Sunday, October 31, 2010

Someone just became an internet hero

One sentence from Boubouille said it all "Someone just became an internet hero".

You've probably heard the story already, but OK, in case you've been living under a rock I'll write it down here anyway, just because I too want to bring out a toast for our hero.

The Red Shirt Guy got his name as he spoke up in one of the panels at Blizzcon, asking Chris Metzen and Alex Afrasiabi why the NPC Falstad Wildhammer wasn't in the beta for Cataclysm, which he should have been, according to their own lore, as presented in novels and earlier game. Metzen obviously didn't have any good reply at this and promised to look into it.

It didn't take long before a video of the Red Shirt Guy had spread over Internet, with millions of views. Some players approved of his question, but many - too many - mocked his slightly slow, a little bit peculiar way of putting his question, and tossed out all the usual insults about how this guy was a loser who should crawl out of his basement and get a life.

So what did the Red Shirt Guy do? Did he let himself be discouraged? Did he let those morons get to him? No. He put up his own answer on YouTube, where tells the world about why he sounded a little strange - which had to do with a combination of being nervous (and who wouldn't be in that situation?) and a light version Asperger's syndrome. And knowing what an attention his person has gotten, he didn't miss the opportunity to make some PR for his guild.

It's obvious this guy has more guts than the haters ever could dream of and after seeing his video, it's easy to join his fanclub. Red Shirt Guy rocks!

And obviously this view is shared by the people at Blizzard, so much that they've even decided to make him into an NPC, "Wildhammer Fact checker". Dressed as he should be, of course: in a red shirt.

When the first picture of it came up, there were some voices raised that it might be a fake. But blue poster Valnot has put a stop to the debate with a simple statement: "It's real".

Sometimes we accuse Blizzard of being too goddamn slow about things. I do it too. They were slow with fixing the Halloween bugs, they were slow about informing about the change to the Insane title, well, there are many examples.

But then there are those moments when they suddenly show a fingertip sense of how to interact with the community, and they're on their toes, taking action. I have no idea of the standard procedures for naming NPCs. How many committees do you have to go through before a suggestion is approved? I could vividly imagine that the flowchart is a nightmare.

Not in this case though. They just DID it. And they did it the right way.

Red Shirt Guy, you just became immortal. Here's a toast for you!



Issy said...

*raises glass*

I loved this story when I read it earlier. I was totally cheering for red shirt guy in his youtube response, and the fact checker NPC rocks :D

We Fly Spitfires said...

It's one of the things I love about Blizzard - they don't take themselves too seriously and are open to injecting some humour and external references into the game. I reckon the Red Shirt Guy is going to become another Leeroy Jenkins :D

Ophelie said...

What an awesome story! I hadn't heard it yet, so I got goosebumps reading it here.

Softi said...

*cheers for Red Shirt Guy*!

I LOVE that he's made a video! My youngest son has been diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, and it's seeing people like Red Shirt Guy who can live their lives independently that give me hope and relief that my little boy will one day too. :)

(side note: my typo-noticing hat is on... it's Aspergers. ;) #justsaying) ;)

Xaxziminrax II said...

You point out something interesting: They are slow to change things that take a lot of time, but quick to change things that only take a second.


azerothapple said...

I was liveblogging when he asked the question, and I cracked up at Metzen's clear "oh crap I dun screwed up" face.

That said, the image of the official Wildhammer Fact Checker, in his red shirt and similar haircut, just made me smile really big and tear up.

Sometimes, just sometimes, Blizzard knows EXACTLY the right thing to do at exactly the right time, and they do it.

You go, Red Shirt Guy. :)

Redbeard said...

Go, Red Shirt Guy!

It goes without saying that he got in the game for a better reason than ol' Leeeroy did.

Rhii said...

Wow, the comments on that video are absolutely toxic. It's no wonder he felt the need to put up a little defense.

Sadly, about half the comments on *that* video are also toxic.

Fortunately the rest are awesome. :)

Demerson said...

