Now that my friend Jenn has, against my explicit advice, begun playing Mafia Wars on Facebook, I guess it’s time to update my experience of the app. When I first started playing MW I decided to blog my adventures in trying to figure out how this whole thing worked & what it was that was so fun that my friends were addicted to it. Since then I’ve come to a better understanding of the former & am still completely clueless about the latter. However, I find that I am addicted; not due to any kind of enjoyment of this game, but almost purely because of anxiety.
Mafia Wars, for the seasoned veteran who has climbed, inch by painful inch, to the summit of game mechanic comprehension, only to find that it is an illusion, isn’t a fun game. It’s about struggling to keep up with the other 45 million players, getting your mafia to 501 members, improving your inventory to make that 501 count, collecting all the pieces before time is up, & interacting with your fellow players because you need quid pro quo to survive.
It’s also about getting through all the damned pop ups, because Zynga is money hungry & wants to give you every opportunity to spend your money on game credits. There are so many pop ups in this game that it often feels like you spend more time clicking them off than actually playing.
Today Jenn said that she didn’t get this game. I know that no matter how much I tell her the truth about how unfun this game is, she’s still going to play it. So here’s my breakdown, Jenn. May you reach the illusory summit more directly than I did.
Your Mafia of 501.
The whole point of Mafia Wars is to be bad ass. To be the strongest. The maximum amount of mafia members you can have is 501, & generally speaking all the serious players already have their 501, so you’ve got to have 501. Because if their 501 guys attack your 88 guys, no matter how crazy your ninjas are, you will be sorely outnumbered. When I say 501 mafia members, I mean five hundred and one Facebook accounts that are playing Mafia Wars. So find everyone who is already on your friends list that plays MW & send them a mafia invite. Say you find 100, & this 100 all accept your invite. You now need to add 401 more people as friends, like you did with Restaurant City. Once you have added them to your mafia you can remove them, but a lot of people add you with the intention of remaining friends, & they are totally capable of dropping you from their mafia if they get all butthurt that you don’t want to keep being their friend.
You do want to keep the active folks as your friends. These are people who send gifts daily, who will click on the pleas for help you post, & jump in to help when you have a war declared on you. People who gift daily are VITAL to getting a lot of the special event items, since the special events generally involve collecting tedious amounts of items that can be gifted once a day. Your best bet to finding folks like this is to join a guild – I’m a member of 2 different MW guilds & that was largely how I got my mafia of 501 (it’s 609 now) & get help on everything. Message me if you’d like in on these guilds.
But anyway, in conclusion, get your mafia to 501. That’s your first priority. It’s not fun, but then someone mentioned that to you earlier.
The most basic thing you will do is jobs. You expend Energy to do jobs, & you gain Skill Points every time you complete a job level. While doing jobs all kinds of shit pops up – usually gifts you can send to your mafia or missions which you must recruit your friends to help with. It’s up to you if you want to take advantage of them or not; I usually ignore them unless they are relevant to something I am currently working on. Many jobs require items which you picked up while doing earlier jobs, but have now run out of, so you will have to go back & do those jobs over & over & over again, without benefit of a skill point since you already maxed it out. In New York, which is where you start out, it’s Untraceable Cellphones, Illegal Transaction Records, Computer Setups & Blackmail Photos. Knowing you, you will drop some Real Life dinero & just buy these items, which will make Zynga very happy. But if you’re like me, you will make your alt account play MW (hey, it’s another mafia member, right?) & her sole purpose for existence will be to do Rob An Electronics Store over & over & over again to get you those damn phones.
It’s important to finish all your jobs because you get special rewards for it. So don’t plan on skipping anything. You’re going to have to do them all. Everyone else did them all & they got the special rewards. You need the special rewards too.
Through doing jobs you get Loot (weapons, armor, vehicles, animals, construction parts, various items you’d need to do various quest-type events) & Skill Points.
Skill Points & Stats.
