Basics of the Game

For those not familiar with the game, Mafia Wars is a Myspace game, produced by Zynga, that has garnered massive popularity since its inception.  In Mafia Wars, you are the leader of your family.  You build up your family, equip them with attack and defense items as well as vehicles, and fight with other families in the game, building your character up as you go with stronger attack, defense, health, energy, and stamina.

A players level, attack, and defense stats determine if they win a given fight compared to their opponent.  With each fight, your health is lowered, and if you run out of health, your character dies, which then requires a visit to the hospital or waiting for health to build up little by little.  Each time a player instigates a fight, stamina is used.  When stamina runs out, the player can no longer initiate a fight until either the next level is reached or the player waits long enough for more stamina to build up.

Energy is used for performing jobs.  At present, there are five categories of jobs, ranging from Street Thug Jobs to Underboss Jobs.  Higher level categories require more energy to perform, but yield more experience and money.

Recent Change Causes Massive Disappointment and Hostility

The hitlist has developed into an important part of the game.  Players can add any other player to the hitlist, which typically results in the target being taken out.  When a player is taken out from the hit list, experience is lost, and the character is left weak.  However, for stronger players, being on the hit list offered an advantage. Until recently, fights won on the hit list resulted in experience being gained.  Therefore, even though you took damage while being on the hit list and stood the possibility of dying, you still could at least advance in experience.  However, Zynga has now changed the system in such a way that players no longer gain experience from fights won through the hitlist.

This widely unpopular change has resulted in several things:

  1.  Players are added to the hitlist and constantly attacked with no benefit whatsoever.  If the player is strong, hitlist placement could be maintained for days, with constant attacks, requiring continual attention and limiting what else can be done in the game.
  2. Many players enjoy fighting from the hitlist.  It does not possess some of the inconveniences that the fight section does, and makes for a fun way to build your character.  However, since this change, the hitlist is quite bare since no one wants to be on the hitlist or added to the hitlist in retaliation.
  3. It takes much longer for a character to advance to the next level.  Previously, if your character was almost to the next level, but you were out of stamina and energy, you could count of being on the hit list to help get you to the next level.  Since this change, massive time is required to advance to the next level, which is very discouraging to many players.

In fact, since many players have invested considerable money into the game to build their character via Godfather Points, the level of action from players ranges from petitions and names being gathered for those who support changing the hitlist experience gathering back all the way to individuals considering a class action suit against Zynga, since the game is no longer what they invested money into.  Needless to say, the majority of players, especially those that play the game the most, are not happy with this change, and in fact, a large number of players have even abandoned the game due to this change.

Whether or not Zynga takes action to reverse the charge could well determine if the game remains popular at all, and the future of the game itself.


Zynga responded to the dissatisfaction of players by changing the hitlist back to generating experience. However, they also introduced several new limitations and restrictions both to the hitlist and other aspects of the game.  In the meantime, we have done an extensive evaluation of the new Bulletproof MySpace game and the Mafia MoFo game, and feel that they are superior games to Mafia Wars, even before the hit list change. We highly recommend that you check them out!

Join the Conversation


  1. Make it so you get experience from the hitlist! I refuse to play until this has been changed, as do the others in my Mafia. (151).

  2. Makes you wonder where the money has gone since I, like many others, have purchased God Father Points… This is a major let down for all of us players!

  3. Perhaps, in order to curb the perceived “cheating” to “level up,” Zynga — while IT SHOULD RE-INSTATE THE XPs IN THE HITLIST ATTACK WINS — should disable the “add to hitlist” bar when a player attempts to put one of their Mafia Wars “family members” on the hitlist in the hopes of the targeted player gaining wins and experience points (“XPs”) . Taking out the XPs in hitlist wins isn’t fair, since a player STILL loses 6 XPs when they are snuffed in a hitlist death. Wasn’t it bad enough that some people actually sunk money into this game to gain Godfather points, and now Zynga turns around and changes a crucial strategy used by the multitude of players to “level up”?! BRING BACK THE XPs IN THE HITLIST!

