Hearthstone is a popular free-to-play online digital card game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game is a turn-based card game between two opponents and features characters and elements from the Warcraft series. Hearthstone was first released in 2014 and still has millions of players all around the world.
Hearthstone Access is a custom Hearthstone mod built by Guide Dev that makes Hearthstone accessible for visually impaired screen-reader users who wouldn't otherwise be able to enjoy the game. For the time being, you can:
For the time being, you can only play Hearthstone Access if you're using Windows. Note that while most popular screen readers should be compatible, Hearthstone Access was fully developed and tested using NVDA. If the game is unable to detect your screenreader for some reason, it will fall back to using Microsoft's Speech API.
Blizzard games are installed and updated through their own launcher called Battle.net. In order to play, you must first install Hearthstone and patch it using Hearthstone Access afterwards.
The easiest way to patch Hearthstone is to use the Hearthstone Access accessible patcher which automatically finds your Hearthstone installation and patches the game. However, although the code is open source, you may not feel comfortable running unknown programs in your computer. If so, please use the manual process described further down.
Whenever Blizzard patches Hearthstone or releases a new expansion, your game will automatically update and your version of Hearthstone will no longer be accessible until you patch it again. This normally happens every other week and I do have to update and release a new version of Hearthstone Access when it does, so you may have to wait anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on how complex the update was and on how busy I am at the time.
If you're using the patcher, all you need to do is run HearthstoneAccess.exe again and everything will be handled automatically for you. If you're doing it manually, you'll have to follow the manual process again using the new version.
New players are encouraged to simply launch the game and progress through the tutorial, as most commands will be taught as you play. If you've played Hearthstone in the past before becoming visually impaired, you should still start by creating a new account just so you can go through the tutorial again. While you may already know the rules, you'll still need to learn how to play using a screen-reader and keyboard commands. Once you've finished the tutorial, feel free to go back to your old account and pick up where you left off.
|Open game menu||Escape|
|Open social menu||F4|
|Toggle Accessibility to allow sighted users to control the game||F8|
|Decrease game speed in games against AI so opponents play slower||F11|
|Increase game speed in games against AI so opponents play faster||F12|
|Read previous option||upArrow|
|Read next option||downArrow|
|Reread current option||Shift+upArrow|
|Read first option||Home|
|Read last option||End|
|Read next card in zone||rightArrow|
|Read previous card in zone||leftArrow|
|Read first card in zone||Home|
|Read last card in zone||End|
|Read next card line||downArrow|
|Read previous card line||upArrow|
|Repeat current card line||Shift+upArrow|
|Read card to end||Shift+downArrow|
|Read next valid play||Tab|
|Read previous valid play||Shift+Tab|
|Cancel current action||Backspace|
|End turn without asking for confirmation if more valid plays exist||Shift+e|
|See how much mana you have||a|
|See how much mana your opponent has||Shift+a|
|Look at your hand||c|
|Count the cards in your opponent's hand||Shift+c|
|Look at your minions||b|
|Look at your opponent's minions||g|
|Look at your Hero||v|
|Look at your opponent's Hero||f|
|Send all your minions to attack your opponent's Hero||Shift+f|
|Look at your Hero Power||r|
|Look at your opponent's Hero Power||Shift+r|
|Look at your weapon||w|
|Look at your opponent's weapon||Shift+w|
|Look at your secrets||s|
|Look at your opponent's secrets||Shift+s|
|Count the cards in your deck||d|
|Count the cards in your opponent's deck||Shift+d|
|Get more information about a focused card's abilities||i|
|Read base attack, health and any enchantments affecting a focused minion||k|
|Trade tradeable card||t|
|Open the play history log||y|
|Access in-game emotes when selecting a Hero||Space|
|Jump to related card lines when reading a card that has a related card such as questlines or colossal cards||pageDown|
|Jump to original card lines when reading a card that has a related card such as questlines or colossal cards||pageUp|
|Read next card||rightArrow|
|Read previous card||leftArrow|
|Read next page||pageDown|
|Read previous page||pageUp|
|Jump to next class||Tab|
|Jump to previous class||Shift+Tab|
|Read first card in page||Home|
|Read last card in page||End|
|Open My Collection||c|
|Read tavern tier||t|
|Upgrade tavern (reads cost and requires confirmation)||u|
|Upgrade tavern (without confirmation)||Shift+u|
|Freeze/unfreeze tavern (reads cost if any and requires confirmation)||f|
|Freeze/unfreeze tavern (without confirmation)||Shift+f|
|Refresh tavern (reads cost if any and requires confirmation)||r|
|Refresh tavern (without confirmation)||Shift+r|
|Read Hero Power||p|
|Read buddy meter and Hero Buddy card||d|
|Buy/sell minion (requires confirmation)||Enter|
|Reorder minion (lift-off)||Space|
|Reorder minion (after lift-off)||leftArrow, rightArrow, home, end, number keys|
|Read my stats on leaderboard (backspace to stop reading leaderboard)||m|
|Quickly read my stats on leaderboard without losing focus||Shift+m|
|Read next opponent's stats on leaderboard (backspace to stop reading leaderboard)||n|
|Quickly read next opponent's stats on leaderboard without losing focus||Shift+n|
|Read leaderboard (backspace to stop reading)||l|
|Read minion families/races in current game. Note: works during Hero selection as well||o|
|Read number of seconds left during Recruit Phase||e|
|Read minions for sale||g|
I got a few complaints about this happening once or twice to a few people. However, I'm not sure this is an issue with the mod itself given that a few sighted players have mentioned it happening to them as well occasionally.
