Game Reviews PC World of Warcraft (PC)
 
World of Warcraft (PC)

World of Warcraft (PC) Hot

Editor rating
 
8.5
User rating
 
0.0 (0)


Accessibility At A Glance World of Warcraft (PC)

8.5

   
Precision > Yes You will need precision to play
One-Handed > Yes One-Handed gamers shoud be okay
Deaf Gamers > Yes You should have no issues with this game
Subtitles > Yes Character text is present but not ambiant
Colorblind > Yes Colorblind gamers should be okay

About the Game

Class
Commercial
Genre
Maker
Blizzard
Release Date
November 23, 2004
Multi-player
Yes
Licence Category
commercial

 wow-banner


World of Warcraft (WOW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Blizzard Entertainment in 2004 from the Warcraft universe of real time strategy (rts) games. WOW puts players in a massive virtual land where they create characters and advance them by participating in quests and objectives. While adventuring through the WOW universe players earn armor, weapons and items that provide additional enhancements to characters.  The ability to communicate and join with others also enhances gameplay as some quests require more than one player to achieve them; though the gains from these adventures are generally greater and more rewarding.  The game was released in 2004 and has since spawned several expansions the first being: The Burning Crusade (2007), followed by Wrath of the Lich King (2008), then Cataclysm (2010) and finally Mists of Panderia (2012).  Each expansion offers a host of new features included character classes, quests, items, monsters and lands to discover.  World of Warcraft requires a subscription fee to play and has a player base of over 10 million users

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World of Warcraft (PC)
World of Warcraft (PC)
World of Warcraft (PC)

Editor review

World of Warcraft (PC) 2013-01-08 09:30:31 Vito Rosselli
Overall rating 
 
8.5
Mobility 
 
8.0
Visual 
 
10.0
Hearing 
 
8.0
Vito Rosselli Reviewed by Vito Rosselli    January 08, 2013
Last updated: February 20, 2013
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

WoW

WOW is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game or mmorpg for short. For those who are not familiar with this genre or role playing games in general, they let players assume the role of a character that levels up based on completed objectives or quests found throughout the game world. In WOW players accomplish these tasks on their own or by joining other factions of players that are online at the same time. The more difficult quests require that players team up with others in order to accomplish them. Groups of players that play together are known as guilds or raids. These groups of players coordinate their combat strategies in defeating difficult monsters or obstacles; acquiring better items when completing these more daunting missions. The world that players transvers in WOW is massive and includes dungeons, graveyards, forests, training centers, houses and a host of other environments that offer an almost endless amount of terrain and quests to discover.

For this review I was testing the latest expansion to WOW called Mists of Panderia and my first impression when starting the game up was wow! I was treated with an amazing introduction video where an Ogre and a Human are fighting when mid battle a panda like creature jumps in and beats them both in a fight. It was a great start to the game and definitely grabbed my interest. After going through a simple registration process and viewing the video at the beginning; players are taken to a character building screen that has a host of different races to choose from along with class and gender. I decided to pick a Pandaren (Anthropomorphic Pandas) Monk as my avatar in game. Panderens are the newest addition in terms of race to the game and have the very intriguing ability of being able to put foes to sleep with the touch of their hand. After selecting the race, class and gender of their character; players are taken to a screen where they can select the look of their chosen avatar. While you can change skin tone, hair color, hair style and facial expressions; the options here felt a bit limited and this shows in game as it was difficult to tell major differences between my Pandaren brethren. Once I entered the game world I began to feel a bit overwhelmed due to the amount of information on the user interface, though once I started navigating through it each command had a help box that popped up describing the action that will happen if a particular button is pressed; a feature that definitely helped the acclimation process. I then entered the options menu and adjusted the settings and movement controls to my particular taste. Any command can be bound to any key and I found this to be extremely useful. A macros command box also exists that allows users to bind multiple actions to one key, this simplifies diffrent combinations that a player would use in game.

