More Farmville Economics: Treeconomics

Wow.  The traffic from the first two blog posts on Farmville has been high.  In fact, the Zynga blog even picked up the two articles.  Very flattering.

I was all set to write a post tonight on the economics of trees in Farmville… but then I caught Pablo’s post on “Treeconomics”.

Brilliant.  Leveraging some of the work I had done, he does a evaluation of a 16-square of trees in terms of “yield” vs. crops.  Very interesting, confirming that a 16-square of Date trees can compare very favorably to almost everything. Before we continue diving into the games, lets come back out into the real world, trees are good for the environment, but if you really need to get them out of your way and plant them somewhere else, then click here to get the best prices on stump grinding from this company. Now back to business…

I’m going to have to think about this a bit more – I want to build a model where I incorporate a few additional factors:

  • The “down payment” for trees.
  • The freedom to never have to “plow” or “plant” again. (value of time)
  • The freedom from working capital for seeds on an ongoing basis.
  • The removal of “withering risk”.  Crops wither after 20% of their growing time, yielding a complete loss of the capital to plow & plant.  Trees never wither.
  • The lack of experience points from trees
  • Incorporate the data from all the trees, not just the ones you can buy.

I’ll still write a follow up here, but tonight there is no need.  Check out this table from Pablo as  sample:

Cost Revenue/Harvest Days to Harvest Daily Revenue Daily Rev/ Invested $ Days to Payback
Date $800.0 $69.0 3 $23.00 2.88% 35
Lime $750.0 $75.0 5 $15.00 2.00% 50
Lemon $475.0 $41.0 3 $13.67 2.88% 35
Peach $500.0 $47.0 4 $11.75 2.35% 43
Fig $350.0 $33.0 3 $11.00 3.14% 32
Plum $350.0 $30.0 3 $10.00 2.86% 35
Orange $425.0 $40.0 4 $10.00 2.35% 43
Apple $325.0 $28.0 3 $9.33 2.87% 35
Cherry $225.0 $18.0 2 $9.00 4.00% 25

And this one:

Daily Profit Total Profit Initial investment Residual Value Profit
Super Berries $900.0 $81,000.0 $81,000.0
Date tree square $368.0 $33,120.0 $12,800 $640.0 $20,960.0
Tomatoes $174.0 $15,660.0 $15,660.0
Raspberries $132.0 $11,880.0 $11,880.0

Too cool.

Now go read it.

Updates: I’ve now posted additional articles on Farmville Economics:

19 thoughts on “More Farmville Economics: Treeconomics

  1. I’ve been playing Farmville for the better part of a month now and I’m interested to know more about certain aspects of the game. I’ve noticed lately, now that I’m of higher level, that I periodically get coin bonuses when I plow, either with a tractor or the usual plow tool. I’ve also noticed that my supply of FM $’s grows as well. On the latter, I’m curious to know if that has anything to do with my having put real world cash into the game or if it’s a benefit of being of a higher level. On the former, I’m at a loss. Thanks for any input you can give me on these questions.

  2. Along the lines of this post, and in hopes that someone might be interested, here’s a link to my google spreadsheet. On the topic of trees, it shows the number of days to pay off the original investment.

    I’m pretty sure you can do file->copy spreadsheet to make your own.

    Other notes:
    * You only ever need to update Col K with your own numbers unless I have errors.
    * K3 is copied down the column so you only need to update one square to recalculate the value of a farm-full of any one crop.
    * K44 and K56 the total number of trees/animals.
    * i45 and i57 are the number of trees/animals harvested per day to calculate when you’ll get ribbons.
    * L45 and L57 are your farms tree and animal value per day.

  3. You’ve set yourself up for a hard task! I’m interested to see if you come to the conclusion that Trees are actually worth anything because I’ve thought about it a lot and just can’t see it happening.

    I can’t give you any in-depth analysis but I think this might give you a bit to think about when approaching the problem.

    I chose Sunflowers & Date trees for analysis as I was under the impression they gave the highest returns. It doesn’t really matter for my argument.

    I took a far, far simpler approach to looking for the most time-efficient way of making cash. I’m simply interested in the greatest Return-Per-Click.

