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Drug Addiction Integrated Into Achaea MUD 78

An anonymous reader writes "The text-based MUD Achaea, one of Iron Realms Entertainment's games, has introduced an addictive drug called gleam into its world, during a plot involving a wide-ranging crime ring. On discovery, a number of players, eager for a new experience, took enough gleam to become immediate addicts, leading to head-twitching, speed-talking druggies polluting the land here and there. Several player cities have already outlawed the drug, and there are some very sorry addicts going through a painful withdrawal that can last up to 25 hours of playing time. It'll be interesting to see if anyone considers the tangible benefit (increased dexterity) that one gets worth the heavy cost of the drug on both the character's bank account and on the player's psyche. At least one real-life recovering addict has used the in-game forums to loudly object to the introduction of gleam."
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Drug Addiction Integrated Into Achaea MUD

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  • Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <thyamine@ofdr a g o> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @08:17AM (#9202716) Homepage Journal
    Now I can be addicted to a game and IN the game at the same time.. How progressive =)
    • Re:Sweet (Score:4, Funny)

      by enditallnow ( 177040 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @08:38AM (#9202825)
      Rumors that the code name for the drug while it was in development was called Evercrack have not been substantuated. ;)

      -- Enditallnow

      • Gleam? Isn't that the drug that Jerry Blank invented on Strangers With Candy?

        Wait, that was GLINT. Nevermind...
    • Actually, sounds pretty recursive to me...
    • Flamebait here. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by E_elven ( 600520 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @01:09PM (#9205698) Journal
      The drift of the story -undoubtedly submitted by one of the industrious Achaea PR folks- seems to be that Achaea invented the drug addiction code. This is incorrect -there have been many instances of similar implementations in the past.

      I am, frankly, sick and tired of reading advertisements for Achaea on /. shallowly disguised as news or articles -there are many as good and even more better MUDs out there (not that Achaea is particularly bad), with better code, better storylines, better administration and better players. 'd rather read about MUDs in general rather than these moronic innuendos.

      Achaea uses the same questionable advertising style on many forums. It is one of the few apparently commercially successful text-based game companies of the time, but this is entirely unnecessary.

      Please, do not post this crap anymore.
  • How metaphorical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Considering RPGing is pretty much an addiction itself.

    Like the woman that had her kids taken way because she wouldn't stop playing everquest.

    I hope my city illegalizes RPGs
    • Uhhhhh, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @09:00AM (#9202952) Journal
      Like the woman that had her kids taken way because she wouldn't stop playing everquest.

      I hope my city illegalizes RPGs

      I've found that RPGs can be an excellent source of entertainment and socialization, when played in moderation. Your city should just ban stupid people.

      So many of the world's problems could be solved if we could separate the intellectual wheat from the chaff, so to speak: those people who can't differentiate fantasy from reality, or who are prone to getting hooked on whatever "big thing" that comes along, be it drugs, alcohol, pornography, roleplaying games, or tax legislation.

      Those people who can't handle reality should be pulled out of it and treated like the children they are. They're giving the rest of us a bad name. If they can't tell fantasy from reality, we shouldn't let them watch television. And if they're terminally gullible, they probably shouldn't be allowed to vote; politicians can be tricky.

      I'd vote technocrat, only I've got nobody to vote for.

      • Re:Uhhhhh, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MDCore ( 324972 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:05AM (#9204086)
        you said:
        So many of the world's problems could be solved if we could separate the intellectual wheat from the chaff, so to speak

        I say:
        And how do you do that exactly, seperate those who can't differentiate between fantasy or reality, or who get hooked on things. IQ Tests maybe? Or do YOU get to decide who's wheat and who's chaff?

        technocrat, no. Despot, yes.
        • by mlk ( 18543 )
          And how do you do that exactly, seperate those who can't differentiate between fantasy or reality

          Well everyone rolls a 2D6 minus ( time_appeared_on_jerry_springer*10), below 4, and we ship 'em of.
        • Re:Uhhhhh, no. (Score:2, Interesting)

          you said:
          So many of the world's problems could be solved if we could separate the intellectual wheat from the chaff, so to speak

          I say:
          And how do you do that exactly, seperate those who can't differentiate between fantasy or reality, or who get hooked on things. IQ Tests maybe? Or do YOU get to decide who's wheat and who's chaff?

