RSI and gaming, Speech Recognition for GW2: Heart of Thorns Noobgrind article

Before I write about the Heart of Thorns I think it is important to clarify for those that are unfamiliar with chronic long-term problems the mixed opinions of seemingly the majority of people. With short-term injuries/illness it is normal to put most things on hold, since time to rest and heal is required. However, with long-term issues the idea of keeping your life on hold becomes frustrating and possibly infuriating, with often no idea how long things will take to improve, or in some cases knowing that things will never improve.

So deciding when hobbies can be continued is an important part of the decision-making for some semblance of peace of mind. It should be easy for most people to understand that having a hobby taken away from you would be extremely upsetting/annoying, therefore it should not be a big leap of logic to appreciate why people who are not able-bodied, in the average sense, would still try to find a way to carry on with their hobbies.Heart of Thorns Maguuma

Nearly two weeks ago the Guild Wars 2 (GW2) expansion Heart of Thorns came out, which I had pre-ordered when my wrists had not been so bad. So I was faced with a dilemma, whether to try and play the game despite my current RSI wrist problems, or leave it for a few months, or even indefinitely. Fortunately I carried out an experiment using my speech recognition software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and this proved to me that it is possible to control my character, but predictably with nowhere near the same efficiency level.

I was really looking forward to playing the Revenant, however due to the nature of using Revenant Heraldspeech recognition to control the character I determined that I wouldn’t be able to do a good job of controlling a profession I did not know. Since GW2 came out my main character has been a Ranger, and fortunately this meant that my best geared character, as well as the profession I am most knowledgeable about also has a better chance of standing at range using the pet to tank. This means my character is rarely close to an enemy, thus in less danger, and therefore better suiting a casual playing style. With the option to give the pet taunt (new to GW2) via its F2 power, this provides an extra margin of control in the fight that I found reduced my need to carry out fewer reactions.

Part of why I enjoy Guild wars 2 is because I love the emphasis on movement, and in particular their dodge system. However, when it comes to minimising keypresses GW2 is not ideal in many of its fights, particularly boss fights. I found that saying “press control V” generally was fast enough for my character to dodge out of the way of danger, and using the various attacks was simple enough, for example “press 1”. With auto run having a key bind, and the fact the character will keep attacking without having to constantly say “press 1”, this is why I consider it playable enough.

Occasionally there is an extra pause whilst the software determines what is being said, and this has led to me learning to be quick with my verbal reactions, which was initially difficult due to it being a different way of playing.

This also meant changing gear away from full Berserker set, to something more survivable. I almost never die in combat, and am very rarely even downed, which I rate as good game play, especially considering how brutal some fights are in Heart of Thorns. Granted I am being a bit more cautious than normal, more attentive, but as with all game play, the player’s decision making and assessment of what they can achieve is a core part of skill. So, maybe oddly to some, I actually enjoyed my time playing, although in part because I have had a break from gaming.

I wrote a review for Noobgrind about a summary of my opinions of Heart of Thorns. The length of the article quickly became an obvious enemy, there is just so much to write about, but since the article was starting to approach two thousand words I decided to keep it brief, and look for bits to cut out. I decided that similar things I want to write about could be in another article.



Author: Batjutsu

Writer, role-player, games master, martial artist, programmer, disabled but not giving up.

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