One of the other updates while I was on vacation is pro racing, which is a feature now available in the stadium.
You can only run pro races if you own and wear the entire pro athletic clothing set (shoes, vest and shorts) from the Pet Society cash shop. These three items cost a total of 45 playfish cash coins. If you wear all three items, then you can run one pro race per day. The pro races are very tough and give you the chance of winning 200 gold coins per race.
What’s interesting is that even though pro races require you to spend playfish cash coins (blue coins), you have a chance of winning only regular gold coins not more playfish cash.
Have any of you paid to run pro races? Do you think it’s worth it?
Personally, I wish there were some new features added to the stadium that involved other sports besides running hurdles, and I wish these features were open to all players, not just those willing to spend real money on the game.
I also noticed another change in the stadium. The old advertisements along the wall of the stadium for other Playfish games (Word Challenge and Who Has the Biggest Brain?) are gone. In there place are pictures from Pet Society. One of the pictures shows a pets playing sports and cheerleading.
There are a bunch of new Pet Society updates today. One is a change to the interface. We no longer have to look at the green “add coins” banner all the time. Instead, there are two new “add coins” and “add playfish cash” banners that only appear when out pet enters a store.
Here’s how my screen looks in the cafe. It’s still unnecessary, since we all know where the bank is, but at least the new banners are a little less intrusive than the old one.
While we’re in the cafe, you might have noticed that there’s a new waffle on sale for 40 coins! The cafe fridge is really getting full!
There are also reports of a new flower, which can be grown from the seeds in the garden shop. It’s a little jasmine flower. I’ve planted some seeds, and hopefully I’ll have a picture to post tomorrow.
One of the most irritating things about playing Pet Society is that whenever you perform actions with your pet, you can send out spam notifications that are beyond your control. For instance, if your pet visits your friend’s pet to give them a hug, then Pet Society sends a notification without your permission through facebook notifications to your friend about your action. Likewise, you send out Pet Society notification messages for running races in the stadium. Since visiting friends and running races are two of the most basic ways of earning coins, this ensures that you spam your friends on a daily basis with irritating, mind-numbing notifications.
Back in October I asked whether these notifications could be stopped, but was told that the only way to stop the notifications was for my friends to block them from their end through facebook. This is a really awful solution, which was making me feel like quitting the game rather than be a spammer. We should be in control of what notifications we send out, if any! I would prefer none at all.
Here’s my solution to the Pet Society spam notification problem. If you always choose “fight” when you visit your friends, then they won’t get any spam from your actions. A friend and I figured this out and tested it. It’s a great solution, and even though you may feel mean for “fighting” with your friend’s pets, at least you aren’t spamming them. Not spamming is the mark of a true friend. I also only run races with two friends that have all notification from Pet Society blocked under their facebook notifications settings. That way I don’t send out any Pet Society spam notifications at all (or at least none that I’m aware of!).
Hope this helps if you’re facing the same problem!
Also, a note about the Pet Society Photo Album. I haven’t used it because I don’t feel comfortable making an album for my fake pet photos for all my real life friends and family to see. I’ve heard that using the camera and album features also result in spam notifications from Pet Society to all your facebook friends every time you add a photo. Your album can also end up in the facebook “highlights” section, which could be supremely embarrassing. I’m not sure if there’s a solution to prevent these notification from being sent, and I can’t think of any ideas to stop them.
For now, I’ll continue to use print screen to take screencaps of my pet. I think it would be really great if Playfish added an option to take snaps and download them directly to my harddrive. That way players wouldn’t have to worry about the facebook pet society album middle man and the related notification spam issue.
In response to the hated Cash Shop, a number of forum members have suggested in-game ads and cross-promotions with companies like McDonald’s, Apple, and Starbucks. This alternative could continue to be used to bring in revenue, since it was relatively non-intrusive. The thing is, I knew that Playfish already used this idea last fall and winter because in-game ads appeared on my game screen in the food shop for months.
Playfish employee named Mark, “The Pet Society Mayor,” lied outright on the forum, saying “There’s no adverts in Pet Society.” Unfortunately for him, I remembered the in-game ads and had proof of them. I used to see a flowers ad and a blockbuster ad through last fall and early this year (I took this screencap on Janaury 10, 2009):
After struggling to get a response about the advertisement for the past day, I commented that “I also find deception insulting” to Mark’s claim that “There’s no adverts in Pet Society.”
Mark then posted:
“That’s not an advert that’s an offer. “
To which I responded:
“Come on, really?
If they’re paying to have their name broadcast, it’s an advertisement. If you choose to call that an “offer,” then that’s just semantics.”
Mark then responded:
“Well clearly I can’t go into confidential business, but an advert is when a company pays another to display their logo/etc., whereas an offer is a collaboration with another company. Two different things. This was just another way for you to earn coins. Not an advert.”
I responded to his post and included the definition of advertisement from answers.com:
“LOL. Doublespeak? That’s semantics.
Call it what you want. That’s an advertisement to me.
1. The act of advertising.
2. A notice, such as a poster or a paid announcement in the print, broadcast, or electronic media, designed to attract public attention or patronage.”
Mark continued his denial:
This was a way for players to earn coins. It wasn’t an advert. They’re two different things.”
At that point, I gave up. There’s no point in continuing to converse with someone who’s insulting my intelligence.
According to Merrian-Webster’s dictionary, this is the definition of an advertisement:ad·ver·tise·ment:
1. the act or process of advertising
2. a public notice; especially: one published in the press or broadcast over the air
To me, it’s clear that the poster on the wall of the food store is an advertisement, whether Playfish chooses to call it one or not.
What do you think, is the Pet Society poster an advertisement?