Sunday, February 28, 2010

Leaving my Cocoon

"I think the hardest part of holding on is letting it go." - P.O.D., Goodbye for Now

I made a very difficult decision a couple of days ago. I realized that there was no benefit, other than social, to me or the guild, to be had by my staying. I found a guild that is just starting out, but wants progression.

Thursday night, I waited until the guys were done for the night, not wanting to drop a bomb like that on them in the middle of a raid. It would either distract them from their focus, or they would be so focused they couldn't say goodbye, and I needed that goodbye.

I don't think I could have scripted a better response. I knew that if I left, I wanted to leave with the well-wishes and support of my friends. To be told "I hate seeing you leave, but this is the right move for you," was amazing.

So, I'm picking up writing again, more to chronicle what it's like helping to build a raiding guild as a disabled player than anything else. My new guild is also more female-dominated than any other guild I've been in, so I will undoubtably have some perspective on that.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Losing a fellow advocate

I found out this morning that the gaming accessibility movement lost an advocate on Friday. Corey Krull, AKA Dis, lost his battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 37.
Corey truly believed that everyone had a right to game, and his insistence on that right kept me going and trying to find a way to keep playing and raiding. It was also nice to have someone so close to my age understand and echo my point of view.
Godspeed Corey, and rest in peace.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Still here, just not as much

WoW has taken a back seat to real life lately. For the first time in over a year I missed getting an achievement title, but I got to hear my father refer to me as his little daughter one last time. The truth is, WoW has become a reason to sit down at the computer and rest my legs, but I don't have the passion for it I once did. At the same time, the events of the past few weeks have shown me how many friends I have made in this game.

I'm settling in to an acceptance that I am good, but I'm not elite. I was in an Onyxia 25 pug yesterday where I was the 9th highest dpser with 4k, but people didn't do what was necessary to stay alive. I made the comment in guild chat that the pug was so bad it made me look good, and one of the guys said, "Carol, you ARE good." I expected laughter, I expected commisseration, I did not expect to be told I was good.

There are times when I wonder if, when my schedule evens out, if I should find a guild with players at my ability level, that won't constantly push for hard modes but would have a raiding spot for me. Then I think about seeing guild chat without the friends I've come to love, and I say, "no, I'm here, just as long as they are."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Theorycrafting and the Disabled Gamer

After a pug Ony 25, I decided to pose a "trick" question to a couple of the guys in the guild. I say "trick", because it's not easy to be asked your opinion of someone's dps when you know your answer might hurt their feelings. Still, it's easier to hear "I expect pugs to be able to pull 4k dps in ToC 25" from someone who knows your story and cares about you, which is why I ask the difficult questions to the people I am closest to. The ensuing conversation led me to download the latest version of Rawr and take a hard look at what a simulation says my dps should be and how I should be playing. I've also looked at Elitist Jerks for their take on it.
The hard truth is that the dps potential for me as a balance druid is around 5k fully 25-man raid buffed. Realistically, I can get between 3 and 4k. Granted, a balance druid's dps is entirely dependent on how much Eclipse procs, but still, 5k would not be unreasonable if I did not have the limitations I do. Given the fact that there is a disconnect between what I can do and what I should do, it's no wonder I've shied away from theorycrafting.
I've decided that needs to stop. I can only do what I can do, but there is no harm in trying to understand game mechanics so I can use them to my advantage, just like I use the laws of physics to deal with real life challenges.
I'm going to take the conventional wisdom type advice from Elitist Jerks and Rawr, and do some testing on target dummies. One question I have is if my current rotation of Moonfire>Insect Swarm>Wrath until eclipse is the best, or if IS should be first. Another question is that I don't generally waste a global cooldown by refreshing MF and IS during an eclipse, is that the right decision? We'll see how things go.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Finding the Courage to Pug

