May 31, 2010

BuyEarnPlay - All the info on the 7-Eleven Promotion and a Chance to Win a Giftcard!

As of today, all participating 7-Eleven stores in the United States and Canada should have BuyEarnPlay items in stock that give you the opportunity to earn some solid Mafia Wars rewards.

Here is how it works:

1. Go to 7-11, look for specially marked products. Each product has a sticker with a code on it.

2. With your code in hand, visit http://www.buyearnplay.com.

3. Sign in with your Facebook account and enter your code, and you get the item. It's actually pretty easy.


When you click Play Now, you will be taken to the in game display of whatever item you earned:


Different in-store items yield different in-game items. Here is how it breaks down:

Format:
In-store Item: In-game Item

7-Select Chips: Palermo Prowler (vehicle; 44 attack, 19 defense)

Big-Gulp (make sure to get the Mafia Wars cup): Trio Diva (vehicle; 25 attack, 45 defense)

Mafia Wars Game Card: Combat Helmet (armor; 22 attack, 46 defense)

Slurpee (make sure to get the Mafia Wars cup): Showman (weapon; 46 attack, 27 defense)

Large Coffee: Lone Wolf (weapon; 44 attack, 30 defense)

Chicken Tenders, Pizza Slice, Big Bite, Chicken Wings, Large Pizza, or Breakfast Quesadilla: Sleek Bulletproof Vest (armor; 45 attack, 23 defense)

Go-Go Taquitos, Roller Burritos, Hashbrowns, Potato Wedges: (31 attack, 45 defense)

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After turning in your first item, you get access to the Mafia Wars Corner Store Collection:


The items are very easy to get; as the picture states, the Brain Freeze, Behind Bars, Cup of Coffee, Plastic Lighter, and Scratcher all come from jobs, while the Hotdog and Mafi-O's Snack Pack come from fights. They drop very quickly and are very easy to get.

For vaulting the collection, you will receive a 22LR (weapon; 46 attack, 28 defense):


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As you can see from the picture above, the real prize is the +50 skill points. To get this reward, you must earn 8 points on the BuyEarnPlay site and complete the collection.


You can buy any of the items listed above and then enter the codes on the BuyEarnPlay website to get your +50 skill points reward.

The "five to eight" codes refers to the fact that all the food items mentioned above will earn you one point (need to buy 8 food items), while buying a Mafia Wars game card will earn you 2 points.

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Win a 7-11 Gift Card!

To celebrate this promotion, an advertising agency working with 7-Eleven has given me ten $10 gift cards to give away to readers of the site. You will be able to easily net the 50 skill point reward with $10.

Here are the rules:

- Write in 75 words or less why you deserve a gift card in the comments section of this post. Be creative. There are 10 cards to go around!

- Make sure you include your first name, last initial, and an e-mail address so I can let you know if you won. You should probably break down your e-mail address so that it looks like mafiawarsguide at gmail.com to keep yourself safe from spam-bots.

- All 10 winners will be selected in 72 hours.

- USA entries only. Sorry to my international readers, but the contest isn't open to people outside of the USA and Canada due to legality issues and I'd prefer to stay out of trouble!

Good luck!
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May 28, 2010

Challenge Mission: London

More information on Mafia Wars Challenge Mission: London is now available. First off, players can start collecting passports in game. These will be an allegory to the Parisian Maps of Challenge Mission: Paris.

In other words, you will need a lot of these maps to use for the job.


The end-goal of this mission is to steal one of the Crown Jewels. There will be 3 chapters with a few jobs in each chapter that you can master and you will have to spend a lot of British Passports to get all the jobs done.

However, this time, it looks like there is an alternative way to get maps:


Each time you unlock a new chapter, you will be able to get a bunch of free British Passports just by adding a new person to your mafia. When you unlock Chapter 1, add two people for 60 free passports, 80 for Chapter 2, and 100 for Chapter 3.

If the British Passport requirements for the Challenge Mission: London jobs are similar to the costs of Paris, these maps will provide you with 1/3 of the maps you will need to complete the entire thing.

