Online MUDs: Combating Boredom in the Military With Text Games

online muds soldiers

By Tony Celetano

One of the great things about online text games is the opportunities they provide to meet some pretty cool folks. For example, my girlfriend and I, who met through gaming, recently sat down with Herenicus from Achaea. Herenicus is a 68W Army Combat Medic and has some amazing stories to share, but he's also a text game addict. I have friends in the military who are always complaining about the lack of online gaming options while deployed, but Herenicus was still active in Achaea while overseas. Of course, I wanted to get the nitty-gritty on his text game experiences while overseas, so we picked the location and had lunch - the famous Schmidt's Sausage Haus.

After a lengthy wait (hey, it's Schmidt's!) we were led to our table. We all decided on the buffet so Herenicus could save room for his cream puff (more on that later), and after piling delicious bratwurst and german potato salad onto our plates, we got around to chatting about text games. My first question was how often he was able to get online to play text games in the first place.

"Internet access varies greatly from larger operating bases to smaller outposts. For most of the deployment, we either had no Internet access, access only when visiting a larger base for supplies, or access in a public tent dedicated to phones and Internet service. I rarely did more than check messages and news once every other month until our outpost had a contractor arrive and set up a civilian wireless network charging between $50 and $100 per month for wireless internet."

I was a little shocked at those prices because that's the price range for cable in your home. A friend in Iraq told me that his internet was communal, so I asked Herenicus if he had the same.

"Once we got civilian Internet, pretty much everyone was using it when not on mission or sleeping. People kept up with family, but if you paid for higher bandwidth you could download music or movies. We had guys playing WoW - I went with the middle plan which probably wouldn't have supported that. It barely supported Achaea, and yes - outages were common."

I nodded and asked if he was able to do any PvP combat. "The Internet was slow and choppy. I still had access to my system, but the lag made combat largely suicidal."

When it was time to get seconds, I stacked food on my plate while Herenicus was already showing signs of fullness. With a little grin I wondered to myself if I was going to out-eat this big Army dude. We talked about the stupid things people sometimes do in text games, what we like best about them, before I asked if he applied any skills from the Army to online text games.

"My in-game faction maintains a martial atmosphere, so I would expect that it resembles the sort of working environment in the military. I also think that it becomes more challenging to be patient with individuals who consider experience points and text romance as serious concerns."

The waitress came around at this point and asked if we needed anything. I said I'd like the check, while Herenicus ordered Schmidt's famous cream puff. I came back from the buffet with my third plate just as the waitress was delivering Herenicus's creampuff - and let me tell you about Schmidt's cream puffs. Once featured on the television show Man vs Food, they're almost as large as your head and weigh one pound each. An entire pound of delicious, cream filled pastry.

"So, Herenicus, you play an evil character in the game. As a combat medic in real life, have you ever considered the Priest class?" I asked with a grin.

"As a Quaker in real life, I have a love-hate relationship with being a 'healer'. It is a religious calling, on the one hand, but on the other hand it pigeon-holes you in a supportive role." And then, with a face as serious as his response, he picked up the cream puff and inhaled it in two bites.


Be thankful for your internet and put it to use with some stellar online MUDs

Tony Celentano is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from Iron Realms

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That cream puff was there one moment, gone the next.

And this is why Mhaldor tends to devour Shallam.

Yeah, even the peaceful people in Mhaldor are in the military IRL :))

Good job it wasn't a giant truffle!

I was waiting for someone to say that!

Fielan wants a cream puff... and one of those Eclairs from Shallam on Achaea.. yesh.. and Cheese from the Cheesemeister, Webby.

It's true though, as a Navy Petty Officer I find that Achaea does relieve a lot of stress when I'm off work.  Plus, it's nice not to have the immature kids that play WoW and Call of Duty shouting "No you're not!" every time you mention it in casual conversation.

even after an annoying day lusternia helps calm me down

As a girlfriend of someone who will be going off to bootcamp for the Navy pretty soon, it's actually relieving to me in a way to hear that he'll still have enough internet to talk to me, let alone play games to entertain himself. Great article :) 


Didn't know it was possible to have access to Achaea while on duty.

Time to enlist Juliana.  You'll still get to play Achaea.

