April 12, 2010

Robbing Strategy - How and Why to Win

So, now that robbing (and a lot of new features) have been in the game a little while, I've had some time to think about the mechanics and the advantages of the system. I've determined that robbing is good, and by virtue of not robbing, you're missing out.

Why win robbing fights?

1. Experience

When you win, robbing pays out good XP per stamina point. A successful robbery generally pays out 2 or more XP per stamina point spent, on top of the bonus for clearing the grid (+10 XP for each successful robbery). So, for successfully robbing a flophouse, you not only get the 4 or 5 XP for winning, but also +10 bonus XP on your clear! That's a 7:1 XP:Stamina ratio. Even if you skip grid clears when there are a lot of casinos, its still great XP per point spent, especially as your mastery increases.

2. Loot

Clearing a grid in robbing can result in the the dropping of a diamond from the Stolen Diamonds robbing collection. The diamond collection is great for two reasons. First off, it's valuable. Each diamond piece is currently comparable to a lotto set piece in worth.

Side note: I think the Diamond set will plummet in value very quickly fast, at least compared to the lotto set. It can only be vaulted once and there is no rate-limiter on the rate at which it enters the game (the lotto for example only happens 1x per week - but people rob around the clock). Trade off any extra pieces fast - don't hold onto them for long periods of time.

Another reason why the Stolen Diamond collection is good is that because in this case, wealth begets wealth. Since the diamond collection improves your chances of winning robberies, you will earn more XP, levels, loot, and ultimately be able to rob more often. Additionally, since you will be winning more robberies, you will be earning more experience.

In theory, a well-equipped, high stamina, high attack account with the Stolen Diamond collection vaulted could be effectively used to 'farm' diamond collections.

3. Robbing Mastery

As you win robberies, you get more mastery. This goes hand in hand with reason 1, as by gaining more mastery, you can earn more experience. By earning more experience, you can level up more often, and end up winning more robberies, so on and so forth.

All of these three factors are synergistic and by virtue of winning a lot of robberies, your Mafia Wars account certainly stands to profit. Now, we just need to look at how to win robberies!


The Components of a Successful Heist

So, the formula for robbing (on offense) is:

Attack Stat Points + total sum of attack points from allowed equipment + a random number + boosts = your offense.

Defense Stat Points + total sum of defense points from allowed equipment + a different random number + boosts = your opponent's defense.

Note about the random number: To quote the developers - "we roll a giant die". Basically a huge random # gets added (or possibly subtracted, doesn't matter either way) to your score, providing an element of randomness to robbery attempts.


Difficulty Levels


You will see properties labeled as "Easy", "Medium", and "Hard". This simply refers to the similarity between your offensive firepower and your opponent's defensive strength before the random number has been added. As a result, you can win or lose all types of fights. Here is some approximate %s I have found:

- You will win ~85% of "Easy" fights.
- You will win ~50% of "Medium" fights.
- You will win ~15% of "Hard" fights.

It's all because of the random number added to you and your opponents score. While you can't change this number, note that the random number is simply added. If your character not just is better than your opponent, but if you really crush him (or her) in firepower, you can win in spite of a bad roll. Therefore, to improve your odds of winning robberies, you need to get better equipment and more stat points. No surprise there, but your overall strategy will change based on the property you are trying to rob. First I will discuss improving loot and stat points, then I will discuss selecting the right ones based on properties and your needs.


High Stat Points

You will need a lot of stat points in attack if you are going to do well in robbing (especially with the smaller properties). However, at this junction in the game, there has never been a better time for increasing your stat totals. You can get stat points in the following way (not including leveling up, collections, achievements, and the standard stuff):

56-84 bonus points a week via building weapons and vehicles in your Weapons Depot and Chop Shop each day. The lower end value is if you picked attack for both (3 attack from vehicle, 5 attack from weapon for a total of 8 per day for 7 days). The higher end value is if you picked the +6 energy car and the +6 stamina weapon. I personally think that with the Chop Shop, picking the energy or stamina car is much better than the +3 attack or defense car, since you can use stat points from leveling up on +Attack and make the most of your rewards. For the weapon shop, the best choice varies, which I will discuss later.

5-35 bonus points a week via mystery bags. Even a casual player can find +5 skill points per week playing, and if you open a lot of bags each day, you can wind up with +5 for each day of the week.

7 bonus points a week for completing the daily checklist each day. Most players don't even know this exists! When you log in, simply complete each task laid out for you on the "Daily Checklist" tab in the middle of the screen. You can do this once every 24 hours for a free skill point.


1 bonus skill point each week from playing the daily chance (hey, everything counts and it's part of the daily checklist!).

