The 5 best FarmVille extensions, userscripts, tips, tricks and cheats
True, most of those 80 million are middle-aged housewives that think an 'extension' is a way of increasing the range of the vacuum cleaner, but by my reckoning there must be some Download Squad readers that also play FarmVille. This post's for you, power users; power farmers. Why calculate your crop harvests in your head when a userscript can do it for you?! Or, indeed, why should you spend time adopting animals and accepting bonuses when there are peas and asparagus to plant?
Remember, Chrome 4 and above supports Userscripts -- though where Chrome Extension versions exist, I have included a link. Firefox users will have to install Greasemonkey.
Let's start with the most basic of extensions -- a harvest calculator:
Available for both Firefox and Chrome, this tool does exactly what it says on the tin -- calculate harvest times -- but, if you use the Chrome Extension, it also removes the ad bar down the right side! No longer will you be distracted by all the pretty single ladies while you farm. Don't Facebook realise that farming -- and gaming -- are far more important than finding an easy girl that wants to play with your hoe?
FarmVille Wall Manager, or FVWM, has a truly vast number of options. In essence it automates the process of scanning your Wall for FarmVille-related updates. By default it doesn't automate much, but by clicking the 'FVWM Options' on the left side bar of your Facebook News page you can enable the automation of everything.
It's hard to resist such menu options as 'Get free XP?' but there are even esoteric things, such as defining which kind of horse you want to adopt: maybe you want the pink pony foal, but not the white foal? White sheep but no black sheep? No problem!
Note: the developer says Facebook is trying to prevent the automation of this userscript/extension. If you refresh too often you might get banned -- so don't do it more than once per minute! Also, if you have problems getting the script to run, check the Userscript page -- Facebook URLs can be troublesome it seems.
If, like me, you find automation a bit too cheaty, use the FarmVille Feed Filter instead! Click its button in Chrome (or visit the your filtered FarmVille Facebook page in Firefox) and you'll be rewarded with a very, er... quaint interface.
Better yet, you can hide the FarmVille updates on your main News Feed -- and just click the button when you want to FARM. I'm all for addictive gaming experiences, but it sure is nice to have the POSSIBILITY of getting away sometimes -- and that can be hard when your News Feed is full of delicious sheep and plants and free XPs...
4. Glitch/cheat/hack your way to stardom!
OK, there aren't any actual cheats in FarmVille, but there are definitely creative uses of the game's mechanics. The hay bale trap, for example. Then, because 'winning' in FarmVille is mostly about having the most XP and coins, you simply need to make sure you spend most of your time earning XP and getting coins -- so make sure you have as many neighbours as possible! By simply clicking 'Visit/Help Friend's Farm' you can earn a small fortune -- help 20 neighbours a day, if you have the time for it.
Once you have a steady stream of freebies from neighbours, the next step is efficiency. Making the most of what you've got. Fortunately, like every game out there, and because the Internet is awesome, there's a 10-part FarmVille power-levelling guide. It's pretty damn extensive, but if you really want to be the best...
5. Speed up FarmVille and increase responsiveness
As most gamers know, the single best way to improve your gaming performance is to speed things up: a faster Internet connection, a better graphics card, a de-fragmented hard drive! The same can be said for FarmVille, though of course the speed gains are mostly a matter of convenience.
On all but the most modern computers, FarmVille runs slowly. That's the power of Flash for you. There's simply no way a frickin' farming simulator should slow a 3-year-old computer down to a crawl -- and fortunately there's something you can do about it! First, drop the video quality by clicking the button in the top-left corner -- next, make sure your Flash player is up to date.
Finally, there are some fairly low-level tweaks you can make, to squeeze a little more performance out of Firefox: check our post from last year, or enable pipelining (but be careful). Chrome is already as fast as it gets, so I'm afraid I have no tips for you!
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As always, if you've got a pro-farmer tip, leave it in the comments. We promise not to judge you...