Now that you have your farmville account, lets take a closer look at what you can do in the game. When you log on for the very first time, you can chose a female or male avatar for the game. You can then decide what you want to look like. Most people create avatars that look a lot like them but you can also choose completely different hairstyle makeup or clothes if you like that. You can always change your avatar again by clicking on it and choosing something different.
First let's take a look around and see which buttons you have. In the upper left-hand corner of the screen, you can see an eye, a loudspeaker and a music symbol. Clicking on the eye will shift your farm in and out of focus. Using the mode with lower graphics quality and less focus might sometimes let you load your farm faster when your internet connection isn't too good but I generally recommend using the setting with better graphics quality, since that will show you the farm properly, making playing more fun in my opinion. The loudspeaker symbol will let you turn sound on and off. Here I personally use the “off” setting, since I keep lots of animals and the din from the bleating sheep and mooing cows would be too much for me, but just adjust the setting as you like it. The last symbol with the note will let you turn the music on and off, again I personally prefer the “off” setting, listening to my own music or none at all while I farm, but just see what you like best there.
Next to the video and audio settings you can find your farm coins and cash. Farm coins are very important in the game, since they will increase over time as you plant and harvest crops and will let you buy upgrades and more crops for your farm. FarmCash is harder to come by, you only get one FarmCash for every new level up to 100 and sometimes you might find special offers that will get you free farmcash or, even rarer, sometimes there is farmcash in a mystery egg or mystery gift. I have devoted an entire section of this guide to the topic of farmcash, check it out if you want to learn more right away. You will also find a sign under your coins that tells you how to add farm coins and cash by paying real money. I haven't done that yet but you might consider it if you like the game and have some cash to spare.
In the middle of the screen along the edge you can find your current experience points, XP for short, and your level in the yellow star next to the column. In order to progress in the game and be able to grow more different crops and buy some decorations but also animals you have to collect XP. You gain XP from plowing the ground and seeding your field but also from buying decorations for your farm and achieving ribbons, a very important part of the game and one that I will describe in a separate installment of this guide.
In the upper right-hand corner you can see that you are at your own farm and beside that you get a small speech bubble icon that will allow you to place a signpost with a message on your farm. Under the farm bar you have a small sign that says stats. If you click on it you can see a few facts about your account, such as your current level, the ribbons you have received, your masteries, co-op medals, the number of collections you've completed and how many buildings you have constructed.
At the bottom right-hand corner you will find a selection of tools to work on your farm. These are the controls you are going to use most, probably. The magnifying glass on the left lets you zoom in on your farm, the one next to it on the right with the minus symbol will zoom out, showing you an overview of your farm. For working on the farm you probably want to zoom out a bit. On the right next to the zoom you find a frame symbol. Clicking that will let you enlarge farmville to cover your whole screen. To leave this mode you can click on the symbol again or press the escape button on the upper left-hand corner of your keyboard.
The little camera on the right will let you take a picture of your farm. Before you do that, let's start farming though. Working on your farm without machines at first, you are probably going to use the multi tool cursor most. It will tell you how far your crops are grown and lets you automatically harvest them when they are ready, turning into a hoe. After that you can plow the fallow land with the multi tool as well, or choose the plow cursor next to the multi tool, if you want to plow only. Later you will get a menu there that will allow you to choose different machines for working on your farm. If your plowed plots aren't right next to each other, you can either delete them with the recycle tool, but you will lose the 15 coins it cost you to plow. Or you can use the move tool to pull the plots where you want them. After you have plowed your plots you want to plant something on them, so don't spend all your coins on plowing plots. You can either click on the plowed plot with the multi tool or choose the market button on the bottom of the control panel. Either will get you to the market, where you can choose which crops you want to buy to plant. At the start I recommend you plant strawberries that take four hours to become ripe for harvest. Remember to harvest your crops soon after they become ripe and never let your crops wither, which will lose you money and keep you behind in the game. In order to progress as fast as possible, you will want to make your farm as productive as you can. One way to do this is to plow all the available space on your farm and plant on it as often as you can. At the start of the game you don't have enough coins to do that right away, but you can pick up additional money by helping your neighbors and collecting bonuses from your neighbors' published achievements. As you spread out your fields gradually, they can cover an area of 12x12 plots and there will be an edge around your farm. I recommend you arrange your plots so that they are directly adjacent to your neighbors' farms on the left and at the front, because you will be able to upgrade your farm as you make more coins and this is where your farm will expand. That will leave an edge that is half a plot wide at the top and on the right. You can use this to place the animals you adopt from your neighbors and the trees they send you.
Now let's take a quick look at the rest of the control panel. Next to the market you can see a ribbon symbol and you can switch this to a star symbol for your masteries. Later there will also be a magnifying glass and butterfly for your collections. Clicking on the ribbon will take you to the achievements page, showing which things in the game will get you extra coins, XP and sometimes also little additional rewards such as decorations, animals and trees. The masteries are less important at first because the rewards for them are harder to get than some ribbons and the rewards are less good. The collections are a very important part of the game as well, you can find collectibles working on your farm from level 10 onwards and you can get them from neighbors too. There are sections of the guide concentrating on collections, masteries and ribbons, check out those to find out more.
Last but not least you can find the gift-box in the bottom right-hand corner of your control panel. The gift-box will already contain a welcome gift if you signed up for email or downloaded the farmville game bar and it is the place where gifts from friends and objects collected from the feed are stored. It is limited to 500 items right now, so you should use your gifts at some point. After the limit you can sometimes still collect more gifts but there is the risk of losing things because they can't fit in and you can't open mystery boxes or mystery eggs anymore until you have removed some gifts to get below 500. You can also ask your neighbors for specific gifts here (make a wish) or sell the whole contents of the gift-box (sell all).
One more thing about the little farmer planting and harvesting: you may have noticed that the farmer walks to fields to harvest them, goes to every plot you click on to plow or put seeds in. As your farm gets larger and the novelty of this wears off, it can become quite boring watching the farmer walk around since it will always take additional time to get the chores done. A way to speed up your farm considerably is to trap the avatar in at the point where it loads. You can use decorations like hay bales, trees or animals for this, or perfect bunches of flowers. There is even one thread on the decorating part of the forum that exclusively focuses on the farmer trap area. You might check it out later to see a few ideas there. Even if you yourself think it is nice if the farmer walks around, not all the neighbors who want to come visit and fertilize your farm will see it that way. Fertilizing is also a lot faster when the farmer is trapped, so it is polite to trap it when you sign off. You can still remove one of the obstacles so your farmer can move around the farm while you farm. It is more likely for your neighbors to fertilize your farm regularly if you trap your farmer, so I really recommend it.
You might already have noticed that there is another bar along the bottom of your screen that says “add neighbor” and that there are vacant lots around your farm on the screen. This is what the next part of the guide will focus on. If you don't have any neighbors yet, check it out right away because neighbors are a very important part of the game and will let you progress a lot faster. Also you will have someone to compare your fast progress to, so try to get them as soon as you have planted your first strawberries.