Once I set up my controls I was given a simple quest to go get a weapon down a hill. While maneuvering seemed as it would be simple enough, the camera in third person view was a bit awkward and made the task unusually difficult. The on screen view would keep shifting to odd angles and zooming in and out on its own making walking down this hill a cumbersome chore. I immediately went into my settings again and found some camera options that I tried to toggle to achieve a better result in game, it did not work. While switching camera options did help certain issues; new ones would arise because of the selected choices. As an example, the camera would stop switching to odd angles but it would also stop following me from behind; this created a disorienting experience as my character went around in circles when maneuvering past certain terrain obstacles. I went into the options again and found a command that allows players to click-and-move via the mouse. This simplified things a bit but it was far from perfect as my character would get stuck randomly and the camera would still shift in odd ways. I then zoomed into a first person view and while the field of view was limited by this the control was much better and has been the default way I have been playing. None of these options though seem to be a perfect solution and did test my patience with the game. Newer players may be frustrated by this camera problem and may keep them from continuing playing WOW.

Graphically WOW is vibrant and impressive even on minimum settings. Each action is highlighted by spell effects that enhance visuals and gameplay; giving players the ability to tell who is targeted, what spells are being used and how much damage is being distributed by each side in battle. The look of the game is far from a realistic approach and to its credit WOW uses this style effectively in the massive world it creates for each user. Objects, dwellings, creatures and environment all mesh together seamlessly to establish a fantasy world that engages the end user. The in game sound is also appropriate and adds to the atmosphere of the game world. The voice acting of the non-player characters (NPC) is professional and convincing, while background noises such as fish splashing in a pond, to monkey’s howling in trees, or the rush of a waterfall bring players deeper into this game experience.

WOW is a very enveloping game sure to please those who enjoy role playing games and even some who might not have ever played one before. There are vast amounts of quests to accomplish, lands and dungeons to explore and NPC’s to talk to, that even players who complete games quickly will find little objection to the amount of content put into the World of Warcraft series. It is a true testament to the creators at Blizzard Entertainment and the crew behind this game that has reached millions of players worldwide.

Accessibility review.
Before getting into this portion of the review I would like to share a story that made me think long and hard about what I was about to write. This story is a about a WOW player who is blind, his name is Ben Shaw. He was injured in Iraq (both eyes were surgically removed) by a roadside bomb while serving with the British Army. You might ask, how does someone with no eye sight possibly find a way to play a video game? He plays with a partner (Owen) who acts as his eyes in game. The following link is to the article which describes the situation and gives a short interview with Owen (http://wow.joystiq.com/2012/01/12/guide-dog-player-and-guild-embrace-sightless-guildmate-steer/). Reading this article amazed me; here is a game that brings people together in meaningful and profound ways. While this game might not be perfect in accessibility it truly shows that with the determination shown by people such as Ben Shaw and Owen that anything is possible. Warcraft adds many features to assist disabled gamers but its greatest achievement is the ability to bring a community together to not only play a game but to make a difference in each other’s lives as well.

Mobility: 7
Mobility is the one area I feel WOW suffers in terms of accessibility. There are a few negative aspects to WOW’s mobility that hurt its score and I will go over them in detail. The first is the camera and the ability to control it properly. This is not only frustrating but requires so much attention that other aspects of the game such as targeting and item awareness will suffer. Playing the game one handed is possible (either with the keyboard or mouse) yet it is far from ideal because of the camera system and the sheer amount of buttons needed to be pushed in order to be effective. The second issue is that the classes play very differently and may hinder some play styles because of the difficulty level and precision needed, especially in battles with multiple enemies. Steven Spohn in the article “Disabled Gamers Guide to World of Warcraft” (http://www.ablegamers.com/game-news/disabled-gamers-guide-to-world-of-warcraft.html) does a fantastic job of breaking down each class along with the strengths and weaknesses in terms of mobility. WOW does excel in a few areas for mobility, specifically the user interface. Buttons on the interface are easily identifiable and can be manipulated by the use of an add-on called Bartender. Bartender allows players to reposition the on screen action buttons enabling easier access to commands and spells. Bartender can be found on several website a few links which I have included here (http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info11190-Bartender4.html, http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/bartender4). A feature included in the WOW menu is click-and-move. Players can point via the mouse to a place they would like to walk/run to and have their character automatically navigate to that spot. This feature eliminates much of the camera angle issues and allows for easier one handed play, but does limit movements such as strafing. Mouse speed and sensitivity can also be adjusted through the in game menu for ease of use. Also, the ability to map any button to any key is a great feature that any gamer will find useful and make gameplay more adaptive to different characters classes and play styles.