          (Yes, brothers, cherish the <blockquote>)

          IQ tests wouldn't quite be right for this; one can be slow to put facts together, yet still able to pull the right facts out

          • (Yes, brothers, cherish the blockquote)

            sorry... I was using plain old text. my bad for not making use of it! :) I agree that IQ tests aren't the answer. It was more like.. "what is your solution? Any of these dumb ones?". Which is not the nicest way of putting it.

            ad hominem

            I had to think about that one a wee bit. Was I attacking the person and not the idea? I don't think so. I dislike your idea. You said you were describing a technocrat and I was suggesting you were actually describing a despot.

      • Re:Uhhhhh, no. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Frizzle Fry ( 149026 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @02:27PM (#9206871) Homepage
        I've found that RPGs can be an excellent source of entertainment and socialization, when played in moderation

        Funny, since that's a pretty accurate description of a lot of drugs that have been banned for similar reason.
        • Yeah, it's a pretty accurate description of anything.

          • How so? The desciption was of something that in moderation is "an excellent source of entertainment and socialization". I don't think most activities fit that description, at least for me. I don't characterize mowing a lawn, or getting in a fistfight, or huffing gas, or waiting in line at the supermarket that way. You may quibble with some of those (e.g., you think there is "excellent socialization" on line at the supermarket), but the point is that tons of activities don't fit that description.
            • Well, I can also quibble about moderation too. :)

              Huffing gas isn't something you should do very often due to potential danger, but i would assume it's entertaining for those who do it and it's definitely social, since most of the time you hear about people doing it in groups. And fistfights seem to be quite entertaining, or people wouldn't pay to see them. Mowing a lawn is a social thing too, it helps you get along with pesky neighbors and/or see them depending on the height of the lawn, and some do find
              • My point really was that everything that's entertaining and social should be done in moderation

                I didn't disagree with that. My contention was that there are lots of things that aren't entertaining and social. As a nitpick, the fact that watching fistfights is entertaining and social doesn't work as proof that getting in fistfights is entertaining and social.

                And if you are trolling slashdot, isn't moderation your enemy?
                • Alright, I'll agree that I should have been more clear in my initial post, and that some things aren't entertaining and social, unless i over rationalize. I could say that getting in a fistfight is totally social, since it tends to gather a crowd, but that would be a bunch of crap. :)

                  And when I troll on slashdot, the fun is in getting people, including moderators, to believe it's a legit post. :)

                  (this stream of comments isn't intended as a troll, but that was a convenient example :)
      • I don't think segregation is the answer so much as education. You'll notice that a lot of these so called "stupid" people are only stupid because of a lack of proper education. Gullability can also be traced to improper education (don't listen to strangers, etc.) I find it terribly dissappointing that a lot of the governments nowadays are focusing on things like health care and other problems when the root of it all is education. Imagine if everyone in the world had proper education... I think we would se
      • Addicted to tax legislation...? wtf?!? what are you, an accountant?
        • Addicted to tax legislation...? wtf?!? what are you, an accountant?

          (I was wondering when someone would notice that!)

          No, just someone who's observed that when a government, be it at the federal, state, or county level, begins to run short of cash, it looks at trying to squeeze more from the people long before it tries to figure out where the waste is occurring. It's like riding in a leaky dirigible: they reason that if they can keep pumping in more gas (hydrogen, helium, or whatever) than is leaking ou

  • System Dynamics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by keoghp ( 457883 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @08:22AM (#9202740)
    Keep the effects simple, the price high. It will be interesting to see the effects on the dynamics of the game. Will it model the real world?

    It could be a good experiment this!

    • Players (Score:2, Interesting)

      by empaler ( 130732 )
      I don't think it will be as widely used as in RW-drugs, as it is far easier for people to handle withdrawals when it's not "real". Just like any RPG, the players would want to "win", and therefore would probably not let their chars be addicted too long.

      Then again, maybe the effects outweigh the sideeffects for enough players...
    • >It could be a good experiment this!

      Bliss like Yoda makes you talk.

      Seriously, it is good to see that these text based MUDs are still around. There is an allure to MUDs like being wrapped up in a good novel. The sense of community is unmatched, even by many MMORGs.

