This post was originally from February 2009, before many of the new features like job mastery, achievements, and Cuba. Therefore you may find details on some of these items missing. I will update as I have the time.
I’m currently a level 92 335 (as of 6/25/09) Fearless in Facebook Mafia Wars. I remember starting out and scouring the internet for some good hints (not cheats), and being extremely disappointed at the lack of good help out there. Most of the articles focused on cheats (if you’re going to cheat, why bother playing???) or were written by a level 20-something. I found a couple of good tidbits, which I have applied, but find it my responsibility to fill a gap that’s out there. So here are some tips and advice on leveling quickly in Facebook Mafia Wars.
Note that there are MANY different ways to play this game. I prefer to play to level quickly and consistently, therefore this is what this guide focuses on.
Disclaimer: This guide is written by an engineer. Proceed with alert mind.
Beginning the game
When I started this game, I had no idea what I was getting into. Or what an addiction Mafia Wars would become. You’re first given the choice of a name and character type. Don’t worry too much about your name. You could choose one to intimidate, or pick “Don something” like most others. Don’t bother trying to get “Godfather” – it’s taken. And if you do happen to choose wrong, you have the opportunity to change it later using reward points (visit the Godfather). For character type, the right one to set yourself up to level quickly is “Maniac.” Maniacs have energy that regenerates quicker, vs. Mogul which regenerates money quicker, and Fearless which regenerates health quicker. With the key to leveling quickly (and with less time/effort expense) being energy to do jobs, Maniac becomes the clear winner.
You are given some reward (Godfather) points starting out. Don’t spend these right away. As tempting as it is to spend them, get a good nest egg and reward yourself later. To level the quickest, only spend Godfather points each time you reach 10, and use them on an energy refill (after you are at zero energy and won’t waste the refill points, of course).
Building the base of your empire
Income. In the beginning your biggest concern should be making cash to build your empire. Start by doing some jobs. At first concentrate on jobs that earn you money so that you can save up to buy some property. You’ll get some experience and will climb a few levels also, but the key here is to build a strong base so that you can level quickly and efficiently later on. Also do some robbing (in the “Fight” tab). But if you are not winning money from them do not continue to rob them. You’ll likely find this to be more effective than doing jobs (only at first) in making some quick dough. Once your nest egg is built, however, there will be no need to rob anyone as your hourly income from property that you will purchase will be more than sufficient to keep you going.
Properties. Once you buy a property (1 or 10) the cost of the next one(s) goes up. So to take advantage of the low cost of initial properties, only buy in quantities of 10. Be patient and save up; it will be worth the time. The only exception is Mafia Mike’s, which you can only buy in quantity of one since your ability to purchase it is dependent on Mafia size. Buy Mafia Mike’s as soon as you have 1)enough money to buy 10 abandoned lots and a Mafia Mike’s and 2)enough mafia to be eligible to buy them.
To get into the real nitty-gritty of buying properties, concentrate on saving up first for properties that give the shortest return on investment (ROI). To figure this out, add the cost of 10 lots required for your property to the cost of 10 properties and divide this total by the income this property will provide (don’t forget to multiply income by 10, as you will buy 10 of the property). The number you get is the number of hours it will take you to make back the total amount of money you invested in the lots & properties. You want this number to be as low as possible. I actually put together an Excel spreadsheet to prioritize which properties I needed to buy in which order, and I updated it each time property costs went up. I suggest you do the same. It’ll give you a moving queue of what to buy when you have the money to do so. (Note: Once I owned about 20 of everything, I found that the ROI was so long that I didn’t even want to bother. As long as you are making in the $15-20 million/hr. range, you are likely good to cover any ongoing upkeep charges you will ever have.) Update 5/16/09: Given the “Achievements” feature added earlier this month, you may want to continue buying property until you are in the $100 million + range. $20 million/hr will be sufficient to do whatever you want to do in this game (outfit your mafia, etc.), but it will take you FOREVER to hit the “bank $1 trillion and $10 trillion” achievements. See my other post Facebook Mafia Wars – Do the Math! for more on those achievements.
Mafia. Starting out, DO NOT build a big mafia. To be effective in fighting you must be able to outfit all of your mafia with the best in weapon, protection, and vehicle. If your mafia is too big at first you will not be able to afford the inventory or upkeep associated with keeping them all outfitted. Instead, get yourself 6 mafia family quickly (for a total family of 7), as you can make them your top mafia and, if they put you in their top mafia then they can then supply you with energy packs (energy boosts they can send you every 24 hrs so that you can do more jobs). Your top mafia should be people who play often, and ideally that put you in their top mafia. And remember to buy all of the Mafia Mike’s properties that you can given your family size of 7. WARNING – be careful about buying your mafia family of 7 all of the biggest and best weapons, protection, and vehicles right away, as you may run yourself into debt. Note carefully the upkeep ($/hr) associated with each inventory purchase you make, and make sure you have plenty to cover that cost and still make a decent hourly income.
Profile points. Profile points are the points you get when you level up or master jobs. I would suggest dumping all of these into energy at first and ongoing. Here’s why:
- Profile points put into energy come directly back to you in experience points, in anywhere from a 1:1 to 2:1 ratio (experience per energy expenditure), depending on the job.