Small wonder there are no active military players in Aetolia's Druids.

...not war!

I have a few relatives currently deployed, one in particular I know likes to play WoW or something similar at least.. Perhaps I'll try to get him into MUDs the next time I talk to him.

If anyone deserves a little escape from reality from time to time, it's people in the military. Great read.

Could not agree more.

Oh, what a wonderful it would be if everybody in the military played MUDs instead of making war.

Life has its ups and downs. Fortunately, technology can give people a moment of peace without being on the edge. I think MUDs are just another form of chess but with the social aspect included in it. So, I wonder how many people in the military that play IRE muds use the training they got in boot camp on normal people for psychological warfare.

with their advanced millitary tactics.

The real unfair advantage lies with computer scientists, who write for themselves hyper-optimised systems.

Programmers most certainly have an advantage in writing up the most badass systems. Even so, however, if an individual with actual military training gets ahold of one of said systems, you'd think they would have a more tactical mind with which to use it.

You call it an unfair advantage, I call it an occupational benefit!

Very interesting read. I wouldn't have thought that someone in the Army would want to spend their spare time in a combat game.

When my brother was in Baghdad... downtime involved a fair bit of Halo on xbox (and, when internet was stable enough, WoW), so... IRE games are calm and relaxing compared. Anything that provides a distraction from the world outside of the barracks, wherever it may be, is a great thing.


As an aside, great article for Memorial Day, and to those who're on that side of the topic... thanks for serving.

Nice article for Memorial Day. I wonder just how much more relaxing Achaea is for servicemen than other options?


I can't help but picture the in-game Herenicus chomping on cream puffs.

you absolved the cream puff

No he catharsised the creampuff.

Next thing you know there will be direct connections between military officers and Achaea. It will be glorious. Ender's Game, anyone?!

I agree with the part about playing the priests. I used to play priests all the time until I became a 'healer' type in real life and then I moved further away from the priest genre in game. 


I wouldn't mind being a priest I guess, I just don't like the religious side of them. Maybe that comes from studying theology, who knows?

That's the very thing that draws me to RPGs, like many players, the fact that you can 'be someone else'. I'm a guy who got my ass kicked all the way through school, so it's great that I can throw out a few keystrokes and become a bladestorming champion in another world. My biggest gripe has always been that there's no analogy for the social dweeb in real life that wants to play a social mojo. If you can't do it irl, you're pretty stuffed ICly... Lusternia comes the closest to combating (heh) this with the debating system, which I really think was a brilliant piece of innovation.  I'd hand out a ton of respect points to any other IRE game that tackles this issue in an equally satisfying way.

Thank you for your service, military folks.

I imagined IG Herenicus consuming cream puffs when I saw this, I just couldn't resist, although I must admit that I did see him drinking red wine IG.

As for combat tactics... the computer scientists do get real advantage, I think. I did manage to pseudo-code some combat tactics I thought was viable, but never bothered to learn the client and convert it into real codes.


Text games are EPIC. Those sad visual games like Runescape and stuff have no roleplay involved whatsoever. It's just about going around killing things over and over and over again. No sodalities, no characterization, no puzzles, no coherency.

In text games like Lusternia and Achaea I've discovered that, as each room has like a 100-word description, I can visualize things far better than in the non-text games. I literally feel like I am inside the game, seeing and hearing all the things that are basically pixels on a screen.

I am addicted. Thank you to those wonderful creators who have made this world possible and the members of the IRE games that contribute to its diverse and awesome community.

I have grown to hate those games like WoW and Runescape. It's all about killing whatever you can and leveling up. Oh sure there is PvP, but I could never enjoy it! People wouldn't stop telling me how bad I was at it, just leave me alone and let me have fun for hells sake! Not to mention that if you try to roleplay people think you are an idiot.


I feel like Paladins are probably military people :x But I don't actually know

sounds like military service here in germany

If only the world had a few more MUD addicts, and a few less psychotic terrorists, and the world would be a better place for everyone....

This was an interesting article, thanks for posting it.

Happy Memorial Day everyone! Eat more cream puff!

A good chunk of people I've ever met in any IRE game were either in the military, waiting to go on, or were once in. It's always interesting and almost obvious when you find out who was or who wasn't. (They're usually all ending up not being whiny lolgriefers!)

