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Accessibility Suggestions

First BioWare Post First BioWare Post

dmirikzon's Avatar

01.15.2021 , 12:41 PM | #51
Thank you for this thread. I have vision and joint issues that I see some of my fellow players have mentioned already so I won't comment further on that, but there is something that I'd like to add and it's a need I suppose I didn't realize I had up until reading this thread. I now realize it's something other players with disabilities may share. The need is fellowship.

There are no doubt swtor players with unique disabilities and challenges that might make them feel isolated. It never occurred to me, honestly, that there'd be other low vision players or players with arthritis. Disabilities can make people feel self conscious. Consider the stigma of mental illness in our society. We probably have a great number of players who live with all manner of physical and emotional challenges. I think careful community building in game could be a boon for such players. So far, all we can do is form guilds, but I don't know that everyone would feel comfortable joining a guild geared towards a disability community, and people with disabilities have other social needs as well that could be adequately met by a guild.

Could you please do something about in-game chat groups? Our current chat group system is really bad. Most of the commands don't work. A chat group system where we could form chat communities, view who is in them, and moderate them would be fantastic for community building. Our guilds might be warm and welcoming environment, but it's not the same as having a separate chat community you could join where people understand exactly how you feel! They'd be like in-game grassroots support groups where you can share what's going on with you that day. You might want to talk about things that your guildies may not understand. Just feeling like you're not alone can be a huge help for anyone with a disability or struggle.

go_rogue's Avatar

01.15.2021 , 02:53 PM | #52
First of all, the mouse arrow. Please make it so we can adjust its size and color. There are many times where I simply lose my mouse arrow during a boss encounter in operations, and it's aggravating when healing or when multiple adds come up and I have to click on one specific one to attack when tabbing through all the enemies takes too long and sometimes overshoot on the tabbing and have to cycle back through. It's made worse in resolutions beyond 1920x1080.

Name plates: When you start dealing with resolutions beyond 1920x1080, the nameplates get harder and harder to read no matter what you do. Allow them to be made bigger so they're easier to read which would help also it's handy to have name plates scale by distance to make it easier to read all the name plates in a group.

Players who suffer from migraines and optical overload/pain: Playing Republic toons is the worst culprit because more of the classes have bright lights to their actions, and group content with multiple of those bright light actioned classes can trigger migraines. Turning off bloom doesn't help enough. Recommendations: 1) Be able to dim the brightness of actions and even other brightly lit items on the screen (think holograms in certain situations), 2) not sure how feasible this is, but provide the option for the old animation before its upgrade (e.g. Jedi Shadow's Psychokinetic Blast replaced Project, and Psychokinetic Blast is brightly animated ball of light whereas Project is a giant rock).

Clickable Lore objects/clickable objects for missions: Allow us to change the color of them because blue on places like Hoth or Ilum make it darn near impossible to know it's there unless the map has the mission icon right on top of it. I don't suggest an arbitrary color by the devs but give the player the option to choose from the colors of the rainbow so that way a clickable object that was once obvious becomes hidden (e.g. changing it to green in a planet covered in green would make it hard to find).

Onderon Daily Missions: There are missions where you have to set something on the ground, and it's marked by a yellow square in deep foliage. It's hard enough on a good day to find them, people who suffer from color blindness or migraines with optical pain/aura, it's downright impossible to find them. Recommendation: replace the yellow square with the bright yellow pillar of light that you used on Ossus for certain dailies.

SM Flashpoints: Incorporate save states into them like KOTFE/KOTET chapters have. Players who can't sit through a long play session due to real life stuff or physical/mental disabilities and need to take a break are penalized for it. Incorporating those save states will allow those players to enjoy the story of the flashpoint but at their own pace and be able to come back to it. Having to kill a handful of the same enemy when returning is far better than having to start completely over, especially if you were near the end and had to stop and didn't even know you were near the end. Please please please also provide the GSI combat support droid for all the newer flashpoints. Not everyone is maxed out in endgame gear or is capable of playing their classes to perfection, and the GSI droid would help those people get through SM flashpoints more easily so they can enjoy the story aspect of the game without feeling like they're slogging through the endless horde of enemy for hours before getting to the next set of cut scenes.