This is a good thing, because if you are like me you want to spend your energy on the new Bangkok jobs, not on low-paying NY jobs to collect passports.


Note that the rewards are shown in the picture above. For finishing off Chapter 1, you will get the Blockade Auto Shotgun (58 attack, 45 defense; weapon). For Chapter 2, you will get the FSB Agent (42 attack, 76 defense; armor). For Chapter 3, you will get the Nightowl Helicopter (107 attack, 55 defense; vehicle), which is quite nice. A high-powered vehicle like that will go a long way in robbing.

After adding your mafia member, you get to the starting screen of Mafia Wars Challenge Mission: London.


You can start collecting 12 maps every 24 hours now - might as well get an early start! There are just under 6 days left before Challenge Mission: London is unlocked - might as well stock up on free maps in the meantime!
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May 25, 2010

Challenge Mission London Coming Soon

Another rendition of the challenge missions are coming soon! This time Mafia Wars will be taking us to London:


I'm guessing we will see this London in about 2 weeks or so. Since Bangkok episodes 6 and 7 just came out, it is unlikely we will see London anytime soon.

The real reason though that this is likely to not come out before another week or two has passed is that we are likely to see a holiday event for Memorial Day (a US holiday on May 31st) which is likely to run for close to a week.

I am guessing we will see Challenge Mission: London sometime after the Memorial Day event.

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With that said, I forgot to post about the new Chop Shop / Weapons Depot feature that lets you build things faster.


You can reduce the timer on your Chop Shop or Weapons Depot by 2 hours for spending 1 reward point. In other words, you can spend 12 reward points and build a second car right after building your first one.

Before you groan about another paid feature, this is actually pretty good. As some readers on the previous post noted, spending 12 reward points to get +5 attack points and a 51 attack weapon is better than spending 14 reward points (12 if its on sale) for +4 skill points (provided you have plenty of the requirements).
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Robbing and Weapons Depot Changes

As many of you have pointed out in the comments section of my last post, there have been some significant changes to Robbing and the Weapons Depot.

Robbing XP took a significant hit; especially the bonus XP:


For 6 wins, I received 33 bonus XP instead of the usual 10 XP per win. There appears to be some kind of formula in play. On the next round, I went 4-5, but still received the "usual" 40 XP:


On this grid clear, I won in 4 high stamina robberies (20+) and lost the rest which were 4 stamina robberies. I think it is still paying 10 bonus XP for big targets and paying less for lower targets now.

The XP also took a hit. I'm getting 54-55 XP for 25 stamina robberies where I was getting 60. Low stamina robberies took the biggest hit: winning a 4 stamina robbery now gives me 5 XP.

With that said, robbing XP is still pretty good and I think that this change was long coming. A 25 stamina robbery that gives 55 xp for winning + 10 bonus XP is still worth 2.6 XP:Energy.

I think robbing feels "right" now where before there was definitely too much XP floating around. Now, there is still an incentive to rob over do jobs but it makes "robbing only" builds much less appealing.

Also, it gives the developers a chance to improve fighting more with this new Fight Club feature.

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The Weapons Depot also took a hit. Now, weapons cost a lot more Weapons Parts than they did previously, bringing them more into line with the Chop Shop Costs:


The Railgun was 27 weapons parts and is now 81 weapons parts. I hope the drop rate of the parts has increased!
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May 22, 2010

Crime Spree Now Live

The old Respect Meter / Gift Safe House combo has been updated and the name has been changed to "Crime Spree":


Now, leveling up scales. Going from Level 0 t0 Level 1 requires 5 items, as does going from Level 1 to Level 2. At Level 2, it rises; Level 2 to Level 3 requires 10 items.

Unfortunately, when you level up, you get an randomly selected item (from a pool of about 6 items):


I have not seen any "good" items as rewards for leveling up or rewards from opening gifts.

Right now, to me at least, I have not seen any conclusive evidence that makes me think this is worthwhile. With that said, you can get some good rewards from mastering the higher levels (6+). Whether this is worth it to you, you will have to decide that for yourself.

