Mafia Wars: The rise and fall of addiction

26Oct09
Image by nickehle via Flickr

Writer’s block is now less of a problem, with me taking note of ideas, on my desktop and mobile. Sometimes the ideas are time-relevant and without immediate content it sometimes gets hard to compose a full-blown blog entry. Last time I composed a poem, that I posted on my wikidot site.
If you’re wondering why Mafia Wars, its because I’ve experienced both obsession and total disinterest with the game. Given that I’d joined quite early, I’ve seen many developments in the gameplay or the lack thereof.

How I got in?

  • Desperate Classmates :- When Mafia Wars came out on Facebook, I was really really bored of all the games which flooded my activity feed. I didn’t want to allow another app access to my account and my time. As days passed, classmates took an interest to chat with me on Facebook, persuading, pleading to join their Mafia (team) on Mafia Wars. I skipped the requests.
  • No mandatory tasks :- Eventually, all the established Mafia pals suggested that I needed to just join up and needn’t spend time, mindlessly clicking “do job” “fight”, etc. I took the bait 😛 The reason: need to get each one’s gang close to 501..that still exists today. There were more reasons like items for your gang members to harass you 😛 . The get-501-members groups weren’t there at that time. At the time of joining, I had very few members, because
    1. There were very few FB friends who’d been sucked into Mafia Wars.
    2. Rest of the friendlist remained as pending invites for a long long time. Now I see friends whom I can’t believe have joined Mafia Wars.

The fun and tricky parts initially were setting my Mafia name and picking a character type. Though now, its not clear whether its people dunno where to set their name or the system has removed that feature, in order to auto-add invited friends of Mafia Wars members before they actually join in. The name (I chose) is a play on “Black Venom”. Previously, you were called “Default Don” among many other “Default Don”s, if you didn’t choose a custom name. Now you’re named “Don LastName”. I used to think “Default Don”s were all bots. 😛

How i got started?

  • Comparison/Competition :- Initially I checked out level and stats of only classmates who were on my team. Their stats dominated against my miserly single-digit level accomplishments. Except for 1-2 extremely high-level players on my team, rest of my gang, were relatively easy achievable targets to overcome.
  • Easy Early Levels :- As I said before, the fun and tricky part initially was picking a name for my character and a character type. The tricky part was choosing the character type. You didn’t know what each type implied and had to choose before joining. After joining, changing the type required Godfather points,that come one by one every 2-3 levels. You had 20 points to begin with. I chose ‘Fearless’ (helps in fights) rather than ‘Maniac’ (helps in jobs) or ‘Mogul’ (helps in purchases), coz I thought the jobs and properties were for the inactive/slow-active members. The easy early levels and the fights I won against other Mafia gangs with equally less mafia size convinced me more that my choice of character type was apt. As I got to higher levels, other Mafia gangs grew faster in size than mine. Thanks to get-501-members-fast groups, my denial to add strangers and my other friends on the list just showing me their middle finger as I got my mafia ass whooped mercilessly, my mafia’s growth was short-lived. No robbing in the initial 14 levels was the other cool thing. Well, I don’t care much about that now either (It seems they have turned off robbing).

How the addiction crept in?

  • Need for Bigger Mafia :- The strength of your attacks lie in the the overall attack strength of your team. This total strength is based on individual member’s own team strengths. So bigger mafia, means a stronger mafia rather than just a team bigger in numbers.
  • Increased income, gifts, etc. :- As the levels passed by, the income got better (and so rose the cost). It was possible to buy out costlier businesses, properties. With more members on team, there were more chances of getting gifts. Gifts were either part of collections or armory. Collections could be traded for strengthening character’s energy, stamina, health, etc.
  • Felt good to be at higher level – At a certain range of levels, I used to have sufficient amount of energy or stamina to complete each level quickly. Part of my team, started lagging behind. It did feel good to try out newer levels, know about the loot drops, use newer weapons or vehicles before some of my friends.
  • More friends joined in :- Only this year, lot more people whom I know (read sub-juniors) have joined MW. I guess since they joined in late, they kept playing insanely frequently to get near or past their seniors’ levels.
  • New set: Cuba :- When Cuba set of levels were started, it had its own set of currency, weapons, jobs, businesses, etc. Some of it was more favorable than the New York set and some not. The jobs could be done almost entirely by purchased tools. Until the extra tier La Cacique got added, long after I finished all levels, all tiers, all jobs before it.

