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Ian Bates

The Red Shirt Guy at BlizzCon.

Ian Bates,[1] better known as "The Red Shirt Guy", is the fan who asked a question about the dwarven leadership during the Lore panel at BlizzCon 2010. A video of his question subsequently went viral. He has since appeared at most subsequent BlizzCons.

He confirmed in a response video that he has Asperger syndrome. Although he did not wish to make his character's name known, he stated that his guild is Carpe Imperium on Malfurion US. He has since moved to Eonar.[2] His main character is a gnome rogue.[3]

He posts as "Insane Guy of Doom" on Scrolls of Lore, where the administrator created a special rank for him - 'Time-Lost Proto Nerd'.[4] The rank is in reference to a joke link on[5] On August 15, 2013 he became a writer for BlizzPlanet.[1]

BlizzCon 2010[]

Wildhammer Fact Checker

The Wildhammer Fact Checker.


There are some lore issues regarding Kurdran Wildhammer and Falstad Wildhammer. Chris Metzen implied that in Day of the Dragon, Falstad was supposed to be killed, but the book has it so that he survived. This survival was reflected in his inclusion in WoW as an NPC at Aerie Peak.

Falstad was originally in the Cataclysm beta as a member of the Council of Three Hammers according to reports, but was replaced by Kurdran in a later build.

In The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, Varian Wrynn suggests (or decrees) that Falstad be the Wildhammer representative on the Council of Three Hammers.[6]


The Red Shirt Guy: Hello. I have- I just finished reading The Shattering yesterday... and I noticed something. It said that Falstad Wildhammer was going to be on the Council of Three Hammers, but in the beta it's Kurdran Wildhammer, and Falstad is not in the game at all. What happened to him?

Chris Metzen: Isn't Falstad dead? ...from, uh, Day of the Dragon? ...No?

The Red Shirt Guy: No, he survived, and, in fact, he is- was the leader of Aerie Peak in vanilla WoW and through Wrath of the Lich King.

Chris Metzen: Right, of course. Uh. Yeah, Alex, what's up with that?

Alex Afrasiabi: *Dismissive noise* Thanks, thanks for pointing that out. We're gonna get that fixed.

The Red Shirt Guy: Thank you!

Alex Afrasiabi: You bet.

*Resounding cheers*

Blizzard response[]

Re: BlizzCon Red Shirt Guy | 2010-10-29 15:19 | Blizzard Entertainment Nethaera

Q u o t e:

Probably because he talks like a robot.

I don't think that's his fault really. Keep in mind a few things (and those that have asked questions before will understand this):

Every person asking a question is standing there perhaps for the first time, with a microphone in front them, a very large TV camera in front of them and very bright lights shining on them. Then, add to it that as you talk, you can hear yourself echoing through the hall. If you wait for that echo to fade, you end up talking much slower than you normally would. It's a bit disconcerting to say the least for anyone who isn't used to that. Getting up in front of thousands of people to ask a question is unnerving for many people given those circumstances. It's not easy and I applaud anyone who gets up and asks an informed question of the panelists under such conditions.

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On 30 October, 2010, a screenshot was brought to light featuring Falstad in place of Kurdran on the High Seat, and standing next to him was a dwarf NPC with a red tabard named "Wildhammer Fact Checker". At that time, neither NPC could be found in the High Seat in the beta, leading to speculation that the screenshot was fake. Afrasiabi stated that it was "real"[7] but some still felt it was an elaborate hoax. The Cataclysm beta build released on November 3rd contained the two NPCs, confirming the screenshot as legitimate; in patch 4.0.3a they both appeared on live servers, removing any doubt.

On April 15, 2011, the Council of Three Hammers faction leader story, Fire and Iron, was released on the official site. Written from the perspective of Kurdran Wildhammer, the story features a cameo appearance from the Wildhammer Fact Checker and also gave lore-based reasons behind why Kurdran was replaced with Falstad.

In 2018, Chris Metzen explained that he did actually know at the time that Falstad was alive, but while on-stage he mixed up Falstad and Molok—another dwarf character from Day of the Dragon—in his head.[8]


  • Chris Metzen's question "Isn't Falstad dead?" became a popular catch phrase/meme.
  • Dave Kosak once told Ian Bates that he is probably the sole reason that Falstad is a playable character in Heroes of the Storm,[9] and the BlizzCon exchange is repeatedly referenced in Falstad's in-game quotes:
    • The description of Falstad's default skin mentions that "Despite speculation, Falstad has never been dead and anyone who claims such is a liar".
    • One of his poke quotes is "Rumors of me death have been greatly exaggerated", which is also a reference to a famous quote by Mark Twain.
    • Another one of his poke quotes is "Um, you didn't happen to see a little guy in a red shirt around here, did ya? He's always watchin' me..."
    • Yet another one of his poke quotes is "Yeah, Alex, what's up with that, eh?", in reference to Metzen's "Yeah, Alex, what's up with that?"
    • In one of his start-of-game interactions with Thrall (who is voiced by Chris Metzen), Falstad states "And so then he says, 'Isn't Falstad dead?'", to which Thrall replies "I wish you'd stop telling this story."
    • Upon reviving after death, Falstad may say "Hey, I survived!", in reference to the Red Shirt Guy's "No, he survived".
    • If a player dies while using the Falstad announcer, he may say "Huh. Never died meself... I'm what they call 'a survivor'."
  • Bates has described Falstad as his favorite lesser known lore character, not because of his BlizzCon question, but because he read Day of the Dragon when he was first getting into World of Warcraft and was impressed by the developers' attention to detail when he discovered that Falstad was present in the game world. This helped cement his interest in Warcraft lore.[10][11]

