Secretly disabled WoW player (until now)

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I am a disabled 16-year-old in a guild of older players who know my age and accepted me because a guildie vouched for my maturity, and who I am confident will not judge me if/when they see this post. I will admit that if that was not the case, I would probably not be posting this, because some players can, quite frankly, be judgmental idiots. I'm fully prepared for forum trolls, but it will be worth it if I can make a few people stop and think, and maybe even make a few people realize that they aren't the only ones in such a situation. I would love to see replies about people's own stories.

You should know that I'm not here for pity. I'm perfectly confident in myself and my abilities, both in-game and in real life. What I am here to talk about is my disability, which—until now—no one in-game knows about, and more importantly, the way I adapt to things in game. I had a stroke before I was born, and it left my left side paralyzed. This condition is known as cerebral palsy. In layman's terms, my left side is weak, and using my left hand is difficult at best. It is not glaringly obvious to people who meet me, but if you see me doing things, you might notice the ways I adapt to suit my needs. For instance, I'm currently typing this post with one hand.

When I first started playing WoW about a year ago, I was, quite frankly, a horrible player. I could not manage to move and cast at the same time, slowing my leveling considerably and worsening my game experience. I could not DPS very well, so I eventually switched to healing. I had veteran friends (including my GM) who I played with as l leveled up, and who probably attributed my poor playing to inexperience—which, in a way, is true. But the learning curve for me was much steeper than it had to be. Now, however, I have a WoW Cata mouse, and have managed to keybind most of my abilities to it, removing any limitations that I once had. My left hand can be used for very little in-game, although I can manage to press the shift button with my thumb, doubling my keybinds. When I DPS, which is basically only when soloing dailies, I have keybound the 6 buttons on the left side of the mouse (along with the shift button) to give myself an entire action bar worth of easily-reached buttons for DPSing. The far-right button is my auto-run, and a few CDs fill the remaining buttons. When I am healing, I have Vuh Do healing keybinds on my mouse, just like anyone else. Even as I type this I am thinking of ways I could switch around keybinds, but I'm convinced that my method is perfect for me, and could even benefit any player, even those who are not disabled. The reason I have put these things in so much detail is simply because it took me about 9 months to learn them, and I don't want anyone to have to figure it out themselves in a similar way, when they could easily skip the trial and error I went through.

A related issue that I see as a disabled player is that the anonymity of WoW allows ‘healthy’ people to mock the disabled without consequence, in much the same way that forum trolls mock players for a variety of reasons; this is why many disabled players simply do not mention the fact that they are disabled. The huge issue with this is that disabled players do not contact and learn from each other as often as they can in real life, where there are organizations and websites to help someone adapt to their disability. I personally do not have the ability to create a website, but I would love if someone would offer their help to create a site that will help disabled players of WoW and other MMOs adapt. I don't exclusively mean the physically disabled, either. I would like to put together a site to help guide people to solutions to their various difficulties in playing the game. Maybe we could help figure out solutions to many people’s problems. Of course, there are some solutions out there, but most of them are very expensive, and I would like to help anyone who feels that their game experience is worsened by a disability. There is no reason that a disabled person should not be able to play WoW—they just need help.

I have begun to put together a team of people to help me create the website. While nothing concrete is online yet, the development process has begun.

After reading the CoC, it seems that I am allowed to post my own email, just not the email of other players. So if you want to contact me, my email is Hopefully I did not misread the CoC and if so I apologize. But feel free to email me if you want to help in any way. I have help creating the site itself, but I would gladly accept offers from people who are interested in helping out in other ways. For instance, the site will include user-generated content, but I would love to see articles written by people with disabilities other than my own.

I apologize to any who quoted this post, but it was necessary to edit it so that I may include parts of it in my first article.

I thank you for your time, and for all of your support. I'd also like to thank the people who have helped me to begin creating the site, and special thanks to my editor for proofreading this post for me.
Pretty awesome how you adapted to playing wow with only one side...

If you're serious about the website (it's not just a whim), then I would suggest only trying to do one thing to start out with, then expanding once it gets going.
I applaud the fact that you adapted so well to do something that you enjoy.

interesting post, not something quite common in wow forums. props for having adapted, a website on this topic would intrigue alot of people such as myself.
04/10/2011 11:28 PMPosted by Ordrall

Oh stop it...people of different age play this game, among other games as well...don't act like it doesn't happen, because it does.

*Edit* I /liked this post
Thank you guys! I wasn't expecting much in the way of replies this late at night.
Thank you for your post. I think it would be very useful for disabled players to swap tips on how to play more effectively.

I have no obvious physical abnormality, I have a hidden disability, a life-long brain disorder. I am under a doctor's care and take medication to manage.

I can "pass" out in the street. It does effect my ability to play WOW well, however. I adapted mainly by avoiding stressful situations like raiding.

I am always the weak link in any group I have been in, mainly because dungeons and raids are completely confusing to me. I can't process all that is going on. I am not stupid, I just can't process too much stuff all at once.

I avoid grouping. That's how I deal with it. I enjoy playing the game as a solo player, but I am envious of people who are able to group effectively, by whatever means.
Regarding the website, why not contact Blizzard directly with this suggestion. I think it's a superb idea, and Blizzard may want to consider adding this into their community website, or offer a service that may enable players to share email or contact info anonymously, as people with disabilities do pay to play.
It must have been a pain to type that whole post one-handed.
I think the website you're suggesting is an awesome idea. If you contact your local university's CS department, I'm thinking you could find a student willing to do it for credit instead of money. I'd suggest including sections for people with various disabilities and a forum where others could share information about the devices that made their life easier.

You could also consider using a keypad. The buttons are closer together than on a keyboard, so you'd have to move your left hand less if you just plopped your fingers on top of the buttons.
04/10/2011 11:21 PMPosted by Walaman
Of course, there are some solutions out there, but most of them are very expensive, and I would like to help anyone who feels that their game experience is worsened by a disability.

That's the most irritating thing. It seems like all the nifty tools to make my life easier and more normal cost a small fortune. A small fortune that I don't have. /sigh

OP, I can honestly say that my life isn't any worse for being more open and honest about my disability. I've been kicked from a few groups for it, but never a guild. Most people won't hold it against you. In fact, I think you'd be surprised how many people are willing to sit there and try to brainstorm with you to make your set up even better.

I'm half asleep at the moment, so I can't even begin to think of the creative solutions people have offered me in the past. I hope there's someone more awake that might be willing to see about a website for ya. :)
This is just a feel-good story. :)
If you do get a website up, I bet that Blizzard would mention you on their front page, once you got things started.
04/10/2011 11:53 PMPosted by Vagrant
If you do get a website up, I bet that Blizzard would mention you on their front page, once you got things started.

This, of course, would be the ultimate goal. But as a teenager, I have a lot of free time, so as I begin to create the site (It is such a popular idea that I don't think I can abandon it) I will probably be posting a link (and possibly of my ideas until the site is more accessible) directly into the forums, so that it won't just be available on some obscure site, but directly accessable to the WoW community. Expect to see a link appearing with some rough ideas soon.
I have major respect for you, all disabled people in general. It's amazing how you don't let your disability get in the way of your wow playing. You seem fairly intelligent/mature for being 16. I myself am 15 turning 16 in about two weeks? Also props for you not caring about the trolls who see this thread, i know i'd be tripping if people were on my case like that. Keep doing what you are doing man and i wish you good luck in the future, take care :)

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