In game communication

telephone-notepad-21I have a few issues to work around when using my computer, but with the adaptations I have made they are less and less of a factor. It has meant that other than unpredictable things that may prevent me from playing and frequent dislocations caused by doing certain things that interrupt play a little bit, I can play the same as everybody else. Guild officers should know and do know that I may need small things during a raid, but even those I rarely have to ask for. I can put myself on follow for long graveyard runs, I can take breaks to either rest my hands or relocate joints whenever the chance arises and during a raid that happens often enough. People naturally procrastinate. I have done a 25-man Naxx clear in under three hours and still had plenty of time to relocate joints whenever required.

Steve’s point of view on communicating with other players are tucked inside “Warhammer, the On Screen Keyboard, and The Reality of the Disabled” and is a mentionable one.

You see, many disabled people see the computer, moreover the Internet, as a place where they can be “normal.”  In a video game, you can run, walk, fly, and jump, just like everyone else.  The Internet is our secret hideaway where no one needs to know that we are any different from everyone else, we can be anyone.  The online world, by its very nature, is free of prejudice and judgmental glares that someone who stands out from the crowd most often endure in their real lives.

I know that many gamers with various disabilities feel this way. I think the difference for me is that I get to pass for normal in real life when I take off my braces and be careful about how I act. Don’t dislocate, don’t faint, don’t have a life-threatening asthma attack and I can walk past the next person in the street who wouldn’t even notice me. I appreciate that on occasion I do get to do that. I’m just not sure that I really want to do that in-game.

I find making up excuses stressful. I like playing with other people and when someone asks me to come and heal I would like to be able to either say yes or give them the real reason for saying no. I was able to do that this week and it was a great weight off my shoulders to say that I’m well enough to camp Dalaran for books, but not well enough to heal Naxx.  I prefer being able to say to someone why I stop talking or playing suddenly rather than not saying anything, which after a while looks weird if I keep doing that.

I don’t feel the need to inform people in pick-up groups that I may have issues. Everybody does silly things and if I appear to do silly things too, I don’t really care. It does mean that I am hesitant to PUG the heroics with a twist, like the CoS mount run. I have done it anyway, just because I feel that it’s important to stand on my own two feet and players have various skill levels and sometimes I will be the least skilled player in a PUG, but sometimes I won’t be and that’s okay.

I do heartely agree with Steve on this one:

Fortunately, there is something in human nature that makes people believe that if an individual speaks to no one, they are not rude; they are just quiet.

I can’t type and play. I can type in between playing and when Dragon isn’t too slow, I can type a little whilst playing, but it’s never going to be the essays other people fit in whilst playing. And that’s okay. I don’t participate in party chat, but when I do say something, it’s either constructive or friendly, so nobody has ever cared that I don’t talk. As long as I heal well and we don’t wipe, I’m always invited back again and again.

I do remember leveling last year when I was going through a particularly bad joint period. I couldn’t use the keyboard and mouse at all, Dragon was about 50% accurate and the N52 was not very well mapped. I solo’d and never talked or interacted with anybody. I wanted to, but felt that between the mountainous issues of getting something into the chat box and my newness and unfamiliarity with game content, I wouldn’t be able to have a passable conversation. And I wasn’t. I tried grouping a few times, but unless Chris was around to do the talking for me, I couldn’t actually do it. It has taken a while to change that and being able to park my character somewhere in a city and chat with the people I have met in the last couple of months is a nice change of pace. After Sarth+2 I couldn’t really play (a VH heroic proved that when people almost died. health bars shouldn’t drop to yellow in VH), I couldn’t really fish or catch up on achievements as movement was an issue, but I wanted to play. Talking about playing was the next best thing and turned out to be rather a lot of fun. I try to keep Steve’s concluding remarks in mind whenever I come across another hesitant and quiet player:

Communication is something that I”m sure many of us take for granted.  Take a moment and try to imagine a situation in which you cannot communicate with the people standing in front of you.  For someone somewhere playing a video game right now, that is a reality.