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15 Minutes of Fame: Quadriplegic player attacks progression raiding

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Tales of players who succeed at WoW despite disabilities (physical disabilities, mental issues, you name it) always attract a certain amount of fascination. How is it that we can spend so much worry and effort grinding trivial hurdles while disabled players are taking care of business in situations that would Alt+F4 most of us? Worry is one thing you won't hear much of from Quadilious, a quadriplegic player (yes, quadriplegic -- you read that correctly) who's into progression raiding (yes, progression raiding -- you're still reading things correctly) in ToC-25 Heroic and Ulduar hard modes.

Ever have one of those days when you wish your in-game struggles and real-life hurdles seemed a little less daunting? Have a good dose of perspective -- Quad certainly does.

Main character Quadilious
Guild Forthright
Server US Sisters of Elune-H

15 Minutes of Fame: Quadilious, let's start off by explaining to readers exactly what you're working (or not working) with. Tell us about your physical limitations, if you would, please.
Quadilious: I'm a C4-5 quad with no movement below my elbows for my arms and none below my shoulders. My hands are in a permanent fist, so I have to type using my feeding cuff turned upside down with a pencil stuck in it. (Make a fist with your thumb on top, then stick a pencil in the bottom of it. That's what I use to type, etc.) My arm movement is better on my right than left side but still limited to control above my elbow and next to none below.

And yet you play WoW. What's your WoWstyle?
I started playing WoW almost three years ago. At first, the questing was what got me, but then my FPS background drove me to check out BGs, where I figured out my movement issues. At about this time, Mrs. Quad (what we call her cause she has too many toons to remember LOL) got involved with an up-and-coming guild called Fel Kin who introduced her (then me) to endgame raiding, and I've been hooked ever since!

I'm so happy with the guild I'm in now (Forthright) because they're always pushing me to try bigger and harder events and bosses but understand when I say I might not be ready for that now. (I think I've only said that once though, for going into the rooms in the Yogg fight, but you'd have to check with the guild.)

While Mrs. Quad and I do help each other (she comes up with wonderful ideas to help, and sometimes she needs some high DPS to help her groups), what we want from the game is too different for us to be guildies. She's an altoholic; I have Quad. :)

So how did you make it all the way up into a progression raiding guild?
When I left my last guild, I figured that it was the time to put myself to the test. I was geared up in Tier 7 25-man, I had my class and movement issues figured out, and Ulduar was coming up in the next patch. I looked at the various guilds on my server and looked for one that was in the same boat as me, prepared to make that step to the top. I sent in my app to Forthright with my stats and a link to my webpage and was contacted by the GL Rhamnousia, who I thought wasn't sure if I was being honest about my situation. LOL A quick interview, and they offered me a recruit spot.

My first raid was intimidating, to say the least, but I made my way through it and saw where I had to make improvements. Since then, I've earned a spot in the core raiders of Forthright and have been having a blast ever since! One thing I strive for, though, is to try not to use my handicap as an excuse. If it does happen that a fail on my part is due to my disability, I try to find away around it so I can still be a productive part of the raid.

What's been the most difficult encounter for you based on movement or control limitations?
It's gotta be a toss-up between Faction Champions 25 Heroic (so long and exhausting when we were first trying to beat it) and the Twin Val'kyr (still working on improving my ability to twist and dodge).

Any encounters you were afraid would be difficult to impossible but weren't? (We know there are probably a lot of readers out there looking dubious about Heigan right now ...)
Haha, I'd have thought that, too -- but I got my 25-man Safety Dance achievement first try! The ones that have me thinking about how I can complete them are Alone in the Darkness (got a couple of ideas to run pass my raid leader) and Algalon (although I think I am worrying about nothing).

Impossible? Nothing in game.
Let's talk about your adaptive hardware. Which hand is doing what and with what devices?
I use the KISS philosophy for a number of reasons, but mostly because it's easy to switch to another 'puter if I have to. For programs, I love the stock Windows sticky keys (yes, there actually is a purpose for them other than accidentally sticking on at a bad time LOL).

Hardware, I use an old Logitech Trackman, because the shape fits perfect with my pencil. I can keep my palm on the ball, and a quick flinch with my arm and I can click a button on it. My keyboard is controlled with my right hand also, with an i-rocks because the Home/PgUp/PgDn buttons are in a vertical row, making button-pressing easier ('cause there isn't as much travel distance; I used to play bass guitar, and one of my lessons was that economy of motion makes for a faster player, which translates beautifully to the keyboard).

