In January, AbleGamers honored EA's Mythic Entertainment for their work in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning with the "2008 Game of the Year Award" for "Most Accessible Mainstream Game."
Upon Warhammer's September 18, 2008 launch date, the game had accessibility features covering a wide range of disabilities right out the box. This includes options for the physically disabled such as mapping nearly all actions to the keyboard, or playing the entire game just by using a mouse or special controllers. There is also text for all key events to aid the hearing impaired and the game has also been made accessible to the colorblind.
Despite the features available upon launch, members of the disabled community still had one concern: Warhammer did not work with the On-Screen Keyboard. This is a tool gamers with physical limitations use to type data on screen with a mouse. It is one of the few MMOs that missed this feature.
According to Mythic, a new patch will be released within the next two weeks taking care of the On-Screen Keyboard.
The problem was first addressed on the AbleGamers forum. A registered user who had purchased Warhammer brought up the issue regarding the On-Screen Keyboard shortly after the game's release. Mark Barlet, Editor-In-Chief of AbleGamers, wrote Mythic regarding the issue on several occasions.
"At AbleGamers, we want to make sure we reach out to these game companies to get them to start really thinking about accessibility," Barlet says. "Sometimes it's just hard for us to break through the noise, but when we did break through the noise, Mythic really responded."
After months of attempts to get Mythic to understand that this was not just an additional feature request, but a real need, a final push from AbleGamers got us in touch with the Mythic's Director of Community Relations, Bob Mull. After a conversation on the dire importance of the issue, Mythic went ahead and added the On-Screen Keyboard and later brought us in to show us the fix and let us know a patch is going out in a few weeks.
With the important addition of the patch, AbleGamers was able to honor Mythic for creating a mainstream game that is accessible to members of the disabled community.
Press release below
By far the most accessible MMO ever made.
Harpers Ferry WV, January 30, 2009: AbleGamers.com the community for disabled gamers awards Mythic Entertainment's MMO "Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning" our "2008 Game of the Year Award" for "Most Accessible Main stream Game".
"The folks over at Mythic have really raised the bar when it comes to making a game that has the flexibility needed to bring many disabled gamers into battle.", says Mark Barlet, Editor-in-Chief of AbleGamers.com. "They are proving that you can make a game that has mass appeal, and can still address the needs of many disabled gamers."
"Speaking as a veteran of MMO RPGS dating back to Ultima Online; Mythic has out done themselves by providing accessibility to so many different types of disability. Warhammer allows the mouse speed sensitivity to be set higher than I can control. No other MMO RPG currently allows such control for the mobility impaired." adds Steve Spohn, Senior Contributor for AbleGamers.com.
Mythic has created a game that offers one of the highest levels of flexibility seen in a game. From having almost every action in the game mappable to the keyboard, to creating a game that can be played with only a mouse, they have given the disabled gamer more than one way to skin a Witch Elf. The game has addressed the issues that are issues to many people with disabilities including;
About AbleGamers: AbleGamers.com is a community for disabled gamers founded in 2004. AbleGamers mission is to bring people with disabilities into the digital entertainment space and to reach out to producers in the digital entertainment space in order to make their final product as accessible as possible.
If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Mark Barlet, or Steve Spohn please contact AbleGamers.com, 202-258-1937 or email@example.com