Computer/Video Game Review #1 – World of Warcraft

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This is the first in a series of articles I will be posting about video and computer-gaming accessibility. Today’s post is by a guest blogger, and I’m very excited about her contribution. I’ve been watching her YouTube videos for a while, and they’re super interesting and helpful to disabled gamers. I hope you enjoy! Also, I’m always looking for more guest bloggers. If you have something to share, please contact me – you can find my e-mail on the About page, or just leave a comment. Now, on to introductions and the review!

My name is April, and I am a disabled gamer.  After years of thinking outside the box to find strategies to get around roadblocks in video games, some friends convinced me to start a website to share my tips in hopes of helping others. I started Ability Powered in early 2013. Now, I post articles, guides, and tips on my website, and have guides and accessibility first-look videos on Youtube. You can check us out at www.abilitypowered.com, or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/abilitypowered

April's AvatarWorld of Warcraft is Blizzard’s popular MMORPG. Players are challenged with the task of questing and defending the world of Azeroth from invasions of all kinds. With villians and injustice at every turn, you and your fellow gamers quickly become heroes!  Sounds fantastic, right? But what about accessibility?
Mobility in Azeroth is, honestly, as good as it gets. There are multiple options allowing players to choose how they wish to move their character. You can move with traditional keyboard movement, which is fully remapable in the keybindings menu. You can also move with your mouse in multiple ways. By default, you can move by holding down both mouse buttons simultaneously. Want to only press one button? You can do that by enabling the Click to Walk option. Click to Walk allows you to right click a point for your character to automatically run to. Need to walk with your right mouse button, or need an on-screen jump button? That’s also an option! The addition of Move Pad made it possible for disabled gamers to click an on-screen menu to move their character with simple presses of a button. That’s four movement options available to meet players’ needs.
Movement isn’t the only area where Blizzard excels. Blizzard has its visually impaired players on their mind, too. Having difficulty reading chat? You can increase the font. UI giving you problems? You can adjust it to a better size in the options. Colorblind players curious about your options? Boy, do you have them! While checking the colorblind option alone may give a few helpful differences, like currency labeled with a G, S, or C instead of a colored coin, there’s so much more you can fine tune with commands. You can add shading based on the type of color blindness you have with a chat command. Ground markers often used during dungeons and raiding are also labeled with not only a color, but also a shape. Raid assignments such as “Stack on Yellow!” can easily be announced as “Stack on Star!”

So you are ok with mobility and visual aspects of Azeroth, but you’re hearing impaired. Azeroth has you covered, too! All quests are given as text. If an NPC talks during an event or escort, you can read the dialog in your chat box. The same thing goes for bosses. Before bosses perform certain mechanics, many yell phrases that alert players

screen grab of WoW
Screen grab of April’s WoW video guide!

when bad things are being cast. Heard we get cutscenes a lot? We do, and they are all subtitled so you never miss a thing; you can enable subtitles in your options. End game content is where red flags are often raised for hearing impaired gamers. Should they be? Never. Yes, many guilds rely on such programs as Ventrilo, Mumble or Teamspeak, but is voice chat needed for raiding? No. Not all guilds or raid teams require its use, and with the raid typing any strategy changes before a pull, hearing impaired gamers will have no issues in end game.

So we know how disabilities are addressed on a specific need, but have you ever thought about the broad-scale features we have while in Azeroth? What about those keybindings I mentioned briefly earlier? You can literally reset any hotkey however you need it. Macros are another feature that helps everyone. Preload abilities or text to quickly enter commands with the push of a button. Taken your add-ons for granted lately? You can find add-ons for almost everything in Azeroth. Customizing UI, on-screen alerts, targeting help – it’s all there. Prepare to have your mind blown. Not all games allow this – Blizzard does!
All these reasons are why I think Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is the most accessible game of our time. It provides not only all these accessibility options, but years of fun and adventure. You can fight bosses, quest, battle pets, or even just go fishing. Azeroth is a place where possibilities are endless, and thanks to Blizzard’s amazing developers, it’s all accessible. But don’t take my word for it -visit Azeroth today!

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