tree (common tree)
Windmill (rare decoration)

Receiving Your Gifts at Login

-- Gifting Strategies --

You are allowed to send free gifts to your mates several times a day -- and when you log in you are presented with the gifting screen automatically, so sending the gifts is pretty painless, but picking which gift to send? Not so much.

-- A Dangerous Cycle --

One thing you should be careful of -- when you log in for the first time each day the game automatically prompts you to send Special Delivery Packages to the people on your Farmville Friend list.  This prompt takes place before you even reach the interface and your farm -- and as convenient as it may appear, should NEVER be used.

The reason you should not use it is that quite often there are important gifts that are part of the main gift menu that apply to special events that are currently on, that your friends may be working towards completing.  If you make the mistake of sending the Special Delivery Package gifts when you are prompted to, you will find that you cannot send them the gifts that they actually want and need when you finally end up at your farm in the main interface.

Invariably what happens here is an unintended circle of non-productive-gifting! 

Your mates will send you one of the event-related gifts, hoping that you will reply in kind and send them one, but instead because you used the Special Delivery Gift window when you logged in, what they receive is Special Delivery Packages instead of the gifts that they really want.

Because you sent them the Special Delivery Package, they will assume that means that you WANT THEM to send YOU that gift -- so you end up getting them sent to you, instead of the event-related gifts that you also want, and as a result this non-productive circle gets started. 

If you are again careless when you log in on the following day and use the SDG window without thinking about it, that simply reinforced the idea that you are actively seeking those and you will find that those are all you end up receiving from your mates no matter what gifts you send in the future.

Frankly speaking, the Special Delivery Packages are really only useful when you are building infrastructure on your farm -- they don't help you in completing the event projects, or in acquiring some of the limited edition and limited time items that also appear in the main gifting catalog, so this is a cycle and phenomenon you should actively try to avoid.

There is NO reason to use that gift window upon log in -- and in fact you better serve yourself and your neighbors by NEVER using it, even when you are in a hurry and just want to get your daily gift sent.  Dismiss that window by hitting the Skip button, and then use the main gifting menu via the tab so that you get used to doing it that way and never end up making this mistake.

-- Back to Proper Gifting Discussion --

In your feed you can see posts from your mates when they are looking for a particular item -- and you can also be guided by that. In addition to the regular items and resources that you can gift via the web-based interface, there are also special items like the Tropical Planter and Red Maple Tree that can only be sent if you are logged into the Farmville Client on Zynga's site rather than on Facebook.

There are also special items like the White Apple Tree that can only be sent from the Farmville iPhone client. If you have an iPhone your mates will appreciate it when you send them items that they cannot be gifted any other way, so that is worth a thought.

Always remember that whenever you gift the same gift several times in a row your mates are going to assume that this means that you want them to send you that gift -- so if that is not the case, you should try not to send the same gift over and over.

Open the Egg to See what You Get!

-- Special and Limited Edition Gifts --

If you examine the gift catalog that is accessed by using the Free Gift tab on the main interface, you will find that there are, distributed among the regular gifts, almost always a selection of special or limited time gifts that you can give.

At the time that I write this the gift catalog contains the following irregular gifts:

-- American Express Mystery Box
-- Brown Goose
-- Gingko Tree
-- Rainbow Barrel
-- White Apple Tree

-- Concrete
-- Hammer
-- Lucky Penny
-- Spool of Twine

From these unusual selections we find tow distinct groups -- the first group contains limited edition items that are the only means for obtaining a lot of these items and that, clearly, would be very much appreciated by the recipient in place of a gift like the Special Delivery Package, which you can give at any time.

The second group above contains resources that are specifically for special events that are time-limited and important to your mates.  The Lucky Penny is for throwing into the Wishing Well -- part of the St. Patrick's Day Event that is still inexplicably available and that serves as the source for several very rare items like the double-decker bus and a collectible gnome as well as an animated flower box.  If your mates request this - or you know that they have not completed the Wishing Well quest - then sending them the Lucky Penny would be especially appreciated!

The Concrete, Hammer, and Spool of Twine are the building resources required to complete the new Craftshop that was very recently added to the game and that has three quests associated with it.  The function of this new building and how it fits into Crafting is presently unknown -- but helping your mates finish theirs and, thus, complete the quests associated with it, would clearly be seen as a smart and valuable use of the gift system!

While time will cause the above to be less important, the history of this game shows us that there will be new gifts with the same level of value added to the game as it expands, so the lesson from this is both valuable to you, and worth remembering!

-- Making your Farm Unique --

With games like this, making your space unique is a given -- and understandable -- pursuit which is why the folks at Zynga have provided a plethora of items that can be used to do that, from buildings, shrubs, and topiary to fences, flags, and plants -- a wide variety of items that you can use to express yourself.

It is understandable then that most players choose to do this, but when you are first starting out it is a better strategy to restrict your decorating only to items that can return a profit to you -- trees are an excellent example -- or buildings that generate income, like the Stables and Nursery. 

That being the case it is a good idea to make your mates aware of what items you would like to receive from the current gifts catalog -- and the easiest way to do that is to send them a personal message asking them if there is anything that they want -- and telling them what you want!

Choosing a vehicle for your farm can serve two functions -- decorate while at the same time make your life easier -- because vehicles in the game are functional. Picking a tractor and putting it on display is a stand-out but did you know that using that tractor to plow your field allows you to plow four plots at the same time rather than one? Of course you have to use up fuel to do that, but getting a tractor as soon as the game allows you to unlocks more opportunities to obtain fuel!

As you level up, there are pivotal levels you will want to reach. At Level 20 you can participate in Farming Co-Op Jobs, which include both XP and income as well as special items you can win by completing the job in a certain time period -- items you can then use on your farm both as decoration and function. For instance, the School Bus Plow and Red Pickup Seeder are pre-upgraded, allowing you to seed and plow nine plots at the same time. There is a job that has a Biplane as its reward -- and while it looks cool to have that Biplane parked on your farm, you should be aware that it can be used to force your crops to mature early if you are pressed for time, or need to quickly grow crops to get a Co-Op job in on time!

When you reach Level 25 you can participate in the crafting system in the game -- and hitting that special level prompts the game to ask you what craft you want to participate in? The choices are a Spa, Winery, or Bakery, and what you choose will influence the crops you grow in the future, as growing crops is the best way to obtain the ingredients that you will need to craft.

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