Leeroy Jenkins was one of the first World of Warcraft memes when it came out 13 years ago today.
Leeroy Jenkins is one of the main memes that catapulted World of Warcraft to Internet popularity. But what are the origins of the meme? On May 11, 2005, the guild <PALS FOR LIFE> uploaded a video to WarcraftMovies. The guild was doing a run of Upper Blackrock Spire (UBRS). Leeroy’s guildies were discussing the strategy on how to continue in the instance, but Leeroy came back from being AFK and instantly pulled the next room. His guildies flew into a panic. Leeroy’s antics caused the guild to wipe, and they naturally blamed Leeroy out of frustration. You can rewatch the entire scene in all its glory below.
Leeroy Jenkins became an Internet phenomenon overnight.
Leeroy Jenkins has made its way into popular culture since its release 13 years ago. It became part of a question on the game show Jeopardy!, and was even mentioned on the TV show How I Met Your Mother. Leeroy also became available as an action figure holding a chicken leg in his hand when a World of Warcraft miniatures game was released in 2008. The meme was also mentioned in TV shows such as Family Guy, Psych, Heroes Reborn and My Name Is Earl.
Leeroy has also made it into the world of academia. In 2009, the Armed Forces Journal titled an article “Let’s Do This!: Leeroy Jenkins and the American Way of Advising.” This article discussed the approach of American forces advising Iraqi indigenous armed forces during the Iraq War.
Leeroy has his place in the Blizzard universe as well. There is an achievement in UBRS where you need to kill 50 rookery whelps in 15 seconds. In addition, during Warlords of Draenor, you can help an NPC also named Leeroy Jenkins clear UBRS (again) and recruit him as a Garrison follower. Both of these achievements also grant the Jenkins title to players. In Hearthstone, he has his very own card, and in Overwatch, Winston has a voice line that makes a reference to the Leeroy Jenkins incident. “I calculate our percentage of survival at 32.33%, repeating of course.”
Was Leeroy Jenkins real or staged?
Fans were wondering for years whether or not the Leeroy Jenkins incident was staged or real. Ben Schulz, the player behind Leeroy Jenkins, made an appearance at BlizzCon 2007. He refused to confirm or deny its authenticity for many years. However, in late 2017, Schulz admitted on the World of Warcraft forums that the entire thing was staged, posting a first take of the now-popular Internet meme.
Do you have fond memories of Leeroy Jenkins? Were you playing at the time? Let us know in the comments below!