Priasola Astralephae

Coeurl [Crystal]

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  • 3

FFXIV losing me for ablism

First and foremost, I know this will not be a popular post. It's ok. That's not why I'm making it. I'm writing this post to spotlight a problem in gaming that no one seems to accept, acknowledge, or address:

1. Dungeon and Raid mechanics are ableist in design and intention,
2. This frequently means people who are not "neurotypical" in their senses and capabilities get left out/behind.

Per Wikipedia, "Ableism" is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities and/or people who are perceived to be disabled. Ableism characterizes people as defined by their disabilities and inferior to the non-disabled. On this basis, people are assigned or denied certain perceived abilities, skills, or character orientations.

I can hear the association of patella-pullers gearing up with "they're intended to reward those who can complete them" and of course, "there is no guarantee you can or will complete content, it's dependent upon your skill".

Only it isn't. It's only dependent upon your perception and reaction times and your operant load thresholds.

Which makes this an example of ableism in classic form - no one even considers granting the caveat for those who may be playing with the NORMAL, less-than-perfect reflexes of age or atrophy in the neurological arena. Those players? They are routinely kicked or rejected from groups. I know, I'm one of them. And I know I'm not alone.

"Oh noes! Don't DUMB DOWN content!!"

Far be it from me to dull your shine, but if it's required to progress in MSQ, shouldn't it be something that literally everyone can do?

The neurological response times required to complete content in gaming are constantly being pushed on by designers - this is patently ableist as it assigns inferiority to whomever cannot keep up and then, insists that inferiority is deserved and earned.

Deserved for....? Being unable to maintain neurotypical norms in operant load processing, situational awareness, and of course, response times.

Earned by...? Being unable to deliver an ableist performance.

"OH NOES, Priasola! You're really just taking this entirely the wrong way...."

No, I'm really not. As a matter of fact, these games (FFXIV included) are so completely disinterested in and lacking of empathy toward any but their "highly engaged" customers that they usually just shrug and say things like, "Well maybe [Game X] isn't for you."

I've played MMOs nearly exclusively since the 70's. As soon as I aged and/or ailed out of the ability to "perform" to ableist, neurotypical mechanics, both communities and these game companies have no consideration at all.

Look, I wouldn't wish having your neurology and intellectual capacity wither out from under you on anyone, and I still love MMOs. If I had my way, I'd play them until the day they plant me.

But the value proposition starts failing pretty badly when even baseline MSQ progress requires more than you have to give it. Especially when people pile on to feed their own egos by taking a lead pipe to yours.

I'm almost tempted to ask for a "disabled" pass of some sort, but I could just hear the howls of outrage... forfend!

Once upon a time we used to go out of our way to help people we knew struggled with physical response times and the like. I miss those days. Hell, I miss the days when I, too, was blissfully ignorant of the reality that millions on millions live with and persevere through in our shared, real worlds.

Given the average age on the planet is now 35 and increasing, you'd think the industry on the whole would wise up and start preparing for the tectonic change that our aging world brings.

But all I really want is to be able to clear MSQ without feeling like an inferior human for not being ABLED.

Does anyone out there even care? Or should I just accept the old "don't let the door smack you in the butt on your way out"??

We really should progress on having more options, I think.

As it stands, I guess my sub and time will once more, finally lapse.

If I can't even rely on add-ons to help me "look normal" I don't see any hope for me.

Ah well.

Comments (3)

This comment has been deleted.

Annabel Ashcroft

Faerie [Aether]

As someone who IS 55 and in the older range of players, I assure you, age has not been a barrier for me to clear a lot of the hardest content in the game.

But I also will acknowledge that I am quite healthy for my age and have no physical or mental impairments to impede me from doing content other than slower reflexes. You may be different and have aged poorly, I don't know.

Being social and making friends goes a long way to being accepted and doing content, no matter how badly you play.

Leonie Hawke

Faerie [Aether]

This is true, Anna has more balls then me to do hard content. I’ve been playing mmos since I was 14, which might not be something spectacular to most but like… there is nothing in this game you can not do so long as you want to do it and commit to it.

By your description even Tetris on level 7 is probably to much for your reflexes. And that’s not being rude nor discriminatory, just stating if you feel it’s a problem then look into gathering or crafting as some extra content.

Missus Moonson

Spriggan [Chaos]

Your experience and point of view is valid. Thank you for having the courage to speak up for yourself and the many others that are affected by disabilities. I don't think our hearts are so small that we cannot be compassionate.

I don't have a disability (as far as I'm aware) but I struggle with dungeon mechanics. I will read and watch a guide beforehand, and still be confused on some things. Where my partner can go in blind, wipe once to a mechanic, and then immediately know how to resolve it.
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