#1 - 2011/04/11 06:21:00 AMI 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.