I remember watching the stream of Blizzcon, and watching this happen live. It was pretty obvious when it happened that this was definitely going to show up on Youtube.

To be honest, when the actual question was being asked, I really didn't think there was anything wrong with him at all, I just figured he was nervous as hell.

I love Blizzard's reaction though.

Gevlon said...

The red shirt gut did not do anything brave. He did not fought lions or terrorists. He stood up in the "questions and answers" part in the lore panel and asked a lore question. It's no more heroic than buying a shoe in a shoe shop.

However I'm completely aware that for a social, standing up front of such a large audience is something "huge" or "dreadful". But in reality it's not. If he has even light Aspergers, he does not even understand why would it be strange or heroic.

SpiritusRex said...

Screw the haters! Red-shirt guy friggin' pwns all!

I guess I've been living under a rock Larisa because I hadn't heard of this story. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Now, where'd that rock go that I live under? :p

Larísa said...

@Issy: He's a lovely hero, really. Asperger or not, I think he's a geek that many of us can identify ourselves with, although he has more initiative power than many of us can claim.

@We Fly Spitfires: A much better one tbh. I can't honestly say that I ever cared that much about Jenkins, and I don't think it's only because it happened before my time in the game.

@Ophelie: Cheers! I hesitated to write about it since the story was up already, but oh well. I wanted to bring out a cheer anyway!

@Softi: Thanks for the typo spotting, fixed!

II: to be fair I think this kind of thing is way easier to fix than many of the things we complain about. So they do it. But still: I loved the speed this time!

: Yes, sometimes they're just right. I tend to bash a bit on Blizzard when they're not, so it felt great to cheer for a change!

: Oh yes, definitely. One of the best honour NPC:s I've ever heard of.

@Rhii: Oh, I wouldn't dwell too much in the comments tbh. Youtube comments are like that. But I would say the trolls are in a minority in the general opinion about Red Shirt Guy, even if they're vocal.

: when I first saw the video with him I was actually surprised that the fuss about him had been so big. He wasn't THAT weird, really. Just a bit slow talking. And very initiated in details.

@Gevlon: I'm no expert in Asperger, so I can't say if one with this syndrome can/should be nervous or not. However I think that you have to judge braveness/performance from case to case. What is a piece of cake for one person is nothing but a heroic deed from another. I think that especially his response video was brilliant and that he deserves recognition.

Oestrus said...

I, too, thought this was an incredibly heart warming story and it was great to see something was actually done about it - considering how condescending some of the Q&A panels were at BlizzCon.

In terms of the YouTube comments, YouTube definitely brings out the crazies. I don't think you'll find a single video (unless the comments were disabled, completely) that doesn't have a large amount of crazy hovering it and dropping really insane comments, just because. You just have to weed thru the trash and find the positives and enjoy those for what they are.


Bronte said...

I wonder if the Res Shirt Guy will start this as a regular segment: pointing out holes in the lore that Blizzard then plugs. Hell he could be a paid fact-checker for the Blizzard crew as long as he continues to baffle developers with his near-inhuman knowledge of a world he took no direct part in creating.

Nikodhemus said...

I may not use the term 'hero' to describe this guy, but he certainly doesn't deserve to be hated on and i think its pretty darn cool that they made an NPC of him in game. Even if it doesn't reference him by name.

This reminds me of Susan Boyle from America's got Talent. Basically, she is a homely, older woman that can sing and is not a professional singer. She's ugly, but very talented, and "Ugly people aren't supposed to be talented" says the mind of the social. Tell that to Cher...

SpiritusRex said...

@Niko...But, but, for being 100 years old and having 11 surgeries, Cher is hot!

Anonymous said...

Great article.

Yeh, there are far too many haters on at least the servers I play. I wish they had some sort of 'vote kick' that can send these guys off to another stand-alone server (can even call it Escape from Azeroth server).

Gowron said...

Red Shirt??

Wait a mo... aren't they supposed to die as extras?

But nice job of Blizz to put him there.

