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Look Through My Eyes

With the distinct lack of new content in World of Warcraft at the moment, I have had very little incentive to blog about it, so I’m afraid that today is another ME/CFS related post.

One of my old school friends has a child with autism, and in her quests to try to understand him better in order to improve his life quality, she reads a lot and visits many websites. Today she linked me to a video on YouTube which was made to help show people without autism what the world looks like to someone on the autistic spectrum suffering from sensory sensitivity.

The video stunned me.

As I may have mentioned before, ME/CFS sufferers can experience a wide range of symptoms and the selection that one person may get will often differ from the selection of symptoms that the next person has. There are common symptoms that almost all people with an ME diagnosis have in common, but the list of secondary symptoms is a seemingly inexhaustible list that fate appears to take a random selection from. I think of it as a kiddies sweetie pick and mix in hell!

The reason that the autism video meant so much to me was that I suffer from sensory overload as a secondary symptom of ME/CFS as do a few of my friends. This was the first time I’d seen someone try to convey in video format what we see, hear and feel in a normal day. It had never occurred to me to try to show it this way. There are many illnesses and conditions that produce similar effects, for example it is frequently a symptom in PTSD cases. We try to explain to people what we mean, but its difficult to show someone.

This video attempts to convey the difference between someone that does not suffer from a form of sensory overload and one that does. The first view is that of most people, and the second with sensory overload. The brightness is a little overdone on the second clip from my experience, but it does get the point across. If you have ever wanted to understand a little more about autism or other conditions that have sensory overload as a symptom, have a little look. Maybe it will show you why I usually wear sunglasses even on cloudy days and often have earplugs in if I’m in the wheelchair!

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

 

Hear us

One of the key problems for sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is that we are ignored. Our illness works against our ability to be seen and heard. ME is a difficult enough condition to try to explain to people, but trying to do it whilst exhausted and confused makes the task near impossible. Making public displays and being seen and heard in the community requires energy and many sufferers are unable to tolerate the noise and  brightness that would be required to do something as simple as be present at a demonstration.

There was a time when I thought that all we needed was to have someone famous develop ME. Not that I’d wish it on anyone, but it seems that once a celebrity develops an illness the media are all over it. I realised after a while that it wouldn’t matter. There have been several celebrities diagnosed with ME including one of my idols, Michael Crawford. There’s plenty of interest in stories about these people but how good a story can you really make about someone lying in a dark room, without the energy to talk to you? We can’t fight our own battle, and the medical and governmental personnel that decided years ago to back the wrong treatment can shout louder and be seen. All we can do is rely on others to fight our battle for us. The people who have lived with the illness and managed to recover, the people who have cared or are still caring for severely afflicted ME sufferers or the few medical professionals that continue to fight for a cure.

Recently an hour long documentary film was produced in the UK by Natalie Boulton and Josh Biggs  – the mother and brother of a severe ME sufferer. It has been assisted by many people giving their time and skills voluntarily to help us be heard.

You can find their official site here. Please help us be heard.

 
 

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An Adventure in Beta Testing

When my beta key arrived for the Mists of Pandaria beta, I was excited. I thought that while I might not manage to put in the endless hours that some of the more dedicated testers do, I am not afraid to give feedback and I tend to think about changes in a realistic way. I understand that the classes must all be balanced and while I might occasionally wish that a heal spell was more powerful or that I could do something that a different class does, I know that it would not be as much fun to play the game if my character was unfairly balanced against others.

I clearly hadn’t thought this through to the conclusion.

I thought the biggest problem with allowing so many people to test the beta would be that many wouldn’t understand the role of a beta tester and would just treat it like they were getting the game early and complain endlessly on the chat channels without ever providing Blizzard with feedback. I had forgotten what it was like to play the game without addons.

