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Posts with tag disability

Officers' Quarters: Beyond recruiting

Recruits of the Twilight's Hammer
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

If you create a guild with a very specific type of player in mind, keeping those players should be easy, right? As one guild leader found out, it's not as simple as it seems.

Hi Scott. ... I've got a guild of 50 people (10-30 people and their alts) and I seem to have hit a wall. I put posts up, I scour WoW Insider for ways to market my guild (thanks for the shoutout, drama mamas) and I try to keep things interesting but nobody ever signs on anymore. We've got a core group of about... oh I'd say 5-10 people who still sign on every few days. How in the hell are we supposed to be a guild for disabled people and friends of the disabled when nobody signs on?

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

"Guide Dog" player and sightless guild-mate honored with in-game items

'Guide Dog' player and sightless guildmate honored with ingame items
Back in January, Lisa Poisso posted a touching story about two players, Hexu, an enhancement shaman played by British Army soldier Ben Shaw, who, while serving in Iraq, was involved in an incident with a roadside bomb in Basra. He suffered multiple shrapnel wounds and had to have both eyes surgically removed. Despite this, Hexu has accepted many challenges, including WoW raiding.

But how does a sightless player raid? Well, that's where Davidian comes in. Davidian is a Death Knight, played by a Scotsman named Owen, and is Hexu's in-game guide. He uses a series of macros, both on Hexu's machine and his own, to help Hexu perform in-game actions from repairs to killing Deathwing, the two even ranking side by side in DPS.

Why are we repeating this story? Well, Blizzard has honored Hexu and Davidian with two in-game items: Hexu's Amplifying Helm, and Davidian's All-Seeing Eyes. The item descriptions on the tooltips are particularly touching: "A man with a friend is never without vision" and "Sharp enough to see for two men" respectively. I was really touched by this, and so are Hexu and Davidian's guild, Die Safe, who have posted a thread on the EU forums thanking Blizzard for this recognition.

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.

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Filed under: 15 Minutes of Fame

"Guide dog" player and guild embrace sightless guildmate, steer team to victory

Davidian and Hexu
After seeing this guild's victories through the lens of their mutual friendship, you'll never look at the bonds and teamwork among guildmates within Azeroth the same again. Writes our tipster:

My name is Nico and my character is Ignatious on Chamber of Aspects (EU). I'm co-GM/officer in a guild called Die Safe. We are a small (15 to 20 accounts) casual guild whose members like to raid on a couple of nights a week. I'd like to make clear that as a guild we are not hardcore or elitist, and we try to stay out of the realm spotlight as much as possible, so this isn't exactly familiar territory for me.

In our guild, we have a member that raids with us who is completely blind. His name is Ben Shaw, and he currently plays an enhancement shaman called Hexu. Ben used to be a soldier in the British Army and, whilst serving in Iraq, was involved in an incident with a roadside bomb in Basra. As a result of the explosion, Ben suffered multiple shrapnel wounds and had to have both of his eyes surgically removed.

Ben is a strong-willed individual and was not prepared to accept that he could no longer do all the things he previously enjoyed, even if that meant challenging peoples' preconceptions about blindness. Since the incident, he has embarked on numerous activities considered off limits to the visually impaired, some of which have been reported in the international press.

Everyone does their fair share of relaying information to Ben, but none more so than Davidian, our resident death knight.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Legally blind player with hearing loss conquers raid healing

Rainbo at work
From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Talk about working around healer's tunnel vision: Rainbo, a 25-man discipline/holy priest on Cenarion Circle (US-H), stays out of the fire working with a mere 10-degree field of vision. Rainbo suffers from Usher Syndrome, an incurable condition that causes deafness and progressive vision loss. Despite those challenges, the 29-year-old gamer has played WoW off and on since it first came out.

"Basically, I only have a small field of central vision that is obscured with floaters and flashers, but I creatively use addons and techniques to successfully raid -- even on heroic," Rainbo says. "We're currently 4/7 heroic Firelands, which puts us as the #8 guild on the server in terms of progression." Pretty hot for a guy who can't even see the fires he's moving out of.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Full-body WoW with motion-sensing software

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

The boss is enraging at 7% health and you're locked on target, hunched over your keyboard in a white-knuckled frenzy to squeeze every last drop of DPS from your avatar. Finally, the beast succumbs to your assault, and you sit back, exquisitely aware of the tension crumpling your neck and shoulders and radiating into your fingertips. As you pull in a deep, shuddering breath of relief, you wonder if perhaps it might be more natural to simply stand in front of your screen and show the computer, using gestures similar to those of your character, what to do.

Now, you can.