The key bindings are set up so all my important keys are on the number pad and far right of the keyboard. My movement is controlled by my left hand using a Microsoft Strategic Commander (originally designed for RTS but does an excellent job as a pseudo-joystick). It's programmed to move me back and forth when I push it back and forth and strafe side to side, not turn me side to side. To turn, I just use my arrow keys. This allows me to run and shoot. It is difficult to imagine, but one day soon I'll have a video of me playing.

What about mods?
Again, I use KISS. The mod that helps me the most, though, is Bartender 4. It allows me to keep what I need in a small area so there is little mouse movement when I need to use my mouse, easy keybinding setup, and little memory usage. I also use Healbot – yeah, I said Healbot. LOL Mrs. Quad installed it on my 'puter one day, and rather than take it off, I converted it (at her suggestion, I should add) to handle my Misdirects, assist player and Master's Call abilities -- all done with one click now.

Other than that, I use all the required raiding mods, like Omen, Recount, DBM and so on.

With that said, though, there is something that has been extremely useful. That is the website Warcrafthuntersunion.com. Frostheim's guides have been invaluable in helping me learn the mechanics of being a good hunter.

We've interviewed other physically disabled gamers who've used other adaptive devices to meet their game goals. Yours seems like a pretty simple setup. What have you tried that hasn't worked out?
Speech activation -- too much lag between speech and actual command. I've looked at some facial mouse programs and speech-to-text programs, but my computer isn't big enough to run them at the same time as WoW (especially in a 25 raid), so to keep lag down, I can't run them ATM. Hopefully, though, I should be upgrading my 'puter soon.

What's on your hardware or mods wish list? Something that could do ... what?
A new computer -- but isn't that on everyone's list? Really, though, I have a problem right now with turning around really fast. I am a keyboard turner, and that can cause problems, especially in the Vexx hard mode and Yogg, too. With Vexx, when I get targeted for life drain, rather than doing a quick mouse turn and running away, I just hit my Disengage, so that sort of solved that problem.

But with Yogg, especially in hard mode, keyboard turning is an issue. When P3 starts, Yogg has an ability called Lunatic Gaze which drains your sanity 4% a tick. When mouse turning, it will only tick once, if that, but keyboard turning allows for two ticks. I will be drained pretty quick when there are no pools of sanity to refill in.

I can't mouse turn because I am unable to hold my right button down while I use the trackball. I see two solutions: either get a facial mouse that doesn't lag, or Blizzard makes an ability that turns you 180 degrees at the push of a button.

What's on the plate in game this week?
ToC-25, both regular and heroic, and trying to finish Ulduar hard modes so we can show off those Ironbound Drakes! I just recently got my Loremaster and Seeker titles, so I'm figuring out whether or not I should start looking at PvP achievements again.

I know that even after this many details, readers are still wondering how you pull it all off. Any advice or words of wisdom you'd like to pass along?
My injury is a perfect example of "things your mother told you that you should remember." I did three things that we all have been warned about:
  1. Drinking and diving is a no-no -- should be a no-brainer, but ... (BTW, pun intended LOL)
  2. Don't show off at the side of a pool.
  3. Check the area where you are about to dive.
One second you're a bass player/skier/sous chef, the next wondering if you should get a power chair or a manual.

A couple of things have happened lately, one of which I'd personally like to address. I've have had numerous people message me, "WWQD?" (What Would Quad Do). It gives me a giggle, and I greatly appreciate it -- so here's what I'd do:
  1. Attack the problem head-on, first.
  2. If unsuccessful, try and find another way around it.
  3. If it still doesn't work, take a quick breather, discuss amongst friends, then rinse and repeat step 1 and 2 again.
A fool is someone who won't ask for help when needed. This also works in-game too, BTW. ;)

You're obviously proof of that! Thanks, Quad, and good luck wrapping up those hard modes and ToC this week.

"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" - neither did we, until we talked with these players.
From an electro-pop princess to an award-winning author and an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director ... or a bunch of Joe Blows who get together for dinner and group raiding in person every week ... Catch it all on 15 Minutes of Fame.

Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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