MUD addiction

The dedication of some players to Abandoned Realms shows that it is an amazing and gripping game world. Yet just like anything in life it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Playing Abandoned Realms too much can be as destructive to your real life as crack cocaine.

So this has been written. And it is written by people (not just one person) who has been through MUD addiction and beaten it. Probably worse MUD addiction than you will ever be likely to experience - believe it. We don't want the game to ruin your life. But neither do we think the right solution to a problem is to give it up completely. The key to healthy living is moderation.

Signs of addiction

Please do not confuse addiction with peer pressure from friends to play the game. Friendly play is not an addicting experience. A group of people playing the game together are much more likely to spot each other cutting out too much time from real life and point out to lay off it a bit. That said here are some signs that you might be spending a little TOO MUCH time here, incase they don't.

  • You often find yourself short of time for things in real life that are more important - granted many of us are in college with tons of free time to mud (even with homework) but even with a ton of time to kill, you can easily manage to overdo it
  • You've frequently cancelled things with your real life friends, like going to the nightclubs on Friday nights to make that surge, seeing movies with girlfriend, skipping classes, etc, all those are sign of overplaying the game
  • You log in the game even though you don't really have the urge to play (although the converse, wanting to play when you can't login, is normal, NOT a sign of addiction)
  • You stay logged in when you don't want to play... maybe even quitting and then logging back in.
  • You stay logged in and playing when you KNOW you have something more important to do (This particular example is also a symptom of procrastination, which may turn out to be the root of your addiction problem. Methods for beating procrastination are different to beating addiction, one simple way is to assert that you WANT to do the other thing, instead of HAVE to, as the feeling of having to brews rebellion against doing it).
  • Personal hygiene is a classic area of neglect for the mudder, though to be honest we cannot say if this is because of mud addiction...
  • You have messenger programs logged on 24/7 even when you're not at the keyboard incase you miss something.

Precautions that avoid and fight mud addiction

You can make changes to your lifestyle that will protect you from getting overly addicted to this game. Other players, the ones who fought addiction and returned, have used them with no further problems and so they have been proven to work. Here are a list of some of the things.

  • Rank/train on the surges so that those activities don't need to take up as much time as usual.
  • Gamble some nice items so you don't have to worry about getting rares purged.
  • Limit those 5-6 hours mud sessions to days when you have a lot of free time, like the weekends. If you're doing particularly bad in school, maybe its time to start avoid playing on school days completely.
  • Do homework FIRST. You should not log on AR with homework left to complete. If you are doing this, your logic is probably something like "ok, homeworks not due to Thursday. I can MUD." This is bad logic. Think of leisure time as a REWARD for your work, not as work as an OBSTACLE in the way of it.
  • If you aren't having fun, or the experience becomes frustrating, then QUIT.. you've had enough for that playing session.
  • All those times you get killed, those are all valuable times, because they give you a healthy dose of reality - reminds you there's more to life than this game. So there is a positive side to getting pked.
  • If you've got other things to do, like homework, SHUT AR OUT. Don't leave yourself "plugged in" in anyway, that might cause you to creep back over for a glance at the screen. That can quickly get blown up into 2-3 hours mud session.
  • You don't have to literally *play* a ton of AR to get good at it. In fact a lot of improvement at AR comes when you aren't even remotely connected to it, and you're free to think about the game mechanics without the pressure of watching your PK range or that you dont die tanking. Its ok to be logged out!
  • Pursue other interests. And I dont mean, start a fire berserker because your paladin is a little boring to play sometimes. Chess, cards, scrabble, poker, gunbound, tetris, go out, get some sun, physical exercise. Variety is the spice of life. If you have other interests, you won't be anywhere near as likely to getting hooked to this one.

Are YOU addicted?

Realising you are addicted to the game is the first step to beating it. If this is you, congratulations, you have just made a huge development. No doubt you are experiencing that empowering feeling that you are now ready to do what you need to take control again, as many of us who bit it before you have felt. However, don't try to run before you can walk now. Just because you have realised you have a problem, and feel you are the master of your destiny again, does not mean you are going to know how to take care of it the right way. Take it from people who've been there and tried that too.

Many people when they have realised they have a bad case of mud addiction try to cut out the game from their life completely! As many of us at AR can testify, this is rarely successful. Its the age old running mud joke - the guy who says he's done, and in two weeks or months (after the real-life damage suffered is patched up) he's back and within a few days playing as much as he always did. Obviously playing a healthy amount less than what's harmful goes without saying as a good thing, but does it seem at all rational to simply cut a fun pastime out of your life completely? When the person doing it is a veteran player, he's also an important guy on the game, so the game's livelihood is hurt when he decides to suddenly just dump it.

Mud isn't beer, or cocaine, you won't become an alcholic who can't touch a drop ever again, you won't end up catching hepatitis B, but it still has addictive qualities, and you should not feel like you're a vulnerable person to it just because you did get addicted. As addictions go, its one of the less harmful out there - certainly the usual problems of addiction are there (like failing classes), but on the bright side, you'll probably build up an insane typing speed, as well as getting really good at algebra and other arithmetic thanks to all the math which you don't even realise you're dealing with. And remember, you're certainly not alone, most (if not all) people who play muds and other rpg's will experience addiction to some degree. There is lots of places to get help with it.

Invariably, everyone who has conquered mud addiction will have taken at least a few hiatus. However, this should not be confused as being a cure because they've seemingly returned without addicted. Truth is most of the one's who are scared to come back because they are worried it'll suck them in again, just end up sucked into a different game or interest. They're not suddenly turning straight back into high flying A-students with AR out of the picture. The only sure fix for addiction (to anything) is making and sticking to some lifestyle changes.

Playing Abandoned Realms has much healthy things to offer. It is designed to enrich your life, by giving you something that is very fun to do, in addition to the other things that go into your life. But it is definitely not intended to be a time-sink or subsitute for your real life. We definitely want you here, but we dont want you to ruin your life in the process.

Even if you do decide to give up completely, you should still leave yourself an avenue to make a comeback. Because in not doing so, you are undermining yourself as being too weak-willed to avoid playing the game. And that is bad for your self-esteem which will just lead to more problems in life.