Killing, stealing, and money laundering are all activities that you can perform regularly if you play the Facebook game Mafia Wars. These activities are performed by completing specific predetermined jobs in the game. Unfortunately, all jobs are activities that only involve you and the computer. If you are interested in having actual interaction with other players of the game, than fighting is the activity for you.
Compared to performing jobs, fighting provides less money, less experience, and fewer opportunities to earn achievements. But, in terms of prestige, successful fighting earns some of the greatest bragging rights.
In order to get started in fighting, you need to understand the terms of the game. First, each character has five attributes, four of which contribute towards fighting. The one attribute that does not contribute towards fighting is energy. Energy is only spent to perform jobs. Instead, stamina points are spent one for one for each fight you engage in.
In addition, your health, attack, and defense attributes also contribute towards fighting. Your attack attribute is important when you actively fight another person and your defense attribute is important when somebody attacks you. Health is important in both types of fights and acts as a limit on how much you can fight before you receive healing.
Zynga, the publisher of Mafia Wars, is careful not to release the exact formula for fighting, but a few things have been determined. Besides the fact that your attack attribute is meaningless while defending and your defense attribute is meaningless while attacking, the formula also appears to heavily weight number of allied mafia members and equipment owned. Thus, you will be better attacking if you have 200 mafia members than if you have 50. In fact, unless there is a high disparity in attack and defense scores, the person with the most mafia members will almost always win a fight.
While the above is generally true, equipment and attributes can not be ignored. First, there is a limit on the number of mafia members anyone can have. This limit is 501 members and many players of the game have reached that limit. Once you have reached this limit, your attack and defense attributes will be much more important. Second, good equipment can significantly affect the results of a fight, especially if the number of mafia members between two fighters is close.
In order to actually engage in a fight, you need only click on the fight tab in your menu. This will provide a number of different options, including normal fighting, robbing, performing a hit, declaring a war, or, if you are in Vegas, entering a tournament. Only fighting and performing actually use the fighting rules.
In normal fighting, you can see the level and number of mafia members of the person you are attacking. The game will provide a list of about 20 other players, roughly your level, for you to attack. Simply click on the attack button and the game will calculate whether you win. If you win, you will earn experience points and may earn money or loot as well. Win or lose, you will almost certainly receive some damage and lose some health. If you do not kill or ice (reduce to 20 or fewer health) your opponent, the game will give you the option to continue attacking.
To attack someone on the hit list, you must click on the appropriate tag. Opponents on the hit list only have a name and contract price visible. The contract price is what you earn if you kill the target. Targets on a hit list can not be iced, only killed. The hit list is created by other players who place bounties on enemy players.
In addition to basic fighting, there are many facets of the game that involve fighting in some way. For example, you can improve your ability to fight by promoting friends to your top mafia or by collecting boosts. The Vegas tournament also uses modified fighting rules and robbing uses basically all of the same attributes and equipment of fighting. There are even some jobs in the game that require you to fight well. Once you are experienced with the basics of fighting, you will find it valuable to explore the other fighting related options and further increase your enjoyment of the game.