If you run into this, press F8 to disable accessibility and click somewhere on the screen with your left mouse button. If it works, press F8 again to reenable accessibility and carry on. If it doesn't work, the problem is most likely a bug in Hearthstone itself and you will need to restart the game. Note that you won't lose anything by restarting the game. You may miss out on reading some rewards if you leveled up, but they will be added to your collection regardless.
This is a very rare issue which happens either when the game window is extremely thin or the screen is in portrait mode instead of landscape. As an example: if you think of a normal 1080p resolution, the game window would have a width of 1920 pixels and a height of 1080 pixels. If this is happening to you, it means your game window somehow has a width of about 200 pixels even if the height is 1080. With a window like this, the board doesn't fit on the screen so the game is unplayable even for sighted players.
The solution is simply to fix the game window proportions by changing to landscape mode or adjusting the resolution depending on what the underlying issue is. Note that you can reach the game menu by pressing Escape if you need to change the resolution.
I can't really answer for Blizzard. Patching games is a bit of a grey area and you should always do so at your own risk. However, I sincerely hope people are generally ok with it given that it doesn't provide anyone with an unfair advantage. If anything, it helps counter the unfair disadvantage many gamers unfortunately have.
I wish I could do it any other way but it's simply not possible. A patch was the only viable option I could find and I hope that the fact that the code for the patch itself is open source provides enough transparency for people to be comfortable with it.
I'm happy to work something out with Blizzard to verify the patches if needed. I'd be a lot happier if someone from Blizzard simply took the code and used it to implement accessibility into the game itself though. If anyone who works there happens to be looking for a cool hackathon idea, consider this my suggestion.
I'm not sure where this came from but I was asked to address it. Using Hearthstone Access to create a bot would be at least 100 times harder and produce a significantly weaker bot than simply reading log files and performing mouse clicks or writing a Hearthstone Deck Tracker plugin to do it.
Creating a capable bot for a game such as Hearthstone is extremely complex and a good AI research topic. Creating a bot capable of constructing a board with the speech this mod outputs is a good PhD thesis.
Keep in mind that the challenge of writing a bot has nothing to do with being able to control the game using the mouse or keyboard commands. Making the game controllable with the keyboard is a couple of hours type of work. Making a decent bot is a couple of years type of work.
Yes! Hearthstone Access is and always will be free to use.
Absolutely. While English is the only officially supported language, several people have volunteered to localize the mod to other languages.
At the moment, Polish, European Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, Thai, French, German, Korean and Russian are all available due to the awesome contributions of several players. If you'd like to contribute, you can find more details here.
Note that even if no one has localized the mod into your particular language, many gamers have successfully been playing localized versions of the game. Most speeches will simply be a bit weird since you'll hear a mix of english with your native language.
Hearthstone Access is a side project and while I'd like all game modes to be accessible, doing so while keeping up with Blizzard patches to ensure everything keeps working is a huge effort and extremely time consuming. Please enjoy the game modes and features that have been made available rather than dreaming about new modes.
Niki, Lirin and blindndangerous maintain a file for 1920x1080 resolution here.
LordLuceus maintains a file for 1366x768 resolution here.
If you need help with any of these, note that all maintainers can be reached on Discord and are generally happy to help.
You can find an invite link to join the Discord server here.
I currently have no plans on supporting other operating systems as my availability is limited enough as it is and Windows is by far the most popular choice among visually impaired people.
Release notes will always be published here.
You can find a list of all of our awesome contributors and translators here.