World of Warcraft's next big expansion is Shadowlands, set in the realms of the afterlife. The Horde and the Alliance will set aside their faction war to chase a new evil, known only as The Jailor, who has usurped the natural order of life and death. The game is currently in closed Alpha testing, and seems truly awesome thus far (a preview on that is coming soon).
One thing that has always been remarkable to me in World of Warcraft is how it brings players together from all sides of life to meet with common goals. I've been playing the game for fifteen years, and have played with gamers with all sorts of accessibility needs. I distinctly remember raiding Serpentshrine Cavern back in the day with an amputee friend Paladin who healed an entire raid of 25-players using a mouse equipped with dozens of buttons. He also competed at a high level in World of Warcraft Arena, as well as any able-bodied player I've seen.
Of course, though, many disabled players have unique challenges that require even more specialized equipment. The open nature of PC makes gaining access to these tools a little easier than it is on a closed platform like a console, but Blizzard is making it easier still with Shadowlands later this year, which is now testing full-blown controller support, complete with the Xbox Adaptive Controller in mind.
Nikki Crenshaw who works on UX research with Blizzard noted to us that accessibility has been a driving factor for bringing native gamepad support to World of Warcraft.
We always want to make WoW more widely accessible, if possible, so in Shadowlands, we're attempting to add some support for keybinds, camera, and turning a character on controllers such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
I've seen for myself how transformative the Xbox Adaptive Controller can be, and have written previously how its modular design can completely streamline the entire gaming process for those with disabilities.
World of Warcraft does have a few add-ons that allow for gamepad support, but they can be complex and tricky to set up and maintain. Native support will go a long way to improving accessibility to the game for those who can't use a keyboard and mouse.
World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is aiming to launch later this year, sometime in 2020.
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