Leeroy Jenkins, often referred to as “The Legend,” is a popular internet meme that originated from a World of Warcraft video, where player Ben Schulz is AFK during the planning stage of a raid, only to come back and rush into combat, screaming “Leeroy Jenkins”.
Since then, the name is used to describe a person who impulsively charges into a situation without considering the consequences, much like the infamous “Leeroy Jenkins” himself. The term has become synonymous with acting recklessly or not thinking things through, and it is often used humorously to poke fun at individuals or situations where someone makes a bold, uninformed decision.
Example: Imagine you’re about to play a game of chess and your opponent, without any strategic planning, impulsively shouts, “Leeroy Jenkins!” and knocks all the pieces off the board. That would definitely be a Leeroy Jenkins move!
The “Leeroy Jenkins” meme originated from a video that was uploaded to the Warcraftmovies in May 2005.
In the video, a group of World of Warcraft players are meticulously planning a raid, discussing strategies and calculating the odds of success. However, Ben Schulz aka. ”Leeroy Jenkins”, decides to charge into battle without warning or preparation. The rest of the group was caught off guard and ultimately failed the mission.
The video quickly gained popularity, mainly due to the humor derived from Leeroy‘s unexpected and reckless action. It didn’t take long for “Leeroy Jenkins” to become an icon and a renowned symbol of impulsive behavior across the gaming community and beyond.
Interestingly, the video itself was shared online in a serious manner, asking other players for working strategies for the raid, and even suggesting to Blizzard, the manufacturer of the game, to lower the raid’s difficulty.
The “Leeroy Jenkins” meme quickly spread across the internet, gaining massive popularity throughout various online communities. Just weeks after the video went viral, the story was shared under the title “The Ballad of Leeroy Jenkins” in magazine PC Gamer UK.
It became a common reference in conversations and was even adapted into other forms of media, such as memes, parodies, and references in TV shows and movies. The viral nature of the “Leeroy Jenkins” meme can be attributed to its relatability, as the impulsive action depicted in the video resonated with many people who have encountered similar situations in their own lives. The phrase “Leeroy Jenkins” has since become a widely recognized cultural reference, symbolizing impulsiveness and lack of preparation.
In the era, people called “Leeroy Jenkins” a hero for bringing joy into the game, contrasting the often too-serious attitudes towards raids.
Even the game manufacturer Blizzard decided to add the achievement “Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy!” to the game, obtained by players if they kill 50 rookery whelps within 15 seconds. Later on, in Warlords of Draenor, “Leeroy Jenkins” is featured as an NPC, with the voice of Ben Schulz, the original voice of the character.
“Leeroy Jenkins” remains an enduring and beloved meme even to this day.