Mafia Wars Strategy - Usin' Skill Points

When you first start your journey into a wild life of crime you have the following skills:

  • 1 Attack
  • 1 Defense
  • 100 Health
  • 10 Energy
  • 3 Stamina

Every time you gain a level, you get 5 more skill points to spend. The introductory sequence to the game causes you to jump to level 2 and you will immediately find yourself with some skill points to assign to these skills. Google search queries indicate that a fair number of people are searching for some answers over how to use these skill points and what exactly they mean in the context of developing your mafia.

The skill breakdown


Your attack skill has two main uses. When you initiate an attack (whether through Fight, Rob, or attempting a Hit), your total attack value is compared to your defender's total defense value. Your attack value also has a minor impact on the amount of damage you cause whether attacking or defending.

Fightin' and Robbin' gets into more details over how the fight rolls are actually made, but here is a quick summary. For your mafia size, X, the game chooses your X best items with the highest attack value, X best armors, and X best vehicles. Outside of special loot items and before level 100, this means a Chain Gun at 16/14, a Body Armor at 4/7, and a Town Car at 10/12. So roughly every member of your family (assuming you have enough items for all of them) will add 30 attack and 33 defense. So 6 levels worth of skill points in attack is the equivalent of bumping your mafia size by 1 (whether through real people or the Godfather hired guns). Once your level is above 150 and a lot of your opponents will have a mafia size of 501, attack points can be useful. At low levels, it is a complete waste and dwarfed by your mafia size.


Defense works the same way as attack except it doesn't seem to have an affect on damage other than as a point of comparison to your opponent's health. Now since property robberies are limited by your level as far as the number of mafia that can be brought, having extra defense points will help defend your properties assuming that your mafia size is at least equal to your level. Once again though, at higher levels this becomes way more meaningful.


Health is the most meaningless of attributes to dump skill points in to. You can go to the hospital and completely refill your health every 45 seconds. If you are getting attacked by other players, unless it is from a hit, they can no longer hurt you once your health drops below 20. The only place where more health helps rather than hurts is in the boss fights in the game, as outlined in Doin' the Job, but as there is no special reward for completing the boss fights and there are bonus items you get from doing jobs to make the boss fights easier, you don't need more health. Finally, most of the time you are logged in, you will be wanting to keep your health as low as possible to minimize the number of fights lost, so it is highly recommended you never bump your health.

It may seems a high health will help you survive better if someone puts a hit on you, since if your health was high enough, you could heal every 45 seconds and never be knocked out. The problem with this theory is the hit never goes away until it is completed. You will have to sleep eventually and then that huge pool of health will just turn into a huge number of lost fights before you are inevitably knocked out. Since there is no defense from a hit and no way to get it cancelled, you are better off just dying in as few fights as possible so the hit gets cleared and you are back in the "protected" health range of 0-19.


Energy is currently the bread and butter of leveling, generating more skill points, and collecting special bonuses. Later in this section of the strategy guide, a plan is outlined for sinking every skill point you get into just energy and what this gains you (and costs you). Even if you don't want to go a pure energy route, it is highly recommended at least 40% of your skill points be allocated to energy. Unless more changes come in to the game to reward the other attributes more, by far the biggest bang for the buck in terms of money, items, and levels all come from a skill point assigned to energy. Finally, different jobs require more and more energy to do. You will not be able to complete all the jobs unless your energy is at least at 60 (not counting Top Mafia bonuses and the Energy Pack 25% bonus).


Stamina is perhaps the single attribute with the most variation on its importance based off of a given player's play style. It takes two skill points to boost your stamina just one point, but to judge the relative effectiveness of that skill point usage, let's take a breakdown on how it can be used.

Unless you are a Maniac, stamina will regenerate at the same rate as your energy, 1 every 5 minutes. The core difference between the two is that to do anything with stamina, you only need to spend 1 point, where as jobs will keep taking an ever increasing amount of skill points. If you are only attacking people you will beat in fights, a single point of stamina will average you around 2.5 XP where as a single point of energy will average you about 1.7 XP. Of course, since the stamina cost 2 skill points, the energy boost was still more efficient. The difference is, you can generate special loot items much faster with fighting than doing jobs.

If you are excited about being a hitman for other mob families and you don't care that they almost never pay enough to be worth it, you will need more stamina in order to attack someone the 2-15 times in a row that will be necessary to knock them out solo.

The basic recommendation is keep your stamina just high enough that you fully leverage the regeneration timer unless you don't want to fight others at all. For example, if you play off and on throughout the day, 12-24 stamina means you can check on the game every hour or two while you are awake and not lose out on fight opportunities. If you only check the game twice a day and still want to fight a lot, 144 Stamina may be worth it to you. There is no real benefit to increasing it anymore than that though and most players will never really miss out if they just leave it at the initial 3.

Generating mad skillz… points

We have talked about the fact you get 5 skill points every time you gain a level, but there are two other ways to generate skill points as well. Every time you complete a new mastery level of one of the jobs, you are awarded a new skill point. You can also go to the Godfather) to purchase 4 skill points for reward points. This is probably one of the best uses of reward points.

