Now, this is the second time we've seen this nerf. About a month ago, Top Mafia Wheelman and Mastermind bonuses dropped from 11% to 10%.
There was a forum post on the official Zynga forums back when they first tried to implement the huge nerf with the changes to Top Mafia. XP:Energy ratios dropped to somewhere around 1.7-1.8 even for the best jobs. Players complained and their daily annual users dropped significantly.
They ultimately reversed it, but I noticed one curious post. One player recommended that they slowly nerf it over time, nicking a little here and there, until it was reduced to their desired level. One of the developers (who rarely posts) replied that he thought it was a great idea. And that is what it looks like they're doing.
Now, this is the second time they've done this, so they are sure to do it again. However, this is the real first nerf where players will start to feel it. Losing a few energy and experience points here and there did not really effect anyone greatly, especially when there were still a lot of repeatable jobs in game which paid over 2 XP:Energy.
Now however, there are no non-consumable jobs which have a high XP:Energy ratio. Energy account leveling is effectively dead, and no new players will be able to level up energy accounts. No new players will be able to reach end-game in any decent amount of time, and naturally players will quit Mafia Wars (just like any game) and move onto greener pastures. In my opinion, this is the beginning of the end of Mafia Wars.
Looking at the Monthly Annual User count, it experienced a huge spike yesterday:
but the Daily Annual Users (DAU) barely budged. Not sure what exactly caused the huge spike, but it seems they may have timed whatever the reason for this to coincide with this nerf as if the players wouldn't notice.
I think that the DAU will continue to drop over the next few days. Mafia Wars is far to old to be making all of these changes. It's a sinking ship (its a text-based game over 2 years old), so I think it's getting to be time to prepare to cut their losses and launch Mafia Wars 2.
Here are some things to think about for a future Mafia Wars:
- Level Cap
- Would stop exploiters from reaching level 5983 if you could only hit level 100)
- Would prevent it becoming "too late" for new players to join and reach the top
- Would make new expansions much more exciting
- Automatic Stat Distribution
- This would allow developers to actually balance a game since everyone has the same stats. You wouldn't have to tune the game to "punish" energy account or fighting account players. Everyone would have the same account.
- Would keep players from breaking the game by stacking one stat exclusively
- Customization of stats could be offered by small ways to gain points, like the Chop Shop
- Would make players put points in stats like HP which are typically referred to as worthless
- Raising level caps makes new cities more exciting. It's not "just another city" but a way to notice a significant increase in your character's strength while doing new content
- The new levels would offer significant stat point bonuses
- Raising the level cap would remove the barrier for entry for new players. By offering significant bonuses to stat points for new levels, everyone gets reset to roughly the same skill level. Older players enjoy some bonus skill points from daily activities and having better loot, but newer players won't struggle to reach the top
Any other ideas for a new Mafia Wars? It is inevitable after all. Imagine yourself as a new player competing against other accounts that are level 2,000+. How would these new players ever even think about finishing Bangkok, which requires nearly 200 energy for some jobs? Not going to happen in this lifetime without an energy account.