This post will be aimed towards disabled gamers in WoW, and the kind of obstacles they face when it comes to applying for spots in raids or guilds. A bit of background information on myself: I’m Deaf, and I cannot use VoIP at all when I raid. I communicate using American Sign Language.
When I first started playing WoW, I was very reluctant to divulge this information and my then boyfriend, who also played, was the only one who knew. When I first started raiding on a casual level in pugs, I often declined to join in ventrilo or mumble with excuses that I didn’t have a mic or whatever. I did the same thing when I tried to apply to guilds because I did not want to be turned down because I couldn’t hear. I heard a lot of stories of people being griefed about their disabilities, and I did everything I could to avoid having that happen to me. It is truly a terrible thing to go through and it can really hurt people. I know, because it hurt me too and it caused me to have serious doubts as a player.
I started to raid on my rogue as a regular raider for a guild run ToC 25 man before ICC came out. For the first few weeks, I was never in vent and nobody ever asked, I figured I was in the clear for however long the raid would continue. Until one day, the RL pulled me aside and said, “We need you to be in vent, otherwise I can’t let you raid with us anymore.” I knew that I was going to have to tell her and risk being kicked out nevertheless, since it was a requirement to have VoIP to raid, period. I decided to tell her because I wanted to keep raiding. Fortunately, she accepted that, since I was a regular raider who didn’t cause major issues and told me to keep my situational awareness high to make up for the fact I can’t depend on call outs.
I was never this lucky. I got kicked out of raids and were declined from guilds who didn’t want to take me on when I tried to be honest. This made me extremely nervous and averse to being honest about my condition, even though I knew I could raid just as well as anyone else. I eventually became part of the guild and went on to clear ICC 10 and 25 with them, it worked out for me in the end. I have long moved on from that guild, and am currently raiding as a resto druid healer for a progression oriented raiding guild.
I was once again at a standstill when I looked at my current guild’s application form and it had asked, “Are you able to use Vent/Mumble? This is a requirement for raiding.”
I knew I was applying for a guild that raided hardmodes and I had nothing but my reputation to back me up. At that point, I felt I should be honest with the guild I was applying at, reasoning that it would only be fair to tell them upfront before they accepted me. I felt it would be bad form on my part to drop this bomb on them later on if I got a spot in their raids and said, “By the way, I can’t use vent.” It was a very difficult position to be in, especially talking about something so personal with complete strangers in an application form. I know I’m not alone in this, with the dilemma of whether I should tell raids or guilds about my disability. This is what I aim to write about in this post and I hope my experiences will help others that have struggled with this.
You are not alone!
In this kind of situation, it is your choice whether you want to tell people about your condition that could potentially affect your performance as a raider. If you do, it is generally a good idea to have explanations about how you can get around this. Provide explanations even if they don’t ask! I find that it’s because people don’t know what to ask you!
Applying to raids:
#1: Be open and honest!
In my case, I explained that I could not use vent because I was Deaf. You can write a little about your condition, and how it can affect how you play the game. Don’t sugar coat anything because you aren’t doing anyone any favors. For people to be able to work with you if they decide to, they need to know the full extent of your condition, and what to expect. It’s up to you to provide this information, and then, in the next step, explain the issues you face as a raider.
#2: Explanations of problems:
In my application, I went on to explain that it was hard for me to raid because I can’t use vent. I said that I was aware that this does affect the rest of the raid and it is a potential problem. I acknowledged that I understood what I was asking of them, and outlined potential issues that could arise. ”It may be a little difficult to call out for an immediate brez, or telling me to do something during an encounter,” I wrote that down in my application form.
You need to outline problems that could potentially arise, so that your raid is aware of what they are dealing with. This is so that nobody is surprised when a problem happens. People need to know what sort of problems that can come up, and only you can know what can happen.
#3: Provide solutions!
After you present the issues at hand, you need to outline solutions you have used to over come these problems. I provided information on the addons that help me with my raid awareness. I outlined how I use DBM and DBM spell timers to track incoming raid warnings and cooldowns. ”DBM helps me know what is coming and this has worked out well for me as a substitute for using call outs in vent.”
I wrote how I can communicate with people by discussing strats beforehand, or using raid warning macros during raids for quick callouts (Ie: BREZ!). I anticipated everything that could become a problem due to me being unable to use vent, and provided solutions of how we could deal with it. When you provide solutions, people feel less inclined to turn you down because they now know there are ways around it. It’s up to you to show people that!
#4: Back yourself up!
Furthermore, I also had a reputation around my old server. Even though not many people knew I was Deaf, I still had a good reputation of being a friendly and good raider. I asked people who knew me and had raided with me before to be my references for my application. So that people who were reviewing my application could ask other people what it was like raiding with me. It’s always a good idea to also provide this information if you have people who like you and who is willing to back you up.
WoL parses are just as important. If you are honestly a good raider, your WoL parses will reflect that your performance is just as good as anyone else’s. We all screw up once in a while, disabled or not, but if you do your best, most raids won’t use your disability as a reason to turn you down. They’ll take you, or instead, tell you other reasons why they can’t take you (gear issues, and whatnot).
It is important you provide back up information. This is how you can deal with your applications for raid spots regarding your disability.
Don’t get discouraged and keep trying. If you get turned down, it wouldn’t hurt to ask why, because at the very least, you’ll know what you can do to remedy that. At least, if it’s a gear issue, or lack of experience, or something like that. You can certainly fix that and try again later. But if people tell you outright it’s because of your disability, don’t take it personal. Take heart if people turn out to be jerks (believe me, I’ve had my fair share..), take it with a grain of salt and move on to the next application form for another raid. It’s not you, it’s them!
With that being said, I also want to put importance on chemistry that you share with the people you raid with. It is just as important that people are willing to work with you, and accept you for who you are. I can’t very well raid with people who won’t take the time to communicate with me in discussing strats beforehand or people who act like jerks toward me. I know players who have Multiple Sclerosis, who cannot play for a few hours in a row because they get exhausted or they suffer from muscle spasms, things like that. They raid with groups who take frequent breaks to accommodate their needs, and it works out very well for everyone. There are visually impaired people who have difficulties seeing things clearly in raids, and they get around it by depending on more call outs from their raid mates. There are tons of ways to accommodate different disabilities in WoW when people keep their minds and hearts open.
I’ve been lucky to have found an incredible group of people who can see past my deafness and recognize me for my skills as a raider. Keep trying and you will find that group that clicks with you, the rest will fall in place with a little effort from everyone. Remember that you are not alone, and that there are people out there that struggle with the same thing as you do. Be proud and know that you can do it too!