Monday, January 31, 2011

New Quests in Fantasy Kingdoms

At the end of January 2011, Fantasy Kingdoms added a new Quest sequence primarily for beginners, although the Quests will appear in the upper left corner of every player's screen. For players who are not familiar with the game, the Quests will familiarise you with the system of infusing land, planting Magical Crops and harvesting them as well as purchasing Trees, Castles and Decorative Items from the Marketplace. The Quests include landscaping in the form of paths, water and water plants. Rewards do include a few Items that no longer are available in the Market, such as the Dryad Tree and the Silver Leaf Tree. Mana Rewards, however are very small and will not reimburse you for the amount of Mana spent in completing the Quests. Nonetheless, you will gain Experience Points and this will allow beginners to 'level up' faster and unlock new Crops.

For a veteran player, the Quests may be inconvenient, especially as they arrive at a time when many new Crops for St. Valentine's Day as well as a number of decorative Items have been released. Furthermore, the Winter Collection is about to be retired and I, for one, would prefer to use my Mana, space and energy on the Winter Items, Lunar New Year and St. Valentine's Day Items. From my own perspective, it is too bad that Sneaky Games did not delay the new Quests until the middle of February. There is no space to grow the mandated Crops for the Quests and they wreak havoc with my landscaping themes. The Quests, as they are completed, tend to multiply, taking up the left margin of the screen, ruining the view of my Kingdom. Anyway, I suppose they will be welcomed by new players if not by all of the players who have more than sufficient Country Castles, Wells and Stone Benches.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Being a Good Neighbour

This post may be more useful to beginners than veteran players, but even an individual like myself who has been playing Fantasy Kingdoms for many months sometimes discovers that she has misinterpreted gameplay options.

In your initial tutorial from Harmony, you will be instructed in the manner in which you can visit each Neighbour on a daily basis to enchant a total of five of his/her Crops as well as ridding the Kingdom of a randomly specified number of pests. This provides your Neighbour with the benefit of Enchantment and provides you with some income and often a Reagent for Spellcrafting. Visiting Harmony offers an additional reward in the form of the Wishing Well which has a five-day cycle, giving more valuable Gifts each day until a new cycle begins.

As in Farmville, you can enchant any infused plot even if a Crop has not been planted yet. What beginners may not realise initially is that you can provide an even more valuable service sometimes to a Neighbour if he/she has allowed any Crops to become bewitched. You can choose to unbewitch five Crops rather than enchanting five others, or can divide your allotted actions between enchantments and unbewitchments.

The developers of Fantasy Kingdoms never allow the grass to grow beneath their feet in creative terms and add new options to the game constantly. Fairly recently, the option to publish an announcement of a new purchase from the Marketplace was added to the game. It was here that I made an error in comprehending the purpose of these announcement. To me, it smacked too much of bragging, especially when the Item purchased required Kingdoms Cash rather than Mana. I am not the only player who cannot afford to buy Kingdoms Cash very often and I felt that it was not very kind to brag of any new Items I had purchased with my supply of Kingdoms Cash.

Of course, the primary reason for offering this option is to advertise the game and the Items that are available in the Marketplace. Even regular players may not be aware of every Item that currently is for sale. Where other players are concerned, however, such an Announcement offers a potential monetary benefit. You will be awarded 150 Mana if you are the first player to click on an Announcement of this sort.
A player who purchases a new Item therefore will be a good Neighbour if he/she posts the Announcement on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ramblings on Landscaping

If you are looking for game tips, this post will not be of any interest to you, but you will find the link to my Guide to Fantasy Kingdoms above this post.

A wonderful freedom and the potential to find new horizons has been granted to me by the new option to have up to five different kingdoms in Fantasy Kingdoms. Hitherto, having expanded my one Kingdom to the largest possible size, I felt constrained at a certain point by the amount of items I had collected and the Crops I had frozen, making them a permanent part of my landscape.

With the ability to have five different Kingdoms, I now am able to focus on colours and themes in a manner that was difficult when one had to coordinate one quarter of a single kingdom with the rest. What has emerged is a new consciousness of my own taste and personality and if hesitant sometimes, an ability to 'grow' in my appreciation of colours and tones that are not my own personal favourites.