Sefeki's Avatar

01.15.2021 , 04:06 PM | #53
Custom map markers on the map/minimap and would show on screen when not in the map would be neat to have especially to help people with aphantasia.

ReyOfLights's Avatar

01.15.2021 , 05:19 PM | #54
As someone with a physical disability with a lot of severe chronic pain, and as someone who totally loves SWTOR, I'd love to see official controller support in the game similar to what you see in STO. I know there are ways around it through third party applications to make a controller work, but that's something that may take a bit more computer knowledge than many people (myself included) have and you really shouldn't have to use a third party application just to be able to play the game more comfortably. For me it's VERY painful to use keyboard and mouse to play SWTOR, and I am forced to use the arrow keys for movement as the ASWD option is too painful to even consider, and that in turn rules out using number pad for skills as my right hand is already busy with the arrow keys, so it leaves me with using the mouse pad on my laptop to fire off skills and I wouldn't even be able to use an external mouse properly unless facilitating my ambidextrousity and using an external mouse with left hand, but not everyone has that luxury either. Long missions with a lot of running in them, for example when doing VOSS planetary missions and class missions, can be absolutely agonizing because of the amount of time you spend running or being on a mount as you have to sit there and press the key all the way from point A to point B. Using a controller such as an Xbox controller is a lot more ergonomically correct for a lot of people with hand and arm pain as you can then keep your arms closer to your body and keep your hands in a better position. As for key binds on a controller, a lot of controllers even have little keyboards you can buy and attach to them, so if there's an option built into the game for controller, a controller with attached keyboard to it could solve the issue with the amount of key binds you might need for at least basic game play. I for one would get a keyboard to my controller if SWTOR started to support controller in the game and my hands would be so much happier if that day comes!

Also, do something about the bright flashing lights! Like the tiny healing drones that some NPC's uses (example the repair guy on the platform in the large room of Trouble in deed heroic on Coruscant) that flashing is seen here and there and because it's almost like a strobe light type flashing, there's a huge risk it could trigger a seizure in people with epilepsy, and it could trigger a migraine for myself and others who are prone to migraines, or just cause general headaches and eye discomfort. That flashing from the healing drone thing doesn't contribute game play wise so there's really no reason for the visual to even be there. I also wouldn't mind if the armor thing that flashes was toned down a bit, there's just no reason for such visual effects and they can be outright dangerous for people with medical conditions and cause a lot of discomfort for others. Wouldn't mind if the dance floor is toned down as well, that decoration is the nemesis for me because it triggers headaches, and if someone is dealing with seizures it's yet another item that could be outright dangerous for them to be around.

I'm also all for settings to make the game more accessible for people with colorblindness, I'm not affected by colorblindness myself but I really do want the game to be accessible for as many as possible regardless of what type of disability someone has. Also would appreciate if it was possible to customize font in more places that the chat box, the text can be very small at times and poor eyesight is a thing. Games can be a very good way to distract yourself from severe chronic pain, anxiety and so on, or just be a way to actually socialize with people and make friends, so it's really super important that people can actually play and take part and have fun.

I personally deal with severe chronic pain, light sensitivity and I've been a migraine patient for many years (though thankfully migraine attack free for some years now, though can feel the start of one from certain flashing)

LadyAdmiral's Avatar

01.16.2021 , 12:01 AM | #55
Posting after digging through FibroJedi's blog, Fibro I hope you don't mind I quote your blog from 2016:

Open Letter to BioWare from a Chronic Pain GamerDear BioWare Developers,

Let me start by saying that you’re doing a great job with SWTOR. Others may be quick to criticise, because they expect perfection for a small fee / month. I don’t, but maybe that’s because I do database development as part of my day job. The cinematography, the creation of new worlds, intricate plots and great voice acting mean I get engrossed in chapters really easily.

The reason I’m writing this open letter, though, is because the Outlander is at the centre of Fallen Empire and not the gamer. Your ‘auto playing’ of the next chapter is becoming a burden to me. Let me explain why:

I have Chronic Pain due to a condition called ‘Fibromyalgia’. That means I have to play at a level that suits each day’s pain levels. As KotFE Chapters are intense I can’t always play them if my pain is really high. So, often, I want to play a character but not a chapter, maybe

Go to a planetary arc I haven’t done
Start the Macrobinocular or Seeker Droid missions
Do Alliance Crate Heroic Missions
Do an expansion I skipped – e.g. Ilum or Makeb

However I no longer have a way to play to my strengths or pain levels because you auto-play chapters, very often locking out all companions. You can’t easily return crates to the Alliance Specialists because the chapter auto-plays. Granted, I can escape out of it, but that still locks out my companions.