    3 clicks per sunflower nets me $195. (Sow, Seed, Harvest)
    1 click = $65

    Date Tree
    2 clicks per tree nets me $69 (Click Tree, Click Harvest menu-item)
    1 click = $34.50

    Yes, you can fit 16 trees into a square but that just makes you need more clicks.
    Now it’s Per Square Per 3 Days for equality.
    9 clicks per sunflower nets me $ 585.00
    32 clicks per datefarm nets me $1104.00

    This is just PER SQUARE, as your farm gets bigger so does the amount of required clicks think about a 24 x 24 square farm (on a 3 day cycle)
    5,184 clicks per sunflower nets me $336,960.00
    18,432 clicks per datefarm nets me $635,904.00

    Immediately you’ll notice that we’re doing 3 times as many clicks for not even twice the amount of cash.

    Not to mention that not every click is created equal. For the sake of argument we’ll assume a square is 100×100 pixels.
    A sunflower is 10,000 pixels.
    A datetree is 625 pixels. (10,000 / 16)

    Consider a 10×10 square farm.

    (Again this is per 3 day cycle for equality)
    You’re aiming to click 900 times on 100 unique squares of 10,000 pixels among 1,000,000 pixels.
    Each unique square is 1% of the total number of pixels.

    Date Trees
    You’re aiming to click 3200 times on 1,600 unique squares of 625 pixels among 1,000,000 pixels.
    Each unique tree is .00625% of the total number of pixels.

    And this is only the beginning. Because harvesting a tree requires the use of a submenu to harvest you have to move your mouse away from it’s current position and select the menu item. This adds even more time because you’ve now lost your spot among the 1,000,000 pixels and have to relocate it!

    What does this mean for your analysis? Basically, when you go to apply your concept of time you’re going to find out that Trees really, really suck. I mean, just try planting a square of 16 trees and see how time-consuming and frustrating it is just to harvest them as opposed to harvesting a normal square.

    I think people are too easily blinded by the whole “You can make $1104 per square instead of $585?!?!” and don’t consider time-component.

    Hope this is on-topic, is easily understandable and I haven’t completely missed the point of what you are trying to work out! 🙂

    • Tim, see my first blog post on the Personal Economics of Farmville. I don’t price in clicks, but I do estimate the “time value of money” to try and analyze the best crops on Farmville.

      I haven’t extended that to Trees (yet), but the same logic applies. All the points you list are reasons why Trees might actually turn out to be a poor crop, from a time perspective.

      That being said, Trees don’t wither, so there is something to be said about not risking capital… 🙂


      • I am aware of how you estimate the “time value of money” but I believe whether you base your analysis on your model or just look at clicks doesn’t really matter.

        If you make the assumption that –
        “It takes roughly 15 minutes to replant your farm with a crop”
        I would suggest that for the reasons I gave above your model may assume –
        “It takes roughly 45 minutes to replant your farm with trees.”

        I guess what I’m trying to get at is, with the extra time-requirement I just don’t see how trees can compare favorably to anything 🙂

      • I think we’re in complete agreement. Also, as another commenter pointed out, planting a 20×20 farm takes much more than 15 minutes. So there is room for improvement in terms of factoring time (or clicks) into the equation.

        The game would be massively improved by some form of bulk select and action (like Simcity).

  4. Heck, even an options menu, including things such as automatic accepting of deletion, and selecting objects from a list rather than move things around to be able to click on them. I hate having to find the one pixel I’m able to click on. At the very least, maybe pop up a menu to select objects that overlap, so you don’t have to generate a list for every object for every moment in the game, just for every possibly intended target for every click that has an amount of targets greater than one.

    [insert a rant about the dumb lag here]

    (edited for conciseness)

    • Wow. I would kill for a “Don’t show this again” checkbox on the delete dialog. Would be huge.

      I also think some sort of “harvest” function for trees & animals that doesn’t require menu selection would be excellent.


      • I agree =)

        I think an over-simplification of interface to appeal to a casual audience has really created great inefficencies within the game.

        The “Multi-Tool” clicker is great, but a “Deleter”, “Seeder/Harvester”, “Mover” clickers could all be added with ease and greatly reduce the number of clicks/time it takes to perform certain functions.

        A Harvesting clicker would have a dramatic effect on Trees in particular. For example in the case of Sunflower vs Date trees you’d now be doing 1.7 times the clicks for 1.8 times the profit.

        That kind of relation to clicks vs profit leads me to suspect that perhaps the payout of the trees is based on a 1-click harvest system and this is perhaps an oversight by the developers.

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  7. 15 minutes for a 20*20?

    Why don’t you box your avatar in with signs, thus eliminating the need for him to walk about.

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