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The War Within > WoWApr 17, 2024 2:28 pm CT

World of Warcraft: The War Within brings long-awaited arachnophobia mode to the game (with crabs)

World of Warcraft: The War Within will add a variety of features to the game, but they left a key concern out during the BlizzCon 2023 announcement: what about all those creepy spiders? Players are literally spending the expansion beneath the ground, charging headfirst into a battle with the Nerubians of old — that’s a ton of multi-legged models, just skittering their gross little hearts out. Never fear, intrepid champion, the best feature is yet to come in this expansion — arachnophobia mode. And while we don’t have many details (yet), we do know the models used for the swap are almost as delightful as the soundtrack we’d suggest to accompany it.

Let’s talk about the new arachnophobia mode, coming to World of Warcraft in The War Within: how it works, and why this is important for the WoW community.

At its foundation, arachnophobia mode is a toggle in the game’s options (that doesn’t even require you to reload your UI). Yep, that’s it. A single, unassuming toggle that is meant to swap spider models into crabs, although there are still some kinks to work out of the system as some of the more humanoid models escape the change un-crabified. Based on screenshots shared by content creator Ishura on X (formerly Twitter), the switch is fairly seamless, exchanging crab models of various sizes in as a replacement for arachnid models.

Not only is this some delightful visual comedy — just picture a large crab sitting behind webbed victims — arachnophobia mode represents a huge improvement on the MMO’s accessibility front. According to a Czech study published in BMC Psychiatry in 2022, arachnophobia is “one of the most common anxiety disorders with prevalence [of] 2.7–6.1%.” It’s a hefty sample of the global population, even when percentage impacted ranges based on your source (for example, Cleveland Clinic estimates impact to 3%-15% of the population). Now take that population sample, and put them in front of WoW with its beautifully developed world, featuring flowing rivers, quacking ducks — and a metric heck-ton of spiders.

Arachnophobia modes are not new to gaming — Satisfactory has had arachnophobia mode for years, replacing their stinger models with three different cat sprites and an animated hologram filter. Yes, they even meow. And personally, I would have appreciated something even half as whimsical when running the Vault of the Incarnates raid. With the raid bosses themselves, they’re usually too big for you to get the full impact, but one of Sennarth’s mechanics is dependent on the little spiders that spawned during the fight. It’s an anxiety nightmare — and hopefully one players won’t have to deal with for much longer.

Thus, another tiny but delightful quality-of-life change comes to your favorite MMO. I wonder what else we could see added to WoW next in the Worldsoul Trilogy — adaptive controls for dynamic flying? Raid fights that use more than one primary color on the palette? Stick around, and we’ll share as we find out!

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