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Quadriplegic player establishes resource beachhead for other disabled gamers

Could you play World of Warcraft if you were totally blind? What if you were legally blind and suffered from progressive hearing loss, too? Or let's say you could see and hear just fine, but you suffered from a panic disorder -- and you were a tank. Perhaps you were physically disabled, but you had someone to help you out in the game -- or then again, maybe you played all on your own.

If we haven't already lost you to the inspirational barrage of the previous paragraph, consider one more possibility: Would you still play World of Warcraft if you were quadriplegic? Quadilious of Drak'thul has been DPSing his way through endgame raids for years now -- and now, he's building a site for other disabled gamers. Quad's slowly but steadily refocusing his website as a resource for others, sharing his years of experience overcoming WoW's mechanics and contacting medical professionals and other disabled gamers to round up ideas, tips and inspiration for disabled gamers in general.

On the back of a dragon from the seat of a wheelchair, Quadilious returns with an update on Dragon Soul, smaller raid teams, and adaptive gaming.

Quadilious himselfMain character Quadilious, worgen hunter
Guild Savage Friends
Realm Drak'thul

Read from 2009: Quadriplegic player attacks progression raiding

WoW Insider: Welcome back to WoW Insider, Quad! Since we last talked (three years ago now!), there's been a lot of content under the bridge. You mentioned having been fairly intimidated at the prospect of the 4.3 raids. What was the challenge?

Quadilious: To be honest, the encounters themselves seemed rather easy, at least in normal mode. What I found intimidating about 4.3 was the fact I was at a crossroad in my raiding. The guild I was in was going through some changes and I wasn't sure where I'd fit in. At that time, I wasn't sure what my goals were, so after a bit of thought, I decided there were two ways I could go. Join a hardcore 25, or find a 10-man raid that I could help progress and at the same time allow me the opportunity fix what I saw as holes in my gameplay.

I found a 25-man group, but after a week, I realized my method of learning new encounters like DS might be a little slow for the speed in which they progressed, and so I thanked them for the chance to run with them and went on to find the guild I call home now. My confidence in my skills continues to grow, and my guildies are great people to run with. We've started heroics, and even though the pace is a little slower than what I've done in the past, I love the feeling of ... I don't want to say importance, but in 10-man, you lose all sense of being hidden in the background, and your good and bad playing are there for everyone to see.

How did the adjustment go? What encounters gave you the most trouble?

Any encounter that has a lot of movement in it will give me trouble at the start. Once I've seen an encounter, though, it's just a matter of being prepared for upcoming events, such as Blackhorn's Shockwave. When I start a new encounter, though, one of the hardest things I have to do is remind myself that raid dynamics first, DPS will follow -- because high DPS numbers mean nothing if you're dead half the encounter.

Quadilious vs. Deathwing
Can you share some Quad-developed tips for Dragon Soul encounters?

Target macros are your best friends, especially on the last two bosses (or last one, depending on how you look at it LOL). Most of my tips are general and can be applied to any encounter in game -- such as the less you move, the better your output -- so be aware of not only what's happening now but what's upcoming. In my old ski racing days, my coach always used to say think three gates (poles) ahead. That's advice I'd say applies here, too.

I see you're 6/7 in heroic Firelands. Any plans on going back to down Ragnaros?

When we got to 6/7 heroic in FL, we decided to go for our achievement mount as a quick break and reward to ourselves before we attempted H Ragnaros, and then real life set in. Due to outside events, we found ourselves having to replace key figures in our guild, including our GM, and with the trend going to 10-man lately, we were unable to adequately fill our 25-man lineup and the decision to go 10-man was made. At the time, 10-man heroics seemed a bit intimidating for my play -- made me feel naked, so to speak -- so I started looking for another 25-man but ended up in a 10-man.

My new guild hasn't gotten the achievement mount yet, so I'm helping with that, and eventually we'll get H Rags, but I personally am in no rush to get it now. The mechanics of the fight seem to be very doable for me; it's just a matter of practice and coordinating.

Tell us more about the new guild.

Yes, Savage Friends. Finding a 25-man run was difficult, and when one came up, I jumped at it. It was a guild called Get Carried, and they were (and are) fantastic and currently 8/8 heroic. But my learning curve and their game skills didn't quite match, so I decided to look for a group that had the same progression curve I had. I felt I overreached, and the decision was all mine and to this day [I] have nothing but respect and admiration for them.

After a bit of a search, I was approached by Savage Friends, went on a DS raid with them and found my new home. I was recently promoted to officer in the guild and enjoying running events with them. They are a great group of people with a great reputation on server, and I am glad we found each other.

Quadilious raiding
How about your hardware and UI? What's changed there since last time we spoke?

Other than my JSHunter's bar (a must, in my opinion), my UI is the same -- after all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's really helped me in my focus management, and I now can get out more Arcane Shots to proc my four-piece bonus.

I upgraded my whole system so I can use Fraps while raiding and experiment with new interface devices. In fact, right now my Mrs. is building a LED headset so we can try a new head tracking program called Free Track.

As for Fraps, I find it incredibly useful in helping me improve my gameplay. Every now and then, I'll run across a dynamic that will give me grief, such as Alysrazor's Tornados. So much was happening, I couldn't learn the mechanic and how I'd deal with it before I died. I fired up Fraps, recorded a couple of attempts, and there was my problem and solution right in front of me. (BTW, the solution ended up becoming a video to explain how to beat that encounter 100%, but it is a bit out of date because it was pre-nerf.)

Speaking of videos, we've noticed you've begun turning your web site into a resource for other quadriplegic gamers. What sort of content are you envisioning?

At the moment, it is basic and focused on WoW, but the actual method and setup I use was developed playing a first-person shooter called Delta Force (every version up to DFX). When I get my copy of Diablo 3, I plan on updating my page to include tips for that and other games that come along, including other FPS games.

One of the things most people tell me is that it is very hard for them to picture exactly how I do what I do. So I started with three videos showing my UI setup, how I use my setup to move and such, and finally all the above in an actual raid environment. The next couple of videos were more instructional videos for difficult fights and how I approached them.

Quadilious
What topics will future videos tackle?

I plan on updating my "how I play" videos and maybe throw in some other types of games I play. I'm also planning some fun little comedy skits for sometime in the future.

And we hear you've been in touch with doctors, therapists and other quadriplegic players for their advice and feedback, too, is that right?

Yes, I have received many emails from people who have started using my page as a starting point to help others with similar injuries or abilities, and I myself have been contacted in the game quite often by people asking for advice such as targeting help, what problems to expect on certain boss fights, or even which mods are the best to help simplify compound keystrokes (i.e., shift+5). I learn more from them, too, like how to insta-turn using two keys bound for the task. If I'm not in a raid at the time, I have no problem helping out at all. If I don't have a solution on hand, I can point out some websites that might be of further help.

So what advice you would give to someone with physical disabilities similar to yours who wanted to get into gaming?

Don't be afraid to ask for help. People will surprise you with their generosity and knowledge. Also, don't be afraid to fool around with your settings to find what works with you best. Remember, there is always a Return to Default button somewhere.

Have you dipped into any other games recently - SWTOR, maybe, or something else?

I'm excited about Diablo 3, but lately I've been playing some free-to-play shooters, like Battlefield online. Lots of fun, and they actually help warm me up before a raid! LOL

Thanks for the update, Quadilious, and we'll see you in the Mists!

Help Quadilious network and build his resources for disabled gamers at his website, and lend your advice, encourage, experience or questions.

"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) ... a blind ex-serviceman and the guildmates who keep him raiding as a regular ... and a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to lisa@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: 15 Minutes of Fame

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