If you’ve ever attempted a high-tier WoW raid, you know that they are tough. In fact, they can be damn near impossible. Yourself and 24 others are asked to balance several leading mechanics with precision while attempting to defeat an extraordinarily difficult boss.
It requires an incredibly focused amount of strategy, coordination, and above all- communication.
Typically this is done through means of voice chat in combat and during wipes, allowing raiders to respond and react quickly with aid of their fellow players. But what if that means is unavailable to you? What if you are a deaf player wanting to be involved in critical raid discussion?
The answer, according to the Undaunted guild (formerly known as Durus Veritas), is finding new and inventive ways to kick ass.
The guild is comprised of a small community of deaf friends who had known each other prior to forming a Warcraft guild. They achieve their goals with the help of PvE mods including WeakAura and Bigwigs, allowing players to receive text-notifications of audibly recognizable boss mechanics.
They also make use of keyboard chat, using fast and meaningful language their fellow raiders will comprehend quickly, “If a tank forgot to taunt a boss to deal with debuffs, the other tank would quickly type in ‘taunt’ as a reminder,” Undaunted Guild Master Jospeph Antle told PC Gamer. “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 honing our raid awareness and knowledge of the fight.”
Their resourcefulness and tenacity recently paid off. On January 15, 2017, the Undaunted guild cleared the Emerald Nightmare on it’s highest set difficulty- a feat that the even the some of the most successful audibly-based chat guilds cannot do. Their spectacular story of success despite the odds should be a message to Blizzard and other game developers to keep the deaf community in mind when designing boss fights.
In the end however, Undaunted raiders still overcame a significant barrier and relished the fulfillment of their victory, “We’re especially proud that we have managed to clear the content without any kind of assistance such as voice communication. Most of our raiders have exceptional awareness and remember the assignments given to them beforehand,” says Antle. “We currently have 9/10 heroic bosses cleared in Nighthold, and we’re ranked eighth [out of 120] on the realm according to WoWProgress. I think that’s a wonderful accomplishment for us, but it’s not over yet. We will keep pushing as much as possible.”