All too often we take our hearing for granted when we play games, ultimately lamenting the fact that we should have reacted to the sound of the enemy's footsteps or heeded a warning from a friend that went through one ear and out the other.
Yet that's a feeling one guild in #WorldOfWarcraft has never known: Undaunted, which comprises of over 25 deaf players. Despite every member of this guild being unable to hear, they've banded together, beaten the odds and bested the toughest raids in WoW history. How on earth can these talented individuals achieve such a feat?!
Undaunted: A Guild Of Deaf Players Who Dominate 'World of Warcraft's Raids
Raiding at its most difficult tiers in World of Warcraft is a myriad of strategy, communication and improvisation—I once remember using 'army of the dead' to summon a legion of ghouls just as my HP bar gave out on me, barely giving my party the time they needed to finish off the boss.
It's those kind of hectic moments where party chat becomes crucial; being able to call out that you've got aggro or that the boss is entering a new stage—we take this for granted. It's simply how you navigate the space of online gaming. Yet for Joseph Antle (who opened up in an recent interview with PC Gamer) this standard raiding experience wasn't an option. His connection with WoW suffered as he wasn't able to connect and communicate with other players.
“I must say that it was boring, and I felt isolated due to nobody participating in chat since everybody else were using vent to communicate...
Sometimes there would be encounters where I was given a very easy task because they believed vent [once the most popular voice chat program] was necessary.”
However, things changed when Antle joined Durus Veritas (now known as Undaunted) in early 2011, a guild formed by a group of deaf players who wished to clear raids without the need for voice chat.
Since then they've cleared the toughest dungeons that Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor have offered, recently clearing the Emerald Nightmare on the hardest difficulty, Mythic. But...
How Do Undaunted Raid?
With no sound available, these players must rely on the chat. But, as you can imagine, navigating the communications of 25 party members and the complex interactions of a raid boss through a text box can get pretty hectic. That's where addons like Bigwigs and WeakAura come in, which help raiders recognize boss mechanics with text notifications. But the majority of the more crucial communications are fleshed out in chat.
If a tank forgot to taunt a boss to deal with debuffs, the other tank would quickly type in ‘taunt’ as a reminder. 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.”
Naturally things get can pretty challenging at times—World of Warcraft is famous for its cripplingly difficult raids. The guild's current challenge is the recently released Nighthold raid, which is holding for now, but it surely won't be long until Undaunted have cleared this too.
"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. 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.”
And keep pushing they shall, since when they're done with Nighthold on Heroic, the Mythic difficulty awaits.
If you want to know a little more about Antle and the dungeon he believes is most difficult for deaf players, then check out the full interview.
Are you a fan of raiding in MMOs? Can you imagine doing so without voice chat?
(Sources: PC Gamer)