Visual-10
A color blind mode is included in the game. Here is a link on some specific features it offers (http://www.ablegamers.com/game-news/blizzard-speaks-to-ablegamers-on-the-new-accessibility-options-in-wow.html?) and also a link to the official Blizzard Entertainment website which details how to activate different color blind modes depending on condition (https://sea.battle.net/support/en/article/color-blind-mode-improvements-in-patch-4-3 ).

Under settings is the option to resize the heads-up display. It is a great feature that aids in the visual aspects of the game as well as mobility.

Hearing-8
Sound is not needed to play WOW as quests are all text based along with a great interface that has drop boxes describing each action, a chat box and subtitles for cut scenes. I did however come across an article about dungeon raids from a deaf gamer’s point of view that may open Blizzards eyes to possible advancements in this area of accessibility. The article is written by a deaf gamer going by the name Aidrana and is titled “Disabilities and WOW: Do I Tell or Not” (http://www.misspewpew.com/2011/11/disabilities-and-wow-do-i-tell-or-not/). In the article she chronicles the challenges facing her while playing and trying to join different guilds and raids. It is an eye opening story where she discusses the hurdles of being a deaf gamer and her solutions to overcoming the obstacles she faces. Also, without the vast amounts of ambient sound scattered throughout WOW some of the immersive experience is hindered. Though Blizzard Entertainment has done a great job in this area of accessibility, but they can do more to add options for deaf gamers. These can include more automated text based cues for communication or additional subtitles for the ambient and background noises that make WOW such an incredible and engaging experience.

WOW overall is a fantastic achievement in terms of accessibility for gamers, but Blizzard Entertainment can do more for the disabled community. Being such a big gaming power and influence they can lead the way for accessible gameplay not only within their own company but for the gaming industry as a whole. For additional accessibility options I encourage the Able Gamers community to help each other and post what they feel can help others when playing WOW. Some of these suggestions can already be found in the comment section of the above mentioned article “Disabled Gamers Guide to World of Warcraft”. As described in the story of Ben Shaw and Owen; we as a community are the best possible source for achieving success against obstacles in our daily lives.

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About the Author
I have worked for Mad Catz Inc. a company which designs video game accessories, and for Apple Inc. doing tech support. I recently graduated from SDSU with a bachelor of science in TV, Film and Media.

Load Previous Comments
  • April, You are welcome to do a story on the add ons of the game. We reviewed the game "as is" the game that Blizzard created. While you are correct that you can hack the game to be much more accessible, that is NOT the game Blizzard made.

    At the end of the day WOW is a very popular game, and MANY MANY gamers with disabilities have spend countless hours in the world, but as you hinted to, they can only really do it by adding various levels of add ons and hacks.

    Would really love to see a story on the "Must Have Add On's for WOW". And at the end of the 8.0 is not bad, not bad at all.

  • Guest (April Dickerson)

    Move Pad is IN GAME. It's Blizzard added, not an add-on. It was added in Patch 4.2. Go look, Game-> Interface -> under "Help" check "Show Move Pad".