- Profile points put into stamina come back to you in an average of about 2:1 (experience per stamina expenditure), which is better than what you get for energy expenditure, but it costs TWO profile points to raise stamina by 1 (so the experience to profile ratio is only 1:1 ongoing if you put points towards stamina, vs. a continued 1:1 to 2:1 ongoing if you put points towards experience). In addition, to win fights you’ll need to throw profile points not just into stamina, but also into attack and defense. (Confusing, I know, but continue to reason this out and it’ll make sense.)
- So to continue to get the most experience out of each profile point, concentrate on using them to do more jobs (energy) vs. becoming better at fighting (stamina, attack, and defense).
- Don’t bother to ever put profile points into health. Health only prolongs how long you can fight without visiting the doctor, but ongoing you’ll be making so much money that you’ll be able to afford the doctor as much as you’d like without issue.
Daily gameplay strategy. Don’t ever let energy and/or stamina max out (ideally). If you do this you are never letting a point go to waste. But realistically you won’t be able to do this perfectly. So, each time you check into Mafia Wars, make sure you spend every energy and stamina point you have. The only exception is for energy. If you know that you’ll be able to check in again before your energy maxes out, and that if by saving points you’ll be able to do a better job (more experience for the energy point) or a job you still need to master, then by all means save some energy points. (My energy is now above 800, and never maxes out overnight, so I can usually even save a few at the end of the night to do better jobs in the morning.)
An advanced strategy for when you are close to leveling up is to use up most, but not all of your energy, saving enough to do a job you need to master (or just another good experience:energy job). Then, inch your way up to the next level by robbing, but stop when you are within 6 experience points of leveling up. Lastly, use up the last bit of energy you have to jump to the next level, and you will already have a jump on gathering points for your next level.
Energy pack usage. When you use an energy pack, it refills all of your energy PLUS another 25%. Therefore, to get the most out of every energy pack and never let an energy pack go to waste, only use energy packs when you are at Energy=zero, and ideally right after you level up and use up your energy that was refilled from the level-up. The only time I don’t wait to level up before using an energy pack is when I know that I can use up the entire energy pack without leveling up in the middle of that energy (and let energy points go to waste).
The hitlist. I’ve seen many folks claim that the hitlist can bring in some quick dough, but I never had any luck with it. You only need to be the last shot that brings one of these big guys down to pull in the bounty cash, but usually when there’s one on the list worth going after (say over $100,000 or so) you are one of many trying to bring him down and the odds aren’t with you. But, if you do decide to give it a go, my advice is to set a lower limit on the bounty dollar amount and only go after the ones where you can make that much or more, and only start attacking them after they’ve been on the list for at least a little bit (so that others have a chance to beat them down a bit – remember, you just need to deliver the last hit that brings them down in order to collect the bounty cash).
Now you’re rolling…
Once you get to the point in the game where you are making $15-20 million/hr you can really start leveling up in the game quickly.
How often to play. From what I’ve seen, you’re doing well if you can level up twice in one day (assuming you have not mastered all NY jobs and are not getting the 2 energy pts per regen period – once you get those you should be able to level up at least 3x per day and sometimes 4x). I typically need to check into the game just once/day and receive 1 energy pack/day to make this happen. I follow the strategies outlined above in “Daily gameplay strategy“ and “Energy pack usage” in my daily play.
Defending yourself. Even if you are not one to instigate fights or rob anyone in Mafia Wars, you will be attacked and robbed. But, there are many ways to defend yourself without putting profile points into defense. Here are some of those ways:
- Always make sure your entire family is outfitted with the best weapon, protection, and vehicle. This will ensure you the best chance of winning a fight once someone picks it. The game will automatically choose from your inventory the best items first and will pick one weapon, protective item, and vehicle for each member to use in a fight. Don’t worry about selling items that aren’t good enough unless the clutter really gets to you or the upkeep charges are too steep. Note that many of the special items offered on the “Home” page are much better than the items in the “Inventory” page. Buy these when you can (when you have enough mafia), as they are a great deal, but don’t build your mafia family just to buy them.
- Build a big mafia, if you can afford to outfit them all. Most players going out to pick fights or rob others are going to pick on the little guys. Big mafias are intimidating; if you have a big mafia, chances are you’ll get picked on less.
- Don’t put people on the hitlist or sucker punch them just because they attacked you, robbed you, snuffed you, or put you on the hitlist. Be the bigger person. Everyone needs to attack or rob others to make the most of their stamina points, so let them rob or attack you and be done. You’ve likely robbed or attacked them before anyways. Better yet, send them a friend request and add them to your mafia =)
Property upkeep. I’m not a big fan of this feature added February 2009, but just don’t forget to keep dumping money into your property so that they continue to generate the income that you need. You can even choose to “protect” your property by dumping a little extra into them. (It’s ok though, I needed something to spend my $10 billion + on…)
Mastering jobs. I do like this new feature added February 2009. It adds another way to get profile points (to dump into energy) and adds some variety to the jobs you do (I had only been doing the Hitman job “Exterminate a Rival Family” because it had an awesome payout of 70 experience for just 40 energy.) I’m only assuming that mastering these jobs and thus getting more experience points helps level quicker in the long run, but unbelievably enough I haven’t done the math.
The big finish
Well mafiosos, I hope this helped you out. If you have anything to add or debunk, feel free to add comments below. I will continue to update this post as I learn more or debunk myself. See you on the streets.