  4. Zynga has made a very big mistake. They have, in essence, ruined their most popular game. As soon as the issue of not getting xp points for being on the hitlist surfaced, the hitlist on my server was only 8 people long. Other servers have even fewer. It has stayed that way since, normally it was around 50 to 70 people long. I hope that Zynga is happy with their loss because I’m sure that the revenue they had coming in from people paying for God Father points has plummeted and they will probably face law suits over what people have payed for. If you want to do things to fix the game, make it so you actually do some testing to ensure people can not find glitches to take advantage of to use for an unfair advantage in the game. Spend more time working on how the game functions instead of making it look pretty. In my opinion Zynga has made their biggest mistake with this game….I thought that allowing people to buy Godfather points was bad, but this is by far the biggest mistake of all.

  5. The problem is that the exp losses for being killed is only 6 points, if they had made the loss of exp point proportionate to the player’s level, I don’t think think the hitlist will be used as a shortcut to leveling up. Let’s face it, the hitlist was never intended as a shortcut, but no matter how you cut it, the higher level mafia family will continue to get stronger at the expense of the weaker families.

  6. Built my character to survive the Hitlist Rules (loaded health and defense). Had I known of these changes, I would have built a stronger “attack” character. Additionally, I now need to remove my “Top Mafia” because I don’t want them to heal me. If I get wacked, I want to stay dead until I’m online again.

  7. The website address for the class action effort is Please sign up today if you have been taken advantage of in any way by Zynga, SuperRewards, or SRpoints. The more people that sign up, the more of a footing we will have to fight the unjustice done to all players who have invested their time and money into this game only to be swindled in the end.

  8. Zynga really jumped the gun on this. Disabling experience gain on wins from the hitlist should have been a last resort, rather than the first step.

    If they want to change the hitlist to be just for money, that’s one thing. It will be much less popular since only new players generally need money, but it’s a better solution than it being completely one-sided like it is now. That is, it’s not fair for the offensive to get experience on wins while the defensive gets nothing for wins. Basically, it amounts to someone putting another player on the hitlist, and the player just loosing more and more health, with no benefit, even when winning.

    It’s not perfect, but at least a better solution would have been to make it where a player cannot put another member of his/her family on the hitlist. At least that would lessen the issue a lot, and is a much better first step. If not that, something else, but try other things before heading to the worst possible case.

  9. Those who are forwarding the class action suit, get over it. All you are doing is making the blood sucking, ambulance chasing lawyers rich, and you only get whatever scraps are left. If you had signed up for services with Zynga’s affiliates to get godfather points, and they have not delivered what has been promised, then you have a case. Otherwise, you have no case just because you are pissed off that you can no longer live off the hitlist.

    It’s funny that I do not hear people pissing and moaning when the past glitches worked in your favor, such as being able to obtain the bonus weapon before reaching level 99 or making huge amount of money for your top mafia by hitting the mini bosses.

    No one is forcing anyone to purchase godfather points and those who did it, you have paid for an advantage over those who did not choose to with upgraded skill points, limited edition weapons, etc. Like I said, if Zynga did not delivered the favor points for buying the points directly, you may have a case.

  10. I am suspicious that this important change was made to provoke a strong response, as a marketing ploy, to gain even more attention and popularity. I can remember when Coke took their original formula off the market and then reintroduced it, soon after, as “classic”, with the same melodrama. I think not feeding into the anger, until the smoke clears, and keeping a clear perspective, is the best course. Although, Zynga, did make this sudden change, without notice, they also indicated, very cryptically, it would roll out subsequent updates to compensate for this.

    The other unfortunate issue involves reward points, that have not been awarded via offers or cash investment, and can no longer be earned, or were ever available to be purchased with Zynga dollars.

    If you are serious about getting Zynga’s attention, we have the power to boycott all of its games and its marketing affiliates, in concert, until the players demands are met. This means we all have to stick together and not play Zynga games, so that their traffic and marketing affiliates feel the loss of potential revenue. Zynga will come around, because the game is about revenue and business, not fun or player satisfaction. The outcome depends on your behavior.