Maybe the rewards will be even better for higher levels, we will have to wait and see!

However, if you do send a gift to your mafia members by responding to their Mafia Wars Crime Spree request, you can pick 100 XP, 50 energy, 0r 10 stamina as a reward. I guess it is truly better to give than receive!

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Oh, and here is a free rewards point link:

http://zyn.ga/Dx

Thanks anon!
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May 18, 2010

Episodes 6 and 7 Loot and Information; Bangkok Strategy

If you have not yet played through Episode 7 of Mafia Wars Bangkok, note that there is no "Choice Points" - in other words, you never have to pick between Triad or Yakuza.

Here are the four loot items available in Episode 7. Again, there are no choice points, so these are available to everyone:

Titanium Katar: 35 attack, 50 defense (weapon)


Royal Thai Marine: 33 attack, 49 defense (armor)


Chain Viper: 46 attack, 33 defense (currently an armor, but will become an animal)


Lamang Motorcycle: 49 attack, 34 defense (vehicle)


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So, with that said, here are the new best-in-slot pieces (not counting Chop Shop / Faction Store items):

Weapons:

Offensive: Nak Kha Shotgun (47 attack) - Episode 6, Chapter 3 (Triad-only)

Defensive: Titanium Katar (50 defense) - Episode 7, Chapter 2 (no faction requirement)


Vehicles:

Offensive: Lamang Motorcycle (49 attack) - Episode 7, Chapter 2 (no faction requirement)

Defensive: Raed Armored Sedan (47 defense) - Episode 6, Chapter 2 (Triad-only)


Armor:

Offensive: Ninja (47 attack) - Episode 6, Chapter 3 (Yakuza-only)

Defensive: Royal Thai Marine (49 defense) - Episode 7, Chapter 1 (no faction requirement)

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Note that there is an overlap between two best-in-slot items. In Episode 6, Chapter 3, both the Triad and Yakuza provide a "best" item (Nak Kha Shotgun and the Ninja).

There are a couple ways you can work around this:

1) You can stay at 3-star mastery until you collect all you need of one of the items, then switch over to the other faction. For example:

-Master the jobs in Episode 6, Chapter 3 as Yakuza up to 3 times. Do not "Finish" the boss and move onto level 4 mastery.

- Repeat the job in question over and over again until you have all the Ninjas you need.

- Master the tier for the 3rd time, and then switch over to Triad on the last time through. Now you can collect all the Nak Kha Shotguns that you need.


2) Trade for whatever piece you need.

This *could* be easier if you can find a trading partner. Finding a partner would be tough though! I don't recommend this route unless you plan to do this with a friend.


3) Ignore the Ninjas.

This is what I am doing. It's only a light upgrade over the Shturmovik and you can buy a better offensive armor in the faction store.

Additionally, there is a new "Armor Shop" coming just like the Chop Shop and Weapons Depot, so there will be even more high quality armor available which will be better than the Ninja.

I'm just going to sit this one out - there is plenty of other stuff to collect!

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Job Mastery Items:

For mastering Episode 6, the reward is the Xinthriy Executive Jet: 78 attack, 125 defense (vehicle; this will replace the Royal Thai Elephant which will become an animal).

For mastering Episode 7, the reward is the Thai Giant Centipede: Attack 133 Defense 80 (weapon; will become an animal).


And that's pretty much it for these two episodes! For all the serious players out there, there is now plenty of $B to get and plenty of loot pieces to collect. Enjoy!
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Episode 6 Yakuza or Triads; Bangkok Strategy

The age-old question resurfaces: Who to pick, Yakuza or Triads? Here is the breakdown of Episode 6 of the newly released Mafia Wars Bangkok chapters!

Chapter 2

The Yakuza Tier


The Yakuza-only "Steal an Experimental Armor Prototype" drops the Yakuza-only Titanium Mesh Jacket (armor; 31 attack, 46 defense). This is a slight upgrade (+1 armor) over the Executive Overcoat).

The Titanium Mesh Jacket is Yakuza-only.

