Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Social Networks Games

Facebook Mafiosi Go To the Mattresses vs. Zynga 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the concrete-galoshes dept.
sympleko writes "Zynga has the lion's share of traffic in Facebook applications, and Mafia Wars is one of their most popular social games. Collapsing under the weight of over 26 million users, Zynga has been scrambling to thwart hard-core gamers who reverse-engineer URLs or script the game to optimize their enjoyment. Many of the workarounds have annoyed users who were accustomed to various game features, and even worse, the hastily-deployed changes have resulted in many players losing access to the game, in-game prizes, or statistics. Fed up with a software company seemingly bent on discouraging people from enjoying their product, a number of tagged players have organized a boycott of all Zynga games. The first 24-hour boycott on Sunday 12/13 resulted in an 11% decline in Daily Active Users, and an emergency thread on Zynga's forums (from which most of the flames were deleted). The current boycott, extending Wednesday through Sunday is being supported by a 428K strong Facebook group. At issue is the social contract between software companies and their devoted user base, as well as the nefarious tactics Zynga has used to raise cash."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Facebook Mafiosi Go To the Mattresses vs. Zynga

Comments Filter:
  • See no evil... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:23AM (#30469432)

    " Collapsing under the weight of over 26 million users, Zynga has been scrambling to thwart hard-core gamers who reverse-engineer URLs or script the game to optimize their enjoyment. Many of the workarounds have annoyed users who were accustomed to various game features, and even worse, the hastily-deployed changes have resulted in many players losing access to the game, in-game prizes, or statistics. Fed up with a software company seemingly bent on discouraging people from enjoying their product, a number of tagged players have organized a boycott of all Zynga games. "

    I see. So basically "gamers" try to game the system for their benefit, then complain when said company is "bent on discouraging people from enjoying their product".

  • I'm sorry, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nikkos (544004) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:27AM (#30469464) Homepage
    Did someone mistake Mafia Wars as something other than a business practice? They make money off of those who think it's worth spending money to have an imaginary gun better than the other free imaginary guns. The "hardcore gamers" run scripts, bots, and generally try to cheat the system at every turn while not spending any money.

    If the anti-bot/script stuff bothers your enjoyment of a free online game, go find another?
  • by TxRv (1662461) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:47AM (#30469616)
    Isn't that a bit like saying "I hate those cigarette companies! I'm quitting smoking" when you've never had a cigarette in your life?
  • by johanatan (1159309) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:56AM (#30469670)
    A boycott can only be effective if the entity being boycotted has a real risk of losing customers. It would be much better if that 11% decline were permanent. What message are they really sending by returning to the game the following day?
  • As we all know... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lordfly (590616) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @01:57AM (#30469676) Homepage Journal

    ...protests about Facebook on Facebook tend to work out very well. It's just like those "don't buy gas on day X" chain letters that get bounced around whenever gas prices take a hike upwards.

  • Social Contract (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Duradin (1261418) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:09AM (#30469778)

    So would be this be the social contract where it is A-OK for power gamers to abuse and exploit the game because if they can do it they are supposed to be doing because otherwise they wouldn't be able to do it and then the game company gets to try to crack down on the power gamers which doesn't work except for pissing off the normal players, correct? And then the power gamers get all indignant when anyone tells them they shouldn't be doing something because it is the power gamer's responsibility to not be responsible for anything but doing what is most advantageous for them no matter the cost to everyone else?

    I've seen this statement popping up a lot recently but this is exactly why we can't have nice things.

  • by Mr Pleco (1160587) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @02:26AM (#30469890)

    The problem at hand here is that zynga has created two games that encourage cheating.

    MafiaWars is the worst because of the combat system. If you don't have at least 500 friends who play and are added to your "mafia" then you're shafted from the outset. This encourages the dangerous practice of adding people you don't know to your personal facebook account OR breaking facebook ToS by creating a second account for yourself.

    Then you have the weight in the combat formula of the equipment being much higher than the weight of your stats. A person with lousy combat stats but maxed equipment will beat somebody with twice their stats but lousy equipment. They also have free trading of items between players with items that require (at my last calculation) over a year of play to be able to get the best equipment available.

    To top things off their game isn't in flash or something that's not easily machine readable, their entire game is presented in an iframe, so it's relatively simple to create scripts that interact with the game directly using greasemonkey or bookmarklets with javascript. The best examples of these is the Mafia Wars AutoPlayer (http://www.mafiawarsplayer.org/) or Spockholm's bookmarklets (http://www.spockholm.com/mafia/bookmarklets.php)

    Combine that with a game that's designed to appeal to highly competitive players and you have the perfect recipe for disaster for rampant cheating. Whether it's people who buy their combat items or people who run multiple accounts to "farm" items for their own use, it's all against the rules. The hilarity for me is watching zynga "combat" the cheaters and the bots when they could fix the game mechanics to make the cheating and bots unnecessary. Even if it was something as simple as offering the loot for sale in their ingame store, they would put the cheaters and under-the-table loot sellers out of business, and actually be honest about their microtransaction business model. People would complain that the richest player would be the one to win, but that's the way it is right now, so why not own up to it?

    FarmVille is a different beast, in that they've got just about the worst leveling system I've seen in a game yet. A plant crop that grows in four hours will give you the same experience to grow, and more money per hour, than a crop that grows in 24 hours. That's just a broken game.

    The clicks required for farmville are what is most astonishing. The average person will click 1200+ times per DAY playing that stupid game. The best thing they have to minimize that is the farm equipment, which naturally require gas to run that you have to buy, but even with that you're forced to click 300+ times in the best case scenario. I'm trying to make easy to use tools with autohotkey that I'm hosting on my site (http://www.kort-pleco.com/) but it's a challenge finding the time to do that. There's other people who sell full fledged farmville autoplayers, but the point is that it's still the game that is broken and should be changed to fix these problems.

    A great example of a fun game that's NOT click intensive is happy aquarium by crowdstar or zynga's rollercoaster kingdom. They've both struck a great balance how much use you get per click, and I think it's a step in the right direction for facebook games in general.

    Zynga is a game maker yes, but it doesn't mean that their popularity corresponds to the quality of their games. It just means they're able to out advertise everybody else using money they scammed from their players.

  • by omglolbah (731566) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @06:19AM (#30471356)
    It makes sense that the XP gain from a rapidly-growing crop is higher.

    A 4-hour growing crop would bring you back to the game (and the ads!) more often than a 24-hour one :-p

    Cheap, but it -does- make sense if you look at it from their view ;)
  • Re:Zynga (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tolkienfan (892463) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @09:31AM (#30472488) Journal

    The last boycott caused an 11% drop in "daily active users"
    The total number of users is nothing in comparison to the number of users that are active.
    11% is pretty big - big enough to grab the attention of Zynga.
    Especially if that number is growing (and it looks like it is).

  • Re:Zynga (Score:2, Insightful)

    by noric (1203882) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @12:37PM (#30474846)
    Yes, daily active users is a proxy for revenue. Furthermore, 11% decline in revenue is >= 11% decline in profit, right? This certainly has Zynga's attention. This is an interesting example of a company pissing off their customers in an extremely lubricated market.

    Note that Zynga was never particularly concerned [gamasutra.com] with the quality of their gameplay.
  • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Thursday December 17, 2009 @10:13PM (#30482650) Journal

    I'd be interested in that rock. I live near a jungle, and often have problems with tigers. Does it come with a guarantee?

    Guarantee?! Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your life's sake, you might want to think about buying a quality product from me.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray

Working...