Meet the Innkeeper
Hearthstone fan Scott Levy doesn’t just love the game – he lives it.
Thrilling card combat
Scott Levy may be an IT-support specialist by day, but he does a pretty convincing impression of Hearthstone’s Innkeeper, the boisterous dwarf who greets you when you fire up a game.
When you hear Levy bellow, “Warm your frozen boots by the fire!” in his exaggerated Scottish brogue, you’d swear you were about to be dealt a hand of virtual cards.
But Levy doesn’t just sound like the Innkeeper. At gaming conventions and festivals like BlizzCon and PAX, he literally becomes the character, donning the costume, wig, and makeup he commissioned Hollywood pros to create.
“It’s three and a half hours in a makeup chair with prosthetics,” says Levy. “It costs me roughly $300 every time I wear the outfit.”
His expensive efforts don’t go unnoticed.
“Walking around conventions or being at events as the Innkeeper is amazing,” Levy says. “And when they hear the voice, they’re blown away. I love that feeling.”
Levy’s affection for his beloved game – and his fellow fans – runs deep. The 40-something from Santa Ana, California, may be one of the most famous members of the Hearthstone community, known far and wide for hosting elaborate fan events. And like the game’s tavern master, he makes sure his players feel right at home. “The game is great, but the community is really what sold me on running these events,” says Levy, who welcomes fans of all skill levels to his gatherings. “They don’t have to be good, they don’t have to be competitive – they’re still going to have fun.”
Levy organised his first casual Hearthstone meetup in 2015. A year later, he was tapped to host a Hearthstone Championship Tour stop in Arizona, where he created questlike mini-challenges (printed on parchment scrolls, no less) to get players mingling.
Fans loved it. Their enthusiasm fueled Levy to introduce even more imaginative elements at each new event. He and his team of five volunteers have designed everything from a model of an erupting volcano to a 10-foot Witchwood tree with electronic eyes that follow players as they walk by.
“I wanted people to come and see something that was beyond what they were expecting and have that ‘Wow!’ moment,” Levy says.
For a pre-release event tied to Hearthstone’s Rise of Shadows expansion, Levy and his crew built escape room-style puzzles themed around the expansion’s villains. Solving all the challenges led you to a pyramid, where you connected cables to arcane symbols in the right order to unlock a sealed treasure chest.
“I slept very little those two weeks,” he says of the crunch time preceding the big unveil. Hearthstone developer Blizzard Entertainment has started contracting Levy to host official tournaments, and other game publishers seek out his services too. Levy hopes to eventually expand his side hustle, Bytes Events, into a full-time affair. For now he’s content portraying Hearthstone’s friendliest face. “If anyone is going to be the Innkeeper, it’s going to be me,” Levy says. “I take this way too seriously.”