Social Game Preview – Mafia Wars: Bangkok

-MafiaWars Bangkok Icon-With the Friday release of Mafia Wars Bangkok looming, we were pleased when Zynga extended a few early-access passes to preview the game. Mafia Wars, one of the most popular applications for Facebook at 25,000,000 MAU, has been a success for Zynga ever since it’s release. It was one of the first applications on Facebook to reportedly earn a serious revenue

Mafia Wars Bangkok will be the 3rd expansion after Cuba (at level 35) and Moscow (at level 70), and features the innovative ability to choose from two separate gangs, the Yakuza and the Triad. This mechanic is similar to choosing between the Mafiya and Thieves in Law in the Moscow expansion.

Surprisingly, a level-cap is not the requirement to gain access into the Bangkok expansion, this time. Players must acquire three key items from the New York area to proceed. I won’t give away the specifics on the items, but it is not a difficult goal to achieve, and surely the Mafia Wars discussion boards may offer a tip or two.

Your first decision will be to choose which faction you plan to support. The two choices – Yakuza and Triad – have unique job trees and abilities that they can earn. This is a new dynamic for Mafia Wars and the main contribution of this new expansion. However, the interesting element here is that you align with a faction by choosing specific jobs that support the faction. As you do this, your respect with that faction goes up (and sometimes angers the opposing faction). You get bonuses within each faction for rising, but also get bonuses for being well-liked by both. It’s an interesting trade-off.

As you complete certain jobs and win fights against rival faction members in Bangkok, you’ll earn increased respect from the faction you help out. Earn enough reputation, and you’ll unlock special items that can be purchased in theFaction Store.

However, helping one faction is sure to anger the other – keep in mind that as your status with one faction goes up, the other faction will drop. Drop below a certain level and that faction may cut off access to items in the store.

Rumors have been swirling that a Las Vegas addition is coming soon, although there have been no official announcements to back that up. That said, judging by the continued success, there’s no doubt that Mafia Wars will continue to expand. The question is whether Playfish’s brand new Gangster Wars game, with its high production values, will put pressure on the Mafia Wars audience.

Another thing I’m wondering about is how long until Facebook Credits appear as an option for my Godfather points.

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