If we were to compile a list of the most popular videos made by the World of Warcraft community, Leeroy Jenkins would certainly rank first.
This World of Warcraft video was one of the first gaming videos to suddenly became viral in 2005. At the time, WoW was at the peak of its popularity, and the players were still discovering all of its secrets also by watching YouTube videos showing the best players looting the dungeons.
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The year 2005 was quite different from today and were no humorous shots from the gaming industry. People took every video pretty seriously, and everyone knew that playing at the highest level in World of Warcraft was no joke. Behind the screens sit practically professional gamers who have hundreds of hours of gaming experience.
When Leeroy Jenkins first appeared on the Warcraftmovies website on May 11, 2005, the actors took him seriously and had a lot of fun at the same time. The footage shows a raid group from the Pals for Life guild preparing for a tough fight in the Upper Black Rock Spire. Players are discussing tactics over the microphone, and an AFK paladin is sitting on the floor. While the players talking about some optimal strategy for a minute, Leeroy suddenly stands up and utters the legendary words: “Let’s do this! Leeerooooy Jenkins!” running into battle. His teammates watch him in astonishment and, of course, the group wipes. The 3-minute recording ends with Leeroy’s words: “I have at least a chicken.” 🙂
As fun as the clip was, everyone took it quite seriously at the time. Behind Leeroy stood a man named Ben Schulz, who only declared 12 years later that the entire clip was all staged. He never imagined that this joke would become so famous. The words Leeroy Jenkins are being used everywhere: in movies, comics, and other games. Developer Blizzard has immortalized Leeroy in his World of Warcraft and Hearthstone games, and Ben even appears in an official video celebrating 15 years of World of Warcraft.