Mar 18, 2012

The New Mafia Wars Team

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For the past few months, the Mafia Wars Team has been in a state of transition. The Mafia Wars Studio has moved from San Francisco, CA to Bangalore, India. The Zynga Studio-I was launched about a year ago and now is the home of the Mafia Wars Studio [1]. During the transition period, we haven’t had much communication with Zynga but that’s about to change!

File:BangaloreMontage.png
(images courtesy of the Bangalore Wikipedia Page)

The new leaders and managers may be new to Mafia Wars but they aren’t new to Zynga.  Many have been with the company for sometime. The good news for us is that they are Mafia Wars players and recognize the need for change. Feedback from the community will now play a more important role when decisions are made. Change doesn't happen overnight and there must be balance between what the players want and the business model of the game. Rather than dismiss this as another empty promise from Zynga, we should embrace it as hope. Many fear Mafia Wars will shut down and this is a positive sign of longevity. With the monthly active users falling below the 2 million mark, a new and enthusiastic team ready to address hard issues, communicate with the community and listen to the player base is exactly what Mafia Wars needs.
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(image courtesy of AppData)

The formulation of the next Player Advisory Committee shows that they are serious about listening to the players [1].  Many want to know who the members of the new PAC are. That shouldn’t matter as players are going to be rotated and representatives for different types of players will participate. What does matter is that Zynga is communicating with us once again. The PAC members are not an extension of Customer Support and are more of a sounding board for the Mafia Wars Team. They won't dictate decisions and only provide feedback. Feedback from larger groups will also play an important role in the decisions that are made. Being on the PAC is voluntary is there are no special privileges. For those who would like to be on the PAC in the future, stay active in the community and provide feedback on Zynga and third party sites. I don't know their criteria for selection but they probably need to know who you are. There are many positive changes to come and hopefully players will give the new Mafia Wars Team and the PAC a chance.
PAC
The new Mafia Wars Team is well aware that players don’t like the Limited Time Upgrade Properties in New York. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that one out. While the Mafia Wars Team plans on communicating and interacting with players, they can’t give us everything we want. Each game studio at Zynga has to meet the goals and objectives set forth by upper management. Their task at hand is to do this while keeping the game fun for players. The PAC and other player groups don't get to interact with Zynga upper management, they only provide feedback to the Mafia Wars Team. If something can't be changed, there is a reason and this should not be viewed as a flaw in the feedback system. The example of the property issue is just a guess on my part and I have no inside information on whether or not this is the reason that these properties continue to be released. It's only to demonstrate that not everything the players ask for will become realty.
pac2
After all, the buck stops here and there is only so much that can be done to make everybody happy. As long as development of Mafia Wars continues and people play the game, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
PAC


21 comments:

  1. Nice to see our City photos in your blog Gen..gives a good high...way to go..the first snap you have posted is UB City...that's the home to some of the biggest companies in the world..ex 3M the manufacturers of stick pad are based..but Zynga's office in Bangalore is located at another place which is quite close to the UB City...the last picture is a monument called Vidhana Soudha where the Government / politicans operate...hig

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  2. so what I am reading here is that the challenge is very large. Players do not like limited time properties but upper management looks at data that shows folks spend RP on upgrades so...... despite all the desire for fun play and any ides the MW team may have we are all stuck with crappy properties. What am I missing here?

    bottom line unless the MW team can somehow get new players in the game that will spend RP on fun stuff, then upper management will just keep sucking RP with the same current junk. What am I missing here?

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  3. On the big picture level, balance required when to LEAD a Service Company, which Zynga is, even if they do not know this within the company. The balance is to keep the Customers, Employees and Shareholder equally happy, without all of these groups pleased, the business will suffer greatly. I know that Zynga has a reputation for creating new games to bring in new players to replace the ones who are leaving. Does that remind anyone of anything that they have heard of in the financial world that is a failing business model?
    This is my comment for Mafia Wars and all of the Zynga games that I currently play; the service that I receive is not consistent. Sometimes it is awesome and other times you would think I was asking the representative to send me their own money. When I ask for support, I am generally asking for support because of a game glitch or an issue regarding a virtual item that costs Zynga nothing. If I were to purchase the item there may be an opportunity loss, but an actual loss is NOTHING. So to be given a hard time by any representative at any time is unforgivable in my book.

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  4. to much PR stuff here, far away from the brute truth of some days ago. congratulations on keeping your seat on the new pac. Now we know why they were behind with some tasks, they were firing the developers at ca. The game will be better keept under leash now since zynga will have to pay less for the human factor.

