Six months after launching the English Countryside expansion to FarmVille, Zynga follows up with Lighthouse Cove — a new addition to the base game that allows players an entirely new setting in which to build a farm.
Speaking to Inside Social Games during a press briefing last week, FarmVille General Manager Nate Etter walked us through a few segments of the expansion to showcase its key features. Players are invited to visit a coastal town, where a recent storm has damaged the port and lighthouse. Encouraged by non-playable characters local to the Lighthouse Cove area, players take on objective driven quests that have them growing new crops and nurturing new animal types to restore the town to its pre-storm glory.
“It’s like FarmVille meets Martha’s Vineyard,” Ette explains. “We’re responding to the fans’ desire to [be near] the water with a fall getaway to a coastal village.”
Like English Countryside, Lighthouse Cove introduces new “crafting” buildings that allow players to convert their harvested crops into local dishes — like clam chowder. The cove itself can also be harvested once per day for special ingredients used in the recipes. Ette says that each week, an NPC will present players with a new themed quest. He did not say how many weeks out Zynga has planned for, but to give you an idea of scope, the English Countryside quests concluded roughly six months after its March 2011 launch.
FarmVille’s expansion strategy is very traditional compared to its Zynga sibling, FrontierVille. While Pioneer Trail introduced an entirely new core gameplay element, English Countryside and Lighthouse Cove are essentially providing players more of the same — but in a new location and with the added value of “starting over” without players having to scrap their progress on their original farm.
It’s too soon to tell if one expansion strategy is ultimately more successful than another — but we do observe from our AppData traffic tracking service that FarmVille overall lost monthly and daily active users in the six months period following English Countryside’s versus FrontierVille’s apparent spike in both MAU and DAU. Recall that FrontierVille migrated from its original app ID to a new one:
FarmVille: Lighthouse Cove launches on Facebook today.