      Anyone can log into by just telnetting to, or use their java client at tml. I suggest everyone try it at least once! (you'll be hooked, just like on Bliss)
    • Re:System Dynamics (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ayaress ( 662020 )
      I play Ashen Empires. It doesn't have addiction, but it has the next thing. Alcoholic drinks restore the appetite bar, but drain the stamina bar sharply (making it more difficult to run, especially while carrying a heavy load of loot or ore or whatever you were doing, making you attack slower, and making it impossible to cast spells). It only takes a minute or so to get back up to about 70% (where many people try to keep stamina), but in the meantime, you're a sitting duck to anything or anyone who comes by
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In a related story, the popular online gaming community "Evercrack" has introduced a virtual addictive drug called "Quest".
  • He's protesting? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cloak42 ( 620230 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @08:43AM (#9202850) Homepage
    At least one real-life recovering addict has used the in-game forums to loudly object to the introduction of gleam.

    That's odd. It seems to me that looking at the effects of a drug on a fake world to see what might happen is a very interesting sociological experiment. It's hard to produce real-world effects in a static model, if only for the fact that people tend to do unpredictable things. But stick a drug with real effects (and benefits and detriments, just like a real drug) into a world run by diverse peoples, and you just might see a mirroring of real-world behavior regarding it.

    It's interesting that cities have banned the drug; I would've thought something like that wouldn't be controlled at a governmental level in a MUD. I wonder if the drug actually forces the user to do things he/she wouldn't want to do, such as kill somebody or steal from them in order to get enough money to buy more gleam. If that's the case, it's more understandable why cities would want to keep it away from their walls. I'm also assuming that this MUD is PK-able?

    I think this is cool. But then again, I've always preferred that art imitate life.
    • Forcing the user to kill or steal wouldn't make much sense. The major cause of people stealing to support their addiction is to avoid the undesirable effects. These undesirable effects are still in the game, and it is still the player's decision to relieve those effects or not, whether they might steal. It would be more interesting and realistic if, while under the drug, words and movements were looser. For instance, if the drug were like alcohol, it might cause the user to move "very close" to an attractiv
  • Everyone knows that clarity (the mana regen buff of the enchanter class) is the original addictive MMO drug.
  • already been done... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shepuk ( 588339 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @09:13AM (#9203036)
    The non-combat MMORPG A Tale in the Desert [] has an extremely interesting game mechanic built around drug addiction... there's a potion in the game - called "Speed of the Serpent" - that gives the user a very beneficial boost to their abilities... but with a catch: SotS acts as a slow (and permanent) poison... after your first drink, you need to consume a dose of antidote at least once every 28 real-time days. If you miss a dose, your character dies. (Death in ATITD is permanent - say goodbye to the character; no resurrection).

    The really evil twist is as follows... for every additional drink of SotS you take, you get the same ability boost... but the mandatory interval between your doses of "antidote" shortens by a day... so after 2 drinks of SotS, you need to drink the antidote at least once every 27 days... after 3 doses, you need to take the antidote on a 26 day cycle... etc etc...

    This effect is cumulative, and (to date) there is no cure. However... the allure of the benefits that this potion can bring has driven a lot of people to become completely dependent on the antidote - having to log in every few days to make sure they get their fix and their character stays alive(!)

    Of course, most people think: "Hey, I can handle one drink... the consequences aren't so bad..." - but once you're on the slippery slope to addiction.... ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @09:20AM (#9203106)
    Some context: When you're offline in ATITD, you accumulate "waypoint time" which is used to instantly warp around the game world. It's as if your character has been running the whole time you were logged out, and then you direct where it was he was running to.

    This waypoint time is very precious! There is just one way to get more, aside from taking a break from play: you can drink "Speed of the Serpent", which instantly gives you 24 hours of waypoint time. There's a catch: from that point forward, you must drink some cabbage juice (super-easy to get) at least once every 30 real-life days. If you forget (the game even reminds you), or fail to log in during that time, you die: game over, account cancelled, no refunds.

    You can do additional shots of Speed of the Serpent for additional 24 hour awards, but then the every-30-day rule changes to every-29-days, then every-28-days, etc.

    What's interesting is that the player is the one "addicted", not the character!

