Apr 4, 2010

That Mafia Wars Addiction

When I started using Facebook, there were a few games on there that I used a few times (like Kidnap, Pillow Fight, and Food Fight), mainly because my friends kept sending me invitations and "gifts" from these applications. It seemed like my friends would use them for a few weeks and then stop using them all of a sudden. There was one I played, Farmville, that I still see many of my friends using. I couldn't get the hang of that game. I think I planted all my trees in the same ridiculous looking spot and didn't know how to take care of my property. Eventually I just got rid of the application.

But then Mafia Wars by Zynga suddenly became very I joined a mafia that a lady I work with was in and others added me to theirs until my own mafia grew. As I saw myself getting rewarded for pulling these "jobs" and learning that "gifting" other members helps you out (gifts give you things like attack skill points and defense skill points), I was finding myself among the millions of social network users who became addicted to the game.

How? I guess it's the thrill of being able to virtually send your own mafia to attack someone in another mafia when you yourself gets "attacked". If you've been a pretty good player who does their share in helping out mafia members who post for help on jobs and share the rewards you get, your mafia will be good to you and help defend you against those other attackers. The help you get is really just your mafia member clicking on that button that says "Help out *Leila* (or whatever your call tag is)". Then Zynga reports back to you on who helped you or who took out your target. Then you have the opportunity to thank them by sending them a gift. Haha! It's like having a mafia without the violence (or bloody imagery as you see in MMORPGs that have fighting in them).

Alas, the busy mother and woman that I am, I have put a limit to my playtime, though. Besides that, I've never been a real serious online gamer and can't ever see myself trying to make my mafia size over 1000 like I see other mafia wars gamers doing. (When would I ever have the time to keep up with a mafia that size?!) Anyway, believe it or not, there are even Facebook pages and groups for players to "pimp" themselves to get more mafia members. I have to admit though, at the beginning, I did join players who have "pimped" themselves for that purpose. Luckily I have been able to "hook up" with pretty decent and respectable players. However, I've heard that there are many players who get really rude online, especially some with really huge mafias and really high level members. Some of them say it's an insult to receive certain kinds of "gifts" from other players. But what if someone just wants to give back and don't know what to give because they don't have anything on the higher level player's wishlist to be able to give? Besides that, some "lower level" gift items can be "revaulted" for extra points and skills. So I wonder what's the big deal that some players have to be so ungrateful about gifts they get?

When I think about it, I don't know how long I'm actually going to keep playing Mafia Wars. I kind of hate to see all that game time I spent leveling up to 327 (which is where I'm at as of this writing) go to waste. Plus every time I think of cutting back severely, Zynga comes up with new collections you can start amassing for points. There's even a chop shop now that you can build exotic cars that give you huge amounts of attack and defense points. And I'm already up to level 7 on my chop shop! Hmm...

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