This means I log a character but can’t actually play it due to the pain levels. Please can you return power to the gamer by not auto-playing chapters or by not auto-locking companions until you travel to the chapter’s location?

That way I can still give my characters love even if I don’t have my pain under control, or I have really low energy, and can’t do ‘intense’ Fallen Empire chapters.

Short Attention Span

One of the annoying things about Fibro is an inability to concentrate. So I need a steady pattern in life, combined with some variety. Fallen Empire is the same story for all classes. I keep creating new characters to re-gain the variety. Maybe in a year or so, could you consider doing ‘the next bit’ of the class stories, maybe as Empire/Republic regain control of their borders or something? I’d hate to not want to play some of my characters because of repetitiveness.

Yes I’m just one gamer, and maybe more vocal than most, but an opinion ‘out there’ is better than one just writhing in my head!

I know BioWare is a business, as a business-owner I understand that. But there are more important things than Cartel Random-packs and free gifts. At least for me, I’m not speaking for other SWTOR or BioWare fans.

But, please consider the diverse needs of your gamers and allow us to control our own destiny, rather than the droids of BioWare trying to control it for us. Then we can continue enjoying SWTOR doing what we want to do, at our own pace.

My Thanks,

~ Swtorista

dantekrist's Avatar

01.16.2021 , 06:28 AM | #56
As someone with autism and ADHD

1. Like crymaen commented: Flashpoints. I hardly ever do the longer ones (besides when going through story) with non stealth classes as I lose focus easily due my ADHD, some type of "easy mode" or "fast mode" or "turn off level sync on solo" would be really nice.

2. Lowkey falls on QoL but relates to my ADHD, autism and OCD symptoms: general organizing

a. Favorite recipes for crafting and recipe search, scrolling through all the recipes just to find the ones you use the most is tedious and makes me loathe crafting and as the UI can be kinda messy due to the colors (I personally find blue/white super muddy combination), there's a lot of crafting wrong items and getting frustrated due to it.

b. Favorite items. While you can just buy things back at the vendor, accidentally selling something you didn't want to without realizing in a hurry or such can really be nerve wrecking. So having some kind of confirmation system for "do you really want to sell this item?" would be nice.

3. UI color schemes. I really, really dislike the blue/dark blue/white color scheme. I find it really hard to read and see most of the times even though I'm not colorblind, just have eyeglasses. Having different color schemes would be be welcome.

Hudlar's Avatar

01.16.2021 , 09:24 AM | #57
Quote: Originally Posted by Rorrimeht View Post
One thing that often frustrates me is that there's a lot of conversation in the world that doesn't have directly toggleable subtitles.

Specifically, I'm referring to Overworld NPC conversations, and Flashpoint "announcements" (when you get to a certain point in the world and an NPC says something to your character outside of a full conversation, eg, the final line in Hammer Station, where the enemy announces "Hounds of the Empire..all that power. Yet, you still fear us!")
While the "System Feedback" channel gives subtitles for these, it often gets drowned out by Experience and Item gains, making it hard to read them as they happen
Thanks for this thread! I just wanted to second this suggestion. Between the excellent subtitles and my hearing aids, I don't feel like I miss any of the main dialogue, but uncaptioned ambient conversations are more of a problem. Even after many trips through Hammer Station, I still hear the dialogue above as, "Hounds of the Republic...mumble, mumble, mumble, mumble!" I do appreciate the ability to look at System Feedback for dialogue I missed, but I agree with Rorrimeht that other messages get in the way. Also, while I personally don't feel a need for captioning of sound effects, I know some people with hearing loss find it very helpful.

I'd also like to add my vote for a checkpoint system in solo flashpoints that are part of the main story, as many posters have suggested. To be honest, this isn't really an accessibility issue for me, though it obviously is for many people. But my playtime is often limited, and I frequently need to put off progressing a character's story until I'm sure I'll have enough time to finish a solo FP.