How you distribute your skill points is very important. Initially you would think that putting everything into Energy is best because then you can do more jobs & level faster. Until people come by & start kicking your ass.
Putting most of your points into Defense in the early levels will ensure that most of the assholes who try to attack you will fail, & go home embarrassed. This is one of the few opportunities for a smidgen of fulfillment in this game & I suggest you take what you can get. You get a piont every time you fill up a job progress bar, & 5 when you level. At the outset I’d put the 5 into Defense & split up the job completion points between Defense & Energy. Unless you want to go around attacking people, which, frankly, gets boring after awhile. It’s more fun, imo, to see them attack you & lose. I’d put as much into Defense as possible, at least in the beginning.
You could also go the other way & put all your points into Attack. So every time someone attacks you, they’ll win, but you can put your money in the bank so they don’t get any, & go back & attack the shit out of them. The disadvantage to this is that you need Health & Stamina to attack. Being a Fearless type will cause your Stamina & Health to regen faster. But… I dunno… I still think it’s cooler to have kick ass Defense.
Later, when you get into Vegas & Italy, you’ll need to fight bosses. For this you’ll need a lot of Health. After level 12 you can participate in Operations, in which you use Energy or Stamina to help complete someone else’s Operation that they posted on their FB. You can get out of sacrificing points to Health & Stam by building specific stat-giving items in your Properties, but you’ll have to collect construction parts & level those Properties up first. Yeah, it’s gonna take awhile. Don’t worry about Health just yet.
Lauren’s opinion is that you should put all the points you can into Defense.
This is how the loot works. Your army of 501 people all fight your fights, but they use your stuff. Not their own stuff… your stuff. Each person gets a weapon, armor, a vehicle & an animal. Therefore you need to have 501 weapons, 501 pieces of armor, etc. If you manage to outfit all 501 of your girls with all 4 items & you go up against someone else whose 501 have BETTER items, you lose. Therefore you are always looking to improve your inventory.
Each item has 2 stats: Attack & Defense. When you are attacked, your 501 items with the highest Defense will be used. When you are the attacker, your 501 items with the highest Attack will be used. I’m still not crystal clear about this, but although items are chosen by a single stat (Attack or Defense), the overall strength with which you fight is determined by the sum of both stats. For instance, Mug Shot to the right here has 94 Attack & 136 Defense, with a combined strength of 230. 230 is the number you are paying attention to. However, say you had another weapon with 1 Attack & 230 Defense… although this is 231, a point better than Mug Shot, if you are attacking, Mug Shot will be chosen since it has the higher Attack stat. Which leaves you 1 point weaker than you might have been otherwise.
What can you do about this? Choose your items wisely. Don’t grab items that have tricky stats, with one stat really high & therefore likely to be picked in an attack or a defense, but the other stat pathetically low, thereby sabotaging you when you use it. For the most part you don’t have a lot of choice other than in gifting. Don’t accept shitty gifts. Don’t send shitty gifts. When you see an item that has great stats on both sides, get it. Unfortunately, most of these items are only acquired by accomplishments (like completing a tier of jobs), special events, or boss fights.
In conclusion… I don’t know, the whole loot thing is a headache.
Your Top Mafia.
This is another thing you should probably try to get set up at the beginning. If you click “My Mafia” on the far right of your MW home page & then click “My Mafia” again from the following 4 choices (Recruit/My Mafia/Player Updates/Gifting) you can assign your Top Mafia. You do this by clicking on an individual mafia member & promoting him. If you click on the What’s this? it’ll show you this:
If you max out your Mastermind (50% more xp per job) & your Wheelman (less energy required per job) you will be able to level a lot faster on your Energy allowance, but leveling fast isn’t necessarily the best thing. When you get higher in level you will get your ass kicked more often because you will show up on the radar for, well, ass kickers. It’s actually more important to have BETTER STUFF.