The Triad Tier


The Triad-only "Extort the Consortium's Remaining Officers" drops the Triad-only Raed Armored Sedan (vehicle; 30 attack, 47 defense). I want my Pirates from farming Lloyds Spectres back!

The Raed Armored Sedan is Triad-only

Conclusion

Both tiers contain upgrades over previous tiers. I am going with Triad since the Raed Armored Sedan is a bigger upgrade (+2 defense over Lloyds Spectre) than the Titanium Mesh Jacket (+1 defense over the Executive Overcoat).


Chapter 3

The Yakuza Tier


The Yakuza-only "Acquire Information On A Government Supporter" job drops the Yakuza-only Ninja (armor; 47 attack, 35 defense). This is a 2 attack upgrade over the Shturmovik (45 attack).

The Ninja is Yakuza-only.


The Triad Tier



The Triad-only "Bribe a Royal Thai Army Colonel" job drops the Triad-only Nak Kha Shotgun (weapon; 47 attack, 31 defense). Nice upgrade over the Ubijca Assault Rifle / Tanto (+4 defense; both of these items have 43 attack).

The Nak Kha Shotgun is Triad-only.

Conclusion

Once again, both choices contain upgrades over the previous tiers. Triad is a bigger upgrade however and I already have a good chunk of better armor pieces than the Ninja (Yakuza Assassin) from the faction store, so I am thinking the Nak Kha Shotgun is a better option.

It's possible that Episode 7 has better loot in one of these categories, but is highly unlikely. Given this split, I'm expecting we'll see the 2 best-in-slot animals in Episode 7, along with a new best-in-slot offensive vehicle and defensive weapon.

Will post up Episode 7 tonight; time for work! Enjoy the updates!
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Bangkok Episode 6 (Saboteur) and Episode 7 (Assassin) Now Live

Bangkok Episode 6 (Saboteur) and 7 (Assassin) are now live in Mafia Wars for you to play.

Right out the gate, these episodes are a big step up from the previous Bangkok ones. More $B required, more consumables required, more energy required, and higher powered loot.

Take a look at some of the weapons you will need to complete jobs:


If we need 90 Nguhea Sniper Rifles (not sure if we do) like we did in previous chapters, maybe I should have replaced my "save up at least 2 million $B" comment to 100 million!

At any rate, the loot is looking better too. I picked up this from the Chapter 3, Episode 6 Triad Only job:


Finally, an upgrade over the Ubijca Assault Rifle!


There are also some animals available now in the faction store:


The Banded Krait is Yakuza and the Xiamen Tiger is Triad.


And yes, you will need at least Pirates and Satellite Phones to make it through the new content.


And yes, the cost of these jobs is quite high. However, I don't see this as a problem. Bangkok was a bit more casual in nature than Moscow was; Episodes 6 and 7 were to appease the more serious audience that was whining about a lack of content. I think they ratcheted up the $B cost on purpose.

At any rate, I will post up the differences between Yakuza and Triads in Episode 6 in a few minutes. Episode 7 be up sometime tonight.
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May 15, 2010

Super Saturday - Double Mastery In All Cities Except Paris

As stated, for the next 24 hours, all cities except Paris are paying out double mastery, so if you aren't done with Bangkok yet, now is the time to do it.

Note that these "double mastery" days usually proceed some type of new content. With Paris coming to an end on Monday and a double mastery day today, I think we can expect Episodes 6 and 7 of Bangkok within the next three weeks.

As far as "prepping" for Episodes 6 and 7 go, there are a few things you can do:

Most important:

Save up 2 million or so $B. New content = new items to buy in Bangkok. Don't spend all your money on Yakuza Assassins! The more the better, you can always spend extra $B later on faction store items. You don't want a lack of cash to hold you up.

Stock up on Pirates, Drug Shipments. and Satellite Phones. Multiple episodes in Bangkok used Drug Shipments and Pirates. There is always a chance that we will need these again, so it can't hurt to stock up on them.

Moderate importance:

Episode 6 and 7 jobs are likely to cost even more energy then the Episode 5a and 5b jobs. As a result, weapons parts will be of short supply. After you save up a few million $B, get a lot of weapons parts. Odds are that you may run out of these while doing the high-cost Episodes 6 and 7 jobs.