    We've had about 20 deaths.
  • by vgarofalo ( 781003 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @09:22AM (#9203123)
    Admittedly I'm not familiar with this game, but after reading the page about drug use in the game world, I was struck with the following thought.

    If use of gleam can raise a character's dexterity, and if long time players have amassed a sizable pile of treasure they have no other use for, will some players see gleam as a way to make their characters even stronger?

    I can almost imagine gleam use/addiction being a status symbol of some sort ... for those characters that can easily afford it. Or maybe gleam is a means to try and bleed some extra cash out of characters with too much coin.

    Either way, I'm glad I don't play this game.

    -- V

  • Sounds intrestting (Score:5, Informative)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @09:26AM (#9203159) Journal
    Many RPG type games have drugs, certainly the ones set into the futute. More fantasy oriented ones got "drugs" of a sort but they rarely have a negative after effect let alone an addiction penalty.

    I however find them usually poorly done in gameplay. It is like all those potions in baldurs gate. Protection against gold, protection against heat, protection against electricity, protection against undead on a friday except on a full moon.


    Geez I am playing a fantasy role of a babarian. Not a bloody chemist. Just sell all those bloody things and spend it on simple healing stuff or even better. Heavy hitters. Who cares is a monster has some weird special attack when one hit puts it down.

    I am currently playing Star Wars Galaxies and it got a shitload of drugs/buffs/foods/drinks all wich boost some stat some with some negative after effects. Problem? there are so many that people only bother with 1 or 2 of them. Maybe a 3rd on occasion and all the rest is ignored.

    Why? Well I doubt it is an objection to the idea of drugs but more likely that people don't just want to bother. First you got to find a buyer. Then find the money to buy it. Then find the right time to use it. Most of the stuff has short duration and is expensive so you only want to use it when you really need it. Plus the better stuff has after effects so you want to make sure you don't get the downer in the middle of battle.

    So drugs in this game are not very intrestting.

    It would be intresting to see how a drug would do that has some real and easy to exploit advantages. Say that all your stats go up for a full day but that also has some major side effects like addiction and perhaps overtime less effectivness (so you need more and more just to get the same buzz) and perhaps mental problems like your avatar walking away from battle to look at the pretty colors. Make it illegal in game too so that both imperials and rebels will be looking for it and the components needed.

    Then again the real study of addiction is those games themselves. I know SWG is crap with an endless list of bugs and constantly newly introduced bugs, the latest is that mission payouts are not shared out amount the group anymore and sometimes not even being payed out to the mission owner, and yet I keep playing. It is nice weather outside and yet I am inside playing a game that is more an exercise in frustation then fun. At least real world drug addicts can consider themselves cool rebels without a cause. I am just a nerd.

    • It is like all those potions in baldurs gate. Protection against gold...

      Protection from gold? Gah! What kind of sick, twisted alchemist would come up with that particular concoction? (Probably one who had too much contact with your average everyday adventurer, I guess...)

    • WHO HAS THE TIME!!!!

      The malicious immorts on a mud will code drugs and withdrawels, but give enough of a "boost" to lure others to use them.

      The really malicious immorts on a mud will code diseases. Just wait until your barbarian gets a nasty cold. ;)

  • by Washizu ( 220337 ) <`bengarvey' `at' `'> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @09:56AM (#9203409) Homepage
    I'm sure the declaration went something like this...

    SirElfZer: Gleam is a danger to our children in this text based society. Chemical dependency wastes out currency and poisons our soul.
    SirEflZer: Merchants caught selling it will have their licenses revoked and will be banished to the northern caves.
    * Wild Dog bites SirElfZer for -4 hit points *
    SirElfZer: QUICK! Someone get me a potion!

  • Fallout (Score:5, Interesting)

    by (trb001) ( 224998 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:05AM (#9203498) Homepage
    Hasn't this already been done in Fallout? I know Achaea is a MUD and therefore realtime/MM/etc, but Fallout had a number of drugs that you could use, get boosts from, get addicted to and go through withdrawl from. Hell, two of the abilities you chose while rolling your character determined whether you were highly resistant or highly affected by drugs.

    • Re:Fallout (Score:3, Interesting)

      by *weasel ( 174362 )
      Games Workshop has also had drugs and dependency in its tabletop and pen-and-paper games for years (almost decades).

      The fact that a player is protesting this mechanic is the only thing 'new' here imo.

