|It all looks deceptively simple... ^^ (From Wowhead)|
All the talk in Guild last night, when all was said and done, was about Farms.
In a December 2010 interview with Gamasutra, game designer Jonathan Blow criticized FarmVille for being designed to create an atmosphere of negativity, requiring an unprecedented commitment to the game, and encouraging users to exploit their friends. In August 2011 a court heard that Adam Hamnett, of Greater Manchester was so desperate to buy virtual animals for his FarmVille account that first he robbed from a blind man, Brian McKenzie, and then murdered Peter Boustead when his friends threatened to report the matter to the police.
Sensationalism aside, putting mini games inside other games is really nothing new (Day of the Tentacle, anyone?) However, the introduction of the Tillers in Pandaria does seem to indicate a distinct sea change in Blizzard's approach to how you can 'play' this game, and it appears to have been aimed squarely at the 'collectors', if the spiel from Wowhead is an indicator of what we have to look forward to:
A special perk when gaining reputation with the Tillers is your very own customizable farm. You will be able to acquire livestock, plant fields, and decorate your building as you gain reputation.
I'm betting that you'll be able to get some of those (100 or so) Wild Pets from your Farm to add to your Pet Battle Team (still not going there yet, oh no) What isn't yet clear (and I'm sure with the amount of interest in this particular part of the game it will be soon) is just how like Farmville this is likely to be: after all, if the Tillers are a Reputation Grind, once you reach Exalted there's no point in continuing to play. Unless, of course, your Farm itself can become a Gold Generating Resource. If the pets you get are Soulbound (or indeed if any other resource) then this isn't nearly as significant a move, and could easily be considered a gimmick. However (for instance) if a Farm had a chance to produce key resources used in crafting, lets say items you could use in your Cookery, then the entire picture is subtly altered.
Then I find myself thinking that Tillers reputation past Exalted isn't a waste of time, it's a way to (passively) generate gold, and then we open up a potential Pandora's Box of possibilities, depending on what I can make/sell outside the auspices of the minigame itself. You could happily say goodbye to Dailies as a gold-generating resource: you just keep running your farm. Even if your excess raw materials could be sold for gold, and not even passed on to another player for gold or onto the AH, you have a self-contained income. No more tearing about doing repetitive Dailies any more, you earn your money offline, or while you're Raiding. You create your own micro-economy simply by letting the Tillers do the hard work for you.
Needless to say, once I'd considered this as a potential result, running a farm becomes vastly more attractive. What we need now, as is the case with a lot of things that were 'revealed' yesterday, are some more details...