Extra credit:

Stock up on -energy cost boosts, particularly the Moscow Episode 6 Golden Chicken. This can help you speed through content but is definitely secondary to extra $B and extra pirates/drug shipments.

Another Saturday Bonus - Free Reward Points!

From the Mafia Wars Facebook Fan Page:

Click this link: http://zyn.ga/Bv for free reward points!
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May 11, 2010

Mafia Wars Paris Chapter 3

The final episode of Mafia Wars Paris, Chapter 3, is now live!


Entitled "The Last Tangle in Paris", this episode is actually pretty easy. The requirements do not seem to be much higher map-wise than previous chapter, and as you can see from the picture above, you get more maps every day from the "collect" button.

Here are the map requirements for each job:

Find an Escape Route: 12% mastery per job attempt; 3/4/5 maps per job (depending on heat meter)

Evade the Authorities: 6% mastery per job attempt; 3/4/5 maps per job

Flee the Country: 4% mastery per job; 4/5/6 maps per job

If you are struggling with the map collection, the easiest way to collect maps is to repeat low energy jobs over and over.

The reward is the DaVinci Q415, which is a car with 63 attack and 103 defense.
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May 8, 2010

Central Mainframe Update

If you have been entering your Central Mainframe Access Code in each day, here is what you would have gotten:

Day 1: +3 attack
Day 2: +3 defense
Day 3: +10 (!) Health
Day 4: +3 stamina

So far, so good! The +10 health from yesterday was really unexpected. Between the past 4 days, the Central Mainframe has given away the equivalent of 19 skill points, or almost 4 level ups (though 10 health is not quite as good as 10 attack or energy).

Not a bad deal at all. If you lost your code, readers have reported that by e-mailing Zynga you can get a code replacement in short order.

Edit for some frequently asked questions:

1. I am unable to get my code again.

You only get it once. Write it down. What I did was save it to my desktop in a .txt document so I can copy and paste it in.

2. I do not see the place to enter the code.

This pops up on the home page every now and again. You can only enter your code every 24 hours. Be patient.
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May 5, 2010

Central Mainframe Access Secret Code

As you do jobs and fight, you will have a random chance for this pop-up to appear:



Apparently, players can enter this secret code (blurred for privacy, of course!) in at the Mafia Wars app home page for a special bonus each day.

Many players have not reported seeing a place on the home page to enter the code. There seems to be a refractory period (of about a few hours) between which you get your code and the space appears on the homepage that allows you to edit it. The box to enter the code is big, so once it is available you can't miss it:


Additionally, this bonus is also only meant for one account - if you enter the wrong code into a different account, you won't get a bonus (or worse, who knows), so make sure you keep your accounts straight and do not share your code with friends.
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Dark Uprising: Bangkok Episodes 6 and 7

It turns out that we aren't done with Mafia Wars Bangkok after all: the next content in game is now due to be Episodes 6 and 7 of Mafia Wars Bangkok!


You will have to finish Episodes 5A and 5B to participate in the 2 final episodes. As one blog reader pointed out, I suspect that these last two episodes in Bangkok will offer some higher-end animals to match our current equipment sets.

As far as release, I expect that this will come out in 2 weeks at the earliest but more likely in early June. I figure they will not release any content while Paris is still out, and it would be easy to let Paris ride into Memorial Day Weekend, have another holiday event, and then release Bangkok Episodes 6 and 7 shortly after.

Will have more info as it becomes available!
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May 4, 2010

Turkey Vulture - New Limited Time Item

Today's limited edition mass-gifting item is the Turkey Vulture, a new animal with 62 attack!


You can get up to 5. Given that it is an animal with really high attack and is likely to be much better than any alternative that will be available in the near future, make sure you log in to pick this thing up before time runs out!
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Challenge Mission Paris Chapter 2 Now Open

Chapter 2 of the Challenge Mission Paris limited time city is now open.