    Enough said.

  11. Mafiawars used to be my favorite game, but the recent changes have destroyed its popularity. I hope it comes back to the previous mode. 🙁

  12. I agree with James. If they changed the game so that family members couldn’t put you on the hitlist, that would be a better solution. I don’t even “ride the hit list”, but I enjoy attacking people on it for the fun of adding to my “hit list kills” status. I purchased some DVDs, and never received my points, but I’m not even concerned about that. I’m just upset with the game. I signed up for the Mobsters app and the Mafia Wars app at the same time. I only played Mobsters because Mafia Wars, at that time, took forever for anything to load, and it just didn’t seem to be as much fun. I came back and tried it a month ago and they had improved the game and unlike Mobsters, the hit list was always full. I also liked the fact that you could get A LOT of money to purchase property…so I have stopped playing Mobsters and began playing Mafia Wars. NOW, the main reason I play Mafia Wars, the full hit list, is screwed up. I think I’m going to stop playing this too. God, what am I gonna do now???? I’ll have to go back to real life….lol. Later all, and Happy Huntin’!!!!

  13. Guys, the hitlist must be a place where no one wants to be…is that so difficult to understand? If a strong player goes to the hitlist, another stronger player will take him out, or any other weaker player, but sacrificing his own health. Don’t understand why the hitlist should be a positive thing for people in it…that makes no sense. If some cheaters and lame [elite] players took advantage of the buggy old hitlist, and now they are not doing it anymore…well done Zynga. Zynga added the energy paks to advance in levels quickly, so please stop moaning about the hitlist feature. It makes much more sense now than before.

  14. Zynga causes extreme frustration for all games. Most energy packs don’t work, and why should we promote businesses by playing games on Myspace? Anything used for the games should be bought by money made from the game!

  15. It has gone down BIG time on Facebook, wiped out 1000s of players, and they’re all getting annoyed with them too…

  16. Ican not even play mafia wars because for the last 7 weeks the screen goes black when trying to load I ask and tried to get help from Zynga but can not send them a message because iam not a friend requested them for a friend but never heard back so I been stuck at leval 145 and worked my ass off to get there.

  17. What a rip-off! A better solution would have been to not allow people to put their own
    family members on the hitlist. What kind of nonsense is that. You have enough rival mobsters to worry about without having to look over your shoulder for your own mobsters.
    Why not use the fight list to give more XP instead of the 1 or 2 points you get for winning a fight.
    The reason why many people were using the hit-list to level up is it takes forever to advance to the next level 1 or 2 points at a time. It’s too slow.

    I won’t pay for Godfather points. They have very few offers I want in the first place.

  18. People actually spent money on Godfather points?! ROFLMAO! People are retarded. And if they consider a *free* game an investment just because they *chose* to pay for something in-game, then they are double retarded. It’s just a game, folks. Chill.

  19. It does make sense that the Hitlist should be a bad thing, and not a way to level up. However, Zynga should have foreseen this development and made the Hitlist differently in the first place. Its just insane to try to change such a major part of the game at this point.

  20. The game is a HUGE waste of time.. the only way to win is to sucker more friends into playing or pay zynga a fortune for “rewards” points. Even with that you have to wait several minutes (on high speed internet) for the application to reload. As you progress, you gain experience points (aka waste of time points) and then they keep changing the game on you so you have to go back and redo stuff.

  21. you guys are hilarious!

    “lets take a company to court for changing the rules of its game”…a game that was FREE…that YOU chose to pay for upgrades on.

    any real lawyer would laugh his ass off at you…as would any judge. doesnt matter how many idiots you get to follow your class action case…all that means is your just a huge group of idiots

    if you dont like the game…DONT PLAY IT

  22. Who came up with the idiotic idea of building health? The health of the property is gone too fast even when I’m not playing the game. And it costs too much to repair it. They just want people to play all the time. 🙁

  23. I understand the fun of hitlist, as I’m also used to get experience from it. But I have been hearing stories in the forum about how players were getting bullied by someone constantly sending them to hitlist. Yeah being on the hitlist is fun, but being on the hitlist X amount of time a day by the same coward (who is so afraid to fight you back himself) just make people feel like deleting the game.