  • April,
    Sorry you disliked the review and the lack of Move Pad Mention that I left out. One of the points of the article was that we as a community can help each other navigate games better and I appreciate you bringing up Move Pad as another tool that can be used in game to help others out.

  • April,

    We have been in contact with blizzard over the move pad since its inception. as a matter of fact, the idea came from a meeting in which we were interviewing a developer and I was asking them why there was no way to move your character by pressing buttons on the screen, particularly jumping.

    I play World of Warcraft, and as you can see by the articles Vito linked to, am a proponent of the game. Having said that, this was a review and in the reviewer's opinion more can be done. If you disagree there is a small button above the very first comment called "add new review" in this area you can submit your own review of World of Warcraft and let people know your view of the game.

    That is perhaps the most underutilized service we provide here at AbleGamers. Anyone can review any game you like and have it posted alongside our staff.

    However, your tone towards Vito is rather harsh. None of us are paid here and we do these reviews as a community service. A more constructive way to get your same point across that would have been to mention the move pad as an additional feature that should be called out. As you are a fan on Facebook and the website, you obviously read our reviews and know these are done as guides. Each reviewer looks at games slightly differently, to Vito, following the guidelines set out by the organization, this was his assessment of the game and included links to other information including some things that I have posted about it.

    Let's continue on trying to make the video game community a better place :)

    Comment last edited on about 1 year ago by Steve
  • Guest (April Dickerson)

    Here's my concern Steve, and I'll start with a quote from Quest. "The accessibility review database is the largest resource available for finding out which games are appropriate for what disability." - Steve Spohn. Volunteers or not, people are looking here for information. It's something to be extremely proud of but there's also responsibility with it. As it stands Blizzard, a company that listened and made their game more accessible (yay!), has World of Warcraft scoring lower than games which have less mobility options and had it's unique mobility option completely left out. Truth is there are 2 types of reviews on your website... Editor and User. If some random user posted a review it's one thing, but if people associated with Able Gamers posted it I see it as reliable, well tested and I see them representing the Foundation.

    Just comparing SW:TOR, GW2, and WoW all 3 scored 7 on Mobility. If you play these 3 games, there's no way the mobility is equal. On Warcraft I can play with only my mouse and have 3 ways to move my toon, 4 if I use my onscreen keyboard. I had to quit both the other games because of their lack of options but on Warcraft my gameplay evolved and the addition of Move Pad is why. Now strafing and casting simultaneously is possible making Arena PVP and many hard mode raid encounters a possibility. Is it ok or fair to the game to overlook this feature?

    Blizzard heard your request and answered it. Maybe it's a small step to you guys but trust me when I say it was a huge triumph to the quality of gaming. If criticizing it being overlooked seems harsh, then you guys are completely not understanding the influence in gaming you've worked so hard to earn.

  • April,
    While move pad is a valuable tool for some much like click and move either option still equates to only one part of the score on mobility. The mobility score reflects the issues with camera (and zooming in did not fix those issues as you indicated), the sheer amount of button pushing needed (whether on the interface or on mouse and keyboard), and as noted in Steve's article the classes playing so differently and offer new challenges when switching between them. Also in Steve's article it does mention on screen keyboards and while not exactly the same as move pad it does cover much of the same ground as he notes "On-screen keyboards work beautifully with no interference." So while you feel that move pad may have changed this score, I do not. The review was based on looking at this game for a wide range of players and the score it got is the score it ultimately deserved in this reviewers opinion. Thank you again for you input and I hope this clears some of the review up for you.

    Vito

  • Hi April,

    Just as Vito had indicated in the above post, leaving out the Move Pad WAS an error which was an oversight and corrected. However, the score remains the same due to the reasons that he listed.

    Yes, Vito and any other unpaid volunteer is representative of the organization when doing these reviews. Each reviewer looks at a scoresheet to tell the around about what numbers certain accessibility barriers earn how many points.

