WoW Improves Accessibility for Colorblind Gamers

If you are colorblind it can be sometimes quite hard to play certain games. Something as simple as a green team playing against a red one can be a big issue if you have a color vision deficiency.

World of Warcraft is one of the most played games around the world. Blizzard, the company behind the game, will introduce with the next patch (3.1) a module for disabled people. This includes a part for enhancing the interface for colorblind people. Some objects, which were traditionally color coded, can now be assigned to letters or symbols.

The people from AbleGamers, a community for disabled gamers, interviewed a lead developer from Blizzard, Tom Chilton. They wanted to learn more about this new colorblind option.

Here is a list of enhancements for colorblind WoW gamers. The listed features either support an already existing color coding or replace it.

  • Tags distinguish friendly, neutral, or hostile creatures and enemies.
  • Gear quality has additional text descriptions.
  • The three different coin types are labeled with single letters.
  • Recommended character level is listed as a number.
  • Learned recipes will be rated from + through to +++.

This sounds like quite a big step forward. As a colorblind less than part time gamer I am very happy about every little enhancement in the games I play. Almost never I can see the difference between color coded stuff in the first moment. So I either will learn it during the gameplay or just never really know what I am doing.

In the case of such a big game like World of Warcraft, there are obviously many more possibilities to enhance it for gamers suffering from color blindness. Here is one more example, taken from the same article:

Additionally, some things were overlooked in Blizzard’s version of this add-on. Rogues accumulate combo points as they attack their victims. These combo points are shown as red dots in an arc around the picture of the rogue’s target. As the points are accumulated, the red dots are filled in.

Someone who was colorblind to the color red would not be able to tell the difference between a red dot filled in with red and a red dot lightly shaded with red. One member of the player base identified this problem and created a specific add-on called Kast Combo Points that would change the way the points are displayed. This modification changed the red dots so that they are completely hidden until a combo point is awarded.

Dear colorblind gamer, I’m sure you will and already found your personal way to play the games you like. And if color blindness gets to much into your way, just play another game. Don’t forget, it’s just a game.