Dr. Skip Rizzo, associate director at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, is head of a research project that's applying the same kind of technology used in the Xbox Kinect to the World of Warcraft. The aim of the project, however, is not so much to turn games like WoW into virtual tarantellas of movement and gesture but to make games more accessible to disabled players and to open new avenues for rehabilitation, therapy and even education. The project's Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST) middleware integrates full-body control with games and virtual reality applications, using tools like PrimeSensor and the Kinect on the OpenNI framework.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Drama Mamas: The case of the gold-selling guildie

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

I received the gift of massive drama for the holidays, which is why we went on an unscheduled hiatus. But that hiatus ends now. The promised roundup post will be next week, which means there is still time to get us the results of a letter we answered should you wish to be included. Just drop us an email at

In the meantime, we have what this week's letter writer calls a "dilly of a pickle."
Dear Drama Mamas,

I have a situation in my guild that I could use your advice on. I am a senior officer in my guild, and some troubling news came to my attention a few days ago. It seems that one of my guild members is selling gold in real life. He's been using guildies' cool downs and the other guildies' professions to make items to sell on the AH. Originally, I thought it was to make items for himself, but that turned out to be false. The dilemma is that he's been in the guild for a while. He was an original member, then left, and came back about 4 months back. The other thing is that he's not selling the gold on a website. He's selling it to his real life friends because he's on work disability and his disability money will not allow him to play WoW, so he supplements his income by selling his WoW gold.

Thank you.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Officers' Quarters: Pitchforks and torches

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available from No Starch Press.

Wipes are a fact of life. Everyone wipes. How you deal with these situations can be crucial to your guild's success. Some guilds cultivate an environment based on blame, where everyone's first thought after a wipe is, "Who messed up?" Sometimes, it's easy to figure out who is at fault: Someone with a spore goes the wrong way, or someone gets mind-controlled by the Blood Queen after failing to bite his assignment. When it's not easy to figure out, some guilds use a different strategy for assigning blame. Here is one such case:

I have a real dilemma.

I'm an officer, one of six, in a semi-serious raiding guild. We have 30 core raiders who raid with us, and one of them until recently was one of our druid healers, and the issue surrounding him is my dilemma. A little background information on the guild, since it is relevant, is that we have a strict rule involving loot due to some people in the past who have abused our requirement for Vent in that they wouldn't use it, or they'd log in but leave their headsets off. This caused a lot of problems with wipes and caused the officers, GM and co-GM to agree that a rule would be made that was you must be in Vent and actively listening at all times during a raid in order to be eligible for loot. This is what caused the initial problem.

The player of this druid healer I mentioned before applied to our guild and told us on the application that he is deaf.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Breakfast Topic: WoW as rehab

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

When my fiancée and I first met, we exchanged stories, talked about our career choices and what we've gone through over the years. After some time, WoW came up in our discussion. I explained to her how I first got started in WoW and how it has actually helped me quite a bit over the years. When I first started playing, I was recovering from a major surgery and was mostly confined to my house. You can only watch the same movies and read the same books so many times before you're bored with nothing to do. Enter WoW -- and everything changed.

All of a sudden, I had a connection to the outside world. Not only was I talking to people from all over the country, but I was also making myself think. Every move I made had a consequence to some degree, and much like everyone else, I learned early on that murlocs are not your friend. Fast-forward nine months and I was cleared for work and school. I went back to work and started my fall quarter refreshed and eager to learn. People were asking if I had really had surgery, because they couldn't tell a difference.

Unfortunately, I fell ill a year ago and was off work yet again. WoW was my saving grace (next to my fiancée, of course), and it helped me keep my head above water. I had a connection to the outside world, was able to talk to friends that lived hours away and wasn't sitting around the house bored out of my mind.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Blizzard and the hidden population of disabled players

A Dwarf Priest has a nice long post up about the relationship between Blizzard and one of the more hidden (and yet surprisingly large) groups within their population: disabled gamers. It's no secret to anyone who's played WoW for a while that a lot of disabled gamers have found a lot of solace in a social game where you can be almost completely anonymous and play a character at whatever pace you want to play. Even if you go with the lowest of estimations, there are about 525,000 people playing the game with some kind of disability in real life. That's a much bigger number than I expected, and it's a significant number of people paying Blizzard every month.

Fortunately, Dwarf Priest found that accessibility is relatively good in Blizzard's game -- most of the work is actually done with third-party addons, but the UI and display is so customizable that even with the default interface, many people without a full range of controls or movement can figure out how to play the game. For their part, Blizzard has agreed that a customizable UI is the best way to make a game accessible -- J. Allen Brack says that's a priority in this interview with Able Gamers.

Dwarf Priest has lots more, including a quick comparison with accessibility in Warhammer Online, and even a weird wrinkle in the Glider lawsuit (the botting program's creators are apparently claiming it helps disabled players play their characters). It's a very well-written post about a subject that doesn't get covered much, and there's lots of extra reading to dig into at the bottom as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items, Add-Ons

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