    But the delicate balancing act that we have to do as an organization is to take into account every single disability on the face of the planet that fits into the category of "mobility." Trust me when I say, this is no easy task.

    Let's, for the sake of discussion, compare what I know of your disability versus mine. The Move Pad is a wonderful addition and am happy to have had something to do with the implementation, just as I was happy to be the one who originally pointed out on-screen keyboards didn't work in a few other MMORPGs. But in the case of WoW, your disability allows you to use the mouse and participate rather effectively in arenas. I, on the other hand, play WoW, but shy away from PvP because they limit the mouse sensitivity of the game meaning I can't turn my camera around at an acceptable rate of speed for my disability. arenas are relatively impossible for me to be any real challenge because I don't have the speed of pressing buttons and moving quick enough.

    To take the example even further, my friend Cory was not able to play WoW at all because of the way that the camera was set up with low sensitivity. He would have been able to play SWTOR because the sensitivity was higher.

    So, in just this little example, the mobility score for you is a 10, the mobility scores for me is a 5 or 6, and the mobility scores for Cory was 0. And this is what we have to do for every single game. We average up the scores by using an extensively tested scoring sheet and give the number the best represents the general accessibility. This review is different than no other, all reviews are under the category of "Your mileage may vary." -- which is just a fancy way of saying your disability might make things different.

    I believe part of what might be making you the most upset is the number 7. The numbers mean very little. They are an arbitrary way of signaling one game is slightly better or slightly worse than another. As you know from being a reader of AbleGamers, the real meat of the review is placed in the text. And if you're like me, you look for keywords that particularly pertain to your disability. For you it might be one armed gameplay or mouse only, for me mouse only is not enough and I also needed to have high mouse sensitivity.

    And, GW2 was an entirely different beast. The only reason that it was so recommended was because it scored perfect in Hearing, Visual and it did really well in the unscored cognitive category. it was absolutely abysmal for a lot of people with mobility issues. Although I was able to play the game, and I'm pretty severely disabled.

    I hopes this clears up any doubts you might have about the system. it's not perfect, but it's the best we've found so far. We do understand how much influence we have had in the gaming sphere. The reason I say harsh is because I have seen the comments you have made here and on Facebook.

    So, I welcome you and anyone else to criticize any of the reviews we do. We are human and there will be times that certain features are overlooked; that's why we have the biggest community for disabled gamers on the Internet, so that we can rely on each other to make sure that all the bases are covered.

    We just ask that you keep in mind we are trying to display one number that stands as a relative flag for an amazing amount of various disabilities. and we do the best we can :)

  • Guest (April Dickerson)

    Steve,

    We have the same disability. SMA, I was diagnosed at 13 months... it was early onset for type 2 so I was diagnosed with type 1. I have about a 2 inch range of motion with my mouse at best. I understand fully abilities vary. That's why I don't understand why when Move Pad was overlooked, instead of "Let us try again with move pad and see if it helps." the consensus has been "It doesn't make a difference anyway." If it's not a feature that does considerably help, why did you guys work with blizzard get it added?

    To many of us the numbers do matter. I personally check for a mobility score here before trying new games and in the past have recommended others do the same. Vito himself is why I have League of Legends. I saw the mobility score & tried it. I really don't think you guys realize the impact your reviews have. :( In any case World of Warcraft is the most accessible MMO out of the most popular out because of it's options. It has Click to Walk, auto follow, move pad, plus standard mouse only walking. You can move parts of the UI and resize it with the UI scale making the camera distance very far out which enables gamers to see large areas (such as arenas) without needing to move the camera. It has auto targeting, Enemy Nameplates for easy click targeting, area loot, and you can even set it where 1 mouse button interacts with almost anything if right clicking slows you down. (As it does me at times) There's sooooo many options in game.