This adds up to a grand total of a bonus 79 - 127 bonus skill points per week. It would not be terribly challenging to wind up with 1,000 bonus skill points after 10 weeks time. You could go from losing most robbery attempts to winning most heists simply by being consistent. The funny thing is most players will not take advantage of this. If you have been regularly reading this blog for any time now, you are in the top 10% of Mafia Wars players by default. Most players never even venture outside of the game and never search for stuff on Google, read blog posts, or have any sort of strategy to their Mafia Wars game-plan. Most players don't even have an upgraded Chop Shop let alone a Weapons Depot! These players will be your easy targets if you simply take advantage of all the free skill points available to you.

Loot

I will discuss different loot types based on property below, but if you can collect as many Yakuza Assassins (Bangkok faction store item), Hunter 'Spy' XSs (Chop Shop, but preferably trade for this), and Railguns (Weapons Depot).


Differences Between Robbing Different Properties

Very Small Properties: When robbing small properties, only two things come into play: your stat points in Attack and having job mastery items. Look at my Flophouse heist below:


My actual loot doesn't even come into play. My total score from equipment is only 449. Strong players have at least 1,000 stat points in attack (getting higher every day thanks to Chop Shop), so the lion's share of robbing very small properties goes to Attack stat points. Boosts can also help out here, but add virtually nothing on bigger properties.

Small to Medium Sized Properties: Small to Medium Sized properties rely on both stat points in attack and specialty loot. Players in this category who end up with chunks of high end pieces (such as Yakuza Assassins as shown below) will end up with a sizable advantage:


In this example, consider that if I was using 23 Railguns to his 23 Zmeya Carbon Blades, I would have a 161 stat point advantage. Apply similar bonuses to Yakuza Assassins and Hunter 'Spy' XSs, and you can see that for mid-grade properties, specialty loot becomes important. It's importance declines as properties grow beyond 100 Mafia members though, because nearly all players won't have enough time to collect a full set of this specialty loot before"the next" thing comes out and replaces our current best pieces.

Note that in these categories where you can actually use specialty equipment, something like a Railgun adds quite a few points to your offensive firepower. For each Railgun you purchase, you would replace one Tanto or Ubijca Assault Rifle, for an 8 attack upgrade. On top of that, you will gain +5 to your permanent attack score. This is like really upgrading by 13 attack points as far as robbing medium to large properties is concerned. In other words, once your attack is high enough to win most of your Flophouse fights, you should focus on Railguns over the +6 stamina weapon, even though it offers 1 more stat point (at least until Railguns get replaced by something better).

Large Properties: Large properties are straight-forward. Get a full set of mass-collectible loot such as Zoloto Sports Cars, Tantos, and Shturmoviks. Have a full mafia and you'll win most robberies. Attack points don't mean much since they add right to equipment score, and here your equipment score will be very high.

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Cliff notes:

1. Robbing is good, do it!
2. Take advantage of all the free skill points available to you.
3. Note that you will need to maximize attack skill points, specialty loot pieces, and still have a full set of 1500 loot pieces in order to win heists.
4. Profit!
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34 comments:

  1. Great overview! With all the skill points rushing into the game at the current moment is their an ideal build for a "robbing account?" I was thinking of something like this

    Start as an energy account until New York is mastered and then build to this.

    2.5xlevel attack
    Low defense
    Low health
    Low - Medium energy
    High stamina

    No property. Gift myself high attack items. Continually stay in the hospital to avoid retribution.

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  2. Thank you! This is the best write-up of the robbing feature that I have read so far, and I agree 100% with your conclusions. I'm going to follow this strategy from now on.

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  3. NICE!!!!!

    Thank you Mafia "God"!!

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  4. I am in total agreement with this. I started an energy account following this guide. I have now switched it to a robbing account. I am making judgement calls on my chop shop each day (ditto the weapons centre) to make sure I maximise skill points. I am now halfway through level eight (making sure I clear the board each time) and as mentioned above the ratio of xp to stamina keeps going up. Once I get to level 9 it goes from 15 to 20% bonus.

    All in all my energy account is now at level 1400 and I am still managing to level. Not only that, but because I am piling points into attack I am no longy a weedy high level character, but am able to give a healthy dose back to anybody who attackes me.

    All good stuff and I am still just about self levelling (I sometimes have to wait a while), mainly because I get about 3000 xp each level through robbing at a high ratio.

    All good stuff, thanks again for the guide!

