All the latest information on the newest glitches and crashes making your game a little more entertaining, along with articles about how to do various semi-game related things to help you or your neighbours.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Give and Take - The Full Requesting Guide

One of the things we often get asked about is requesting, any of the various methods.

The whole requesting mechanic, whether it's wall, gift or direct is something of a mishmash of styles, times and rewards, so we've decided to pop together this guide to ALL the different methods of giving, recieving and gifting.

Many of you will know all of this, others may only know some, so lets hope we might be able to leave folks thinking "well, you learn something new every day!"

PLEASE NOTE: To keep things tidy so we're not using multiple time zones, all times in this post are based on Co-ordinated Universal Time, the international standard.

The current time in UTC is:

To find out your timezone compared to UTC, use the excellent interactive Time Zone Map at

Wall Posts/Daily Clicks

Let's start with the most well known and most complained about, wall posts.

When can I post?

Wall posts are set on specific, hard coded times, based on UTC so will change if your country moves it's clocks for daylight savings etc. We can post once per "window" and most posts last for 24-36 hours. (There is one exception we'll post about below.)

The Pioneer Trail "Day" starts at Midnight UTC and then has various windows throughout the day.

8 Hour Posts - The Oldies

These are rare and almost exclusively now only used in old stuff, those reset at Midnight, 8am and 4pm UTC. You can usually ask for one item per mission or build each window.

6 Hour Posts - The Standard

These are the most common and are reset at Midnight, 6am, Noon and 6pm UTC. You can usually ask for one item per mission or build each window but many recently have allowed for posting two.

2 Hour Posts - The Pests

2 Hour posts are the black sheep of the family because they work much differently to other posts. The windows are just 2 hours apart, meaning they reset at Midnight, 2am, 4am, 6am etc, right through the day.

However, they are almost exclusively used for injured animal feed and only allow ONE post per window, even though the animals/topiaries/baloons etc are all in totally different threads, we're locked in to only asking for one.

They also have a very restrictive window in which they can be clicked. Where 8 and 6 hour posts acan be clicked for up to 24-36 hours after posting, these run out when the window it was posted in runs out, so it only lasts a maximum of 2 hours and a minimum of... well, one second.

If you post at 1.59.59, that post is only clickable for one single second, until the window flips over at 2, then it's dead. This means 2 hour posts have to be planned VERY carefully, and are often useless before people have used their 50 clicks unless it's the most recent.

What can I Click?

Here's one fact that many reading this won't know, it never fails to bring questions when we mention it. We all have TWO sets of clicks to use per day, 50 that go both ways, and 30 that only go one way.

All clicks reset at the start of the "Day", Midnight UTC.

50 Clicks - Two Way

Our first set of clicks are the ones we all know about (and desire more of), our 50 daily clicks for things that go both ways, we give our neighbour the item AND we get the item ourselves.

Typically they look like this and the call to action is "*Neighbour Name* needs XX, send it to them and you'll get one too."

I doubt there's anyone who doesn't have a full and intimate knowledge of these.

30 Clicks - One Way

The lesser known sibling of the 50 clicks is our 30 "one way" clicks.

This is a set of extra clicks we have per day that can be used on items where WE, the clicker, get the item, but the poster doesn't.

These mostly relate to "brag" posts, the ones we post on completion of a mission, a partnered animal or a special event in game.

They traditionally look like this, with a small cartoon picture if it's a mission or an image of the partnered animal, along with some brag text, "*Neighbour Name* has done something awesome and is giving you this to celebrate."

These posts are often overlooked but regularly hold great rewards, and only take from a pool of clicks that many players will not empty during the day, so keep your eyes out.

Direct Requests

Direct Requests are those sent from inside the game for mission/build items. Those are the ones that bring up this menu to send from:

We are able to send ONE Direct Request per neighbour every 12 hours, and that is an individual clock, NOT based on any time zones or resets. Each neighbour has their own individual 12 hour countdown timer that's started when you ask.

So, for example, let's say we have three members, Vanessa, Tom and Melody.

At 10:42PM Vanessa asks Tom for a Screw. That starts off a dedicated 12 timer just for Tom.