    Everytime there are some changes, someone would tend to moan and whine, Zynga should do what they think it should be done, at the end of the day, they are the real ‘God Father’.

  24. I currently have overstock of cuban looted item.
    I wanna sell it for US$100.
    This includes
    501 TNT
    501 Gaff Hook
    501 Guerrilla Squad
    501 Armored State Car
    501 Hu-9 Helicopter

    If you need more information, please send me message

  25. From recent issues on the Tagged Mafia wars, I have gone from Level 77 to 61 and along with this problem I have lost all my hard earned bank cash and so many other things i have colleted. If this issue isn’t fixed then i will quit the game all together and also ask all my friends with the same problem not to play or promote this game. This suxxx…!!

  26. I would like to know what defines the points for next level. Are the level upgrade points fixed, or they are different in some math formula. I think that there is a chance if you invest all upgrade points in energy and stamina you will need more experience points to reach next level. Is there any math that changes the experience points needed for reaching next level.

  27. I’ m having trouble. I bought 1 weapon for all my peeps but when I fight it doesn’t fight with all theweapons

  28. Oh my, so what this article tells me is that BEFORE the update those strong enough and added to the hitlist would have to do nothing but sit there to level up while everyone else died and lost exp for attacking. The update made the game fair for all players. I played before the update, and I will certainly continue to play now that some of the high level noobs have left. Also There is benifit in being added to the hitlist, there are now achievements for surviving x number of attacks or for x number of minutes on the hitlist. Not to mention the BOUNTIES to be collected.

    Quit complaining that they made the game FAIR and it meant you lost some advantage, and no one lost anything they really paid for. I have no idea what any of you think your talking about, just because YOU left because you didn’t like that you lost your unfair advantage over most other players doesn’t mean EVERYONE else dislikes it. There are still a decent MILLION + that play every day.

    For those that think the game is hard, you just need to learn the ropes and figure out a few things, I’d be glad to help you, and any who have questions about the game. Last this is a TEXT BUTTON GAME, it is not meant to be the world most exciting game, it’s supposed to be a FREE and FUN time spender when you have a minute, it really doesn’t take very long to play and use your turn points.

  29. Here’s a question for everyone complaining about the Hitlist. I have a charachter who has been targeted by a jerk who is 50 levels above me. He does nothing but attack me all day and all night. My ONLY defense is to add him to the Hitlist. And you think he should be rewarded for being on the Hitlist?

  30. The problem is that the exp losses for being killed is only 6 points, if they had made the loss of exp point proportionate to the player’s level, I don’t think think the hitlist will be used as a shortcut to leveling up. Let’s face it, the hitlist was never intended as a shortcut, but no matter how you cut it, the higher level mafia family will continue to get stronger at the expense of the weaker families.

  31. Mafia Wars is a fun Game, however it SUCKS right now!!!
    Why? The game and Facebook have Issues:
    List of Issues:
    1. Game will freezzzzzzzzzzzz all the time.
    2. Game will boot you out or freez when being killed. You loose money.
    3. This is the best YET! Out of Memory line 139, 122, 82 or what ever the line.
    4. Facebook does the same thing!
    Right now the Game Sucks and Facebook as well. Don’t spend any money on this game, unless you really want to be pissed off because your unable to play the game.
    5. Customer Service with this Company really SUCKS as well. You will get NO answer from them, other then We sure would like you to Spend money and buy this weapon!. Don’t do it until they have worked out the Many and I mean Many problems in playing this Game.
    But on a score of 1 to 10, I would say it is 8 as a game goes and it is fun to play. But for the past month I would grade them as a F- in IT issues! There I said it, have fun or get mad.

  32. It’s funny how when something happens that people don’t like, they go crazy.

    But when Zynga adds something that is amazing, they don’t get the respect
    they deserve.

