Accommodating a Deaf Player

One of the most common questions we are asked is, “What can I, as a hearing raid leader, do to better accommodate a deaf player?”

Undaunted exists because virtually all of our members have experienced being benched or kicked off raid teams due to our inability to use voice chat, but the truth is that voice chat isn’t necessary for raiding.

This isn’t to say voice chat is useless. It does provide some benefits and where it really shines is where we struggle: In adapting to changes on the fly. If you have a boss where a series of three different people must correctly execute a mechanic multiple times throughout the fight, having one of those people die at any point isn’t generally a big deal for a team that uses voice chat. You can call out a replacement. For Undaunted, it’s almost certainly a raid wipe, because we can only communicate by typing to each other and stopping to type during a raid encounter is a pretty good way to end up dead.

Inclusivity

This isn’t the end of the world, though, because you can use this to your advantage by treating us like we’re capable players. In our experience, many raid leaders shy away from allowing us to execute mechanics, incorrectly believing that, because we cannot hear the raid leader’s calls, we cannot be trusted to know when to do our job. The reality is that the majority of raid bosses are heavily scripted encounters. For example, Soulrender Dormazain will always have three chains broken in sequence at the exact same moments during the fight. This is our time to shine, because there are WeakAuras and other addons that can help us keep track of our assignment to execute it properly. “Break the center chain on the second set.” We can do that and you’ve increased the overall strength of your raid team because now, instead of having a raider who isn’t trusted, you have everybody on the team doing mechanics. This allows you to free up the voice chat user who would have been doing that center chain to cover for someone else on the fly if there is a mistake.

Now that your deaf raider is being treated as a contributing member of the team rather than an additional obstacle to be overcome, you can focus on how to help them prepare prior to the raid and enhance communication with them during it.

One final point on inclusivity: Remember that raiding is a social event! One of the most common comments we get from new recruits in Undaunted is that they never realized how lonely they were while raiding until they joined one of our raids, because they’ve never seen text chat so alive. Move some of that banter off voice chat and into the in game text channels so that your deaf raider feels included in the community you’ve built!

Preparation

Video boss guides can be a frustrating resource for us to digest, since the vast majority of them don’t include actual captions and Youtube’s auto caption feature struggles with “made up” gaming words and names. (The auto captions are colloquially referred to as “craptions” among the deaf community.) This makes any voice over instructions frustrating to decipher.

Instead, look for resources that provide a text based breakdown. MythicTrap is a phenomenal resource, because it breaks down each mechanic with a visual and a text based explanation of how to counter it.

RaidPlan.io is a great tool when used in conjunction with MythicTrap. MythicTrap will show you how to handle each mechanic individually, but it generally does not illustrate the overall movement and strategy of each phase of the boss. RaidPlan’s ability to create slides to show optimal player and boss movement will help your deaf raider visualize where they need to be at each point in the fight and where you want them to take certain mechanics.

Communication

Communication during a raid is still possible between deaf players. We just have to figure out a way to convey the information visually, rather than audibly. Stopping to type is obviously out of the question, since it exposes you to being killed by boss mechanics, so we need to look for other methods.

One of the simplest methods of communication is the game’s built in world and target markers. Working on a boss where you need everybody to stack in a moving area? Mark a player and tell your deaf raider to follow that person. Need a mechanic taken to a specific spot? Mark and tell them what that mark is for. If your deaf raider is playing a class that can battle rez, use the skull marker to mark who you want battle rezzed and tell them that if they see that mark on a friendly player, battle rez them immediately.

Weak Auras also provide an incredible amount of flexibility in displaying information visually. We have our own Weak Aura that searches the raid warning chat for exact keywords and amplifies them to make them even more visible. You can download it here: https://wago.io/xWeEYfE4I

And here’s a list of the commands:

WoW Macros

Here’s a preview of in-game macro:

These macros provide all relevant raid calls that we need and amplify them so they’re massive and almost impossible to miss when they come up. Note that the macros need to be exact or the Weak Aura will not detect them. You only need the macros; your deaf raider is the only one who needs the Weak Aura.

If your deaf raider has a powerful raidwide defensive cooldown, you should also consider making use of the Viserio Cooldown sheet along with the Kaze Weak Aura. It will allow you to set up assignments using MethodRaidTools’ note feature, which are then displayed to everybody with the Weak Aura when it’s time for them to use their cooldown.

Finally, we would recommend taking a look at the Raid Warning Master Sender/Receiver Weak Auras: https://wago.io/keDKx8-dt and https://wago.io/L4nW0UPEh

Only the raid leader or one person with raid assist needs the Master Sender, while anyone who wants to see the messages needs the Receiver. These Weak Auras work similarly to how the Kaze Weak Aura interfaces with the Viserio Cooldown sheet, but it’s much more customizable. You can set it up to tell people to do certain things at a certain time point in a fight, assign people to soak every even cast of a boss ability and prompt your raiders when to use their personal or raid cooldowns. The learning curve is quite high, but it’s incredibly powerful once you get the hang of using it.

Final Thoughts

While the above is a pretty comprehensive list of the tools Undaunted’s raid teams use, we are always adapting and adding new tools based on the challenges raids present to us. It’s important to note that deaf players aren’t a monolith and each of us organize and digest information differently. Talk to your deaf raider to get feedback on what is working and what isn’t. If you hit a wall, we encourage you and your deaf raider to join our Discord server to ask if we have any solutions to specific problems you might encounter!

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