I’ve played ESO every day for five years, except for the month in 2018 that I spent in a hospital following my stroke. Well, I also took a week off three years ago to play through Horizon Zero Dawn. Other than that, it’s been every day on ESO.
In 2018, I had 12 characters on the PS4 NA server: 11 dps and one tank. I loved dps and played primarily in Cyrodiil. I was good at it. Not great, but good. At that time, I was 63 years old. My reflexes weren’t as good as the 12 to 25 year olds that seem to dominated in PvP, but I could hold my own. Prior to my stroke, I was one of the crowns in my guild. Directed battles. Used strategy to try to win campaigns.
But at 10 a.m., July 4, 2018, my life changed. With the stroke, I lost the use of the right side of my body. I had trouble thinking. My speech was slurred. Worst of all for a gamer: I couldn’t lift my arm. My right hand didn’t work. I spent the next 22 days working to get something back.
When I got out of the hospital, I couldn’t climb stairs, open a door or hold a glass. I couldn’t tie my shoes, yet the first thing I did was sign into the game. I had to do everything with my left hand. I used it to push the controller into my right hand to steady it, and I operated the buttons and trigger with my left hand. It was frustrating, but I could be online with my guild mates again. I talked to them while I did writs, or fished. There wasn’t much else I could do. My son tried to convince me to use a one-handed controller to play the game. He even bought me a Scuf, a controller designed for people who are disabled, or able-bodied folks wanting to increase their play. But I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to learn how to adapt. I wanted to play.
I struggled for a few months. I fished. I did writs. I complained that I couldn’t dps.
Oh, I could go into a keep and dump a single oil pot. But I couldn’t PvP. Not really.
I was angry. Not depressed. Just angry.
One day, a guild mate convinced me to try something different. “Try healing.” he said. “We don’t have enough healers in Cyrodiil.”
At that time, everyone seemed to want to be dps, I figured I’d give it try. I converted a magicka templar dps to healbot and set out in Cyrodiil. And at first, I was awful. I had no idea how to be a good healer and hadn’t thought it through. But I could play. I spammed mutagen, healing springs and breath of life. It was enough for a little while.
But then I started thinking about it. How could I be a better healer, and still play with just one hand? It started with champion points.
Something to note about playing with one hand and setting champion points. I can’t do heavy or light attacks, so recovery is the main issue. Whilethat makes the game more difficult, it makes it easier at the same time. My options are limited, but I can focus on what works best. I learned that I had to build a character around recovery, and I also had to think about what would make her stronger.
In addition, I can’t use ultimates that have to be aimed. I turned out that my best ultimates for my healer were barrier and war horn.
So I played the healbot for a year, trying to get my right hand to work again. And after that year, my thumb started working well enough to steer my horse and go in and out of stealth.I built four more healers – a nightblade, a warden and two templars. I also made four characters on the EU server – three tanks and a healer. And I converted one of my wardens on the NA server to a PvP tank. I liked her so much, I replicated her on the EU.
As my right hand regained some use, I stopped playing a healbot. I didn’t want to merely survive a battle. I wanted to be a better healer. I converted her to a crit healer, wearing Rattlecage and Mother’s Sorrow. Still tanky, but much better heals. My PvP tank is an ice warden. She’s built around the idea of locking people down in a breach. The first year after the stroke was tough. I had to get used to playing one-handed both mentally and physically. I had to think about it – what gear, what champion points, which skills and monster sets.
Now, after two years, I’ve got it sorted out, and due to all that play, I’ve regained some use of my right hand. I still can’t dps, but I can move my fingers. Not enough to use the controller, but enough to hold a cup of tea, or open a door. I can solo most world bosses, and I’ve soloed some of the non-dlc dungeons on vet hard mode.
I don’t give up. I keep trying. And I figure that by the time I’m 68, I’ll have my dps main back in Cyrodiil.
I’m a Wardevil. Deedleqwerty on PS4, NA and EU. Find me in Cyrodiil.
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