    Overall, from the inital changes and then the changes they added on… they made
    a good move.

  33. Darn cry babies. You can’t win in MW so you have to cry about it. MW is the best, and the new games are just cheap imitations.

  34. You would think as popular as Mafia Wars is. They would not try to fix something that is not broken!

  35. Mafia Wars has recently been hacked into or Mark screwed it up for us on Facebook also–so those of you at MYSPACE–please do not feel like you are alone–Facebook is having a Frenzy too. The stupid game was great and not I cannot get bonuses, help others, or even play for that matter. I have emailed Zynga so many times I could absolutely throw up–it does no good–they do nothing or they or they lack the intellect to fix it–which I doublt–if they had the intellect to screw the game up they have enough on the ball to fix it if they want to. By for now! I am sure I will visit this blog again. I hope we can get one going at facebook. Enjoy the evening. Yours will be better than mine. Linda Lou

  36. Still Frustration and Frenzy on Facebook! Linda Lou

    Hate this new Mafia Wars Version! Not usable!

  37. i think those on hitlist should only be able to hit or put someone on there thats in there own levels, where the big family’s can’t hit the weaker levels.

  38. hi, i have an apple second generation iphone out its made country but it is locked and is not working with my own ountry sim card so i want to know how to crack it and how can i use my countries sim card in it,so please guide me how to do it

  39. Dude, this, among other things, has pissed me off. zynga!!! stop making so many changes! you can’t even keep up with yourselves! properties can no longer be sold, no cashing out achievement, no godfather link works anymore, money i’ve been winning in fights and hitlist kills doesnt get registered… i mean i could keep going with a list for so long. “zynga killed their golden baby” <– i agree with that. fuckin ruined a fun game, made it impossible to have legitimate competition, me and my friends have different versions of the game now, so its not even fun to compare and compete, its cool cuz i get to rub it my friends face when i beat him, now its not fair to gloat cause hes got a completely different game then me, yet is still in my mafia, quizzzzzical look zynga, luckily you arent in charge of important things

  40. All the tears about this … let them F I X a HUGE problem first, many people playing … i know that , that isnt the point lol ……
    What i like to say is: When i klick on a job or something else , the browser does not that what i like to do, but goes LEVELS back !!!! ald its like ive never been on the higher level, or when i klick on ” Vissit Cuba” 80% of the time it says: you dont have the right level or smthing like that …. that SUCKS !!!

    So please fix that crap, on Facebook its a kinda difrent but no problems there when i klick, i go where i like to go and not 20+ levels BACK.


  41. i sold 50 mega casinos and now my countdown timer for more cash keeps going back to 59:59 every time i click anything, I haven’t received any income for about 2 weeks now. there are some other things it’s not doing also. please help, soon. thank you, mike

  42. HELP!!!! my countdowntimer is not working. i haven’t recieved any income for 2 weeks. it also says i have 0 upkeep. there are also other issues. can anyone help? thank you for your time, mike

  43. I am an avid Mafia Wars Player but this new concept has taken away all the fun it gave me. I can’t even figure out how to buy inventory!!! You have made it so complicated it is no longer fum but a frustration to tyr to figure out how to play any longer. You video is far from good when it comes to playing the game.
    I guess it is time to find new game because you haven’t given this the time and thought as to it’s users and have taken away the enjoyment. I liked to hop on your site play and off. Now a person has to sit and study and hit all sorts of screens only to find a dead end.

  44. PLEASE S T O P this freaking !!!!!! S P A M, i have this  MAIL for OVER 7 TIMES in 30 min.!!!!!!
    F**K  IT !!! STOP this, have moved ths to UNWANTED.

  45. @ Ken warner ..: hang your head in a tree.. F Iphone, im at home, if i would be at work i wold be WORKING !!! not lookiing at whats going on on the net, so STFU !!!
    …………….. Ban me ? Go ahead, i know im right !!
    See yah

  46. I’ m having trouble. I bought 1 weapon for all my peeps but when I fight it doesn’t fight with all theweapons.

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