Now I know that most of you are probably thinking that this is going to turn into a sulky post about how the game isn’t as much fun without my addons – whinge whinge…

It isn’t.  I totally understand and support Blizzard’s reasons for not enabling the use of third party addons at this time in the beta testing process. It would take forever to get the game ready for launch if half of the bug reports and character balance feedback that was coming in was actually due to problems in addon code rather than the game itself. A large part of the beta testing population are also testing for the first time and may not be very experienced in troubleshooting addon problems. All this I know and support wholeheartedly. However, I actually require some addons to modify the base game in order to be able to play at all. I have written here before about the addons I use and why they are essential to enable me to play. Without them, I struggle to do more than move around and hit a couple of abilities.

So the reality of beta testing for me is that I’m currently unable to test past the Pandaren start zone, and even doing that much has been a real struggle. My testing will have to wait until a few basic addons are allowed to be added.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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People with ME/CFS don’t have a sense of humour

Today I saw yet another media article about ME/CFS and whether the condition was real.  There is nothing unusual about this, each week another handful of these are written.  The thing that made me write today’s post however, was a comment response to the article that said that people with ME/CFS don’t have a sense of humour.

He is entirely correct.  Where our health is concerned, ME/CFS sufferers do not have a sense of humour.  There is a very good reason for this.  Every week since my diagnosis I have watched new articles released in newspapers, magazines, blogs or on television all looking at ME sufferers and how convenient it is that none of their illness can be proved.  Occasionally a positive article will slip through the net describing realistically what it is like to struggle through each day with such a debilitating illness, or that gives a positive reinforcement to the neurological/physical aspect of the illness.  These positive articles are extremely rare, however, and the media as a whole seems to continually spawn articles that confirm in the eyes of the general public that people with ME/CFS are lazy, lying hypochondriacs or are in some way mentally impaired and requiring psychiatric treatment.

For a physical, neurological illness.

There does appear to be a distinct lack of articles telling the sufferers of other severe debilitating physical illnesses (like cancer for example) that they can be cured with a little psychiatric treatment, or advice articles telling people with AIDS that its all in their head and a little bit of exercise and self-esteem would make it all better.

Of course there aren’t articles telling the world that sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis just need a bit more fresh air and exercise and to stop being lazy.  That would be considered rude, politically incorrect and insensitive.  Yet ME/CFS sufferers have no such considerations as many of these articles or documentaries are backed by medical professionals.  If only we could cure all the cancer victims in the world by telling them they aren’t really sick.  We can’t.  Just as we can’t cure the ME/CFS sufferers by doing the same.  It is socially acceptable to continually belittle and demean the sufferers of this misunderstood illness which has already taken much of their life away.  How dare they not see the funny side?

I don’t have a sense of humour about ME/CFS, just as I wouldn’t find jokes about AIDS funny, especially if I were HIV+. Surely that is a natural reaction?

 

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

 

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Watching Pandas

When I first saw the reveals for the new expansion over Blizzcon, I was undecided as to my reaction of the Pandaran themselves.  The lore behind them has always made me smile and the artwork that was revealed at Blizzcon looked inspiring and truly beautiful.  I knew I would want to play the expansion regardless of my feelings for our new panda-based kindred, and that I was excited to see how the monk class would work.

Up until recently, the Pandaren female hadn’t been seen either, and as I have a tendency to play female characters this was important to me.  Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not one of the people that spent ages spamming the official Blizzard forums with knee-jerk reactions and declarations of cancelling my subscription, but I did wonder if the new race would become a firm favourite with me like my Dwarves, Goblins and Gnomes or whether it would be relegated to the unplayed race category currently occupied only by Night Elves.

Five minutes of the beta was all it took.

The little head tilt and coy swivelling on one foot won me over instantly.

The model appears to be very similar in shape and size to the female Dwarf model.  They appear to have very wiggly posteriors which I’m sure will appeal to some players as that’s often all you get to see while playing.  The idling animation is ridiculously cute too.  I’m honestly not the sort of person that gets all giggly and girly over things but to my horror that was my exact reaction to my new Pandaren.

 

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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A new milestone!

