Hearthstone Access

In my day job, I have spent years struggling to get vendors in compliance with accessibility standards, so I have mixed feelings about Hearthstone Access.

Hearthstone, of course, is an online collectible card game created by Activision Blizzard . 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:

* Play through a fully accessible tutorial composed of 6 games to learn how to play

* Play practice games against AI opponents in order to unlock all 10 classes and their basic decks

* Use any of the 10 different classes in practice games to unlock all basic cards as you level up

* Build standard decks for any class you’ve unlocked

* Play practice games against expert-level AI opponents to get familiar with all the classes and game mechanics

* Play the first two adventures of Book of Heroes which cover the story of Jaina and Rexxar

Once you’ve gone through all of this, you’ll probably want to move on to other things such as playing against other players or going through Hearthstone’s solo adventures to learn more about the lore of Warcraft. While these things aren’t available yet, I do intend to work on them if there’s enough interest. In the meantime, several players have successfully been using OCR to access other areas of the game and created Golden Cursor scripts for NVDA players who would like to use them. You can find these in the FAQ section.

I am not an NVDA or JAWS user, but by all accounts, this is a well-done mod, and the developer deserves nothing but praise for their efforts.

The obvious question this raises, however, is why visually impaired users had to wait for some dedicated community member to provide what Blizzard should have implemented years ago.

Hearthstone was released in 2014. While I haven’t played it in years, back in 2017 VentureBeat reported that Hearthstone was raking in $40 million each month.

Activision Blizzard had revenue in 2020 of $8.09 billion, with a net income of $2.197 billion. And yet, it leaves support for visually impaired users to random users in its community.

That is epic level “we don’t give a shit.”

I’d say that Activision Blizzard should be ashamed of itself, but I doubt the company is capable of that.

Heartstone Deck Tracker

Hearthstone Deck Tracker is a free, open source utility that runs alongside Blizzard’s online collectible card game, Hearthstone.

The software adds an overlay while you’re playing Hearthstone that shows:

  • what cards you’ve drawn from your deck, which are still left, and draw chances
  • which cards your opponent has played, deckcount and draw chances

Hearthstone Deck Tracker Overlay

When you’re not actually in-game, the software adds a Deck Manager that lets you import decks from various websites and then export those decks directly to Hearthstone. This lets users get around Hearthstone’s ridiculous 9 deck limit. The Deck Manager has a ton of options including the ability to assign custom tags to decks, add notes, create screenshots and share decks as XML.

Finally, Hearthstone Deck Tracker has a fascinating analytics component. While playing with the overlay enabled, the software can keep track of each game and then produce statistics for each deck to show a win/loss rate vs. particular classes, opponents, game modes, etc.


Hearthstone Deck Tracker - Win/Loss Stats


Finally, Hearthstone Deck Tracker allows users to replay specific games.

Hearthstone Deck Tracker - Replays