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Posts with tag disabled-gamers

15 Minutes of Fame: TEDx speaker on overcoming anorexia with WoW

Continuing our look at young people successfully folding World of Warcraft into their successfully unfolding lives, this week we interview another student for whom WoW has made a big impression. "I saw your Breakfast Topic post How has WoW made your life better?, and well, a few weeks back I had the opportunity to give a TEDx talk about how playing World of Warcraft helped my fight anorexia and a crappy education system," wrote Erik Martin, aka Klaes of Emerald Dream (US).

Talk about All The Things ... Also a game designer who has even worked on projects for the federal government, Erik has rallied from anorexia to go on to advocate for student agency and motivation in education. With a confidence bolstered in Azeroth, he's assembling his own experiences and aspirations into a big-picture view large enough not only to fill his own sails but to help others push off from safe harbor.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Ability Powered gnome builds resource node for disabled gamers

Ability Powered gnome builds resource node for disabled gamers
Sometimes the news tips themselves hit the nail right on the head:

She's known by many on our realm as Short but her character is Azraela. She has been guild leader of Quel'Dorei's Realm first level 25 guild since she founded it in BC.

Why I'd like to nominate her has nothing to do with guild leading though. She's disabled like others you have covered before, and like past stories, it doesn't stop her from raiding, PvP, or any other part of the game.

What impresses me about Short is her concern for other disabled gamers. She recently started a YouTube channel called AbilityPowered where she covers tips on making WoW highly accessible. I asked her about it one day and found out since she started raiding not only is she disabled but she had raid-led colorblind, deaf and hearing-impaired raiders. She said she's had to adjust raiding assignments to make anyone with impairments more successful for years and is hoping it'll help other gamers do the same. I think she's pretty special.


Promising lead? After checking out Ability Powered Gaming, we'd have to agree -– this is one inspiration-powered lady. A resource node for disabled gamers that's matter-of-factly sprung from a welcoming guild intended for one and all ... Meet crusader for disabled gamers, community leader, and Ability-Powered gnome Short/Azraela.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Blind player Ben Shaw on raiding and WoW for the sightless

Blind player Ben Shaw on raiding and WoW for the sightless THUHOLD FOR IMAGES
It was World of Warcraft's feel-good people story of last year: Ben Shaw, the energetic young British serviceman who, astonishingly, continues to perform at peak efficiency in endgame raiding with the help of a "guide dog" guildmate. Our interview with Davidian, Ben's in-game guide, went viral and was seen on gaming websites and general news publications across the globe. Blizzard took notice, commemorating the duo's partnership with a set of in-game helms.

But after attacking Mists with a new pandaren rogue, Ben said he found himself craving more WoW than ever. By the end of the year, he was ready to reach out for a new guild home, where he's now Shadowstepping into heroics with the best of them.

How does a blind WoW player maintain competitive DPS and utility in endgame content? In an era when making a jump to a new raiding guild can be a challenging proposition for any player, how does a guy who can't see bump to the front of the line? (Hint: It's not PR power.) Ben and I pulled up a virtual chair in a phone conversation across the ocean to talk about the challenges of playing a video game when you're completely blind.

Visually impaired gamers: Check the end of this interview to learn how to connect with Ben's new initiative to share his experience and resources with other blind players.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

"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.


Guild helps anxiety-ridden players get by with a little help from their friends

Guild helps anxiety-ridden players get by with a little help from their friends
We've all sweated through those teeth-grinding firsts: that moment when you step into your first guild raid or zone into your first Arena or even first click into the Dungeon Finder without the moral support of your best buddy. Sometimes WoW can seem like an intimidating, unfriendly place. But for players with social anxiety, those feelings persist, blocking them from the ever-expanding range of activities the game offers. Some tremulous players, however, have found a way around this roadblock: a guild designed especially for players with social anxiety.

... To be quite honest, I had doubted the idea of a guild created for the socially anxious or shy. I expected everyone to be quiet and to stick to themselves or to be divided into tight, unapproachable cliques.

I am pleased to know that I was incorrect in my assumptions.

After my application was accepted, I was invited into the guild and welcomed warmly. No one asked about my spec, gear level, age, gender or location and I doubt they ever will. At the same time, any questions I had the courage to ask in guild chat were answered in a polite and constructive manner.