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  5. Sorry if you don't see your comment. I accidentally deleted 30 comments that were meant to be published. Obviously those comments calling Zynga names or making jokes about the situation will not be posted so don't bother. The example of the properties was only to show that the PAC and Mafia Wars Team communicate and everything the players want may not be granted as there are certain things beyond the control of the team. I do not know for sure that the properties is one of them, it was just an example to possibly explain why we continue to get them even though everyone knows they are hated. I think it's fantastic that a new team is in place as the old team was ready to move on and there was probably a lack of enthusiasm. All we can do is give them a chance and have hope. If not then the alternative is to keep playing a game you don't like and look for opportunities to say I told you so. There are still a lot of players who don't want to see Mafia Wars disappear. The fact that Zynga is still developing the game and has future plans is a sign that it won't.

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  6. Dear LL, I applaud your optimism, but having suffered the support from other companies like HP, Direct TV and numerous card companies they often seem to simply read from a script and I have noticed a difference within Zynga, since they have relocated, Not all of us are as optimistic as you may be right now. However, the tone will always come from the top down and Mark Pincus sets that tone, so as your example illustrates very nicely, it is Mark’s way right now and he should truly listen to the players who have left and those who are leaving. (IMHO)

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  7. I guess that explains the drastic crash in customer service responses.
    I have been reporting the same issue for months and it has been blown off until a few weeks ago when I started getting lots of responses but unfortunately their grasp of english was shaky at best and responses from 8 different reps all mis-identify the problem I have been reporting. But I guess as long as they have a higher profit margin and can keep pumping more crap into the game it's all worth while.

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  8. yes a new team is new enthusiasm. But they need to make the players enthused, which is much harder. I log on now because I spent so much time on the game and want to keep helping the family I am in. This new team needs to give me a reason to want to play and that does not mean logging on to beg for parts and so on (of course Jen has said as much herself so this is not news)

    the new team needs to realize that for many of us, this is MW's last chance.

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  9. well, change or no change I bought some RP back on the 3rd of the month and here it the 18th of the month and my RP has still not shown up in my account and all that zynga support can tell me is yes we can see that the purchase was made all that facebook support can tell me is we see the transaction and will forward the info to the proper zynga support team... All I can say if they do this to me wonder how many others they have ripped off and will never be purchasing RP from them again regardless of if they continue to put out the crappy limited time properties that we end up having to purchase parts to finish the dang things.... Thanks for posting the info enjoyed the read....

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  10. My feeling on the limited time properties is the same..I don't like them and I don't bother with them much but a fix for that is let us build more than 5 properties a day and I believe it would be much more welcomed and I'm sure they would make more money from RP sales.

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  11. I am losing lower/mid level players in their droves, one of the main reasons given is they feel they can't compete in battles & fights due to low level weapons. How about letting us gift our surplus better weaponry to them ... it might keep more playing the game.

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  12. Dom4Sys...AKA Cole Parker.
    Let me start by saying I love this Game Mafia Wars. Zynga on the most part do a passable job with Support. Up & down depending on the support person you get.
    GREED is not good.
    As with any business, the object is to make money, this however needs to be moderated to fit the target audience. The new properties are Fantastic and generate far more interaction with your Mafia. The blatant grab for $$$ with them may lead to inequities, (between the haves & have nots) that will cause players to leave..... JMO

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  13. From a site that records customer service comments . 9773 negative comments ! 1 POSITIVE COMMENT !Thats what 1/10th of 1 percent satisfied customers ! Do the math ZYNGA !

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  14. After 10 months of complaining to Zynga on Live Chat, sending multiple screen video's showing the issue I have been having and simply being told various reasons why it is broken
    Having two Zynga agents state in black and white to me that Zynga is not interested in fixing it, simply because it forces players to spend more RP. <--- this if it is true is a criminal act
    We all understand that Zynga is a for profit game and they will not keep the game around if no one is buying... but the fact is who really wants to spend $ on something that is broken.
    I went from finishing the Ice Seasons in 2-3 days to being unable to finish them unless I spend 30-60RP daily on stamina refills just for that purpose. Same goes for the 150 ices for the family module... not right at all.

    After 3.5 years of playing, i am tired of hearing excuses why something is not working. 10 MONTHS is a long time to have a broken fight list. I have wasted a large amount of RP simply making up for Zynga's failure to fix the game.