BlizzCon 2011[]


The Red Shirt Guy re-appeared during BlizzCon 2011, deliberately made the first in line at the lore Q&A. Before the Q&A, Metzen hopped off the stage to give him a friendly hug. The Red Shirt Guy thanked them for adding him to the game as the Wildhammer Fact Checker. He asked about the future of Gilneas. The Gilneas/worgen storyline has been highly criticized since the release of Cataclysm due to the sudden stop of the storyline's progression following the starting zone, despite being told many times over that the player would return to Gilneas eventually. The worgen are scarcely seen in Cataclysm, unlike their goblin counterparts who are seen frequently as well as possessing a "mini-city" in Azshara. The lack of worgen development Alliance side continued to be an issue, especially since the story is progressed for Horde only (including the retaking of Gilneas at the end of the Silverpine quest-chain). With all these issues being lamented, the cliffhanger story of Gilneas was commonly asked about.


Red Shirt Guy: In Gilneas, the questlines end with the strong feeling of to be continued and that we're going back, and the only other zone in the game that had that same type of ending was Hyjal, and we did go back to Hyjal two patches later, so does that mean we're also going back to Gilneas?

Dave Kosak: Two patches later, maybe? ...Maybe, back to Gilneas? I don't know. You know, the- the, uh, Gilneans have such cool architecture and such a cool vibe to it, and it's really hard just because of the nature of their story, we can't really incorporate that outside in the rest of the world, it's hard to do. So it'd be fun to go back to Gilneas and really kind of reclaim that. I don't think it's on the cards right away, but its a really, we just love the feel of that area and everything that they're about.

The Red Shirt Guy went on to suggest what he thought would be the best use for Gilneas.


While the story's continuation was not shot down, the response has caused mixed reactions, from praise and hope for a continued story, to negative responses claiming delaying or discontinuing a race's storyline is unfair.

Despite saying that Gilneas would not be revisited anytime soon, patch 4.3 gave players a brief glimpse of the status of the zone during the legendary dagger quest line. The Gilneans shown here are not shown to be Alliance friendly, however this may be due to the fact that the rogues were seen as assassins. The Blackhowl seemed unaware of their manipulation by a black dragon, and are speculated to have been working with the Alliance in order for Creed to maintain his ruse for both the Gilneans he was making into servants and the Alliance until his army was built up enough and forced into loyalty.

Other appearances[]

  • Bates appeared at BlizzCon 2013, where he asked about the fact that most southern zones in Kalimdor, the Eastern Kingdoms and Pandaria are all covered in either deserts or jungles (thus implying that there may be a whole southern hemisphere of Azeroth).
  • At BlizzCon 2014, he asked about Farahlon in Warlords of Draenor and whether or not players would go there.
  • At BlizzCon 2015, he asked if the return of Turalyon and Alleria in Legion was the reason for the renewed conflict between the Alliance and Horde.
  • Bates was invited to the premiere of the Warcraft film in June 2016 and shared a ride with Ben Schulz (AKA Leeroy Jenkins) to the event as part of a commercial for Legendary Pictures.[12][13]
  • At BlizzCon 2016, he asked about the motivations and allegiance of the various naga in Legion.
    • He later stated that he had originally intended to ask about Sylvanas Windrunner' various changes in characterization and motives over the years, but was told to ask something else after the questions were screened in advance of the Q&A panel, meaning he had to come up with a new question on the spot.[14] Normally in such cases, the person would simply not be allowed to ask a question, but an exception was made for Bates due to him being the Red Shirt Guy.[15]
  • He attended both BlizzCon 2017 and 2018 but wasn't able to ask any questions.[16]
  • At BlizzCon 2019, he asked about how the level squish in Shadowlands would affect obtaining heritage armor for allied races.


  1. ^ a b Ian Bates 2013-08-15. Greetings from The Red Shirt Guy. Retrieved on 2013-08-15.
  2. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2017-08-10). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  3. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2017-08-09). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  4. ^ Death or Return of Falstad. Scrolls of Lore Forums. Retrieved on 2010-10-30.
  5. ^ Seanbaby. 8 Questions Every WoW Fan Apparently Needs Answered. Archived from the original on 2013-12-10.
  6. ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, pg. 311
  7. ^ Blizzard Entertainment Valnoth. Re: Wildhammer Fact Checker?. World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums. Archived from the original on 2010-11-02.
  8. ^ Scott Johnson. Special Interview: Chris Metzen 2.0 (around 25:45). FROGPANTS. Retrieved on 2018-08-10.
  9. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2017-08-09). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  10. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2017-08-09). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  11. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2019-06-01). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  12. ^ Legendary 2016-06-09. Leeroy Jenkins & Red Shirt Guy Go to the Warcraft Premiere. Facebook. Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  13. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2017-08-09). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  14. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2017-08-09). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  15. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2017-08-09). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.
  16. ^ RealRedShirtGuy on reddit (2019-06-01). Retrieved on 2019-06-04.

External links[]