How the addiction is losing its grip?

  • Change in UI interactivity :- At a time, where getting more friends to join was (legally) impossible, I was stuck with all jobs doable, done. The rest of the jobs required loot items from previous level jobs that were already 100% (thrice) mastered and yet I’d to waste energy on them (real n virtual). Some loot items were available through fights if i could win against 501-member mafia gangs. I had 50-60. They required going through what I felt were the absolutely shittiest UI nightmares. Its hard to explain in writing, but if I’d to summarise I’d say “they increased the number of pageloads and mouse-clicks”. It wasn’t less before, but far more manageable. This made the higher level jobs in New York, terribly tedious. You do 10 times a job to get a loot item to do a higher level job to get it mastered 5% out of a total of 300% for example
  • Impossible extra tier in Cuba :- La Cacique had quite a few interesting aspects. It had jobs that required loot items from New York that were hard to be obtained (did I say they reduced the wishlist to just 3 items) and a hint to the next location where Mafia Wars would continue (Moscow). La Cacique is still incomplete for me.
  • Too mundane now :- Even the brain is tired of being psychologically fooled for a long time paying virtual money in boatloads for postage-stamp sized icons of unimaginable weapons with fancy attack and defense strengths. Keeping cool while hundreds wounded and robbed my mafia was what made me play the game and enjoy it at my own pace. Now its like if they attack me, its only a little time before am back to full health (to be wounded again). If they rob me (currently they cannot) they take away only a bit of my income per hour, which after some hours helps me repair and add on to my properties, robbed or not. Robbing could be back since police protection still exists on each property.
  • Energy refill time is too slow :- Everyone’s been demanding Zynga to reduce the Energy pack restriction to 12 hours. Now with > 1000 points of energy and 5 minutes per energy point to increase, you can see, why I play MW after a long long time and let the addiction lose its grip.

After weeks of delaying, I feel its high time I started with my other posts. They are already risking getting too obsolete. Thus here is my rant on Mafia Wars, the application that Facebook should thank for often being only reason a lot of people stay on FB.

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7 Responses to “Mafia Wars: The rise and fall of addiction”

  1. Thats some great information there, very informative thanks.

  2. 2 Diabolic Preacher

    thanks Tierra, hope you like the other entries as well. 🙂

  3. I dont know how anyone has this much time to play Im jealous. Every fricking day someone finds some little furry varmint on there farm or needs help with something. I cant take it anymore

    • 4 Diabolic Preacher

      Leandra, there are people who have this much to play, and there are people who have this much time to look at them play and get jealous. Then there’s people like us, who like to be spectators and write about these 2 kinds of people on our blogs and books. 😛

      Thanks for reading, although I think there might be a confusion between MafiaVille and Farm Wars. Ummm…hmm 😉

  4. 5 Clara Wilkey the Mafia Wars Cheats Guy

    All I want to do on Facebook is keep up with friends and relatives to see how they are getting along with life. Every time I go to someone’s FB page their pages are just inundated with Farmville, Fish, Parks, Mafias, I sent you this gift, now send one back et al ad nauseum. Not all of us want to play these games, so …why can’t FB find a way to keep us from having to see this crap? They can redo their pages to include this. All I want to do is keep up with friends, and see how they are doing, not wade through the FB incited drivil! FACEBOOK, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

  5. 6 Mafia Wars Help

    interesting post. I hope you keep on writing such good stuff


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