I’m only level 515, & frankly I don’t do jobs in order to get another level. If I could just stop leveling I’d be pretty happy. I do jobs in order to get more stuff. Unfortunately the leveling comes along with it. I recently changed my Mastermind to one of my low level alts who would benefit from being someone’s Mastermind (they get bonuses if they’re on your Top Mafia) but give me the least xp bonus. I kept my Wheelman because I still want to do as many jobs as possible for the skill points, achievements & therefore loot, but I don’t actually want to level quickly. I wish I’d figured this out earlier.
I think you can figure out Top Mafia pretty easily; chances are right now your priority is to get some people into your mafia at all.
Mafia Wars has various special events running almost all the time. It’s a freaking pain in the ass but you have to do them because you can get kick ass items like Mug Shot up there. I just finished the “Dr. Dre” event, where basically I had to collect 5, then 10, then 15 items that are available only through gifting, so I had to rely on my mafia friends to send them to me. There were 3 different items that I needed 30 each of, & you’d think that 30 friends would be enough but it’s amazing how hard, sending out 35 each day, it was to get 30 motherfuckers to send one back. However, I managed to finish it & I got some very nice items.
You can only gift (I think) 35 people per day, & you can only gift those 35 once. When there is a special event going on, chances are you’re only going to be gifting special event items & hoping enough people send it back to you. Otherwise? If you want to start leveling up your Properties, you will be gifting people construction parts. Unfortunately the parts you need right at this moment for your NY properties aren’t even on the gifting list; you’ll have to send a Mystery Shipment, which gives you a random part you need. The crappy part of that is you can only accept a few Mystery Shipments per day.
If you click on your Properties tab in New York, all the way to the right are your Chop Shop, Weapon Depot, Armory, & Zoo. If you mouse over each property you will see 2 options: Build or Upgrade. If you click Upgrade, you can see what parts you have & what else is needed to get the next property level. It’s fairly self explanatory. Once a day you can ask for more parts, as evidenced by the “Ask For More” button. This will post on your Facebook page & your mafia friends can then click on it to send you the requested part. This is outside of the gifting, which is nice. At a certain point you will be maxed out & future clickers will get a message telling them you’ve received the maximum amount of help or whatever.
Occasionally a player comes across a job for which there is a button that says “Ask for help.” Every time someone helps them with this job, it’s that much less of it they have to do. The progress bar fills up. It’s like a free ride for the requester. The benefit in it for those who help is that they can go on getting game money & xp even if they are out of Energy or not even high enough level for that location. So my level 6 alt can get Italy Lira even though she can’t actually do jobs in Italy.
It’s good if, once a post on your FB page has done its duty, to delete it, especially if you’ve got current requests that you want people to click on. The more crap you have on your FB, the laggier it gets, & people are less likely to click every single thing you’ve got on your page if it takes 7 seconds to load every single time they try to go back. It’s good to make things are convenient for those trying to help you as possible.
You’ve leveled up! Yay!
Don’t take this wrong, but it’s good to be selective about what you post, mainly because a lot of it is rubbish. No one is really interested in the bonus they’re going to get for clicking your Level 3 announcement. If you publish every single thing that Zynga wants you to publish, your page is going to be covered with crap & no one is going to be able to even find the things you WANT them to find because it’s all buried in all the unnecessary garbage. Also, your page will take too long to load & fewer people will be there to help you when you need it.
I’m tired & I have a puppy to attend to. There’s a lot more to cover about Mafia Wars & chances are I skipped stuff. At level 515 it’s hard to remember what I needed to know at level 3. Ask me questions & I’ll edit this post to include the answers. If you’re bored, here are Part I & Part II of my original Mafia Wars blogs, from last year. I covered a few things very well but didn’t cover a whole bunch of other things at all. Typical me. Also, give Mafia Wars Wiki a visit; it’s invaluable for getting perspective on gear.
And remember Jenn… this isn’t a fun game.