Worldwide productivity is expected to take a bit of a nosedive today, as Zynga returns with the agriculturally-themed game that put the casual giant on the map. It's been three years since the original FarmVille launched, and plenty of things have changed since then, making FarmVille 2 a fairly different beast.
The most obvious difference: This is the first Zynga "next-generation" game. FarmVille 2 runs in Adobe Flash Player 11, is built entirely in 3D, and utilises the right-click option earlier ignored by the studio.
...despite the aesthetic changes, the underlying mechanic's about what you'd expect: Plant things, harvest things, sell things, buy pretty decorative things, realise that you had work you were meant to be doing.
This time around though, getting friends to help is a more active and "meaningful" experience: By assigning "Farm Helpers", you can choose just how you'd like your neighbours to help out on your farm. They'll be able to feed the animals, collect resources and harvest crops while you're doing other things - and, of course, you can return the favour.
You've also got better control over your farm design, with a smaller grid to work with and more rotation options. As the game's in 3D, you get a bunch of different tools at your fingertips, too - time will tell whether or not it will still be as beautifully suited to pixel art as its predecessor, however.
While it's different, FarmVille 2 is still familiar and comforting, reminiscent of the Farm Frenzy series (plus limitations on feed and water). Zynga has promised that even though there's a new farm on the block, the original FarmVille will still be updated and loved on - there are in fact two separate development teams working within the Zynga studio.
Jimmy the Geek