A new milestone has been reached in gaming, and it’s bigger than some think. While many are familiar with the highest scores, longest marathons, or oldest players, fewer recognize “firsts” for the underrepresented. That’s why the defeat of the final boss in one of the toughest raids in World of Warcraft by a Deaf guild is important.
Durus Veritas, a guild that mostly consists of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing players, is the first “voiceless-only” group to defeat Xavius in Emerald Nightmare on Mythic mode. Many non-WoW players (let alone non-MMO players) may not understand the difficulty of this, but raids in the game require tight coordination, split-second reaction, and consistent communication. This latter is all the more difficult given the inability to use voice commands through voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) software. Durus Veritas proved themselves capable of overcoming this obstacle, becoming the first guild of its kind to reach the highest difficulties of the largest MMO in the world.
The guild credits its success to a variety of add-ons and macros that use visual displays and one-button text to ensure group awareness throughout the battle. That isn’t to say that these additional programs provide a crutch; many Hearing people use these same add-ons and still struggle. Durus Veritas notes that they may practice even harder than other groups and have to memorize every single mechanic, something other raiders may find too daunting. The tenacity and focus of D/HH players are not something to dismiss!
While this success marks a high point for D/HH gamers, it also brings into question the lack of attention they receive from the gaming industry. The existence of these third-party programs not only shows Blizzard’s lack of concern for many of their customer base but also that the changes to the game are achievable. Yet, the company still refuses to add visual indicators to their popular shooter and won’t even add subtitles to their media. This is in addition to other companies that still refuse to support their full gamer base. The struggle of the D/HH community remains real, which makes these achievements somewhat bittersweet.
Still, we should salute Durus Veritas for their hard work and success, and use them as a model of inspiration to not only the Deaf community but others with different needs.
For the Horde!