Mafia Wars from a Player's Perspective

Mafia Wars from a Player's Perspective

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Thoughts on PAC 2.0, from a PAC 1.0 member

The latest Mafia Wars PAC has come under fire. Who's surprised??? It's also come up in discussion with some friends, as well as a couple emails I’ve gotten, not to mention some PM discussions with supposedly "anti-PAC" community members—so I thought I’d take a moment or three to discuss my own perspectives regarding PAC 2.0. 

Some of the opposition to PAC has to do with how and who is representing PAC, which many members of the original PAC have failed to reflect on and react to accordingly--including at times, myself. Many of the so-called 'anti-PAC' players simply object to being represented in any way by particular known PAC members. PAC in general isn't their problem at all. And when PAC rallies to defend themselves, it further fuels the assumption that it's a clan or a clique.

Others don't like the idea of 'representation' by someone they can't access, as a voter would his senator or congressman, although PAC has said all along that is not their intended purpose. Still, others strongly feel that PAC should be accessible. Having mostly-successfully taken some giant steps back from my own emotional involvement in all this, I now understand most of the complaints. Not to say that I agree with all views, but I  respect what motivates them. It might behoove Zynga to give consideration to such a model. 

As far as I know, this model of PAC is following Nate’s original statement to us of what PAC 2.0 would be, when he discussed this with us several months ago prior to his departure from Zynga. It generally sounded ok to me, but as usual, the employing of the plan has left doubts and much to be desired, and no obvious changes to inspire faith. 

Firstly, I was a member of PAC 1.0 and I remain generally supportive of our efforts there. I am not a member of the current rotation of PAC 2.0, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’d admit it if I were. My feelings aren’t hurt about it, because Mafia Wars has at last been introduced to the farthest back burner of my life. But based on public, semi-public, and private discussions I’ve had and seen with various members, I can tell you that not everyone is pleased with how this was handled, including some PAC 1.0 members

There was, as per usual, no communication, no thank you, no fvck you, just…here’s this new team,  including a well-known clique of players whom some have grown to resent. How’s that strike your fancy? You betcha, it does not sit well with some.

No offense to some in that clique I’m referring to, but it shouldn’t have happened that way. In fact, there’s some very hurt or disillusioned feelings on the parts of some players and former members, and I agree in principle. Not to mention some long-standing voices in the community have a decided and valid problem with it that is being ignored. It is not trust or faith inspiring.
I have seen some players insinuating (or just bluntly saying) that these community reactions are "jealousy", which frankly amuses me. Such assertions are childish, false, and yet again fuels the perception of a clique.

Zynga has failed to listen, again presenting PAC as a popularity contest which alienates many.

And now we hear that existing PAC members will be able to nominate other members; it could be conjectured that no one will be nominated unless they support the agendas of existing PAC members and otherwise offer no perceived 'competition' for them.  In fact, that very sentiment has been proposed to me.

And this new team at Zynga that’s being lauded by some? I am not deluded. We had the same hopes when we formed the original PAC, but we were left disappointed. Oh, I don’t doubt that at least a few of them might be interested in giving it a go and making something of the mess that Mafia Wars has been for a long time—but let's not forget how hard Nate tried. 

The efforts will not be received well by Zynga’s upper management, who make the final decisions. Such was the case during my tenure of PAC 1.0. What we found were developers who were willing to talk to us, some who directly sought us out for opinions and feedback. But it was obvious that our feedback was being channeled to upper echelons who didn’t know jack about the game, put their corporate spin on our ideas, and were principally concerned with making money and feeding those temporary number spikes which frankly made a lot of players lose interest, including myself. And, we see how quickly they turn loose of the developers that care about their product quality over quantity. 

Some players appear to be defending Zynga as a for-profit business. There’s nothing wrong with making money and there’s nothing wrong with seeking profit. The problem is Zynga’s blatant grabs for our money without regard for decent customer service, without regard for our feedback, and without regard for fixing much of anything in the game, and no desire to stop the dam of players quitting the game as a result. It’s not the developers and programmer’s faults, it’s not the fault of the mods or the community managers, it’s the fault of those who develop business plans while being ignorant of how gamers play games. I can't see how any of that has changed, and so I remain skeptical of PAC 2.0, irregardless of the new team that's leading it.

The point is, Zynga really just needs to determine if they’re going to listen to ANY of the players, or not. Or better yet, listen to their community managers or not. Or listen to their forum moderators or not. 

So, my summary? I am not at all fooled into being overly optimistic. Much has already been handled wrong, yet again. When Zynga listens to ME, I'll believe THEM.


  1. Thank you for such a great article. Elegantly spoken.

    Much to many's surprise or beliefs I am not anti-PAC. I simply question the validity of PAC 2.0 since PAC 1.0 failed me as a player of the game. Especially since many of the same people are now on PAC 2.0 who were part of the failed version, PAC 1.0.

    I am not blaming them for PAC 1.0's failure. I too am, simply, very skeptical. And the further we go with PAC 2.0 the more I DON'T HAVE FAITH IN IT!

  2. I alos wrote this on Mafia Spirits wall, but i feel compelled to say it here as well: Anything that PAC and the zynga team comes up with gets sent to the higher ups, the marketers and sales force. every idea is twisted into a money making scheme. while i understand zynga needs to make money, does every freaking little feature in the game have to be money driven? zynga has forgotten the fun. they have forgotten the player. it makes me sick. if they want to save this game they need to be truly open to us. their removal of your forum post is just one more example of the killer corporate Machiavellian bullshit that zynga has cultured within itself. And PAC has become an extension of corporate bureaucracy. Zynga needs to open loot trading back up. they need to quit gearing every little fuckin thing towards RP purchase. They need to reduce the "mafia chore" load. customer service need an overhaul. abd for the love of all that is holy STOP it with the damn new york property begs. the list goes on and on and on. instead of bringing us new features, bring us what we want.

  3. I have no idea what Nate's views are or what he is trying to do with the game. To most people PAC has never been accessible nor have we known what's been going on. What exactly is PAC2 trying to do and what has happened to PAC1. Some info would be appreciated. Thanks

  4. I agree completely with {ℳ} ßrµ†µ§! Quit with the property begs already! Downgrade the chore list for us a little every day. It is taking way to long to complete and making even me consider chucking it all and going to Pogo! Ok maybe not quite...But geez, some of us have jobs you know; and we have to come home make supper (without burning it or the hubby gets mad and threatens the computer!) Then, it would be nice to sit down and relax and enjoy the game instead of work for 4 hours to complete the chore list Zynga has lined up for us. And I hate, hate, HATE begging. Bring back the Poker game. That was fun and it made you send out a lot so you got a lot back. Lots of clicks for them. No pressure. It wasn't something you had to rush to do. Yes, it was timed as in days to play, but not rushed like you had to do it for hours to complete it. Play 20 - 50 hands in 5 - 10 minutes. Bring the fun back!

  5. haha Dudette, "threatens the computer" ! ROTFL