Sunday night, after I finished making dinner, I decided to hang out in Dalaran a while. The fishing daily was Jewel of the Sewers, and I thought it might be a good way to level fishing on the druid (as opposed to hanging out in Orgrimmar or Ironforge, trying to catch Old Crafty or Old Ironjaw, like I did on the lock). I ended up finding a 10 man Ony pug, and a 10 man ToC pug.
Pugging with strangers is completely different than pugging with my guildies. In the guild, I'm treated like a sister. The guys will give me as much shit as they think they can without looking like jerks, but if anyone from outside says anything, they immediately close ranks around me. So, going off on my own while they were in Ulduar took a little bit of courage. Still, if I want to do 10-mans, and really see where the barriers are, I have to pug.
Overall, it went pretty well. I didn't blow anyone away with my dps, but I did outdps the tanks. Yesterday, in a VoA 10 pug, I was able to outdamage a rogue, and almost outdpsed him.
The most important thing is that I came out of the experience at the end of the raid week feeling positive about myself. That is win.

Friday, October 30, 2009

No excuses

"I am entitled to overcome" - Creed, Overcome

A couple of interesting things happened this week. First, featured one of the members of AbleGamers, Quadilious, in their 15 Minutes of Fame segment. Something about seeing the title "Quadriplegic player attacks progression raiding" hit me. One of the reasons, of course, was my feeling that a disability should not define a person. Yes, my disability is a big part of who I am, but if I ever caught one of my guildies referring to me as "the handicapped chick" or anything similar, the ensuing conversation would not be pleasant. Another reason is that Quad is so good, despite having to use adaptive hardware, that it puts me to shame.

The feeling that I'm hiding behind excuses and that there should be a way for me to be able to do endgame hard modes is a hard one to shake. At the same time, most of the guys I play with are in the computer field, and have been playing MMORPG's since EverQuest. If there was an easy way for me to work around my challenges, we would have found it. The sad reality is that Blizzard has used reaction time and coordination to differentiate the elite players from the nonelite. That leaves someone like me, who is extremely intelligent but has poor reaction time and coordination, out in the cold. When my former GM said, "If we were a hardcore guild, we wouldn't have here dying," there was truth to it. That doesn't change the fact that I want titles, and I would love to have a red proto-drake and a rusted proto-drake. I don't see it happening though, and I don't want to make the guys feel like they have to pull me through content that is too difficult for me. I also don't want to put them in a position of telling me content is too difficult for me. There are a few of them that I can gently coax it out of without them feeling like jerks for saying it, and the discussions I have with them are valuable.

Last night, I got home, and the horde guild was running a ToC 25 pug. After a little bit, I got a tell, "want to come in, we're on twins and I hate to save you this late." I don't really like pugging with just anybody, I faction transferred to play with my friends, and so I agreed. It was extremely interesting - I saw over 4k dps on twins, which I was NEVER able to get on my warlock. Got to Anub, wiped once, and then got set to go again. During one of the burrow phases, I got targeted by the spikes. Now the trick to handling the spikes is to run them away from the raid, and put a patch of ice between you and the spikes, which both traps Anub for a second or two, and causes him to select another target. As I was running to the far side of a rather large ice patch, trying not to get the slowing debuff from actually getting ON the ice, I heard one of the guys say, "Look at you, running him all around so he will target fewer people." I was just concentrating on not running him into the raid and getting him in the ice, I didn't think about the fact that kiting him for a while really helps the raid. It's always nice when your performance is noticed because it's good, especially with a group of people who have watched you struggle.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WoW as a social outlet

A lot has been made of people who use video games as a way of avoiding social contact. Very few people talk about the fact that for some people, WoW is a way of maintaining human contact.

(Saying here what I can't say in game or in vent) I'm in a very dark place right now. My depression has always had a seasonal component, although last year I was spared, probably due to the fact that I was working and also had a lot of people around me online due to the new expansion. Whatever the reason, it was nice. This year, however, it's back with a vengeance and for reasons I didn't anticipate when I changed factions on the druid. I've learned that I have limited time left with my dad, and I'm starting to grieve already. Usually this would be a time when I would try to withdraw from everyone, but I can't let myself. I hang out, just to see how my friends are doing, and when I'm too quiet, reminders that I'm allowed to talk make me smile.

There have honestly been times when I've wondered why I'm still playing WoW, since I can't do hard modes. I still have fun doing normal modes, and working on achievements, but the most important reason is the friends I've made. I can hang out and be myself, and that is what I love.