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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!