Deaf gamers overcome odds in World of Warcraft
Usually, people use voice chat to communicate strategies and comments when online gaming, but recently, a group of deaf players worked together to take down one of the hardest bosses in the popular game World of Warcraft.
Joseph Antle, one of the players, mentioned how isolated he felt when playing World of Warcraft. That was until he and his team unified by typing to each other, proving hearing isn’t necessary to make a strong team and win the game.
Online gaming has become a group activity, allowing people to connect with others all over the world. Voice chats such as Discord or Vent are becoming popular among online gamers, but being hearing loss can prevent some gamers from participating in the conversation, thus having these deaf members feeling left out of important tasks.
“I must say that it was boring, and I felt isolated due to nobody participating in chat since everybody else were using vent to communicate,” Antle told PCGamer.com. “When it came to strategies, one of the officers would whisper me something like ‘you’re on moon marker’ or ‘you’re on third to dispel the enrage on Chromaggus boss. Sometimes mechanics weren’t too difficult so I could just focus on survival and killing the boss, and sometimes there would be encounters where I was given a very easy task because they believed vent was necessary.”
Antle brings up an interesting topic, as I’ve noticed that online gaming communities are becoming more reliant on voice chat services, since its less of a hassle to talk instead of typing out words.
“…online gaming communities are becoming more reliant on voice chat services, since its less of a hassle to talk instead of typing out words.”
World of Warcraft is a community based game, as are most online games today, and it’s hard to connect with other players, make friends, and crack jokes if you’re excluded from the chat.
The Future of Games for Deaf Gamers
As we move forward into a new era of video games and new technology, such as VR, I wonder how much impact voice chat will have. Will it eventually replace typing completely? As game developers find new ways to connect with all players, hopefully more deaf/hard-of-hearing friendly options will become available.
Antle suggests adding more visual prompts to the game, something I think many games could benefit from. Sometimes a sound from an enemy is a prompt for the player to do something- if we can’t hear it, it may be impossible to complete a challenge.
“Antle suggests adding more visual prompts to the game, something I think many games could benefit from.”
(There’s a bit of a debate over visual prompts in games. Some people think it’s “cheating,” or making the game too easy- audio prompts add difficulty. I say if it helps me play, its good in my book.)
Lots of people think taking on such a team-oriented challenge would be near impossible without some kind of verbal communication. Not so with Antle and his World of Warcraft friends, who are deaf as well.
Today, Antle is guild master, playing a Blood Elf protection paladin, according to PCGamer.com.
“If a tank forgot to taunt a boss to deal with debuffs, the other tank would quickly type in ‘taunt’ as a reminder,” says Antle. “Setting up assignments before raid encounters is what we always do, especially the order of healing cooldowns. Without those assignments, we would have gone nowhere. After first wipes, our players typically memorized their tasks and it becomes a matter of honoring our raiding awareness and knowledge of the fight.”
Even though this is a video game feat, it really emphasizes how well deaf and hard-of-hearing people can work together in a team setting. It’s nice to see companionship in the deaf community.
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