Mafia Wars Private Zoo: Everything you need to know

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Zynga hinted at the release of a Private Zoo in Mafia Wars for a short while, but has finally come through with releasing this new property in the game. The Private Zoo can be thought of like the Armory and Weapons Depot, both of which are found under your New York set of properties, except that instead of producing Armor (defensive items) and Weapons (offensive items), respectively, you'll now be able to "acquire" animals from around the world that will help fight on your side.

You can find your new Private Zoo by heading into your Properties bar while visiting Mafia Wars New York. As you might expect, the Zoo has a level, and yours starts out at just level 1. You'll need to collect various items to level up your Private Zoo and subsequently unlock better animals, so meet us behind the break for all of the details on how to go about that.

For starters, your Private Zoo can eventually end up reaching level 10, depending on how much work you put into collecting the ingredients necessary to upgrade it. For instance, to upgrade your Private Zoo the first time (from level 1 to level 2), you'll need to collect three each of five different ingredients: Aquariums, Big Cages, Bird Cages, Feeding Troughs, and Terrariums.

These can be earned either as loot drops from completely jobs (a fairly rare outcome), or you can ask your friends to send you these ingredients by clicking on the "Ask for More" button associated with a particular item. This will allow you to publish a news item to your wall asking your mafia members to send you that item. Unfortunately, this isn't a situation where you can ask individual friends for items, as that would make this process far easier. As it stands, you'll only be able to ask for help once every 12 hours.

Either way, you can boost your current upgrade progress at any time by simply purchasing ingredients outright for 1 Reward Point each. For the sake of argument, the total upgrade for level 2 would cost 15 Reward Points, if you wanted to purchase it without waiting for any of your friends to help you whatsoever.

And so the story goes - you'll collect more and more ingredients to upgrade your Private Zoo more and more times, each time unlocking new species of animals that can be created in your zoo, just like you create weapons and armor. You'll need to have Animal Feed on hand to "create" the animals, which become progressively stronger with the rise in levels. Here's a full look at what's available to build, and when:

Level 1 - Fennec Fox - 25 Attack and 36 Defense points
Level 2 - Spur Tortoise - 26 Attack and 43 Defense
Level 3 - Philippine Eagle - 48 Attack and 31 Defense
Level 4 - Bobcat - 42 Attack 49 Defense
Level 5 - Secretary Raptor - 51 Attack and 40 Defense
Level 6 - Brown Recluse Spider - 53 Attack and 41 Defense
Level 7 - Tiger Shark - 50 Attack and 48 Defense; +3 Attack points
Level 8 - Black Mamba - 45 Attack and 52 Defense; +1 Skill Point
Level 9 - Gharial - 48 Attack and 57 Defense; +3 Defense points
Level 10 - Warthog - 62 Attack and 50 Defense; +20 Health

While you may laugh at the inclusion of a spider on that list, being from the Midwest myself (their primary location), I can tell you that they are no laughing matter, as bites from a single spider (no matter how rare) can lead to tissue death, scars or worse - now, aren't you glad that you can have these guys on your team, rather than the enemy's?

Back to the topic at hand, for animals at levels 7-10, you'll need to have more than just regular Animal Feed to create these animals, as you must also have Exotic Animal Feed on hand. Exotic Animal Feed can only be earned by receiving it from friends as a gift. It will not drop as a loot item from jobs or fights.

As with other buildings, your Private Zoo will general some generic Animal Feed every 18 hours, which can be collected and added to your stash, so if you ever do run out, but also don't have the energy available to do some jobs in the hopes of receiving Feed as a loot drop, you can always come back when the time is right and collect from the Zoo again.

Let us know what you think of this new Private Zoo. Have you already upgraded your Weapons Depot and Armory to level 10? Will you do the same with your Private Zoo, or do you think the animals that can be created inside just aren't worth it? Let us know in the comments.
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