Star Citizen players are running around giving each other drug overdoses

A pile of bodies that have been drugged in Star Citizen.
(Image credit: Cloud Imperium Games)

Star Citizen is like EVE Online in one way: It's fascinating to see what elements of the playerbase are getting up to in this semi-functioning, half-built galaxy. The game is infamous for its business model of expensive virtual spaceships that don't yet exist (I'm honestly surprised we haven't had Star Citizen NFTs yet), but those who believe in it do so with a passion and make the best of what there currently is. Or, in the case of the recently added med gun, make the worst of it for others.

Star Citizen's 3.15 update, currently live on the public test server, adds this tool, which is intended to allow players to heal themselves and others. As it's not a weapon, it can be used within 'armistice' zones i.e. space stations. And it works by pumping players full of lovely health drugs. Only problem being, if you get too many drugs in your system, your character becomes incapacitated, swaying like they're drunk before collapsing to the floor.

The med gun wars have begun: players are using them to grief others by 'healing' them to an incapacitated state, then merrily stripping the limp bodies and leaving them in nothing but underwear. Players can also team up to incapacitate others and then carry them around the station for a laugh. This is the space future we dreamed of!

"So players usually spawn in a starting area," explains Star Citizen player xx-shalo-xx. "These areas are armistice zones, which block PvP. However 'healing' a player through a involuntarily needle injection isn't seen as PvP. You can see where this is going. Players spot a geared guy and bum rush him and stab him full. The player then actually overdoses and dies and the gear is yours for the taking.

"This meta is fucking wild, players started countering this by pre-dosing with a anti-overdose medicine before entering player hubs but even then if you get stabbed enough it's lights out. This is some Space Station 13 levels of shenanigans."

As with everything Star Citizen, there's an amusing split of opinion between people who just think this is ridiculous (it is) and those who insist Cloud Imperium can do no wrong and it's up to players to defend themselves. The latter is possible: taking a particular medication called Resurga will protect you from the med guns for an hour. But this hardly feels like something players should have to do to avoid griefing in a 'safe' zone.

Here's an example of how it looks in practice, with this brave pilot being woozed-up by a rather scary looking cat thing.

And it is definitely, definitely not funny that Star Citizen's space stations have turned into clinical landscapes filled with woozy pilots and stripped bodies. "I've had a couple of occasions now where bands of people go around and completely spawn camp the ship terminals, hiding in elevators and drugging people," writes SirToffee. "Then what happened? Well they then decided to camp at the clinic so poor old me in just my gown opened the door to 3 people waiting to drug me. This happened repeatedly and swapping server just put me back in the same one."

2020 was Star Citizen's most successful year to date and, although it currently only exists in fragments, Cloud Imperium Games founder Chris Roberts says the game "is not a pipe dream." With the amount of cash they've raised you'd certainly hope not.

Cloud Imperium Games has acknowledged the issue on various forums, and a spokesperson writes: "It's not the intended experience and the team has already been exploring solutions." It's also only currently on the test server, so the dope wars are unlikely to persist for long.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."