In the brief time that I have been a member thus far, I have seen every request for help answered (even if it was a polite decline), and the kind of generosity and friendly interaction one should expect from a guild. I have not felt the isolation and awkwardness associated with being the "new guy." There are also guild events on many different nights of the week, so everyone has a chance to do something regardless of scheduling.

... With that said, if you are considering Swords, give it a try. There's no pressure even if it's not for you. You never know unless you try.

-- Kuro / Anatole

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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: Holding fast to Azeroth through the journey of Alzheimer's

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.

Bill Craig is doing it right. The 61-year-old WoW player has suffered from early-onset Alzheimer's disease for half a dozen years now, winding his way through Azeroth for about half that time. He's ridden a bicycle all the way from Carrollton, Texas, to Carrollton, Georgia, to raise money and awareness for animal welfare -- not once but twice. He's a Vietnam vet. He serves as an advocate with the Alzheimer's Association, having recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., with his wife to meet with legislators about bills impacting Alzheimer's. Bill's contributions and commitment to his community and country are impressive for any seasoned professional, let alone someone living with a disease that monkeywrenches a person's thinking, memory and behavior.

I know Bill's doing it right because I live under the baleful gaze of Alzheimer's, too. My mother passed away two years ago after a particularly cruel struggle with the disease. She began batting aside its first tendrils while caring for my grandmother, also stripped bare by Alzheimer's. My father wanders through a related type of dementia -- perversely, with all the sets of symptoms my mother never developed. (Ding! We hit the jackpot, I guess.) In my work, I've written about Alzheimer's and the incredible burdens it places on families, parents with young children who now also care for their own parents over the painfully protracted years it takes life to trickle away. Alzheimer's is inextricably part of my life, too.

So none of that makes me special -- Alzheimer's grip on families is all too common -- but it does mean I can say one thing with certainty: Bill Craig is doing it right. His view of Azeroth, however, is very different from yours or mine.

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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

The Classifieds: She'll be coming 'round the mountain


The Classifieds brings you weekly news from around the WoW community, including your shout-outs to perpetrators of the famous Random Acts of Uberness.

Have you ever wondered what lies on the other side of the mountain? What's going on down there below your flight-path flyover? Wonder no more: The Glitch Hunters have arrived to show you the unspoiled areas of vanilla WoW in all their pre-expansion glory. Contrary to their name, The Glitch Hunters explore entirely on live servers with no exploits or trickery. They use simple tactics to gain access to difficult-to-reach areas, including Levitate, Slow Fall, vehicle mounts, Death Grip and the liberal use of pally bubbles. "We're traversing the continents and documenting all the weird and unique landscapes and borked terrain before the Cataclysm revision hammer destroys them for good," explains Glitch Hunter Alyssa of Dawnbringer (US). Explore the entire series -- now some six episodes deep -- on The Explorers League YouTube channel.

If the scenery of classic WoW leaves you feeling nostalgic, wander through our growing collection of galleries devoted to zones that will soon feel the sweeping hand of the approaching Cataclysm: Undercity, Scholomance, Eye of Eternity, Shattrath City, Sunwell Plateau, Azshara, Tirisfal, Redridge, Stranglethorn Vale, Western Plaguelands, Quel'danas, Trial of the Crusader, Deadwind Pass, Teldrassil, Tanaris, Blackrock Mountain, Thunder Bluff, Feralas, Mulgore, Moonglade, Ironforge, Westfall, Darnassus, Thousand Needles.

Vanilla WoW holds many charms -- but if it's more current news you're after, let's crack open The Classifieds!

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Filed under: Guilds, The Classifieds

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.

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Disabled mom finds outlet in WoW

15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – both the renowned and the relatively anonymous. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about at 15minutesoffame (at) wowinsider (dot) com.

World of Warcraft players: hordes of pimply, unsupervised pre-adolescents sprinkled liberally with socially backward, Cheetos-chomping basement-dwellers? Forty-eight-year-old Catten of Quel'dorei knows better. Frequently confined to her bed with fibromyalgia, a debilitating condition that causes pain and fatigue, Catten's world opens up when she logs in. This relative newcomer to gaming escapes her physical challenges in The Outland, sharing raiding, world-wide friendships and a warm relationship with her grown son (and guildmate) Bigkountry.

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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