Aug 31, 2010

It's On In San Juan

I noticed a new banner on my game tonight.  "It's On In San Juan" and the "Fight Starts Thurs 9/2".  No additional information is provided.  Because of the mysteriousness and the phrase "Fight Starts", this reminds me of the "Feds Are Watching Banner" that we all got sick of looking at.  It's probably a safe bet to assume that San Juan will be very similar to The Feds.  Let hope all the bugs are gone and this one won't be pulled a few times.
There is a Zynga Forum Board discussion thread titled It's On in San Juan. No moderators commented and so far it's all speculation.  Some players point out that The Feds required a lot of stamina and it's bad timing since the stamina refills from playing Treasure Isle just got nerfed (1).  
In addition to Events, Zynga also loves to recycle graphics.  If the guy on the banner looks familiar to you it's because he already has a home in the game.  You can find him the first time you enter Cuba.
This would be more realistic if San Juan was in Cuba but it's the Capital City of Puerto Rico.  Maybe the Cuban guy wants to start his life over in San Juan.  I bet he wishes Zynga would just leave him alone!

Help Drop Bar Menu Changes

The Mafia Mars Maniac blog posted an article titled Game News! today.  We are used meaningless changes with symbols and fonts but this change provides us with a clue of things to come.  Here is a before and after image of the Help Drop Bar.
In the past, "Coming Soon" would rarely be updated and didn't do a whole lot for us.  Now when you click on "Game News", you get 2 Tabs.
The "Community News" Tab will probably contain the types of things we saw in the past.  It's nice that it no longer says "Coming Soon" because that would confuse people.  Gone in 60 Hours was gone about 2 months ago!
The "Release Notes" Tab is what I'm excited about.  I think this demonstrates that Zynga is taking steps to their players better informed.  It would be great if all the game changes and updates would be listed for us within our Mafia Wars game.  It's too soon to really know what this is all about but I view this new addition as a sign of hope for further opening the doors of communication between Mafia Wars players and Zynga.

Treasure Isle Promotion Over

We knew it was going to happen but it looks like the Mafia Wars bonuses we get for playing Treasure Isle everyday are officially over.  On August 25, Al Catraz, Super Moderator made a statement about this but it confused many of us because we were still getting stamina refills.
Today, in the same discusssion thread, FionaWG (Mafia Wars Moderator) confirmed this.  Others are reporting that the bonuses for Zynga Poker and Vampire Wars are still available. 
Because FionaWG added the statement that "Al Catraz has stated this earlier in this thread", I wasn't 100% convinced it was over so I checked it out for myself.  When I used the promotional Link, I got the Treasure Isle pop-up in my Mafia Wars game so it looked promising.
I was disappointed that my Treasure Chest only contained a useless Sailing Instrument and nothing that would help me in Mafia Wars.
The extra stamina enabled me to play Mafia Wars for a longer period of time.  Now I will play less Mafia Wars and block Treasure Isle.  There is no longer a need to play this silly game. 

Mumbai: Chapter 2

Chapter 2 of The Challenge Mission: Mumbai is now unlocked.  It's called Fights, Cameras Factions and is just like all the others.  According to The Mafia Wars Maniac Blog you will need about 8600 energy and 380 Bollywood Film Reels if you complete all 4 jobs at once.  We have Eleven days to complete a 3 Chapters so there is no need to rush it. 
(Click on any image to enlarge)
I started with a lot of Bollywood Film Reels.  I've been collecting them everyday within the game and from my Free Gifts. 
There are 4 jobs each one requiring a different amount of  energy and Bollywood Film Reels depending on the status of The Job Heat Meter.
Job Heat Meter:  Green
Job Heat Meter:  Yellow
Job Heat Meter:  Red
The job mastery percentages per click decreases with each job.
You get a skill point and access to the next job when you reach 100% Job Mastery for the first 3 jobs.
When you master the 4th job, you get a Skill Point and a limited edition loot item called a Bollywood Superhit (47/81) which is a defensive weapon with great stats.  You also get an opportunity to brag about it to all of your friends.
I noticed that several of the pop-ups had a scene from Challenge Mission:  South Africa on it.  It's hard to see but its in the background of the following pop-ups.
For more information, visit the The Mafia Wars Wiki Mumbai Page.