That was very interesting!

I've always wondered what life was like on base in this manner. Thanks for the info!

I have a good friend who just returned from Afghanistan, but while he was on his deployment he played Lusternia quite a bit, it was nice to be able to talk to him through that!

I've had friends from the military who played muds. A lot of them actually... There wasn't a single mud I've visited where there was at least one individual serving on a base and playing with us. I enjoyed playing with them and their insight in things were interesting.

Excellent Info!

very nice read

Very interesting read!

Having been in the Navy myself, albeit shorter than I would have liked, when you're not on duty you're pretty much able to do whatever you want (within legal reason, heh) if it's available. Especially with the stress of the high-risk setting of being over in the east, it seems like it'd behoove the officers to make sure they have good stuff available for downtime. I've always said that gaming is my 'escape from real life' so I'm glad that stuff like that is available for our guys/girls. Get home soon all you unlucky bastards over there!

I have playd a lot of mmo's online, and I allways meet cool people, but I am mostely suprised of how oftin I meet people who are veterins, or curently serving. They allways got some cool things to share and I am glad that there is something for them to do.

I found this story very touching. I am glad that this game has brought joy to those who might not have access to as many luxiers as those they fight for.

Keep these coming. This one wasn't relevant to me (was born with a physical disability that prevented me from ever enlisting) but I enjoy every article that you all have put out thus far.

some people who I know are in the military.  I always worry for them when they're gone.

Great article, always wondered about this trend.

It is amazing the things who play these games do sometimes. I've met some of the smartest people I know over the last 10 years on achaea, and a great deal of people who serve in the military.

It is amazing the things people who play these games do sometimes. I've met some of the smartest people I know over the last 10 years on achaea, and a great deal of people who serve in the military.

Really? I mean, great article and all but the really is more for those commenters who find it suprising that some of the people in the military play MUDs. While not in the military myself, my family has had a long history in the AirForce...and let me tell you - what they liked before serving, most of it they liked during their service and after as well.  So it doesn't much suprise me that they like gaming too. What they see more of than civilians is war and death. While this can (and does) change people they still are just people.


God bless and come home soon.

good deal!

It's awesome how they let the soldiers have the downtime to do this sort of thing

I would think MUDs wold be the easiest of any type of online game to play.  All you need is a world phone...if the military will allow that.  I dont know.

It could be a good way to keep in touch with family, since phone time is usually limited.  Use it for entertainment and to keep in touch with loved ones as well.

I'm not surprised that he is a medic and has an evil character. Role reversal has been proven to be very healthy. My main characters are always forestals, but I have several evil alts as well. They completely go against what I believe in RL, but I enjoy playing them. It's nice to be able to be that way once in a while you know?

50$ - 100$?

Sapience is an expensive place in wartime!


I know so many soldiers who play online text games! Even back in the 90s, the MUD I worked on had a bunch of soldiers. I remember a builder I used to code with on a futuristic MUD; everything was Space Marines lol. I think it's cool that these kind of games exist (and are free to play) to help cure boredom overseas.

I know so many soldiers who play online text games! Even back in the 90s, the MUD I worked on had a bunch of soldiers. I remember a builder I used to code with on a futuristic MUD; everything was Space Marines lol. I think it's cool that these kind of games exist (and are free to play) to help cure boredom overseas.

This was a great articale and one that rings home for so any people. I know in Aetolia we have at least a dozen people in the armed forced from the USA, Australia and the UK.

I could not agree more with this write up. Having served four years I found muds a great way of relaxing and improving my english skills.

I have actually been very surprised to find out that a lot of the people I know in Imperian are soliders. I'm glad they have the ability to play and disconnect for a while.

Very cool article. Too bad though there isn't an easy way to find out who is faking it and shaming them.


This guy sounds pretty cool.

I know someone who did that actually. They connected to Imperian through their cellphone by using it as a modem. I don't know how fast it was but I can imagine that it was better than nothing!

Interesting read.

More articles about this - the real people who play the games.

This really gives an insight to military game-players

How I wish military in my country could have achaea too

I loved it. The interview was wonderful. 

I want a cream puff now :< *forages*


Never mind the military, I play on my phone in between customers! ( I work in retail)