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Posts with tag accessibility

Should green fire be prestigious?

Blood Pact Should green fire be prestigious MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill wishes the mages would stop sending out the bad voodoo vibes to everything she owns so she can buy new fun things for her birthday instead of old replacements.

There's plenty to look for through the datamining, but the question on everyone's mind is, "How do I start the questline?" Trust me, when someone finds out, I'm sure the internet will explode about it. It'll probably be on a Monday, during my other job's hours, and right after this column posts, knowing my luck.

But before I get into an all-out walkthrough of the questline, I want to discuss one thing: does green fire have to be exclusive? Is exclusivity required for meaningfulness?

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Does World of Warcraft need to be more difficult?

The above video is a bit lengthy, but it's well worth the watch simply because it does raise a few valid points along the line. And lest you think this is yet another player whining about the endless hardcore vs. casual debate, it's not -- this is simply a player who is incredibly passionate about the game we all play. In that passion, he's decided to talk about the direction that raiding in WoW has taken and how it has gone downhill, in his opinion.

On the one hand, he has a point. There is a stark difference between the feel of raiding back in the days of vanilla, The Burning Crusade, and now. There's a stark difference in numbers, which any graph can illustrate. More and more people can complete raids now from one degree or another, which leaves people barreling through content at light speed and doesn't really give that same feeling that raiding had in years past.

On the other, is changing the difficulty in WoW really the way to accomplish that goal? I don't think so.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

AbleGamer talks to Blizz about 3.1 accessibility

AbleGamers has a conversation with Jeff Kaplan about the upcoming accessibility changes to the game in patch 3.1. We saw in the patch notes already that there would be a new colorblind mode added to the game, but Kaplan goes into more detail here -- Blizzard is making sure that even when the interface depends on color to get information across (as in, how difficult your quests are or whether you'll get a skill point from making a crafting recipe or not), there will be other text and symbols in there that relay that information without color.

Unfortunately, while the changes that are going in the game will be helpful. AbleGamers points out that the game isn't perfect for those with colorblindness yet -- mob levels are often shown to the player in a certain color, and there's no option yet for players to see that information in any other format. Additionally, Rogue combo points are shown by filing those little circles in with colors, and colorblind players who aren't able to see that color will have difficulty with that mechanic as well.

The good news is that, while Blizzard does want to make sure their core game is as accessible as possible, there's lots of room for addon authors to do more. Colorblindness is surprisingly prevalent, and everything coders can do to make the game easier to play will be welcomed by those who need it.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

How to play WoW with a joystick

Reader Aaron Stacey wrote to tell us about a simple new script he's developed that allows him to play WoW more fluidly, despite having little fine dexterity control in his right hand. Since a spinal cord injury, he is only able to grasp and release his hand. Prior to developing this script, Aaron used to play only with his left hand using "an abundance of key binds and keyboard/mouse switching." He was restricted to caster classes because of the difficulty in moving and attacking at the same time.

Inspired by our Wii remote post and our treadmill post, Aaron came up with an ingenious idea that he hopes will help others with similar disabilities. The key is GlovePie, a piece of Windows freeware (donations welcome) originally written for virtual reality gloves, which allows you to play any game using any type of controller you like. GlovePie's website lists controllers like joysticks, gamepads, mice, keyboards, and Wiimotes, among a host of other hardware.

Find out how to do it yourself after the break.

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Filed under: Tricks, How-tos, Fan stuff

Blizzard and the hidden population of disabled players

A Dwarf Priest has a nice long post up about the relationship between Blizzard and one of the more hidden (and yet surprisingly large) groups within their population: disabled gamers. It's no secret to anyone who's played WoW for a while that a lot of disabled gamers have found a lot of solace in a social game where you can be almost completely anonymous and play a character at whatever pace you want to play. Even if you go with the lowest of estimations, there are about 525,000 people playing the game with some kind of disability in real life. That's a much bigger number than I expected, and it's a significant number of people paying Blizzard every month.

Fortunately, Dwarf Priest found that accessibility is relatively good in Blizzard's game -- most of the work is actually done with third-party addons, but the UI and display is so customizable that even with the default interface, many people without a full range of controls or movement can figure out how to play the game. For their part, Blizzard has agreed that a customizable UI is the best way to make a game accessible -- J. Allen Brack says that's a priority in this interview with Able Gamers.

Dwarf Priest has lots more, including a quick comparison with accessibility in Warhammer Online, and even a weird wrinkle in the Glider lawsuit (the botting program's creators are apparently claiming it helps disabled players play their characters). It's a very well-written post about a subject that doesn't get covered much, and there's lots of extra reading to dig into at the bottom as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items, Add-Ons

Control WoW with your eyes


Adding one to the list of things I've never thought of that are actually pretty cool, scientists at De Montfort University in the UK have developed a way to control WoW with your eyes. The system uses existing LED eye-tracking devices, and essentially the cursor just goes where you look. Looking offscreen in various directions can trigger different modes (for combat or travel, for instance). The intention behind this project is to help people with disabilities that prevent them from using traditional input devices. So far, judging by the video, the interface is not up to par with clicking or key-pressing, but I think it does have potential for situations where it's required. The research team hopes to begin trials next year.

[via Wonderland]

Filed under: News items, Hardware

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