WoW Boosting Colour Blind Filter Options In 6.1

A percentage of the population does a double take over the existence of the neutral class of characters

World of Warcraft‘s 6.1 patch will add a more robust suite of options for colour blind players to use while in Azeroth. Blizzard have had a colourblind mode in World of Warcraft [official site] for a few years now but the next patch will bring a new set of filter and strength options to better cater for people with colour vision deficiencies.

The mode as it was previously did things like adding text so players could tell the rarity of their loot without relying on the colour system. There were also console commands which could be used in order to alter the colour palette of the game to correspond to different types of colour blindness which players then used to help make the game interface easier to deal with.

I don’t think that was built as an official mode, exactly – it was actually a way for the dev team to simulate colour blindness for testing purposes that was then useful to people with forms of colour blindness. You can see the effects of various shaders through the links here.

This explanation by forum poster Neranil explains the benefit of the simulator as opposed to the previous official move:

“The idea of a colorblind shader is great because it can boost the colors you’re weak in or shift colors toward ranges that are more perceptible, increasing differentiation and making the colors identifiable. A separate mode has to exist for each major family of colorblindness, because of the variations in “safe” ranges to use. In some ways, it’s better than the “colorblind mode” in the options screen, which just adds extra text you can read. I’m really happy to see this sort of technology appearing in games and Blizzard has been leading the charge here.”

It looks like the version Blizzard will be releasing as part of the 6.1 patch mixes both previous approaches. Loot rarity and other colour cue-dependent qualities are given text augmentation in their description. As the official blog explains in an example, rare gear whose name is traditionally listed in blue gets the word “Rare” added.

In terms of the colour filters, these have been designed to help people with protanomaly, deuteranomaly and tritanomaly. The first two are types of red-green colour blindness and the third relates to blue-yellow. To activate them you need to select whichever one you require from a dropdown menu. You can then adjust the strength of the filter by using a slider: “The farther to the right you set the slider, the more the game removes potentially problematic wavelengths of color for each type.”

Far more useful than selfie filters

As Alice pointed out when we were talking about this earlier, it looks like one of the basic problems in the previous setup was in differentiating between neutral and friendly characters. The forums and comments threads list out a few more, including where to stand for healing and what to avoid because it’s damaging during raids.


  1. Zallgrin says:

    I think it would greatly help everybody – devs and players both – if someone created a guide on how to implement colour-blind modes in games. Most devs just don’t think about this or probably don’t even know where to begin.

    Cokie-cutter guide would greatly diminish those problems. I assume that a colour-blind mode is much easier implemented than one would think.

    • Curry the Great says:

      Isn’t it possible to make a colour filter that just applies to your whole computer (a la f.lux)? Just make that hugely customizable and there you go. Maybe make it possible to just implement profiles for different games, or make it open source so devs can just put it in their game for free.


      • darkath says:

        No. Mildly colour blind people like me (deuteranopia for instance) see most of the colors fine enough. What we struggle with are certains shades of color, gradients etc.

        Also we also want to see an ingame world as we see the outside world. Even if i struggle to distinguish certain shades of green from brown in trees for instance, i wouldn’t want the ingame trees to have unnatural colors. I know it’s a tree and i wouldn’t want the game to change how the tree would look like to accomodate my vision deficiency.

        However all the UI elements that use color codes and gradient can cause a great deal of struggle.
        In WoW that would be the colored text and items in every place of the UI, in other game that would be map modes, faction colors (ever seen the Teal team color in Warcraft/Starcraft ? me neither), information gradients, health bars etc.

        Those visual cues are supposed to convey lots of information at a glance without having to hover them with your mouse. Not being able to see these cue properly is disabling while playing a game.

        So applying a screen filter would mean that to fix UI elements of the game i’d have to sacrifice the overall visual look of the game.
        The best way to fix that issue is to have a very simple color blind options that substitute certains UI colors by other UI colors. And everyone is happy. Best case scenario is to create your UI in a way that does not use mandatory color code to see information.

  2. Yserbius says:

    The Earthtone Coalition shall prevail over the Forces of Brightness!

  3. Nevard says:

    I’ve played too long without a colour filter for it to look right after I’ve turned one on, even if I’m missing things as a result, but I’m glad of the thought.
    There’s far too many game devs that make “red” and “green” as the opposing colours and I can’t tell the difference.

  4. aircool says:

    MMO’s and any game where friendlies are green and enemies red are a real pain in the arse if you’re colourblind. Although many games now have colourblind options (deuteranopia) etc… they’re pretty crap, and whilst configurable colour help, they can’t counter the three worst aspects of colourblindness.

    1. We notice high contrast before colour.
    2. We notice shape before colour.
    3. No matter how many options we have to change colours, we are always going to struggle with more than three different colours as we have a far limited colour palette.

    The first and most obvious option to add for colourblind people is the ability to change icon shapes. Take Elite Dangerous for example. I can hardly tell the difference between colours, but it’s so easy to spot Cmdr’s and ships with hardpoint deployed. I’d rather my target was a hollow square or triangle than a different colour anyday.

    • aircool says:

      Oh, and if any game developers need input when catering for colourblind people, I’d be glad to help out as whilst the current efforts are appreciated, they’re not really solutions.

  5. Swanny says:

    I’m colorblind and couldn’t tell the differences between blue and purple items. I may buy a year just to show support. Then, I’ll have to check out that fortress-building thing, and welp, there goes any hope of finishing uni.