Anonymous said...

What makes the situation get a "heroic" tinge is not that he "just stood there and asked question like everybody else, after all it was Q&A panel", it's that oh gosh, he confused the mighty Blizzard, and while Blizzard itself has sense of humour and they did what they're known of doing (instead of "getting mad they got caught"), Blizzard never said they're free of error, and they did a lot of insider jokes in the game, it's the people who flamed the guy who made him look a kind of heroic.

If he "just asked a question", why would people belittle him so much in comments, like you said... about his voice tone or about his looks or about the question he asked. Envy that he got famous because his question was insightful while generic Paladin no.127 question wasn't?

What I like about the guy is he asked sensible on-topic question, that it ended up meaningful is even better. I watched the Blizzcon and while people are free to ask whatever they want I can't admire someone who uses his or her only chance to be on air for a couple of minutes to ask why female moonkins don't have boobs (real example from Blizzcon).

Leah said...

I think what he did was extremely brave. it might not have been brave i an conventional sense of way (like I don't know, facing a gunman) but he was braving his own disability as well as confronting people who are basically gods of world of warcraft.

there's nothing wrong with knowing intimate details about your hobby, on the contrary, it just shows that you care deeply about it. It doesn't matter what that hobby is, one hobby is in no way better then another.

so yes, I think he's awesome, and kudos to blizzard for acknowledging it :)

Columbina said...

Despite what Gevlon and others might say, for an Asperger's person standing up like that can often be a large challenge.

True, someone with severe asperger's, or autism might not notice the reactions of the socials, or even care if they do notice them due to a lack of ability to connect with them.

However, unlike gevlon supposes, a person with mild asperger's if often very aware of their social surroundings.They know they are different, they know they cant connect with normal people, and thus normal people with the ability to socialise can become people to be feared. Feared because you know that they will recognise you as different and comment or ostracise accordingly.

I applaud any person with asperger's with the self confidence and self belief to stand up in front of people and expose themselves in that way.

Larísa said...

: well, since it was on MMO-Champion as well as WoWInsider I figured everyone had seen it. But I'm glad if I helped someone more to discover the Red Shirt Guy. It's a great story!

@Oestrus: I really hated the way they treated some of the Q&A panels where they tried to be more of comedians than anything else. But in the case of the Red Shirty Guy they got it right.

@Bronte: well, actually it would be pretty awesome if he started his own little videopodcast, the "lore issue of the week" or something. But tbh I think it was a 15-minute of fame moment. Still it was great!

: I haven't seen that show, but yeah, there are indeed a lot of prejudices against people who aren't even ugly, but rather plain or normal. If you're just a bit openminded and prepared to look through this you'll be surprised at what you find.

: Thanks!

: Even if it was a brave thing to speak up, I think it was his response video that really made me take him to my heart. He stood up for himself and how he owned those pesky trolls!

@Leah: I believe courage in our time isn't often about facing gunmen. It's more about having the guts to be yourself and stick up for yourself. Just like our Red Shirt Guy did.

: Again I don't have deep knowledge about Asperger's, but it sounds plausible to me. And actually I think standing up like this is quite a brave thing to do for anyone, even those who are considered "normal".

Oestrus said...

There was one developer - I can't remember his name to save my life. He had blonde hair, really short and parted and extremely blue/gray eyes that were kind of creepy.

Anyway, he was extremely knowledgeable and my friends and I felt that he answered every question really well, without any humor and he also seemed to know a lot about a wide variety of topics and seemed to trump the others with his knowledge. I felt he was a really great addition to the Q&A panels and I would like to see him make more appearances there, in the future.

Gareth Mensah said...

moral of the story: wear red.

Zandathor said...

@Gevlon it depends on the type of Asperger's some people suffer acute socialphobia. While I agree he is not a hero it is possible he did show a degree of personal bravery. I doubt he went there to do anything more but find out what had happened to that NPC.
Ironically without all the haters most likely he would not be called a hero or have an in-game NPC in his honor.