AbleGamers chooses SWTOR as 2011’s Accessible Mainstream Game
While Star Wars: The Old Republic has so far been massively successful in the little time it has been out, it has also been getting positive attention from more than gamers. The AbleGamers Foundation has announced that SWTOR is the 2011 Accessible Mainstream Game of the Year.
This award is handed out the game that is recognized for its abilities to cater to a large variety of people with different arrays of needs. As a player of SWTOR, I can see what they’re talking about. While The Old Republic in massive and complex, the game has features to simplify the experience and even water down the tedious tasks. For an MMO to win this award seems like quite the achievement for BioWare.
Every character will have a total of 6 companions by end game. These companions can do all of your gathering and crafting if you so decide it. Instead of sitting by an anvil to make 60 iron widgets, you can continue playing the game while your companions craft for you. If you see a resource node on a planet, your companion will gather it for you.
By far, one of my personal favorite feature is the area looting – or what I call AOE (area of effect) looting. Combined with the auto-loot feature, there is nearly no time spent bending over and picking up individual items from corpses. Just click on one body and bam, you have all the loot in the near area in a second. This feature also applies to mailboxes. If you have pages of unopened mail you can click one box to select all main then one more button and collect all the gear. So simple.
Did you know the mini map is colorblind friendly? I sure didn’t. The combination of full subtitles, all spoken lines, queue-able actions, multiple action bars, auto-facing targets, and built in mouse sensitivity make this game extremely accessible. The next large content patch in March will have a customizable UI to make any box moveable and able to be resized. The Star Wars enabling grants the ability to use on-screen keyboards, voice activation software, and mouse sensitivity settings for those who need it.
All of these features were live at launch, I’m sure BioWare will add more features in future content patches and / or expansions. I can foresee this path of making games more accessible for users becoming a larger trend, especially within BioWare titles. I’ll tip my hat to the company for these features but also hats off to the AbleGamer Foundation for existing and recognizing such games as SWTOR.