    There are other issues, but this one is simply pissing me off beyond belief these days. Fix the game and folks will stay. Make the game work and have it broken... folks going to leave. Simple as that.

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  15. i already stopped buying rps thats the only way i can get even to the company and its stupid employee...how? when a paying player like me stop spending it would mean less profit and that will eventually lead to downsizing and unemployment this mean and rude customer support dont realize that in the end its them who will suffer

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  16. Its rather sad to say Zynga knows exactly what they are doing to maximize profit by holding off on the release of London until thee last possible moment when the DAU(daily active user mafia player) statistic dropped down to 470K for the first time.

    That just shows to me Zynga's lack of commitment to the mafia wars game and it mafia wars players, mafia wars players are good natured and slow to anger, but once you piss them off they will strike a fatal blow by stopping themselves from buying any further reward points purchases in the future because they are not getting out of the mafia wars game some kind of expected progression in the mafia wars game.

    I have seen the game progress into a zynga free for all, with the artificial time limited properties rules being changed all the time with total lack and disregard for consistency and sense of fair play; that is what is being perceived as being unfair.

    There has not been a satisfactory explanation and response to the query of why so many dang properties; as it makes no sense to have properties that do not involve the social networking component like in the old properties; there is to direct a link in linking reward points purchases to be able to complete time limited properties at least up to level 11; and its starting to piss mafia wars players and now starting to anger and cause mafia wars players to leave the game.

    Zynga needs to seriously think about revamping the game mafia wars or else it to will fall into the obscure shadows of the already proven failed business case model for mafia wars 2, before it is to late?

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  17. ....I also wanted to comment on the Anonymous Mar 18, 2012 06:03 PM post. It would suck to not get the RP you bought and I hope they help you soon, my own experience with buying RP has been error free and I buy 1000 at a time at least 2-3 times a month (I know, but its entertainment, just like gambling). This is the one thing I can say Zynga has done well,at least for me. Good luck everyone.

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  18. Having worked for a major US bank for years and being a part of the group that went to India to set up the call centers, I can tell you right now, if this new Studio is "contracted", this will only be more trouble for the game. If they really work for Zynga and are not some group picked because of cost only, then maybe it will have some success. I can't say the bank I worked for because of an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) but I can say this, they are on the 6th yes 6th contract and there are so many stories of complete horror I could tell you about.

    It has nothing to do with it being in India but the fact they are using non-direct workers (contracted workers) compared to direct (those who work directly for the company) It doesn't take too much intelligence to tell that chat support has been this way for some time, at least part or majority of it. I have not seen anything that I would call improvement in that process. When a company like the bank I worked for makes these changes and uses contracted workers it is based solely on $$$.

    The same bank used contracted call centers in the US for their CAP (Card Activation Program) when you get a new card and have to call the # on it to verify that you got the card and it is you that was the one who received it. Yes that is very scary because it asks you?’s that are highly confidential and even though it's regulated and they had to all be covered under the Bankers Blanket bonding process, it was a complete nightmare for the bank. Many accounts were put at risk and exploited because of the lack of control. That was stopped and the bank put the process back to the Fraud and Customer service depts.

    So what I am trying to say here is if this new studio works for Zynga, they are direct employees then maybe this will be something that can improve the game. If it's what I think it is (contracted) get ready for some serious bumpy roads ahead

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    1. My reply is to the former banker and I will second his experience. It is CLEAR to me as a consumer as well as having been on the other side. Once you turn it over to contracted individuals, they can only go from a script. They have no ability to make common sense decisions, and the human factor of customer service is LOST, GONE forever.. and FORGET ASKING one of these people for their supervisors. They will keep you wrapped up for in their scripts/guidelines for hours...before you will speak to anyone else! I have had it with the relocation of Zynga's "support" Team.

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  19. Listen up ppl of zynga this game is on a fast track going down hill Do you care ? You have us build so many properties and yet can only build from five whats your reason? What are we missing here ? We can't do any kind of decent gifting of weapons anymore because of your greed for money. People are quiting more and more everyday.You need to bring back the fun in this game and stop being so greedy with money.Before its to late.Bring out some decent weapons to loot and let us do some gifting of them.I've played this game dam near sinse the start of it and it is only getting worse.

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  20. I hope they'll indeed listen to the community and introduce some long due changes like lowering the prices for some of the ingame items, upgrading boni etc.
    It's incredible that you need to pay an entire 20 Euro paysafecard for some stupid stuff that doesn't even last long - in other games you get a whole month (or two ...) of playtime for that money and they are really good games, not "just" facebook games.

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