      Of course, previous games with drugs were played in tight-knit groups or by individuals, so those not wanting to see/experience drugs simply didn't.
      In a persistent world, that's not really an option.
    • Fallout had the idea... and a MUD... a simple text based game... implements a similar (yet much less robust) feature, and its a slashdot article?

      MUDs are old and only have a cult following. A new MUD feature is really not /. worthy.
    • Re:Fallout (Score:2, Interesting)

      In fallout, anything that is a drug or similiar to a drug can cause
      an addiction.

      So besides obvious:
      Beer / Booze / Jet (form of speed) / Mentats

      we also could get addicted to just Coca Cola, Nuke Cola.

      Out of more wierd addictions are ones related to healing.
      In Fallout you can become radiated by walking around nuclear
      silos, nuclear blast sites, nuclear waste or nuclear reactors.
      The game however provides you a variaty of anti-rad pills and
      potions. A heavy use of such pills can leave you addicted
      to them.

      • Thankfully you can't get addicted to a certain fried "food" in the game. That would be a horrible existence.
      • One correction: Stimpaks are not addictive (Thank god!).

        Not sure about superstims, but they're pretty nasty as it is (They fully restore your HP immediately, but you lose a portion of the gain a while later. I used them through a hard fight, and a little while later dropped dead from the delayed HP loss).

        Most of the addictions aren't too bad. Just about every Fallout character I've made has suffered through Buffout, Mentat, Rad-X, and Rad-away withdrawal. The only drug that's really dangerous is Jet. Just
  • Dune (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Soukyan ( 613538 ) * on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:41AM (#9203875)
    Spice? Several Dune MUDs are in existence and the whole of that world revolves around an addictive substance. Why should gleam be viewed as any different than melange? Certainly introducing an addictive substance that has benefits into a society is going to cause changes to that society, but it will make for an interesting experiement. I think I need to start playing Achaea again just to see what happens.
  • Neocron has lots of drugs, you don't get permanently addicted though, just lots of "drug haze" when they wear off, the more stuff you're on the more debilitating the haze effect.
  • Nothing new (Score:3, Insightful)

    by j.bellone ( 684938 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:27AM (#9204345) Homepage
    I have been programming MUDs for a good few years, and this is nothing new. There have been MUDs around that have "diseases", "sicknesses", hell, even some had "stds." Nothing new; although most of them didn't advertise it like it was a special gametype or something.
  • MUDs (Score:3, Informative)

    by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:55AM (#9204692) Homepage

    MUDs, wherefrom the MMORPGs truly spring, have had addictive substances for quite a while now.

    I think BatMUD [] has had tobacco addiction for as long as I can remember. Which would be something like since 1994-6 or something. Quite likely also earlier than that.

  • by Samurai Cat! ( 15315 ) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @12:21PM (#9205055) Homepage
    ...though it may have just been alcohol, not drugs. The MUD was called "Armageddon", it was based off some old D&D-based novels, set in a desert. (I don't recall the name of the book series.)

    I recall bumping into another character in a town, and everything he said came out on my end as garbled, and he would 'stagger around' i.e. he'd try to go north and would go east instead, etc. The effects would wear off in time. I don't think they had any sort of addiction built into the system.
    • The AD&D world you're looking for is Dark Sun. I played that MUD for a little while; unfortunately, I just couldn't get into it (besides an odd schedule, I apparently can't actually roleplay with that interface).

      Drunk code has been standard on Diku-based MUDs for ages now, especially the garbled text.
  • Uh, euphoria, duh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AEther141 ( 585834 )
    This is never going to model real drug addiction for one simple reason - MMORPGs cannot model euphoria, the reason people take addictive drugs. People don't get hooked on crack because they're stupid, they get hooked on crack because it feels better than anything else. No amount of buffs can simulate that kind of incentive.
    • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 )
      >This is never going to model real drug addiction for one simple reason

      No, just like it can't model long-term damage to a body from running around, jumping off of walls etc.

      At best it can highlight the fact that some drugs when used in excess do have determential effects which might not be worth it.
  • by Patrick May ( 305709 ) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:11AM (#9215430)
    Ancient Anguish [] has had such substances available for a number of years. They pose no problem. I can quit anytime I want. Really.

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.