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Leeroy Jenkins is the name of a World of Warcraft character that is known for screaming out his name before ignorantly charging headlong into battle, killing everyone in his party. Though the video may have been staged, Leeroy Jenkins was embraced by Blizzard, making several appearances in World of Warcraft products.
The video was first uploaded to World of Warcraft fansite Warcraft Movies on May 11th, 2005. The guild PalsForLife posted the video to the official World of Warcraft forums asking for constructive criticism on their gameplay. The video showed the guild intensely discussing battle strategies, preparing to enter a dangerous zone in the game known as the about to enter the Rookery in the Upper Blackrock Spire, known for its large quantity of dragonspawn. Suddenly, a paladin in the group named Leeroy Jenkins, who appeared to have missed the discussion, yells out “alright, lets do this!” before charging into the area, killing everyone in the party.
As of May 2012, the first upload to Warcraft Movies has only 1,766,568 views. The original post on the World of Warcraft forums was edited several times to add in additional download links to the video, showing that it was shared several places before being uploading to a major video sharing site.
On November 19th, 2005, the video was uploaded to YouTube for the first time but it was not until a second instance was uploaded on August 6th, 2006, that the video began to gain views on the site. As of May 2012, this version has 30,615,841 views. The first news outlet to cover the site was PC Gamer UK in August 2005, who saw the video The video has been covered by the Guardian, and PC World In 2011, Joystiq published a look back on Leeroy’s legacy as part of a series titled “WoW Archivist,” which focused on major events throughout the history of the game.
Blizzard recognized Leeroy several times in the game by giving him an official trading card, mini figurine, named an achievement after him in the Rookery where his video took place, added a Hearthstone card based of him, and eventually added him to World of Warcraft as an NPC.
Leeroy Jenkins’ character is played by Ben Schulz, a Denver-based gamer. He filmed the video with a group of his friends in college for themselves, not thinking it would go anywhere. Soon after, Global Gaming League got in touch with Schulz, inviting him to attend Blizzcon with them in 2006. Two years later, Schulz gave the keynote speech at ROFLCon, which he has been invited to speak at for three years. He has also been interviewed about the video and its authenticity by local Denver news station Westword.
At ROFLCon III, Schulz stated that after the video, he was contacted by several video game companies who asked him if he could recreate the success of the video. He ended up choosing to pursue his college education, becoming an electrical engineer, working towards getting professionally licensed. He stopped playing World of Warcraft after Frozen Throne, returning for a year after the release of Cataclysm before cancelling his account. He is still a gamer, noting he is an active user of Kongregate, founded by Ben Vincent who filmed the original Leeroy Jenkins video.
When asked about the authenticity of the video, he said that World of Warcraft commenters were harsh in their critique but once it was uploaded to YouTube, the commenters that were not serious gamers vehemently believed it was real. Schulz said he prefers letting the viewer decide for themselves.
Notable Pop Culture Mentions
Jenkins’ video has been referenced in several mainstream media instances including a World of Warcraft-based Toyota Tacoma truck advertisement, deleted scenes from 2009 movies Year One and Monsters Vs. Aliens, and a mention on television game show Jeopardy in November 2005. There is a TV Tropes page on the character that chronicles his pop culture appearances.
“The Daily Show” Mention
On March 12th, 2012, John Stewart’s “The Daily Show” used Leeroy Jenkins in a clip when talking about the Republican Convention.