Mafia Wars Bangkok: Everything you need to know
Mafia Wars Bankok uses a sliding scale
The game experience itself is very similar to Mafia Wars Moscow -- broken down into Episodes and each ends with a boss battle that unlocks the next Episode. Unlike Moscow, which required a lot (arguably too much) energy to complete missions, Bangkok works on a sliding scale, which makes the game accessible to lower-level players. The amount of energy required to complete a mission (and the payout at the end) varies depending on your level.
Completing missions will results in Thai Baht and loot, such as weapons and items used to fill out collections. Collections, when completed, can be vaulted for bonuses, such as more energy -- pretty typical for every area of Mafia Wars. Loot in Bangkok Episode 1 -- the "Brawler" level -- consists of chess pieces, and in Episode 2 -- the "Criminal level" loot is a series of masks, then followed by spices, carvings and orchids.
Adding the sliding scale is a nice touch to this add-on, but where Zynga giveth, Zynga also taketh away. In Bangkok, we've been having a helluva time earning enough cash to buy all of the items required for each missions. After buying the required Chinese Army pistols, mopeds and other gear, our bank account is constantly running dry -- to the point that we'd have to repeat completed missions to make enough money to buy items for a new mission. The key, of course, is to get enough cash to buy one of the new Bangkok businesses, so you'll have a steady flow of income. Once that happens, the money troubles ease a bit -- but it's a small annoyance in the beginning.
Choose a side: Yakuza or Triad
Also like Mafia Wars Moscow, players must choose between factions, in this case, the Triads and Yakuza. To break into the 'in' crowd with either faction, certain missions can be completed for either group, thus building your reputation with that group. Once you're considered a trusted member of the Triad or Yakuza, you'll gain access to weapons and other items exclusive to that faction. If you lose your rep with either faction, access to those weapons is denied.
We're still in the early stages of doing missions for the Yakuza, and breaking into a group has not been easy. Each time you do a job, you'll get +3 respect for the faction and -1 for the other faction. Considering you need at least 400 points to gain access to faction stores, it obviously takes some time to earn either side's respect.
There are six levels of trust per faction -- Hostile, Suspicious, Neutral, Trusted, Honored and Allied -- and once you hit Neutral, players will be able to buy items from that faction's store. From what we can tell so far, the Yakuza items are better for attacking enemies and Triad items are better on defense. The ideal situation is to stay on friendly grounds with both groups, if possible, so you'll gain access to items and business from both stores.
There's no fighting in Bangkok ... for now
Mafia Wars Bangkok includes a fighting portion, but it will still be "coming soon" at launch. Based on that, we suggest spending your skill points on energy, which will allow you to take on more missions (and make more cash) in the meantime. Then again, this might put players -- especially ones that prefer fighting -- at a disadvantage when the fighting begins, but we'll take our chances.
In its current state, Mafia Wars Bangkok doesn't add any revolutionary new ideas to this mobbed up Facebook game, but there's more than enough new stuff to keep addicts busy until Mafia Wars Las Vegas arrives later this year.