Vanessa then realises that wasn't enough to finish off what she was doing, so then asks Melody for a Screw at 11:17PM... That then starts off another dedicated 12 hour timer, this time for Melody.

(I know, this is sounding like a maths test... bear with me.)

When those individual timers run down, Vanessa can then ask them again, so she can ask Tom for something at 10:42AM, and Melody at 11:17AM...

So, at what point do the trains pass...? Oh, sorry, wrong question.

All Direct Requests go to the Envelope, more on that (and it's limitations) later. There is NO limitation on returning the items. Returning a Direct Request item does NOT stop you from asking that person for one and them sending.

Free Gifts

I think we all understand that "Free Gifts" is a misnomer, it's just another form of Direct Request, but with some extra foibles.

Timing wise they work exactly the same as Direct Requests (see above) so each neighbour has an individual 12 hour timer that kicks off when you send them a gift, you then have to wait 12 hours before you can send them another.

However, there is an added little wrinkle here. Unlike Direct Requests, using the "Send Back" button in the envelope after accepting the gift counts AS a free gift, this means that not only are you unable to send one, it can lead to the unfortunate scenario when clicking it makes it LOOK like you're sending them something... but actually you haven't.

This little issue could well be the cause of a large percentage of the complaints we see about non return of free gifts.

Let's go back to Vanessa and Melody for an example.

Vanessa needs Baby Carrots, Melody needs Brass Forges.

So Vanessa sends Melody a "gift" of Baby Carrots in the hope of getting some back, Melody sends Vanessa a Brass Forge, hoping to get one back.

They both recieve this "gift" of the crop they don't want and they both click "Send a Gift Back" thinking this will return the item... only it doesn't. The button runs off eager to do it's job... and the game trips it up and hogties it because you've already sent your one gift for the day.

So Vanessa gets a crop she doesn't need, Melody gets a crop she doesn't need, both have cheerfully hit the send back button thinking they're helping... and nothing. Not only is this not helpful it also means that if they both say to the other "but I sent back" it then leads to people thinking the game has an glitch, when all it really has is a badly implemented feature.

This is the biggest curse of the daft and disingenous "Free Gifting", it becomes a race to send what WE want... but frankly I could complain all day about this feature, so lets give one more caveat, and move on.

PLEASE NOTE: Those pesky free gift prompt popups that appear in game and look like this...

...count as your free gift allocation. Using them to send something of a generally unhelpful bent like a lunch precludes you from being able to ask for a Crop from the Free Gift Page or even return a request for one from a neighbour, so think carefully before you send.

The Envelope: Not the Tardis.

Just one final note to finish. Our envelope holds 50 Items. Any new ones bump out old ones and "cancel" them, so they're not even available from the App Centre.

This can also cause issues with people thinking free gifts or Direct Requests have been lost by the game. If you send just after someone goes to sleep, chances are by the time they wake up your request will have been forced out the bottom.

It does leave gifting and requesting being something of a strategic military action, especially if, like me, you have international friends from all over.

The best thing to do is always try and get your two sets of Direct Requests in per day, each 12 hours. I tend to find my morning set get European and Australian neighbours, my later set gets European and American, so although I never get EVERYTHING I ask for, I do get at least 50% each time.

Sadly there's no news on an expansion to the envelope, but who knows, we can but ask.

Requesting - The Strategy

Getting your requests is easily the most important part of the game, so, some final hints.

1) Post whenever you can, take 5 minutes if you can just to post some stuff, even if it's just a few of the more important things.

2) Request EVERYTHING! Even if you're not going to do a specific mission thread or will be leaving it to one side, still take the few seconds to Wall Post for it. It doesn't cost you anything, will help neighbours after that item and, most importantly of all, if/when you decide to do the missions, you'll have a healthy stock of the items lying around, nothing is harder to get than a Wall Post for an old mission.

3) Plan your Gifts/Direct Requests, do them at the 12 hour intervals and try to think "will folks be around right now?" If you can, pick a popular time like reset to post when most hardened players are in the game.

4) Be nice, maybe sort out with neighbours to alternate gifting? Agree with some of your closer neighbours that one day you'll return their gift, the next day they can return yours. Then everyone gets what they need.