JaeOnasi's Avatar

Yesterday , 01:12 AM | #58
Hello! Thanks and kudos to you all for making the commitment to improve accessibility. For those of you with significant impairments, I highly recommend the site It has some phenomenal information and helps many people with a wide variety of disabilities.

I’m both an eye doctor and someone with a lot of ‘life experience’ with some vision issues (I know, the irony) and bad hand arthritis. I’m also someone who is a lefty and can’t use the MMO mice because they’re too big, so there’s a limit to what I can hotkey (the only lefty MMO mouse is Naga, and it’s also not always available for sale). I have used foot pedals with some success.

Biggest advice: Allow people to create Add-ons like what’s available in other games that fine-tune visibility/targeting/effect colors/etc. That would be the biggest help you could possibly give, because the community can do what you (BioWare) don’t have time/manpower/financial resources to devote. Someone should argue we shouldn’t have to depend on the community, but let’s face it, EA only allows you to do so much, and it has to make money. Letting the community help you would help all of us.

1. Limit red/green and light pink/pale green cues. These are the ones most problematic for red/green color blindness, the most common version of color vision defects. Having a color blindness option that people could toggle on would be extremely helpful. Allow different colors for red and green name plates denoting enemies/friends. Note to color blind folks—your monitor and Windows have (most likely) color blind options in your accessibility panel.

2. Improving contrast is essential to improve visibility for the vast majority of low vision/partially sighted people.

3. Decreasing glare is enormously helpful for improving visibility. For example, the Scyva fight is horrendously difficult because I literally cannot see the rotating pale purple circle on the ground with all the other ground effects going on. I have to warn the healers ahead of time that I have no idea when I’m standing in the poo or not. Even then, with all the ground effects from boss and adds and players, I’m literally blinded by all the bright effects, and I have no way of turning that down so that I can even see what the heck I’m attacking. I have to guess if I’m behind the boss where I need to be with my Infiltration Shadow or Deception Assassin. Turning off some of those super bright effects would be enormously useful.

4. Allowing increase of font size on tool tips, subtitles, and other places where we can’t currently change font size would be extremely helpful.

5. Allowing us to change the color of AoE effects would be super helpful. ESO allows this, and it is enormously helpful to me. It also helps because I can change the color and brightness based on what area I’m in so that I see it in whatever setting I’m in. For instance, a green that I might use on Hoth would be different from the green I might use on jungle areas like Onderon or parts of Yavin 4 or Rishi.

6. Allowing us to snap-target AoE effects to enemies would really help those who play with only one hand or those of us who have arthritis.

7. Having some audio cues when we’re standing in AoE effects would be helpful. One of my friends has severely constricted visual field, or “tunnel vision”, and when she’s looking at a boss, she isn’t able to see her feet. That means she can never see when she’s standing in poo.

8. Audio cues for boss channeled skills would be helpful. I can increase the cast bar size, but only so much. Allowing a larger and wider target cast bar would be useful, also.

9. The mouse pointer is too small, and because it’s a yellow gold, it disappears against similarly colored backgrounds, like, oh, all of Tatooine. If you could add some kind of size and color change, perhaps with a blinking that could be toggled on/off, that would be very helpful.

10. Please get rid of the instancing for datacrons. I don’t have low vision, but I do have problems with night vision. The Ossus one was absolutely impossible to navigate for me until I discovered turning my graphics to the bare minimum lightened the place up so I could actually see where the heck I was going. I haven’t been able to complete the Onderon one because I can’t navigate the run back—the bad tiles in the dark tunnel are nigh on impossible to see. I can’t even imagine trying to do either of these datacrons one-handed. Just go back to allowing people to help out others by summoning those who can’t make it easily to these places. I get having the group for the fleet datacron to encourage community/group participation, but there’s no reason to do that on Onderon and Ossus.

11. Some planets are glaringly bright or too dark for me to see some places well. Having a way to turn the overall brightness up or down easily would be very welcome. That way, I can turn it way down on, say, Hoth, but turn it up for Mek-sha.

