Real Life Crushing Blow

So, I guess I’m not anywhere near my RL def cap. Might be that I’m BM specced IRL and I don’t need a bloody def cap! Might just be that I’m kind of clumsy, too. Or might just be the RNG boss critting me.

I was washing dishes last Monday (I know, so long ago!) night right before bed and there was (unbenknownst to me) a broken glass in the sink. One bone-deep slash down the inside of my thumb, two bloody dish towels, one nearly fainting Significant Other, four hours in the Emergency room and three stitches later, I’m trying to drive myself back home through a terrible rainstorm in the wee hours of the morning and thinking that it’s a damn good thing it’s our week off raiding cause I won’t be able to play WoW for a while. (I also got the tetanus shot buff. Thankfully they’ve changed to tooltip from the last time I got it. “Tetanus shot now applied discreetly in the arm.” is such an improvement.)

I’ve always had a morbid fear of losing the use of my hands. It’s likely because so much of my life as I know it is tied up in the use of my hands – I’m a gamer, a writer, a craftsperson. (It’s also highly influenced by cultural attitues towards disability – but that’s more than I can tackle right here, right now.) I could likely still end up doing quite a few things in my chosen field if I became permanently disabled, but if I intended to continue to pursue my hobbies, I would have to make some series changes. It’s easy for me – from my temporarily able-bodied place of privledge – to not really think about these things. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to manage to raid, to write my notes at work, to be able to properly dress and groom myself. Something that I had always academically realized but never viscerally understood -that my able bodied status is something that I both take for granted and something that could be revoked very easily – was re-emphasized to me this week.

I have often stated (indeed a large portion of the blog is based on the assumption) that “gamers” are people too. That the label is no longer one applied to pale-skinned, poorly socialized doods living in basements and consuming vast amounts of processed foods. I am a gamer. My better half is a gamer. Many of my very best friends are gamers and we represent a pretty accurate sampling of the variations of humanity. (Well, some of them. We’re all from a pretty small range of socio-economic classes.) So it stands to reason that there would be people of all ranges of ability who would also identify as gamers and my injury prompted me to wonder what the gaming industry was doing to make sure that the dollars of people with disabilities were as well spent as the next person’s. (I’m not going to be so naive as to say that game developers should be accomodating people with disabilities due to some altruistic notions. It would be a wonderful world if they did – but it’s not and they don’t. Approximately 20% of the general population is disabled in some form or another, so it’s a sensible assumption that a company would in some way want to try to capture a portion of that market niche.)

I know that Blizz had recently come out with a colour blind setting. Poking around on Able Gamers I saw that there was general approval for Blizzard and their efforts to make the game more acessable. (I also like this suggestion by Gamasutra of having a “sound radar” available for people with hearing difficulties.) Bizz looks like they’re making taking to the community of gamers with disabilities a priority – I was very interested to read this interview of Tom Chilton aka Kalgan by Able Gamers. It makes me very happy to see Able Gamers getting a lot of very good face time with some higher-ups at Blizzcon. This particular interview does open up some good conversations about how to balance the game in terms of difficult level that will challenge and engage players of all play styles as well as being inclusive towards gamers with disabilities.

I’m glad to see Blizz taking an interest in making their game appealing to an ever wider demographic. I know that this is often bemoaned as “catering to the casuals” and “making the game too easy” but it’s a sound market strategy on Blizz’ part. It also leads them to think about people who are too easily marginalized and forgotten about in the gaming world and to consider the fact that people of all abilities may want to play their games. (It also highlights Blizz’ clever strategy of letting mod developers do their R&D for them. I likes.) I applaud Blizzard in their efforts and I encourage people to continue to give their feedback to the Devs. Its seems that they do listen and they do have the time and the resources to act on some of the suggestions.

Maybe I should email them my list of suggestions. Certainly couldn’t hurt!

Post Scriptum: The gold making business is going well. Thanks to a guildie I have a good supply of eternals and my income is stable and high. (ish.) When I decided to strive for the gold cap I had just over 5k gold on my bank toon. (I keep about 500g on each of my “working” toons. So there’s ~2k scattered around that I’m not really counting in my quets to get the gold cap.) I’m now up to 17k!