Blind player Ben Shaw on raiding and WoW for the sightless
It was World of Warcraft's feel-good people story of last year: Ben Shaw, the energetic young British serviceman who, astonishingly, continues to perform at peak efficiency in endgame raiding with the help of a "guide dog" guildmate. Our interview with Davidian, Ben's in-game guide, went viral and was seen on gaming websites and general news publications across the globe. Blizzard took notice, commemorating the duo's partnership with a set of in-game helms.
How did you whittle all that down and make a choice?
I was very vigilant. I thought, you know, there was the WoW Insider thing, and one of the things that did cross my mind was whether some guilds would use it as a bit of "Oh, look who we've got in the guild." So when I spoke to the guilds, I wanted to speak to them over voice chat. I can pick up a lot from what people say and how they talk.
It sounds like a great transition.
I wanted to take the plunge as well myself. Because I had developed the way of being able to play it blind, one of the big things was I wanted to kind of step outside my comfort zone and see if [after] changing the guild, it was possible or not. I thought it would be, but yeah, it worked out really well.
People have really gotten away from even having their game sounds turned on sometimes, haven't they?
It came about the other day when we were actually on Lei Shi. A lot of people say, "Okay, when the boss spawns, take him over here --" And I'm like: "Her." And they're like, "Okay. Well, take her over here, and then when he does that --" And I'm like: "Her." And they're like, "Well, what do you keep saying that for?" And I'm like, "It's a her! You can hear by the voice it's a her! It's not a him."
And what about your rotation itself?
Rotation and so on comes down to addons -- me setting up my addons and sound triggers and macros ... A whole heap of addons, but they all nicely mold together. And then with practice, it just gets better and better.
As much as I could say it would be great if Blizzard developed something so it would work for us all the time, you know, it's ... (sighs) There are very few blind or visually impaired people playing it. I think I've shown that regardless of whether Blizzard added anything or not – and if they add something, it's a bonus – but with meeting the right people in WoW and determination, it's still doable! (laughs)
That's the one thing: If people are in my situation, they've just got to persist at it.