12. Gathering nodes are very hard, if not impossible, to see in some places. I can’t see the faint white symbol on Hoth, for example. If I didn’t have the resource icon turned on for my minimap, I’d never find them on the white background. (note to all, turning off grass helps me see the resource nodes more easily on other planets)

13. Tool tips: The green quality item tooltips have very poor contrast between text and background. The best contrast ones are the white text on orange or purple backgrounds. If you darken the tooltip backgrounds and lighten the text on all of them, that will improve contrast and readability.

14. Having the audio cues for finding datacrons is helpful—keep that.

15. Interactable buttons are hard to see since the glow is not that obvious. A number of times I’ve just had to move my mouse around hoping to hit the right area.

16. I do like that you can adjust different aspects of sound differently—e.g. I can make voice volume louder than effects volume.

17. Companion gifts: To get my new companions to rank 10, I usually give them about 80-ish companion gifts. Right-clicking 80 times in a row gets physically painful. Allowing some macros for things like that or bulk-gift giving would be very welcome.

18. The little pale yellow swirly interactable circles on Onderon disappear in the foliage. I have trouble finding them. My partially sighted friend can’t find them at all and has pretty much given up playing Onderon because of the frustration.

19. Some quest items are very small and hard to find. I don’t mind a little challenge, but for visually impaired folks, it’s next to impossible. If they were larger and/or brighter, or if there was a sound cue when you got close, that might help. Making sound cues and accessibility controls like this optional would make these things more accessible without changing the original experience for players.

20. The camera bug that suddenly has you staring at the ceiling makes me dizzy, and I don’t even have vertigo problems.

21. I do like that you can change font colors in chat.

22. My partially blind friend has trouble with the chat box being too small for her—she uses the largest font size possible to read. If she could make it both wider and longer, it would help her read it more easily.

23. It is hard to hit the lock/unlock and plus buttons on the main toolbar due to size for those with arthritis issues.

24. Combat proficiencies panel—tooltip font is pretty small.

I’m going to try to go planet by planet to show some issues as well.

Ord Mantell—Inside the volcano base can be a bit tough due to the dark areas. The other areas seem to be ok for me personally. People with limited visual field might have trouble navigating bridges and staying out of the lava.

Tython—The lighting seemed to be ok for me. It’s not always easy to see the faint glow of interactable buttons in some places. The little quest marker for the baby flesh raider quest is not easy to see due to its small size and location on the ground. People with tunnel vision might miss it entirely. The ramp up to the Matriarch is easy to fall off of for someone with tunnel vision. The temple for going to Rajivari and also the big cave are pretty dark. The scene where you make your lightsaber is still just the coolest thing ever.

Korriban—Outdoors is fine for me, although it might be a bit too bright for some. Some might find the caverns/temple rooms might be a little too dark.

Nal Hutta—Lighting seemed to be ok for me, although finding a gold cursor in yellow poison poo can be a bit tough.

Coruscant—the Works area can be a bit hard to navigate due to different levels and dim lighting.

Dromund Kaas—The dark temple is, well, dark. And while the Sith Sanctum is going for the same giant chasm vibe that we see on the Death Star, I doubt that Imperial OSHA approves of people with tunnel vision walking off the platforms to meet their demise. Some guardrails in the Sith Sanctum might be nice to help visually impaired folks not plummet to their deaths.

Taris—I found it hard to find some of the quest objectives because the mini-map doesn’t indicate a location above or below where you’re at. That’s frustrating enough for people without disabilities, but it’s very hard for someone to find a location when the map doesn’t indicate height as well (Balmorra, I’m looking at you….)

Nar Shaddaa—some areas are very dark. The map can be a bit tricky in some areas that have a lot of ramps and levels (especially when running for the world boss).

Balmorra—trying to figure out where I was altitude-wise took me forever. I like the fact that the world isn’t flat—it adds verisimilitude—but without a topographical map, it’s damn hard to navigate until we learn the areas.

Alderaan—resource node indicators are invisible against the snow. Light colored interactables on snow are extremely hard to see. There is a strobe light flashing at one of the outposts on Republic side that is extremely annoying and flashes at a rate that could trigger seizures.

Tatooine—light gold cursor and the light gold text in the quest tracker are hard to see against the light brown sand. Bioanalysis nodes are sometimes hard to see due to contrast.

