Quicker, easier, more seductive?

Wotcha everyone,

I was scanning the BBC website for news today (as one does), when this article caught my eye.  Take a moment to read it, and then see if you start thinking what I was thinking by the end of it.

Yeah, I was wondering why university libraries make people go all blurry too.

But, after giggling a little along the lines of “Huh!  Students these days, eh?  Not like my day, when universities were called “Workin’ in t’mine”.  Bunch of idle layabouts, if you ask me!”, I started to wonder.   No, not about the blurry people again, but about online gaming.

Yes.  Online gaming and performance enhancing drugs.  Think about it.

Online gaming has become big business; no longer is it the preserve of the geekiest of gamers.  Yes, I remember you taking the piss repeatedly, gaming magazines.  Elves and Orcs weren’t as cool and sexy as Mr Doom Marine and all his FPS chums:  Well, not any more, it seems.  We’re cool, and there are multiple millions of us playing all around the world.

We’re Massively Multiplayer now.  But that doesn’t stop people from trying to be the best.  It’s in human nature to want to strive, to succeed.  The desire to do well, to win, to be the best of the best is strong.  And online gamers are no exception to the rule.

Many players look for something more.  An “edge”.  From the humble addon that either improves a part of the interface, or makes things easier, through macros and mods, all the way to exploits, hacks, cheats, and bots.  No, I’m not implying that all gamers use, or would consider using, the seedier end of that scale.  But the accusations are always being thrown about that exploits are being used by [insert name or group here].  Or worse.

Add gold-buying (well, *someone* has to be buying the gold, otherwise it wouldn’t be financially viable to pay someone to farm all that gold, never mind make a profit on the subscription) and power-levelling “services”, and you get a whole new set of “edges” that people can use.

But cheats and exploits get you banned.  Hacks and bots get you banned, and can also get your pc virused.  And buying gold and levels can have your credit card used to buy various dodgy people new 50″ plasma screens, or your accounts (both bank and game) raided for all your goodies.  The pitfalls are many.

However…  Here comes a pill-sized solution.  Something that will sharpen your smarts, allowing you to do the right thing at the right time.  It will make you more sociable; you can go from follower to leader.  It will make you concentrate better over longer periods, allowing you to raid at the top of your game, all raid.

And it’s cheap.  Could this be the death of the gold-seller?  Why buy gold, when you can pop a pill, and farm all night?  Not only is the pill cheaper, but you get to keep the cool drops, and the xp!  Women will marvel at your staying power, and men will want to be you.  No, wait, that’s a different sort of pill…  But the possibility is that despite the various legitimate attempts at stopping gold-sellers and farmers (Go BanHammer, Go!), we could be looking at their demise coming due to the influx of online pharmacies.

So, here we are.  Little pill, big advantage.  It’s something that I would NEVER, EVER advocate the use of.  I don’t even take paracetamol for a bad headache, so why would I take something that has the potential to fuck me up?  For a game?

But is it the new edge gamers want?  Gamers aren’t above a little light self-medication.  Admit it.  You’ve never played when hopped up on caffeine?  Gamer Coffee can be the stuff of legend, as is Jolt Cola.  And you’ve never downed Red Bull when mid-raid?  Wasn’t taurine, active ingredient of Red Bull, trialled as a combat drug somewhere?  Or is that another of my urban legends?  Is there *that* much of a leap from smart drinks, to smart drugs?

Hmm.  What do you think?



10 Responses

  1. I think I was fueled mostly by polos when I did my degree 🙂

    But this does remind me of a bboard thread I read once (maybe on elitist jerks) where people were discussing how to best ‘optimise’ their levelling speed … and ritalin was mentioned.

  2. Am I alone in my ability to survive an all-nighter without even so much as caffeine beyond the single can of pop I had with dinner?

  3. That’s pretty shocking, really. I despise the concept of Ritalin (as someone who was diagnosed pretty early with hyperactivity – which led to some very unpleasant years for my parents, but thankfully it was controlled by diet and good parenting!). I know a few people who take Ritalin for supposed real symptoms I don’t think they have.

    If I drink coffee I fall asleep faster than before. I tried some Pro Plus during A Levels and was asleep 1hr later. I’m not good at the all-nighter. And I’m veering away from games that demand it.

    I liked the end of the BBC story where it embraced the idea of the good night’s sleep.

    But I suppose some would go this route.

  4. Sometimes I drink Lucozade while gaming…

  5. Alas, I’ve been drinking a 2 litre bottle of coke a day since university. My body seems to have gotten used to it, and I do still have all my own teeth, but I suspect I’ll one day regret it.

    I’ll stick with caffeine, nicotine (these days from one of those electronic doohickeys), and copious amounts of sugar. They may all be crap for me, but at least I won’t get locked up.

  6. Also, cola is the yum.

  7. 1 mug of coffee has me jittering for 2-3 hours, so I try and keep it to one cup a week with my bacon sandwich at work.
    Besides i always hit the right button at the right time, you can’t enhance something thats at the top of its game 😉

  8. I only take drugs for blogging. Shh! I don’t think anyone notices, but I enjoy the pretty colors.

  9. Bah, drugs! All you need is a six-pack of Red Bull to stay up 48 hours.

  10. Ironically, the stimuli overload from a video game is classically more than enough to keep any ADHD kid focused for uncommon lengths of time. In addition it to being a colossally stupid idea in the first place (see “Side Effects”) it’s kind of unnecessary.

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