    One point I should make is about the diamonds. I am now only one short of the collection. I have gone through all kind of theories for how they drop and none of them seem to make sense. I have had two drop from individual successful robberies (not hard ones, so that was that theory out the window!), but I have also had two drop from successful boards of only 5-4! Arrgghh, it must be entirely random, as I can not see any rhyme or reason to how they drop!

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  5. If I'm a Fearless with a wheelman bonus and I change classes will I keep the wheelman bonus if someone keeps me in there top mafia?

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  6. diamonds can drop on worse board clears than 6-3.

    i got 1 diamond on 5-4

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  7. I got a diamond on 4-5.

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  8. Updated to include the dropping on different records - thanks. If you are fearless you should keep your bonus even if you change classes.

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  9. I am definitely doing everything I can to perform better in robbing. I think the best maximization would be to use 1 level-up per day on attack points, then build a Solar Flare to make up for it.

    Then make a railgun every day in the weapon depot. This will be really hard though because Weapon parts are much more rare than car parts, and rail gun barrels in particular are a very rare drop. I've been farming for days and I only have 8. My weapon shop should be level 9 today, though so I can start building them soon.

    A major problem with the weapons depot is that it has diluted the loot drops significantly. Farming the 1 energy job has around a 3.6% loot drop rate, which instead of just being car parts and chop shop pieces is not divided between chop shop, weapons depot, car parts, weapons parts and specialty parts for both shops.

    I'm going to play around with my loot-logging bookmarklets today and see if the drop rate changes significantly on a good ratio job like Settle a Beef. I know for sure that the rare car and weapon parts drop MUCH better from that job, but I don't know if the overall loot drop ratio is any better.

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  10. I did some comparison stats on other jobs. The Settle a Beef job has a drop rate of around 16 percent. So you spend 35x more energy and only get 4x more loot, but a higher percentage of it is good stuff like solar panels, railgun barrels, high tech car parts, etc...

    For the Bank Heist job the drop rate seems to be around 12 to 14 percent. So 8x more energy for a 3x increase in loot.

    I need to do a real statistical study on this. Burn through an equal amount of either jobs or energy (not sure which is most accurate, might have to do both) with a handful of different jobs and log the drop rate for various types of loot.

    On the surface it seems like the 1 energy job is your best bet, but it drops good loot extremely rarely and has the worst xp/energy ratio in the game. I think Bank Heist might be the sweet spot. Good xp payout, good loot drops, lots of loot drops per level. With my increasing amount of Stamina I can now balance out the loss in XP/Eng versus Settle a Beef by doing traditional fights at 2.57XP/Stamina.

    It's complicated stuff, and to make things worse Zynga is probably constantly tweaking things like drop rates.

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  11. A slight correction - you state 'and winning robberies is key to collecting diamond pieces'

    Clearing grids, whether you win or lose the individual robberies is the way to get diamonds.

    But a great summary overall.

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  12. i just took out the diamond stuff for now.

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  13. My question is how much stamina do you need to rob a casino? I get the stamina mini buff and try and it tells me that I don't have enough, but all of the other properties "cost" exactly as much as they say. Why is the casino more? Am I missing some math here?

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  14. Excellent guide!

    To quote from the Mafia Wars page on FB:

    "Keep in mind that the items in the Stolen Diamond Collection can only drop on full grid clears. And, doing better on the grid will give you a better chance at a diamond drop. This is still a SUPER RARE set, so be patient as you work to get all the items!"

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/notes/mafia-wars/additional-robbing-info/380594454911

    So yeah, the more wins you have on a grid, better are the chances of bagging a diamond. I'm half way through Level 6 and have only 2 diamonds so far. Can't remember what the win-loss tallies were when I got them.

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  15. I've only ever gotten 1 diamond from clearing a board. The rest were gifted. I clear every board except when I am using an energy pack. Then I just do the easy jobs as I don't want the extra exp. I've been trying to get the Regent or Sancy Diamond for several days and can't even trade for Idol's eyes for them.

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  16. I have cleared countless boards. Probably over 200 since robbing came back. And not 1 diamond yet. And while I have some sucky boards, I have plenty of good ones too.

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  17. Likewise. I've yet to get a diamond too. Not sure if it's gonna happen.

    Any clue as to when the "Top Mafia" is coming into effect?? Also I've heard rumors of Vegas being available this coming Fri./Sat. Wondering how true that is. I just finished Bangkok today. So I would like to have Vegas come out soon. If not I'm gonna spend all my energy in NY to get as much $$$$ as I can.

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  18. I just got my first diamond (5-4 record)and I'm halfway thru level 6. I actually stopped trying to clear boards awhile back, I only do the low stamina robbings (2,3,5). But lately, if I get a board that has semi-low stamina requirements, I'll clear it.

