Some of you might be familiar with HearthstoneAccess, a wonderful third-party accessibility mod that’s been a great way for blind and low vision players to play Hearthstone. We’ve been in constant communication with GuideDev, its developer, and have implemented measures to make development of the mod easier. We’re big fans of their work!
We’ve also been working on improvements to Hearthstone’s native accessibility, with the aim of complementing the functionality that HearthstoneAccess provided. For example, the combination of Hearthstone’s music, sound effects, character dialog, and tavern ambience (the voice murmurs in the background) can conflict with the audibility of screen-reading software trying to convey the state of the game. We know there may be a number of reasons why a player might want to adjust these different channels independently, whether that’s needing to focus on particular noises, finding certain sounds distracting, or simply preferring a different audio balance than what is default. In a patch after March of the Lich King launches, we’re adding expanded Audio Settings to support separate volume controls for each of these, along with an option for Mono Sound.
With HearthstoneAccess mod support ending, we’ve made the decision to shift our work in this area—instead of working on accessibility features that complement HearthstoneAccess, we’ll be exploring what it will take to implement native accessibility features that allow for our blind and low vision community to get back into the game. We’re incredibly appreciative of everything that GuideDev has done for our community and we’re very excited to continue expanding our game’s accessibility.
A project of this magnitude and importance will take time to complete. We’re very sorry to our friends and players who won’t have access to Hearthstone during this time. If you have further accessibility feedback, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. That feedback is sent directly to the game teams, and while we can’t reply to all the messages we receive, they help us prioritize our development so that we’re working on what matters most to our players.
Once again, thank you to GuideDev and to all our players in the blind and low vision communities. We’ve been encouraged by so many players coming together to show their support for this issue and look forward to sharing more details with you once we have them.
Update: We are happy to share that we have been informed that other community members have taken over the work on HearthstoneAccess, so that it is not ending after all! We will still be continuing our efforts to implement more native accessibility features, but our blind and low vision community is able to play in the meantime.