The Disability Visibility Project announced a giveaway recently for an Xbox Adaptive Controller set from Microsoft for one member of the community. Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway: Ashley Kenyon-Pettit and Rosie Sachtschale! Since we had two winning entries we are delighted that Microsoft could hook both of them up with an Xbox Adaptive Controller set! Below is Ashley’s essay and you can read Rosie’s essay here.
Gauged Unable to Continue
By Ashley Kenyon-Pettit
I decided to pick up Final Fantasy XIV after receiving an invite from a friend. World of Warcraft was my jam, but I’d not played much of any video game since my medical condition had kicked into full swing a year prior. I started as a Conjurer but my new guild needed a tank, and as I had loved tanking in WoW, I switched to Gladiator so I could level into Paladin.
I leveled up quickly and I was doing a decent job of holding my own. My fingers would fail me and I’d press the wrong buttons or my timings would be off in my rotation. Sometimes my brain would fail me and I’d completely forget my rotation or what I was doing at all, so I’d have to just sit there for a time to get my bearings again. But I was managing and, for the most part, people seemed to think I was a good tank (or perhaps the world was just so desperate for tanks, they’d take what they could get–I may never know.)
As my levels increased, the complexity of my rotation increased and the harder it became for me to figure out how to manage the new abilities. I finally gave up on adding new abilities to my rotation and simply went with what I had–it was working for me. I never saw my job as being a top DPS but to hold threat and keep the squishies from getting killed, so I didn’t need to be a well-oiled machine. I could manage the less complex rotation, about two-thirds of what it should have been once I received all of my abilities. Again, folks seemed happy to have a tank and no one ever complained.
Every once in a while, I was forced to go into a Trial, where I had to fight with bigger groups of people. I always made myself the off-tank: I just did not know the fights, so it was better for me to take the off-tank role and learn it. I picked up pretty well between some hands-on experience and the Internet.
However, one fight in particular was my bane: Shinryu, known as “The Royal Menagerie”. This fight was required in order to continue through the storyline, so I could not avoid it.
Once I got into the fight for the first time, I found that it was hectic and chaotic as there were so many things going on. I was not doing well with keeping up with all of the transitions and tasks, but that was not my downfall.
During one of the transitions of the fight was an “Active Time Maneuver.” During this ATM you have to mash your mouse button as quickly as you possibly can in order to fill a gauge. So I mashed my mouse button as hard as I could. And I didn’t fill the gauge.
Not only did my character wind up on the floor, at 0% HP, dead, I now had severe pain in my hand from having flared up my arthritis. I was deflated, as I had not been defeated by the boss, but by a useless mechanic.
The next time I got stuck doing the fight, I was prepared. I mashed my mouse button with both index fingers, using my arms instead of my finger joints to flex.
But there I was, on the floor, at 0% HP. I still could not mash fast enough due to my mobility issues. I had lost, again, to the gauge.
I looked online for hints and tips but there weren’t any. It was not optional. The gauge was its own boss and it would defeat anyone who was not physically abled.
I refused to do that boss from then on–whenever I pulled it in my random queue, I immediately dropped and took the penalty. And the truth of the matter is that I lost interest in playing the game after that–I took up crafting for a while and then eventually just stopped playing.
These sort of events are barriers to those of us who do not have the physical capability to complete them. And what is worse, it is a barrier to completing the storyline for the game–it is not even optional. What amuses me, however, is how amazing the game’s visual cue system is for the deaf and hearing disabled. It appears that their accessibility still has room for improvement.
Ashley is a 33-year-old geek, gamer, and girl. The mother of a rambunctious, Minecraft-obsessed six-year-old, their favorite bonding activity consists of her spawning pigs so he can shoot them with lava arrows. Ashley is starting a “media empire”: she will soon be reviewing games from her perspective as a disabled gamer on YouTube and is starting a weekly live stream on Twitch in a bit of a different format in order to work within her capabilities. After two years of searching, she finally received the major diagnosis of central sensitization syndrome and a confirmation diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Those and her osteoarthritis affect her gaming the most, but she is learning ways to adapt so that she can once again enjoy what used to be her favorite pastime.