There comes a time while playing any Zynga game on Facebook for the first time, when the playing must stop… unless you want to ask friends for more “energy” so you can play, or unless you want to pay.
I’ve learned to just wait. There is fun to be had in Zynga games and you really can just wait to get it. But I think it’d be instructive to track a major new Facebook game to see just how long it takes before you have to wait… or pay. And you know you can’t play a Zynga game without asking some friends for helps. How long do you think this new game of shootouts, strip clubs and growhouses takes for that?
I ran a stopwatch on Mafia Wars 2
0:00… I begin playing the game.
1:22… I have watched the game’s intro movie, picked the gender of my gangster protagonist, selected the design of his first casino and named it… Stephen’s Crappy Casino. The game invites me to share this news with friends. I decline. (Pictured here: my Crappy Casino)
8:30 … I go to the casino district, as instructed, and gun down a crime boss using a few clicks of my mouse. I can tell there’s some match going on in the background that could lead to some interesting tactical variation in gunfights. But for now it’s a cinch. The boss is dead and the game suggest I share the good news with friends. I decline.
11:13… I go to the Boneyard to experience the game’s interesting quasi-multiplayer combat (you fight against the characters of other non-friend players, but those characters are controlled by the computer while you fight them. I kill several characters, complete a mission and am soon encouraged to round up a crew (of Facebook friends). I decline.
12:18… I level up again.
19:18… I build a growhouse, so I can make money selling marijuana, I guess (they’re not that explicit about what you’re growing). I hire a guy to run a scam card game. Then the game asks me to share the news and share some rewards. I decline
29:46… I die a couple of times and restore my hearts (note that I’ve yet to say that I’ve run out of energy… that’s because early actions don’t consume a lot of energy, early missions reward with a bunch of it and you are replenished to full energy every time you level up). Here I am without hearts. I’m not dead. I can come back, with the help of friends or by paying with in-game money. In-game money it is.
34:17…Got past some story stuff, had to go to a new area to find some money. Killed a guy. Was asked to invite friends. The request seemed random this time. I still didn’t know if I liked the game to proselytise it enough. I declined.
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