As a child, I needed my shoes labeled L for left and R for right. I’m sure that was the case for many children. But even as I got older, I still struggled with understanding directions. I remember as a teenager my father telling me to go left and I’d go right and he’d jokingly say, “You’re other left.” I have left and right figured out nowadays but if someone starts giving me directions with words like east and west, forget it. I navigate by landmarks more than street names and the only place I know north, south, east, and west is my home for the most part.
My directional difficulties can cause issues in the real world and I can become very lost. I’ve gotten lost in hotels I’ve stayed at, buildings I’ve ventured into, and the big city of Boston more times than I can count. Even if I’m using my phone GPS while walking in Boston, I still end up going the total wrong direction and it can be rather exasperating.
Although I might wish otherwise, my directional issues also cause problems when playing World of Warcraft. Even in places I’ve been to countless times such as Orgrimmar and Stormwind City, I’m constantly pulling out my map to see where I’m going. I remember when they first added the map animation in-game and I didn’t realize they’d added it and a fellow player made fun of me because I was opening my map every other moment. I’ve been somewhat self-conscious of it ever since, but I can’t really help it.
My challenge with understanding directions isn’t that much of a problem when I’m questing alone but when I’m in groups in dungeons, raids, or visions, it’s not exactly an asset. That’s likely the time when someone would tell me to run left and I’d run to “my other left” and end up in a heap of trouble. So when directions go beyond just run away, to stay out of this thing at this point but get back in it at this point, the connections in my brain start to smoke and I get rather frazzled. It’s not that things aren’t explained well, it’s just me.
Another issue I have on top of directional difficulties is that I have horrible night vision. I try to avoid driving at night as much as possible because I can’t see very well without my brights on and other drivers prefer not to be blinded. This issue comes in to play a lot in invasions, Ny’alotha, and most horribly in horrific visions when everything is dark, purple, swirly, and I’m going “insane” to boot with darkness creeping in the edges of my screen. I tilt my screen down which helps and I’ve tried adjusting brightness but then my monitor is too bright if I go out of Warcraft and forget to adjust it back.
Just about every time players have been nice enough to run me through the horrific vision of Orgrimmar, I get thrown into the water in the Valley of Spirits by whatever horrid insanity is there and I get stuck and/or turned around because I’m so disoriented and slightly panicked. Which really stinks because I love Zekhan (Zappy Boi) and I really want to help him. Not only is it stressful, but I feel bad that I’ve become separated from the group (again) and am in trouble (again). It’s not anybody else’s fault, it’s all on me and my inability to stay out of the bad stuff.
While I struggle with these issues, I’m also working on ways to overcome them. Everyone in the Twitter Warcraft group has been so patient with me and nice to me and I appreciate it immensely and want to make sure their belief in me isn’t misplaced. My father always told me to look at things from a different angle and if I have to hang upside down from my ankles, I’ll figure this all out!
The rest of the group is doing so well and seem to have the fights down and I’m doing my best to keep up. I’ve installed addons that tell me about boss fights, who has aggro, and dps details. I’ll do better at paying attention so that when I die and a fight ends in raid, I don’t instinctively release because I got used to everyone else being dead too. Very few other players are dying in the raid anymore so releasing, going back to the beginning, trying to sneak around big baddies, failing and drawing them into the current fight, isn’t a good plan.
Perhaps I’ll pick a buddy in Nya (I won’t tell them I’ve picked them because that will just make things weird) and I’ll stick with them to avoid stepping in the wrong stuff. Now that I’ve switched to marksman spec because I was getting in too much trouble as survival, I’m back to being ranged which makes it a little easier to see things from a wider angle. If I can just get myself oriented and keep track of my buddy (I’ve reverted to kindergartner now apparently) maybe I can last a bit longer in fights. It certainly can’t hurt to try and either it will work or it won’t.
Although my directional difficulties can be frustrating for me and troublesome in group situations, they’re also one of the things that my closest friends weirdly appreciate about me. If there’s a peculiar way to get lost in even the most straightforward places, I’ll find it. If there’s a way to get flung to an inescapable shelf in a Warcraft dungeon, I’ll do it.
Not on purpose, it’s just part of who I am. If nothing else, at least it makes me memorable. As one of my friend’s likes to say, I’m very enthusiastic and I go all in, even if it’s not always the best plan. She also says that only the right kind of people for me will understand and accept that about me, so here’s hoping that while I may get lost in a paper bag, I won’t get lost and stray too far from them.