This video contains strong language.
By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard or seen someone write the famed “Leeroy Jenkins!” battle cry while on the internet. The viral video of a World of Warcraft sequence gone horribly wrong, turns 10-years-old this week.
Back on May 11, 2005, the famed Leeroy Jenkins video first showed up on an obscure video gaming forum, according to Business Insider. The video shows a handful of World of Warcraft (WoW) players discussing – in detail – their attack plans for an upcoming sequence in one of the game’s dungeons. One player even “calculates” their odds of success – “32.33, repeating of course, percentage.”.
And then the unthinkable happens: one player, “Leroy Jenkins,” apparently bored with all the talk, rushes headlong into the dungeon, shouting his name as his battle cry.
“Let’s do this! Leeroy Jenkins!”
Within seconds, everyone is dead, and Leroy’s fellow players are cursing him for not sticking to the plan.
The video was a gag, of course; there was no player named “Leroy Jenkins” who ignored his friends and cost them their battle. “Leroy” was actually a college student named Ben Schulz, who is now an electrical engineer, and his friends in the sequence are also acting. Here’s a hint: listen to the guy at (1:36) trying desperately not to crack up while delivering his lines “Stick to the plan!” And here’s another hint: there’s no actual way to calculate your odds of success – “32.33, repeating” – in a World of Warcraft dungeon.
But none of that mattered to the phenomenon that “Leeroy Jenkins” would become.
In those days, YouTube and Facebook were just getting started and World of Warcraft was just a fraction of the cultural mainstay that it is today. No one had ever heard of a “viral video,” and a “meme” was something written about in academic journals.
Whether “Leeroy Jenkins!” changed all that is something for internet historians to debate, but one thing is clear: Leeroy has since become one of the internet’s most well-known, and well-parodies, memes. He’s become synonymous with rushing headlong into danger without giving a second thought to overwhelming odds.
He’s also become a beloved part of the game that made him famous, according to Shack News. Blizzard, the company that produces World of Warcraft, has hired “Leroy Jenkins” – er, Ben Schulz – to appear at World of Warcraft conventions, and have even worked the Leroy character (voiced by Schulz) into subsequent game expansions.
Like “Charlie Bit Me” or “Leave Britney Alone!,” “Leeroy Jenkins!” is one of those internet gags that you either “get” or you don’t. There’s no explaining the joke. But whether or not “Leeroy” is your cup of tea, there’s no denying that he’s become part of our collective consciousness.
Here’s to ten more years, Leeroy Jenkins!