Blizzard destroys game for the blind

Title of post is intended to be inflammatory.

Blizzard just put in the 5.2 patch for World of Warcraft. This patch intentionally broke the “/follow” command, which enables one player’s character to follow another. Supposedly it was used by some botters, but nevermind that won’t be effective as the most common bots are much more sophisticated to be defeated by something that simple.

The /follow command is absolutely critical for the vision impaired and blind players that actually play Warcraft. I didn’t believe vision impaired players could play Warcraft, either, but they do. I play with with one. Here’s a youtube link to one. I have a guildie who is is extremely vision impaired and uses this command to play the game. He isn’t the most effective player in the world, but there are a lot of sighted players who are worse. With ventrilo and solid macros, he’s able to participate and contribute. He is in near tears over this.

Anyway, one of these blind players is a veteran and his success as a player (and his friend that serves as his in-game guide dog) was well known enough to Blizzard that they actually made them some unique gear in honor of being awesome people.

So, yes, they gave this blind player some cool gear and then destroyed his ability to play with it. This isn’t a bug either. Here’s the blue post confirming that this is intentional.

This is a link to the WoW forums made by another player who serves a a “guide dog” player for the blind.

And one last link to story of a blind player and his guide killing Deathwing.

I suspect they’ll reverse it if there really is that much impact to VI players, and find some other way to counteract whatever they were aiming to stop. People claiming to 10- or 20-box the game though… WTF.

You should submit this to WoW Insider at

This is probably accidental.

So maybe will undo it after the PR hit.

Is positional audio any good in Wow?

Human guide dogs in virtual worlds. Here it is, the future!

From the OP:

I think he means they probably didn’t mean to screw over blind players intentionally. It is entirely possible that they removed the ‘follow’ command without knowing the ramifications. I expect they will probably put it back in.

Maybe try Consumerist? Do they take online games related submissions?

It’s only in battlegrounds, right? Those are competitive PvP areas. I can’t imagine a blind player would contribute much there in the first place.

Of course having written that, and considering it, that doesn’t mean they should be excluded either.

I wonder f there are any metrics on the number of blind videogame players. I’m bettng it’s …pretty low.

As stusser mentions, the OP failed to mention this is in battlegrounds only. While it is possibly a set-back for some VI players, it is quite a bit different from ‘can’t play the game’.

To be honest, /follow being removed/changed in battlegrounds fixed one issue I had with the game… Multiboxers. It made playing any sort of BG a pain when you saw even three characters moving and casting in tandem.

To be honest, I don’t see the problem.

I’m not disagreeing about multiboxers. But, there are a number of ways to eliminate multiboxing from the game without destroying the ability of the vision impaired to play.

Multiboxers can afford 5 subscriptions and up to 5 computers playing those accounts. Don’t most of them split keyboard signals to those accounts instead of using the /follow command? Eliminating /follow does nothing useful against anyone exploiting the system.