For example, I have been working on a Kingdom that is dominated by golds and browns. It is not an 'Autumn' Kingdom, but one that is centred on the Medieval Buildings that still can be crafted or purchased. Sadly, a period of inaction in Fantasy Kingdoms occurred during the time when the Medieval buildings were released, so I am restricted to the items from that Theme that remain now in the Marketplace or still can be crafted. Probably just as well, as real financial restrictions must be recalled each time I am tempted to purchase Kingdoms Cash. To do so would amount to real ruin at this point!

Unlike some players, however, I would be more than happy to purchase Kingdoms Cash when my budget permits in an effort to support this fabulous game. In terms of 'gaming', it may not be as deep or detailed as Harvest Moon but it does allow me to explore my artistic sense. It reminds me of a period in my life when I designed one-of-a-kind items of clothing using the finest silks, velvet, cotton, linen and embroidery I could find. I love textiles but ultimately the project was doomed mainly because I had to rely on other people to sew the garments and those who asked for work were rather inferior and careless seamstresses who moreover took advantage of my friendship with them as well as my compassionate nature. Nevertheless, the experience fulfilled a deep artistic need within me and Fantasy Kingdoms allows me to satisfy some of the same urges, although I am not as good at virtual landscaping as I was with textiles and dress design.

Fantasyt Kingdoms has released an Ice Theme at a time in real life when we are in the throes of a rather severe winter. Although my personal taste runs towards the 'cool' colours and tones rather than oranges and gold, I find myself drawn to the 'warm' tones as cold penetrates my bones. Creating kingdoms that are dominated by golds and browns warms the soul and lends an illusion of warmth to the body as well!

Many of the Winter Wonderland items, including the Snowflake Crop, are exquisite in their delicacy. Having seen the Ice Queen statue in an advertisement for future attractions, I could not wait for her to be released. The Ice Phoenix and Ice Phoenix Tree are amazingly beautiful and magical. The new Ice Castle, on the other hand, is very 'blocky', reminding me more of solid cubes of ice than the delicate tracery of snowflakes. Initially, I doubted that it ever would be a personal favourite of mine, even though I was crafting the two buildings in the Ice Theme. I should imagine that I am not the only player to recognise the overtly phallic nature of the turrets and towers. It is not the phallic nature of these buildings that makes them less appealing to me but their stockiness. They remind me of the Shadow Theme more than any of the others.

After working with the Ice Theme for a few days, however, I realised that the concept worked aesthetically. It was 'Ice' rather than 'Water', albeit ruled by the same Elemental Spirit and Ice is rather solid. Furthermore, it was evident that the buildings were intended to portray the castles of an underwater kingdom to some extent. Many of the decorative Items in the Ice Theme as well as the 'Creatures' caught my fancy even before they were released. The Ice Phoenix is a particularly fey and enchanting creature, as mentioned previously.

Frozen streams and waterfalls are marvelous additions to the landscape with ice shards and stalagmites. Purples and blues are favourite tones of mine and the entire Ice Theme is centred on these colours, although blues dominate.

In creating landscapes in Fantasy Kingdoms and Farmville, I have become self-aware in a way that I never was in the past. Where other players cheerfully demolish existing landscapes to create new ones, I find myself unable to act with the same freedom. I realise now that this is due to a fundamental lack of security in my own life. I never had a permanent room of my own as a child. In fact, I came home once at an impressionable age to discover that 'home' had become a different house. My family never asked my opinion and I had no part in choosing the new home. Each time I left home, I had no idea whether or not I'd have a room of my own when I returned. As a very young child, I lived mainly in hotels. They were first-class hotels, but temporary residences nonetheless. I moved from place to place with my parents as a very young child and the fact that my mother left my father rather frequently made the situation even less secure. It was a very interesting and exciting childhood, but it wasn't one that had much security attached to it.

Even now, I do not have a place that I truly can consider my own. This no doubt is why I become so attached to my 'virtual' homes and do not wish to demolish them entirely even when they are imperfect. Sometimes this trait of mine exasperates me. In real life, I am exasperated by my excessively sentimental attachment to things that other people would toss in the rubbish without a second though. Ah well, there could be worse flaws, I imagine... Still, it occurs to me that modifying character traits in virtual realities could result in some modification in real life.

