Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Knocking Yo-wood...


I have started, stopped, erased, and re-started this post several times over. This is a subject that so many of my friends on Facebook feel so passionate about. I have been feeling the need to share about it on here, but haven’t known where I should start. Most would say, “start at the beginning”, but that was a completely different time in the scope of the game. Hmm…I think it best that I start in the ‘now’.
‘SAVE YOVILLE!’ It’s a cry for help, and a cry of defiance. For so many, Yoville isn’t just a game, but a community. Friendships forged in a virtual world between people from all corners of the globe. A player since 2008, I can speak of my own experiences with Yoville. I have forged some great friendships that have also found their way to the timelines of Facebook. I have enjoyed meeting others within the game, but I have also found an escapist outlet with Yoville. One of my greatest therapies over the last number of years has been in decorating my homes (and I have a lot of them). I also have enjoyed visiting player run yard sales where I have been able to meet new players, or bump into friends. I have not been as consistently religious as some in my time spent in-game. Life does have a way of intervening from time to time. I can safely say that I would definitely miss it if it were to close down.

The noise about the band of Yoville protestors has grown. If the game is going to go down, it’s not going to go down without a fight. So many of us have had growing frustrations with the games performance for months now. That frustration sits square in the offices of Zynga. D-Day is scheduled for March 31st, and that “D” stands for “destruction”. In many respects, Zynga has ignored Yoville. That is how it has felt. Performance issues with the game that have never been fixed. Customer service/tech help has been slow to being non-responsive. A huge feature of the game are the “Events”, and those have been off-line for months. The player yard sales I mentioned before are posted and accessed via “Events”. Talk about cutting off a huge lifeline. Apparently, hackers were able to waltz right in and rather than fix the issue, they pulled events all together. The player numbers have dropped considerably, and it has all been due to Zynga dropping the ball.

Personally, I have felt that something was about to happen. My theory is that Zynga’s apathy towards Yoville began when they went public. Yes, they are a business, and most businesses look at the bottom line. I think that once they opened themselves up to the world of the Stock Market, they focused on the money, and let everything fall to the side. It’s all about the shareholders, and not about the players of their games. (Yoville isn’t the only Zynga game with performance issues. "Farmville", a hugely popular game at one time, has already bitten the proverbial dust.) To quote Stephen Colbert, I’m about to give Zynga a “wag of the finger”…I think it’s pretty obvious that they have known for at least a few months that they were going to pull the plug on Yoville, it was just a matter of when. Meanwhile, players have been spending their real world money on the game. The least Zynga could’ve done is take down features like VIP memberships, which by comments I’ve seen from other players have been glitchy (players not getting all of the stuff they pay for). At just about every angle I look at this whole issue, Zynga is the cause of Yoville’s demise. Problems left unaddressed for so long have caused people to leave, so rather than fixing the problems they would rather just close things down. The sad thing is that many of the people I know that got fed up and quit playing would return if the laundry list of problems were fixed.

Then something amazing happened…

A “Big Viking” has heard the players distress call. The creators of Yoville (Zynga bought it from them), “Big Viking” games are coming to the aid of the Yovillians. They have approached Zynga about buying the game back to keep it going for the die-hard players. How cool is that? A dialogue has been started between the two companies, so…fingers crossed. The following video is an interview with the “Big Viking” head honcho…it covers the status of things at the time of this post.

Okay, I know what you might be thinking. Yoville is a “virtual” game. None of it is real. All of those Yocash items bought with real world money…players don’t really own that stuff. Online games aren’t forever. Yoville will have to close its gates sooner or later. That’s all very true. The only response I have is…it’s not time. If Yoville goes down for good it was killed by Zynga. It didn’t die of natural causes. There is still plenty of life left in this game. “Big Viking” could be just what the doctor ordered to get things sailing smoothly again, and get those players that abandoned ship to come back aboard for another ride.

I suppose we’ll hear what the outcome of all of this is sometime soon. March 31st isn’t that far off.

Knocking Yo-wood…

Thought I would share some of my favorite rooms...for posterity.  

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