Hacked Mafia Wars Account

Since Zynga made all the good loot non-giftable, I've been feeling safe and haven't worried much about my account being hacked for the purposes of stealing loot.  This changed when I found out that one of my mafia members recently had this happen to him.  ADon Steve is one of the smarter members of my mafia and I know he follows all the security advice that is out there.  It's ironic that ADon Steve has a very popular note written by David Reedy titled How to stop hackers from getting your account posted on his notes.
I asked him if he had any idea how it could have happened. 
"I don't know how it happened.  I had a message from Facebook asking me if I changed my password.  My password wouldn't work for Facebook (or Gmail).  I checked my inventory and saw a lot of my loot was missing.  I don't know how they got my password.  One thought is through all the tinyurls that we use for mystery bags."/ADon Steve
ADon Steve also stated that he did not have his Facebook Security Option enabled.  This feature is annoying but necessary.  Anytime somebody logs into your account from a computer you haven't registered, you will get a e-mail notification.  For instructions on enabling this feature, see my article titled Facebook Security Option.
The problem I have with this feature is whenever I restart my computer, it doesn't remember the computers I've registered.  Every time I log into my account, I get an e-mail notification.  I've gotten used to it but it would be nice to find a solution to this problem.  I'm sure it has something to do with my browser settings in regards to history and cookies.
This feature may not save your loot but you will know that it's happening.  The problem here is that using The Chucker requires one to unframe your Mafia Wars game.  In an unframed state, access to your Mafia Wars account will not be shut off by losing access to your Facebook account.  Currently a game will stay unframed for about 12 hours.  Unless your hacker is worried about Zynga's TOS and opts not to use The Chucker, changing your Facebook and e-mail passwords won't stop him in his tracks.  If you are aware your loot is being chucked somewhere by somebody other than you, it's possible that Customer Support could do something about it.  This would only work if The Live Chat feature was available at the time.
Bossy Don of Top Mafia.Info recommends that if this happens to you that you should jump on The Chucker, set the delay to 2, and start chucking your crappy loot.  If you and the hacker are chucking at the same time, the gifting will be too fast and this will stop all gifts from leaving your account.

ADon Steve reported his hacking incident to Zynga Customer Support and below are the Live Chat transcripts and E-mail messages.  There isn't much that Zynga will do for ADon Steve because they say this type of thing is a Facebook issue.  The incident has been reported to a "higher source" and ADon Steve is frustrated.
(Click images to enlarge)
Since Zynga told Adon Steve this was a Facebook issue and they couldn't do anything for him, he next went to Facebook.  We all know Facebook doesn't have a Customer Support system like the one Zynga has.  All ADon Steve could do was search the Facebook Help Center.  He didn't find an answer specific to Mafia Wars but did find a FAQ about Stolen Zynga Poker Chips.  The advice Facebook gives is to contact the developer of the application. 

Vampire Wars: Mafia Wars Bonuses

I've had so much fun collecting my stamina refills for playing Zynga Poker and Treasure Isle that I decided to check out Vampire Wars.  There is talk of these bonuses being pulled soon so I won't be surprised if some or all of them stop working.

Getting the bonuses from Vampire Wars is very easy.  First, ensure that the application is not blocked. Unblock it and give it permission to access your account.
Click on this Link, the Vampire Wars Icon located at the top of your Mafia Wars game or the message from your home page to start playing.
Make sure you get this message from your Mafia Wars game before you play or you will not get the bonus.
And this is the message you will get from your Vampire Wars game.
If it's the first time you have played you will have to give yourself a name after you click "Play Now".
You then get some advice. 
From the home page, click on the "Missions" tab.
Click on one of the Missions 5 times and you're done.
 You will get a notice telling you you completed the missions and click on the link to get your bonus.
The 3 types of bonuses you can get are as follows.
Experience Points 
(10% of your level, 100 max)
1 Skill Point
5 Reward Points