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The Daily Grind: Do MMOs need to be more accessible to disabled people?

Lesley Smith

Last week, a blind friend of mine decided to get herself addicted to WoW. We re-rolled characters on a different realm and are slowly leveling. I'm not a fan of leveling but suddenly looking at a basic UI, a new set of icons and an unfamiliar map has reminded me how scary WoW can be for a visually impaired person. The same applies to every other MMO from EVE (which is especially terrifying due to a lack of a humanoid avatar) to Second Life and I often think MMOs should come with the option of an in-game white can or a service animal. I suppose the one perk is you can't run into people and if you do fall off a cliff and die, you get to rez at the nearest graveyard.

I can't help but wonder that there is still a lot games companies need to do in order to make MMOs much more accessible to all kinds of disabled people. I would love to have icons which double in size when you mouse over them, icons on the map, much larger text sizes for the chat box and a radar circle on the floor to tell you how close until you aggro something hostile. For some kinds of disabled gamers, MMOs can offer freedom from their disability and a chance to distance themselves from their everyday lives but for others - usually visually related disabilities - MMOs can range from passable to appalling. So come on readers, do you have a disability that affects your life? Do you play MMOs? How do you find the experience? Do you wish your chosen MMO had more options for people with a specific disability? How would you alter your MMO to make it easier and more comfortable to play.

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