Quesh—Not much to say there since you sneeze and complete the planet. It can be hard to see the red AoE effect that the world boss puts down on the reddish ground.

Hoth—the world is glaringly bright. Seeing white resource node symbols against the white background is nearly impossible. Finding the datapads lying on the ground in one of the heroics is exceedingly difficult.

Belsavis—Agent Mynock, while dead, could be a brighter corpse to be easier to see in the dark cave.

Voss—dark gold text on the quest tracker and the gold cursor against the gold/orange background is hard to see.

Corellia—It’s hard to figure out which direction to go from looking at the map for some quests out in the map hinterlands.

Ilum—the white indicators for resource nodes and light interactables are near impossible to see against the snow.

Makeb—most of this area was pretty easy to see, but it’s easy for someone with tunnel vision to walk off the plateaus. The datacrons are a beast to get to if you have hand arthritis due to all the jumping.

Manaan—the boss fights in the heroic can be very difficult. Light gray electrical ground effect is very hard to see against the darker gray floor. There’s not enough contrast.

Yavin 4—resource nodes and some quest objectives on the ground disappear in the grass. The interactable that you have to scan with binoculars can be hard to find.

Rishi—resource nodes and interactables disappear in the grass unless you turn off grass. Figuring out how to get back to the main deck if you forget where you are underneath the town can be a bit tricky the first few times. It’s also pretty easy to run off the deck edges.

CZ-198—pretty easy to do for me. The instanced area is pretty hard, and finding the ceiling pipe to target might be hard for visually impaired and those with tunnel vision to find.

Ziost—resource node indicators disappear in the ashy apocalyptic landscape.

Oricon—The caves/instanced areas are pretty dark. It’s easy for people with tunnel vision to walk into lava.

Ossus—the instanced datacron area is extremely difficult to navigate because it is so dark.

Dantooine—one of the heroics is in a dark room and can be difficult to see in.

Mek-sha—my partially sighted friend says she cannot play a lot of Mek-sha because it’s just way too dark. She also falls off platforms fairly often due to her tunnel vision.

Onderon—I love how gorgeous this planet is, but the foliage hides a lot of the interactables. If you made the interactables taller (like loot lines but maybe not as tall?) that might help. The quest items for the one-time quest were small and hard to find. Perhaps adding an optional sound cue when you get close to quest items might help? The instanced datacron is next to impossible to do if you have vision and/or arthritis/hand mobility problems.

I'll have to think about the Operations--the biggest problem my visually impaired friend had was being able to interrupt skills in time and being able to see the poo at her feet. Some people with mobility problems might have trouble jumping from rock to rock in the Gharj lava pit and managing the platforms for Soa.
Some areas require running a long distance from the respawn point to the boss if you die. That can be frustrating for someone who gets tired out easily.

I'll probably think of more later, but this is plenty to start.

Pallais's Avatar

Yesterday , 10:48 AM | #59
For those that have asked for Addon support in Swtor, be careful about what you are asking for. To use a cliche, addons are a blessing and a curse. Certain types of addons can quickly become a mandatory requirement if you do group content. For example, boss (operations / flashpoint) addons quickly create an arms race between developers and addon authors leading to much more complex boss fights. DPS meters become common, along with using them to boast and/or kick "low dps" from groups.

You have issues where conflicts between addons crash your game or make parts of it unworkable -- with the developers getting the blame, not the poorly written addon. Speaking of which, the developers now have another major system to support test, fix, and change as some addon authors will abuse the system as much as possible to gain any advantage.

I know many of you are thinking of another MMO's addon support, but don't forget to look at its history of dealing with problematic addons. It is best to be specific about just what things you want addons to do, for example, change the appearance of the mouse cursor. Those things may be easier for Bioware to implement without opening the can of worms that are addons.
Pallais on Star Wars: Beyond the Stars, a SWTOR podcast.

Star Forge
Pallais, Concentration Sentinel <Impact>

Sewolf's Avatar

Yesterday , 06:20 PM | #60
I just submitted a bug report and that small yellow font made things hard to proofread, please change.

Also, platforming is not easy with a few conditions. I am not entirely sure how to alleviate that, but could the daracron hunt be a tad easier on the platforming Refer a Friend to get the free stuff detailed here