The beta test (quick aside: a beta test is just that - a test. All of this information is subject to change after the testing period) for the new expansion to Mafia Wars is now up! If you registered for the beta test, you should see a "Fly to Cuba" button at the top of your screen:
Here is a run-down of what I've found out so far:
The New Job Tiers and Mastery Items
Cuba is available for players over level 35. There are 5 new job tiers in Mafia Wars: Cuba - El Soldado (levels 35-59), El Capitan (60-84), El Jefe (85-109), El Patron (110-129), and El Padrino (levels 130+). So far, I have not seen any new collection items, but there are new job mastery items. For mastering the El Soldado tier, I recieved an El Rey Roadster (pic below):
The weird thing about this is that when I recieved this job mastery item, I was shown the item with the tag that it would allow me to do +4% more damage in fights. However, it appears in my loot page as a vehicle rather than a job mastery item, with no mention of the +4% damage done in fights. I think it may do both, but there is no way to tell for now and it is subject to change since this is a beta test after all. Will post more as I get there.
When you get to Cuba for the first time, you start with no money. You have to do the "Rob a Cab Driver" job in order to get your initial money to buy other items to do other jobs. Upkeep on items is paid differently - for every item you have, you get .5% less income on each job (additive, not muplicative). In other words, if you have 10 items, you get paid 5% less for each job. I'm assuming if you have bought items, you'll get no money for jobs. Additionally, all the jobs pay out very poorly. Some of the later items require around 50 items, so it is obvious you will not make much money in Cuba through jobs. Which brings me to the next point - how do you make money in Cuba?
New feature - Businesses:
When you get to Cuba, the "Properties" tab is replaced by "Businesses". As of now, there are 4 types of businesses - a Tobacco Plantation, a Sugar Plantation, a Factory, and a Coca field. Unlike property, you can only buy one of each and they can not be robbed (as of now). There are 2 main differences between properties and businesses:
1. Businesses produce commodities, rather than income.
Every 3 hours, each of your owned businesses produces a certain amount of "product". This product stacks up until your maximum capacity is reached. You can exchange this product for cuban pesos with the push of a button. The main difference here is that businesses must be checked up on regularly (perhaps once to twice a day) in order to produce the most income, you have to click the "sell product" button in order to get paid.
2. You can only buy one of each business, but it can be upgraded to produce more money.
Businesses have 3 attributes - quality of product, storage capacity, and output per 3 hours, which all can be upgraded for cuban pesos. For example, the Tobacco Plantation (the cheapest business) costs 25,000 cuban pesos. It produces tobacco to start, but it can be upgraded. For example, for 3,200 pesos, it can be upgraded to produce Cigarillos. Cigarillos sell for more money. Here is a picture to illustrate:
So, in the picture, you can see that each business can be upgraded multiple times. Additionally, you can see that these attributes will cap out after a point. A brand new tobacco plantation only produces a few hundred pesos every 3 hours, but a fully upgraded one, as pictured above, will produce 2240 cuban pesos every 3 hours. It seems like most of the money in Cuba will be made off of businesses, since even the top jobs only give 4000-6000 pesos.
Fighting in Cuba
For now, fighting in Cuba works a bit strangely. You can use all the best items from New York in Cuba from now, plus all of your mafia members, in addition to the best items in Cuba. However, the items you get in Cuba can only be used in Cuba. I'm assuming this will change once beta is over - it would be unfair for beta players to ravage New York with all the better weapons and armor. Speaking of new items...
New Loot in Cuba
Cuba has a lot of great new items available to players. I've only played in the first two tiers so far, but will have more info soon. Here is a sample of some new loot items:
As you can see, the Cane Knife (weapon) has more defense than any other weapon, and I was able to get 10 of them just mastering the job "Ransack a Local Plantation" (second tier) twice. The Street Gang Member has more attack than any "New York" armor, and the Camouflage Body Armor is a great all around item. These are only from the 2nd tier as well, I think it's safe to say we'll see even better items in the higher tiers.
That's it for now, I'll post more info when I get it!