It seems strange to me that this post comes only 4 months after the last gold milestone post I made.  As you may well remember, most of my World of Warcraft time is spent playing with the auction house as its one of the few things that I can manage most days due to health.  Because of this, I’ve been working hard to create a gold fund for my characters as well as for Mr Wench’s characters.  He doesn’t have time to play often due to work schedule, so its nice to be able to return the favour he does me by paying for my WoW account, keeping a roof over my head, food on my plate and generally looking after me.  When he does have time to play, I buy anything he needs in-game as a thank you.

For me, it means I have the added safety net for the weeks where I’m too tired to do anything that requires concentration (raiding, dungeons, questing or even levelling in general).  Rather than worry about falling behind the curve with my raid gear because I can’t run the looking for raid versions or do many dungeons, I can afford to spend on the crafted items or other BoE items in order to keep up.

So here it is; the magic screenshot of my new 2 million milestone!

Finally reaching the 2 Million gold milestone.

The main bulk of my income this time was different to the first million.  Over the past few months, I’ve found enchant scrolls to be particularly big sellers especially if you managed to stockpile enchanting materials before the 4.3 patch.  I stockpiled much more than I thought I would use, and ran out very quickly. I obviously totally underestimated how many people would be buying. Another big boost to my finds has been the PvP craftable items, especially the jewellery and leather items.  On my server the jewelcrafters are so busy fighting each other for the cut gems market that they totally over look the PvP jewellery.  Most days this leaves me with a niche market.  With the leather PvP armour, it’s not so much that people forget that it gets upgraded each patch, more that they cannot acquire the leather at a good enough price as there are several of us that buy up all the leather under a certain price every day.  By the time 4.3 patch came in, I had two guild bank tabs full of Heavy Savage Leather, Blackened Dragonscale and Pristine Hides.

If you read this hoping for inspiration and advice in making more gold in World of Warcraft the best I can give you is to be patient and watch.  Every server is different.  The way to make money on your server is to watch what sells well and try to think what each new patch is going to make people want.  The big things introduced in the 4.3 patch for example were a new PvP season, new raid and a few new dungeons.  This means that people will be getting new items that they want to use (needing gems and enchants) and that they will want better PvP gear to compete, especially more casual players.  Even if you don’t have the gold to invest in a large supply of crafting materials to make money with, you should always think about buying up the materials that you will need personally.  So many of my friends were not prepared and when they started collecting their new items in raids they suddenly realised that the price increases meant they couldn’t afford to gem their new items.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Slightly Alive!

Honestly, I’m not dead yet!

Lately things have spiralled out of my control a little as my computer seemed to develop several nasty problems after a random crash.  Its meant no end of hassle for me as I use several tools to enable me to be able to use the computer at all with any degree of comfort.  Inevitably, these would be the settings I had forgotten to back up, so I’ve spent several weeks trying to fix things and recreate it all from scratch.  Annoying to say the least.

What this has taught me, or at least I hope it has taught me, is that I can’t afford to forget to back up my settings!

There was something good to come out of all this tedium though.  Finally I was driven to overhaul my WoW UI as I have been planning to do for months.  Several years ago, I worked hard to plan exactly how I would like my UI to look.  In all this time, the actual layout of my UI has changed very little.  Addons have broken and been replaced and the aesthetic fluff has changed, but the bare bones and locations of each element of my UI has remained the same.  In my rush to get back from my unexpected absence from the raid team, I took a little look at some of the UI compilations that others have made and found something that made me smile.  Derevka from Tales of a Priest (on my blogroll still as he’s returned to blogging – Hurrah!) uses almost the exact same layout as I do.  And I don’t just mean a little similar; the position of every element of his UI was in the exact position that mine was! Fantastic!

In an ideal world, I’d have access to the same screen resolution too and just be able to copy things across, but I did have a few other things to take into account because of the ME/CFS that Derevka thankfully doesn’t have to worry about.  I need to have a few more action bars showing as the “brain fog” descends at the most inopportune moments and I suddenly forget all my keybindings.  Being able to glance at them if that happens is a life saver (for my raid that is – I’m a healer).  I also exchanged a couple of addons for similar alternatives that I preferred, but that’s just a preference thing.

So, what does World of Warcraft look like for Dwarf Wench?

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in World of Warcraft

 

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