World of Warcraft is fixing a major problem with the help of… Crabs?

By admin Apr17,2024

One interesting feature coming to World of Warcraft‘s next expansion – The War Within – is an arachnophobia filter. Whereas other games have taken on this problem and swapped out models for vague geometric shapes or other less creepy alternatives, the World of Warcraft team have gone through and swapped out all the game’s spider models with… crabs.

Which makes sense! This upcoming expansion focused heavily on Nerubians, a race of spider-like creatures which tick all the boxes when it comes to spooking those with a distaste for eight-legged crawlers. Blizzard, having brought in all manner of experts and team members who suffer from the phobia, decided this was the right time to take action. The lengths they’ve gone to are not only widespread, but also oddly respectful of legacy content.

So starting with The War Within content, all Nerubians are swapped out with a variety of crab models re-used from prior World of Warcraft content. However, if you hop back through portals to Northrend and fly into Naxxaramas, all the spiders there are changed. Maexxna – the final boss in its spider quarter, has a massive model with similar colouration to the original boss. If you go to the Outlands from The Burning Crusade, a massive red spider in the Terokkar Forest called Terokkarantula is originally a vibrant red monstrous enemy. With the arachnophobia filter, it’s a giant red crab. Perfect.

Going back to raids for a moment, all the mechanics still appear to work perfectly as you’d expect. It wouldn’t be too helpful if raiders with the option on were standing in boss mechanics, dying, and ruining the whole experience for everyone. It all seems very well thought out, even as an accessibility option a minority of players will benefit from. The only spider I could find in my small stint in the alpha is on the Nax loading screen. That’s it.

Speaking to Executive Producer for World of Warcrat Holly Longdale, I got some insight into the creation of the arachnophobia toggle. “Ever since we had a team meeting and we revealed some concept art for the Nerubians, some of our own employees asked what we were going to do for players with arachnophobia,” she explains. “Some of our own employees had arachnophobia and were like, hell no, I’m not playing that! Or how do I complete this expansion without dealing with all that spider stuff?”

As far as going back to legacy content and getting everything right, and true to the original models, Longdale pointed to the WoW team’s particular approach to development as the source. “We’re World of Warcraft! Of course somebody cared to make sure the colours matched! To me, that’s a great description of this team. They care about everything. It’s not just change a model number… they have to verify everything. I’m sure QA spawned every thing and said we had to change the colours… But all of this didn’t take more than a week or so. This team cares about every detail – that’s why they get very upset with bugs. Very, very upset (laugh).”

Obviously there’s a lot of stuff to look forward to in any new World of Warcraft expansion. But aside from new raids, dungeons, mounts and quests, it’s cool to know that time is being taken to make the whole party a bit more hospitable for those out there who may otherwise feel pushed away from all the eyes and legs lurking around. Kudos, to the WoW team, for putting a lot of actual thought and care into a feature like this.

By admin

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