Farming: Flex the Mighty Muscles of Mediocrity
If nothing else the title of this article probably triggered your curiosity. Now that you're here, let me sate that curiosity. The first question on your mind is probably: “What is farming?” The second is probably: “Isn't mediocrity a bad thing?” Before I answer those questions, let me ask you one. How would you like to be in the high score table of a game? Now I really have your attention. Do those high scores belong to people who are just inhumanly and unnaturally good at flash games? Do they belong to people who just had an insane streak of good luck when they played that day? Sometimes, but not always. Many of those scores were attained by a method known as farming.
So, what is farming? Simply put, it's doing an easy thing worth very few points over and over again until it becomes a lot of points. Believe it or not, many games on Neopets lend themselves quite well to this technique. Once you know what to look for, you'll find small ways to farm in more games than you think.
Second, isn't mediocrity bad? Not necessarily. You may not be exceptional at a certain game, or able to succeed at the high levels, but if you can stay afloat in the easy things then you can achieve more than you think. This may not hold true for every game, but there are more than enough that do to keep you from despair.
Now I imagine you're wondering how all these pieces come together to put you in the high score table. Let me use three of the New Game Challenge games that lend themselves to some form of farming as examples. AAA is one tough cookie to beat at the new games, but I have personally found it possible by looking for some way to farm every game I play.
This is one of the greatest farming games since Dubloon Disaster! In this game you could potentially stay on level one for an indefinite amount of time. The key to this game is NOT to clear all the orbs. This is particularly difficult on level one, but by level two or three you can easily avoid going any further. Clear the outer bunch of orbs so you're not in danger of brushing the sides, and then spend the rest of your time making your points three orbs at a time.
When the last two attached orbs are the same color and that's all you have in your launcher, launch at sections of the center that are clear, or launch the orbs off to one side where they will bounce back and forth until they vanish. Launching to the side is also a useful way to deal with bombs and flash orbs. Using this technique you can gain as many points as you have time to spend without the risk and difficulty of higher levels.
Slorgs in Space:
This one takes a little more effort and forethought to farm, but it is possible. Just as you did in Spinacles you'll spend the first portion of your time clearing the initial rush of Slorgs. Do this as quickly and efficiently as you can. Eventually new Slorgs will stop coming; this is the part where you farm. Do keep the number of Slorgs on the screen manageable, but do not try to immediately eliminate the remaining Slorgs.
Knowing how many you can handle at once will take practice, but it'll come. I try to keep at least three colors of Slorg on the screen to be safe, but you can do it with two. Definitely do not get down to one color; at that point it's just a matter of time before you're forced to the next level. Launch new Slorgs carefully so as to split up the colors of the remaining Slorgs. When you have several groups, pick them off one at a time, but if you eliminate one group, replace it with a new one before you pick off another color.
Also be careful that the colors on either side of the group you're about to hit are not the same or you could lose three groups in one shot and either advance to the next level or leave yourself with too few colors to farm properly. Because the Slorgs are moving inexorably forward, you can't farm forever like you can with Spinacles, but this method will definitely gain you more points than beating each level as fast as you can.
Now that you have a better idea of how farming works, I'm sure you're surprised I included this game in the list. I chose it because I want to illustrate how concepts of farming can be utilized even in games that cannot be farmed in the most traditional sense of the word. As you are probably aware, you have to make twenty laps to beat AAA, which can become very difficult very fast. So first let me dispel some illusions.
This game purports itself to be a race. It isn't. Think of it a little more like Darigan Dodgeball on a racetrack full of homicidal Alabrisses. Second, time doesn't help or hurt you. Someone who makes it around the track in seconds gets no more points than the person who makes it around the track in minutes. That said, here's how to farm it. Don't try to beat or stay ahead of the other chariots. If one of them wants to pass, slow down and let it. Be quick off the line at the beginning and then wait until the pack is more divided to let them pass, or run over a powerup and let it protect you while the other Alabrisses run past. For the rest of the time, try to keep behind a pack of other Alabrisses; don't fall too far behind or try to get ahead.
The biggest danger in this game is being clipped by other chariots, and some of them (in my experience, it's the green Alabriss with the purple chariot) will appear to go out of their way to hit you! Use powerups to cross the intersection and to allow large groups of other chariots to pass you without danger. Don't use them to try and rush ahead. You may even want to stop in out of the way spots to allow others to pass. The point is not to be competitive, just get around the track nice and slow while avoiding other chariots. Remember the rule of mediocrity; staying behind will ultimately get you ahead.
Given these three examples of different ways to farm, you will (with practice) be able to pull some impressive scores from the games on Neopets. Don't take this just as a game guide to those three! Now that you know the secret, every time you sit down to a game, think about farming. Ask yourself if there is some way to keep yourself doing something easy while racking up your points in small increments. This process is time consuming, but it pays off in the long run. If you're playing on your coffee break, you may not want to attempt a good farm, but if you have time on your hands and the dedication to go after that score you've been working toward, strategize ways to farm before you play and watch the points accumulate.