When looking to maximize your gain of the skill points from job mastery, there are two things to consider: Different jobs complete at different rates and cost different amounts of energy. So "Ransom a Business Man's Kid" costs 54 energy to do, but will provide 10% job mastery per attempt. "Steal an Arms Shipment" costs 40 energy to perform, but it only advances 6% job mastery per attempt. All and all, this means it is 540 energy to unlock a skill point with the first job, and even though the second job takes 14 energy less per attempt, it is 680 total energy to master and get a new skill point. Look for detailed charts in Doin' the Job for a breakdown of exactly how much energy each job takes to master. Since you need to master all the jobs in a given category at a level to unlock the next mastery level, it won't matter too much what order you do them in. A good rule of thumb is just to work from the lowest level jobs up to the highest and do the jobs that take the most energy per attempt first.

The Energy speed leveling strategy

If you have ever min/max-ed a character in a different RPG game, this strategy will come as no big surprise to you. The general idea behind the phrase "min/max" is that there is a benefit to be gained by focusing solely on one or two given stats that comprise your character and ignoring all the others with the goal of the benefit from the maximized attributes outweighs the detriment of the minimized ones.

Spending the Skill Points

For Mafia Wars, this means spending every skill point in just Energy, maximizing the rate you get new skill points, and speed the recovery of your energy. Since you can get an Energy Pack every 24 hours from your mafia, regardless of your regeneration rate, you will be able to spend 125% of your energy each day, plus however much you naturally got back. Also, every time you level, your energy is reset to your max amount. The basic idea is to try to keep your energy pool so high that by the time you have spent all your energy, you level and it all comes back to spend again.

Character Type influence

There are a couple of other interesting facts to keep in mind when maximizing this strategy. If you are a Maniac character type, your Energy will come back at 1 every 3 minutes instead of 5. This means that outside of your full refills, you will have 480 energy coming back a day to spend instead of the 288 someone with a different character type will have. Also, you can use the Godfather to get a full refill which can be worth it if your leveling has stalled out.

Leveraging XP spill-over

To maximize the efficiency with which you are completing jobs it is worth noting it is almost always beneficial to complete the job mastery levels since this will get you more skill points. There was a brief period where "Exterminate a Rival Family" provided more than 2 XP per energy with Top Mafia bonuses and it was more worthwhile to just do that job over and over again, but that was rebalanced. Also, when you level, any extra XP you earn is rolled over into the next level. This means the ideal situation is to get 1 XP shy of leveling and then do a job that provides the most XP for you last so you get the most spill-over into the next level. For instance, at level 4, you could do "Mugging" until you are at 44/45 and then do "Auto Theft" which would push you 7 XP into level 5 with a full energy refill.

Top Mafia bonuses and Energy leveling

Your Top Mafia Mastermind and Wheelman also can greatly impact the speed at which you level based on energy. You get a bonus to the amount of XP you get per job based on the number of jobs your Top Mafia Mastermind has completed. Your Wheelman, the highest level Fearless member of your mafia, will give you a reduction on the amount of energy it takes to do the job. Similarly, if you are the Mastermind for one of your friends, you will sometimes get a 50% bonus to the XP you earn per job you do and if you are one of your friend's Wheelman, you will sometimes have a job you complete cost 0 energy. Here are some estimates on what bonus you will get depending on your friends, we will continue to refine them as more information comes in.

Jobs CompletedXP Bonus
Fearless LevelEnergy Discount

Bonus items to Energy and Energy regeneration

Several of the collections available from the various job tiers will yield additional energy to spend. Likewise, whenever you master all three levels of job mastery for a given job tier, you will receive a special bonus item. Several of these items will help speed up your leveling even further. For collections, we have the following:

Job TierCollectionBonus
Street Thug Diamond Flush +1 Energy
Enforcer Cigars +2 Energy
Capo Paintings +6 Energy
Consigliere Great Race Horses +7 Energy

Since the Capo tier doesn't fully unlock until level 34 and the Consigliere tier doesn't until level 55, early on you are better off asking your higher level friends to see if they have an extra set of the collections floating around. It takes more total jobs to finish these later tiers than the early ones, so it is quite likely there are full sets available for someone to send you. Doin' the Job has more exact details.

Dominate Mafia Wars
To use the new wishlist feature you either need to have unlocked the job tier for the items you want or you need to have received at least one of the items. Once the collection shows up in your Inventory tab, you can then click on the button with the green plus sign to add that item to your wishlist. Click on "Share Wishlist with your Friends" and everyone in your mafia will get a notice of which items you need. Once you receive an item you need, be sure to come back to the Inventory tab to remove that item from your wishlist. Your friends will see how many you currently have, but they won't know if one of your other friends sent you what you need.

For the bonus items from completing job tiers, there are three that will help speed up your leveling the most. For this reason, as soon as you have these job tiers unlocked, it is worthwhile to try to master them as quickly as possible.

Job TierFully UnlockedItemBonus
Consigliere 55 Helicopter a 30 second reduction on your energy regen timer
Underboss 95 Private Island 5% bonus on job experience
Boss Golden Throne 2x energy regenerated per regen period

Continue reading the Mafia Wars Strategy Guide