Of all the Themes, the two that are my favourites are the Halo and Fantasy Themes. Having the ability to create five different Kingdoms now does allow a player to explore ALL the seasons or all of the Themes with greater freedom than before.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quick Answers to the Most Common Questions

First of all, there is a tab at the top of this page that leads to my actual Walkthrough/Guide for Fantasy Kingdoms. Posts such as these should not be confused with the actual Guide. Here, however, are some quick answers to the most common questions:

1. How do I change Snow Terrain back to Grass Terrain?

Answer: Go to Upgrades. You will see the option to purchase Grass Terrain for 500 Mana. If your Terrain is Grass and you wish to change it to Snow, you will find an option to purchase Snow Terrain for 1000 Mana in the Upgrades Menu.

Note: Transforming your terrain to Snow originally was one of the Quests in the Holiday Quest sequence. Those Quests no longer exist, but Ice/Water is one of the Fantasy Kingdoms Elementals and thus, it is possible to transform your entire landscape to Snow in honour of the Ice Elemental Guardian.

2. How do I rid my land of Crops or Infused Land that I no longer want?

Answer: There is a Whirlwind Icon in the pull-down Tools Menu that will allow you to 'sell' infused Land, uninfused squares and any other Item on your Kingdom. Note that you can simply click on Items to find a Sell option but land that has been infused (whether still infused or left after a crop has been gathered) can be 'sold' only by using the Whirlwind Icon.

3. How do I move Infused Land?

Answer: In the past, you could not move Infused Land but had to delete it or 'sell' it by using the Whirlwind Icon. Now, you actually can Move it by using the Directional Arrows Cross Tool in the pull-down Tool Menu. This Tool has arrows pointing in all four directions. When equipped, you can Move anything, including Items, Buildings, Infused Land and Land where Crops are growing.

4. Where do I find Spellcasting Ingredients?

Spellcasting is a fairly new option in Fantasy Kingdoms. Most Spells require three separate Ingredients. One of these usually is a special Coin. Methods for obtaining these Ingredients are as follows:
Free Gifts;
Daily Fortune;
Mystery Gifts;
Tending your own Kingdom by gathering Crops or harvesting from Trees and Artifacts;
Tending a Neighbour's Land (including Harmony's Kingdom) by ridding it of Pests and/or enchanting Crops;
Obtaining an Ingredient that is 'shared' in a Facebook Feed. Your Neighbours and Friends usually will post Fantasy Kingdoms Rewards, which will allow you to obtain Mana as well as special reward Items that include Ingredients for Spellcasting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Spellcrafting Item in Fantasy Kingdoms

New to Fantasy Kingdoms is the very enchanting Ice Queen Statue who can be purchased in the Marketplace for 9 KC or created in a new Spell that requires 5 Amber Shards, 15 Aurora Crystals and 1 Winter Coin.

Aurora Crystals are a new Free Gift that can be sent to other players. Amber Shards appear to be found solely in Mystery Gifts which, incidentally now often hold Limited Edition Holiday Items that no longer are available in the Marketplace. Among these are the Small Snowflake and the White Lights.

Winter Coins can be obtained via the Daily Fortune from Harmony.

The advertisement for the new Winter Magic Statues declares that the 'Ice Queen can also be crafted with Reagents gifted from your friends or found on your Kingdom' and I finally was able to obtain an Amber Shard by gathering Mana from Artifacts and Trees on my Kingdom.

The creators of Fantasy Kingdoms have been extremely busy during the past couple of months. Christmas Items and Landscapes were followed by special New Year creations. As soon as the New Year Items were 'retired', new WInter Magic Items appeared.

Despite the fact that the climate in which I live has been rather brutally cold recently, I still delight in the Winter Wonderland landscapes of Fantasy Kingdoms. Frozen waterfalls and streams and a frozen lake are among the natural landscape items that can be used to create a snowbound Kingdom using the Snow Terrain. The fact that five Kingdoms now can be owned by a single player means that players can have Kingdoms that are ruled by every season.

Later: A new Limited Edition Crop was released this evening in the form of Snowflakes. It costs 45 Mana, takes one day to mature, yields 160 Mana and 2 XP AND, according to a new announcement, drops 'Winter Reagents'. I suspect this is the other source of the Amber Shards that are needed for the Ice Queen Statue.