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  19. I have just received a diamond with after a 3-6 record. This is my second diamond and I have been robbing since it was introduced...

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  20. Interesting review. I would like to add that I have tried to increase my successful robbing stats by robbing the flophouse (2) of a low equipped player. I would win every time, 200 stamina would become 100 robbing wins. I would do this through the opponents property window.

    So here are my stats;

    30% - YOUR CURRENT LEVEL: 5, "ROBBER"
    # of Robberies completed: 1488
    # of Robberies needed for the next level: 703

    So what do I make of this, you have to rob from your fight/rob window for the wins to be applied to you total to level up. No point in robbing a specific person unless for spite.

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  21. To the last poster, you are correct. To be applied to your robber progression, you have to rob from the board. This is to stop Level 1000 accounts from picking on level 10 players flophouses over and over again which is not realistic in that your character would actually learning something from the experience.

    Then again, if you are raiding Flophouses in New York City atop your Armored War Elephant wielding a Harpoon Cannon, I am not sure that this game has much to do with realism any more.

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  22. is there a diamond glitch that allows you to get link to afican diamond or is it just a rumor

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  23. Just some further comments to throw out there on robbing and diamonds.

    Firstly on robbing, obviously as your character gets better the ratio to xp/stamina gets better.

    When I started and realised it might be a good thing, I was getting a ratio of about 2.50. SInce getting to level 9 (and the 20% xp bonus) the ratio is hovering around the 3.0-3.1 mark. This is with what I would consider to be a fairly weak levelling character (as per this guide) at lvl 1500, att stats of 67,000 and att points of 1,054. I've mentioned them to give an idea of what is needed to get that ratio.

    Now then diamonds.

    I have been asking around my mafia and nobody has gained a diamond from an individual robbery apart from me. I wish I had taken a screen shot at the time as I'm beginning to wonder if I imagined it! Since then I have had several more diamonds, but they have all come from completing the board. In total I have 14 diamonds (from about 18,000 succesful robberies), but no sign of the Hope Diamond.

    Which leads me onto my next theory, which again is porbably going to prove incorrect.

    Does anybody actually have the Hope Diamond? It just seems strange that it is on a lot of wish lists and that I have got lots more diamonds, but not one Hope Diamond yet. Would anybody like to post up to confirm whether they have seen one yet?

    My theory is that the Hope Diamond does not start dropping until lvl 10, either that or it is a special bonus for reaching lvl 10. Like I say, it is an unproven theory, so would be interested to hear from people who have experience differently.

    The other reason I think it might be something to do with that is in its name, i.e. 'Hope'. All the others have names which sound like diamonds, this one seems different. Have the developers played a cruel joke on us?

    Anyway, by my reckoning I'll be able to prove my theory one way or the other in about 8 days time when I hopefully (there is that word again!) reach level 10.

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  24. hello!
    does anyone know why my total attack has been reduced from 22.500 to 21.900 right after i completed a couple of boards in robbery section??

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  25. @Bonners: I have looted the Hope diamond myself. I was a level 6 robber when I did it.

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  26. Thanks for that, ah well, another theory goes out the window!!

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  27. Im confused about the diamonds....I have over 100 stamina, clear boards with a winning record often, and have NEVER got a diamond...is there something I'm doing wrong, or am I just getting the shaft?

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  28. Yep, right as I finished Bangkok, it looks like robbing is "offline" too. I am getting mostly Casinos for robbing too.

    I am guessing at least half of MW users have finished all the levels....it would be nice if there was something do to besides fighting and collecting yet more weapons for trade. I understand development can't keep up with demand on this app. but through us some kind of fish please

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  29. Something odd I've noticed lately... my attack and defense totals seem to fluxuate by around ~0.5-1.0%. This is without finding any new items or gifting any away. I would have thought the totals should be static based on my stats and items. Can anyone explain this?

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  30. The Hope Diamond and the Pair of The Regent Diamond dropped for me at level 5 robbing. I changed my title to Robber (not sure if that matters). Just an FYI

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  31. Question, When one of your properties gets robbed, where does the money come from that you lose?? Is it from your bank account or the money that the property is producing?????

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  32. yea I have two Hope diamonds

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  33. The robbing formula has been posted by the developers.

    http://forums.zynga.com/showthread.php?t=600720

    (Your Attack Skill) + (25% of your Mafia Attack Strength) + (A Random Roll based on 75% of your Mafia Attack Strength)

    vs

    (Defenders Defense Skill) + (25% of their Mafia Defense Strength) + (A Random Roll based on 75% of their Mafia Defense Strength) + (Robbing Defense Boosts, if applicable)

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