League of Legends Announces Patch for Colour Blind Players

League of Legends has been taking gamers by storm since its beta opened in 2009, and its player base doubled between August and November of last year. Now toting millions of players per day, the RTS has turned to resolving a disadvantage for a large portion of their player population: their method of team identification. In League of Legends, you can recognize your team from the opposing team by the colour of the health bar; allies have green health bars and enemies have red health bars, as can be seen in the image below.

League of Legends Normal

These colours seem like a natural association for most of us as the connotations for red and green have been drilled into our minds since early childhood. However, for a large section of the population, the above image looks more like this.

League of Legends Red-Green Colour Blind

To the millions of red-green colour blind people, League of Legends becomes a much greater challenge due to their inability to differentiate friend from foe, which is completely dependant on the player’s ability to tell the difference between red and green. Jazz Rich, a League of Legends player who is red-green colour blind, describes her condition as a “disadvantage” when it comes to playing the game as she will unknowingly steer her character into a group of enemy grunts while her fellow teammates struggle to understand her difficulty. “You have no idea how many games people talk about that I don’t play cause I can’t see sh*t.”

Jazz’s voice is just one of many that can be found of the game’s forums calling for a solution, and pleasantly Riot Games has listened. There will an upcoming patch for the game that will allow players to change the game to a “Colour Blind Mode,” which will change the red and green health bars to blue and yellow as well as change other hues in the game.

League of Legends Colour Blind Patch

“Yeah, I really love the new look,” said Jazz, commenting on the still above that was released by Riot Games. “I said, ‘The teams are different colours!’ And [my teammates] were like ‘…yeah?’” Many non-colour blind players are also commenting that they prefer the aesthetic of the patch and plan on using it when it becomes available.

While I applaud Riot Games for listening to their players, I must admit that I don’t understand why this is not a more common feature in video games. It seems like a relatively easy feature to add to a game that would expand the title’s consumer base. While some games, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 do include colour blind assist options, it is not yet commonplace. Jazz admits that, “the main problem is that there’s so many different types and levels of colour blindness; it might help for one type but another still can’t see.”

“They should be standard,” says Jazz, “but only if they plan on doing more than just making everything black and white. I tried the colour blind mode in Left 4 Dead and actually saw better without it.”

So while it’s not a perfect science, it’s a good sign to see games taking steps towards levelling the playing field for those at an unfair disadvantage.


Source: Riot Games

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