There are once again three jobs:

Shut Down the Security System (2 maps when the job heat meter is green; 12% mastery per attempt)

Enter the Building (2 maps when green; 6% mastery per attempt)

Disable the Safeguards (3 maps when green; 4% mastery per attempt).

Maps needed to complete chapter 2:

Green:127, Yellow:178, Red:229

Energy needed: Green: 2831, Yellow: 4820, Red: 6608 (thanks FFfreak for the info!)

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Pretty much everything works the same as Chapter 1. The job heat meter is still in play and moves up every time you do 3 jobs. Chapter 2 actually doesn't seem to require many more maps to complete then Chapter 1. One reader reported that Chapter 2 took around 225 maps to finish in one sitting (Chapter 1 was about 200 if you powered through it).

The reward for completing chapter 2 is the French Kiss weapon (75 attack, 45 defense).
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May 3, 2010

Free Powerful Items and Other News

If you haven't logged into Mafia Wars lately, now is the time because they are giving a lot of freebies away:


This popped up when I logged in today. Yesterday, there was a 69 attack armor (Rogue CIA Agent) as a give-away. Clicking send will send off the item to 50 random mafia members. Each member can accept up to 5 of these Death Dealer Miniguns.

This was in addition to the free reward points (2) I received for logging in. Not a bad deal at all!

I also got this text after leveling up:


I didn't actually get 50 reward points though. The spelling and grammar is interesting to say the least - makes me wonder if the text is just a bug.

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At any rate, Chapter 2 of Challenge Mission: Paris comes out tonight. Will have some updates early tomorrow morning. Stock up on maps!
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May 1, 2010

On the Topic of Game Changes..

As many, of you may have noticed, there are a bunch of new minor features in game:

1. Players now receive a reward point for logging in each day. Pretty cut and dry, can't complain about that!

2. There is a new add mafia and gift accepting tab when you open up Mafia Wars:

What a lovely name...

Adding people to your mafia is now definitely easier and faster than before. The gift accepting thing still seems to run through Facebook so it is about the same speed as before.

3. Players now have to click an extra button to help people on jobs. Originally, it seem that this change cut out the experience points bonus:


However, this was later changed back to getting an XP bonus:


I think the problem with this "nerf" (even though helping people for XP is not a massive source of XP) is that people are inherently selfish and can't be bothered to click a help link unless they are going to get something for doing it!

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However, it still seems that the developers are looking for ways to get rid of power-leveling with energy accounts. Different changes are being experimented with and we really can't be sure of what might change in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, any major changes are about a year too late, as players of all types depend on current game mechanics to play their accounts.

I touched on this exact issue back in December in this post. The only reason players played energy accounts in the first place was because at that time, there was no other meaningful activity else do to besides spend energy. There was no real reward from fighting. This is the only reason energy accounts existed.

While I'm not going to rehash on why energy accounts exist, I will repeat that the best way to draw players away from energy accounts is to make fighting more appealing. I will also restate that nerfing the amount of xp per energy point simply encourages more people to put points in energy. An attack/defense heavy account has a hard enough time completing content as it is, anything that negatively affects them will only make it worse.

So far, I would say the developers are doing a good job since the turn of the year in promoting fighting. Robbing so far is a nice addition. It provides pretty good XP per stamina, and the Diamond collection is pretty valuable.

The Chop Shop and Weapons Depot also give fighting characters a meaningful method of progression, since players can rob for weapons and car pieces and earn permanent stat increases each day. It would be a nice change to allow the "rare" weapon pieces, like the railgun barrel, to drop from good records on robbing grid clears. This would allow a true balanced account to acquire these rare pieces which are currently most easily gathered from jobs.

Apparently there is some more fighting-oriented stuff in the works like the Fight Club and Street War or something along those lines. Adding these things in will draw people into the fighting game and out from mindlessly putting points into energy.

All things considered though, some people will continue to play energy accounts simply because this game has been out 2 years and those players just aren't inclined to start over. Once a game has been running a long time and players have invested money into it, any massive overhaul will upset the community greatly. These types of changes should be noted and saved for Mafia Wars 2.
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