    I'm curious about if the camera issue was from an option unknown to the writer like Move Pad was. (not meant to offend, there's alot of settings) I'm really active with Azerothians with different abilities & the camera complaint is a first. As far as sound in raiding, I'm curious if the review was based on personal experience in raiding? The article referenced was over the users inability to use VoIP programs such as Ventrilo and not about how lack of ingame sounds held her back. Ventrilo isn't part of the game. Guilds often request/require it as a way to quickly communicate strategies but in the raids themselves as launched by Blizzard... a raid aware player doesn't need sound. You can visibly see damage causing abilities on the ground, debuffs on the debuff bar, and boss transitions are usually yelled by the boss which also shows as text in the chat box or by chat bubbles.

  • April,

    Not at all. From the very first post I have said that was a feature that was missed, although that's more my fault than Vito's because I saw they finally implemented it when it was first introduced, thought about doing a story about it, but it wasn't working properly at the time (4.1, I think) and then completely forgot about it.

    I'm not saying the numbers don't matter, if you only knew how much time I've spent refining the numbers to make sure they get close to perfect as possible, but I'm saying they're not as important as the overall text. Hopefully, people don't just read the numbers and move on. Hopefully they see "Yes" underneath the recommendation for mouse only, precision and one-handed gamers, which are all indications that the game would be perfect for people with those disabilities.

    I do vehemently disagree with your assessment about user reviews. AbleGamers staff members are people who have been educated about the broad spectrum of disabilities and we review games based on trying to incorporate everyone's disability. But I would absolutely love love love love love if people would start posting user reviews based on their own viewpoint.

    You have spent an amazing amount of time in WoW in order to come to the opinion that it is the most accessible MMO out there. And that gives you the qualification to write your own review saying how you can play your way. Share your insights that have made the game easier for you that might make it easier for people who have the same disability as we do.

    You see it is my firm belief that what makes AbleGamers as important to the community as it is is that we believe we do not know everything. We invite the community to make sure information gets out there and shared with the people who need to know. There are specific intricacies of certain disabilities that only someone who lives with them every day will know inside and out. In this case, using the move pad would be something that you could add to the discussion. I need to look up the code I used to increase the mouse sensitivity beyond what the system allows, that would be something I can contribute.

    If we all continue to add our own thoughts on games (particularly MMOs since they change over time) the picture becomes fuller and those little tips and tricks that you have discovered about a game along the way can be shared with the world. And as an added benefit, the score is updated along the way.

  • April,
    The camera was not an over site. I extensively tested it with different options and different setting only to be frustrated by it numerous times. I indicated what I felt were the issues I was having with it in the review. You may have spent considerable time getting the camera to work for yourself and that is great and as Steve indicated is why you may score this game a 10 for mobility. I am writing a review for all types of players with all types of disabilities. As noted in the review the constant camera issues would in my opinion cause difficulty and confusion (because of everything else that a player needs to keep track of) among gamers especially new ones trying to adapt to this system.

    On the issue of sound I directly pulled an article where someone was having a problem communicating with their team who was deaf (not just issues with the voice add on). My suggestion here is if a person is having these issues in game then why not add more automated communication tools. Again your opinion may differ and that is ok but it does not change the fact that some players may find this option useful if added. Also I played the game without sound and found that much was missing in the way of cues for background noises. I felt that the inclusion of those indicators could create a more compelling experience for players with hearing disabilities. Again feel free to disagree but again it is something that in my opinion would be helpful.

    Blizzard is at the forefront of the gaming industry and the more they can do for the disabled gaming community the better. They have already included some amazing options but I feel they can and should do more to push the envelope so others take notice. In your opinion they are a leader and I should not have questioned that, I respect that opinion but I will disagree with it as well as noted above.

    Again as I noted in an earlier post I apologized for my lack of move pad. In writing a review for a range of gamers it is something I overlooked. I do however appreciated your adding that information to this discussion and encourage others to add what they can to assist everyone in the community to make gaming a more enjoyable experience.

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