Leeroy Jenkins, sometimes misspelled Leroy Jenkins and often elongated with numerous additional letters, is an internet meme named for a player character created by Ben Schulz in Blizzard Entertainment's MMORPG, World of Warcraft. The character became popular due to a video of the game that circulated on the internet. The phenomenon has since spread beyond the boundaries of the gaming community into other on-line and main-stream media.
The video was released by the World of Warcraft player guild "PALS FOR LIFE". It features a group of players discussing a detailed battle strategy for the next encounter while one of their party members, Leeroy, is away from his computer. Their risky plan is needed specifically to help Leeroy, yet is ruined when Leeroy returns and, ignorant of the strategy, immediately charges headlong into battle shouting his own name in a stylized battle cry. His companions rush to help, but Leeroy's actions ruin the meticulous plan, and all of the group members are killed.
The internet phenomenon started with the release of the video clip called A Rough Go to the World of Warcraft game forum in a thread titled "UBRS (vid) ROOKERY OVERPOWERED! blue please.", which jokingly presented the video in a serious context. The thread requested that other players provide help with strategy and that Blizzard reduce the difficulty of the encounter. The video spread as an internet meme, and Leeroy's response to the other players' chastisements, "at least I have chicken", was also much parodied.
When asked about his actions in the video by National Public Radio, Ben Schulz said the players "were drinking 40s and just yelling at each other." It has been suggested that the video was staged, but Schulz himself has neither confirmed nor denied this.
The character's popularity resulted in his inclusion in the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game released on October 25, 2006 with art by Mike Krahulik. Reflecting the video in which he appears, Leeroy is a detriment to the rest of the player's team, exhausting them for the current and following turns. For gameplay reasons, his effects are not entirely negative: although no one else can attack, Leeroy can attack instantly should the player repeat Leeroy's famous shout, and his attack is unusually high compared to the cost of playing him. However, his health is such that opponents should deal with him easily on subsequent turns. Upper Deck Entertainment released a World of Warcraft Miniatures game in late 2008, which included a Leeroy Jenkins figurine. As a reference to Leeroy's famous claim, the figure is seen holding a chicken leg in his left hand.
The August 2005 issue of PC Gamer UK featured an article on the video, titled "The Ballad of Leeroy Jenkins". The article took the position that the video was designed as a negative commentary on the kind of "nerd-guilds" that meticulously and statistically plan out raids with all the seriousness of actual military tactics. They added that they felt Leeroy is in fact the hero of the piece, acting against the geekiness of his guild.
Blizzard eventually paid tribute to Leeroy within World of Warcraft itself, creating an achievement "Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy!", which awards the title of "Jenkins" to players who kill 50 of the rookery whelps from the video within 15 seconds.
Leeroy Jenkins went mainstream when he was mentioned as part of a clue on the November 17, 2005 episode of the game show Jeopardy! as part of their college week tournament, though no contestant rang in. The meme spread further in 2009, when the Armed Forces Journal published an article titled "Let's Do This!: Leeroy Jenkins and the American Way of Advising". The article, by Capt. Robert M Chamberlain, links Jenkins to the American approach to advising Iraq.
Tanner Higgin, doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside uses the Leeroy Jenkins video and subsequent discourse to "teach game analysis, more specifically the analysis of gamic race".
Researchers Jessie Daniels and Nick LaLone point out the various racial stereotypes involved in the portrayal of the Leeroy Jenkins character as a black character played by a white man. They go on to mention that these racist aspects of the humor are often ignored or dismissed by gamers and the online community.
The Leeroy meme has been referenced in many TV shows, games and films, including Psych, Level Up, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, NBC's Community Workaholics How I Met Your Mother  and Dog With a Blog. The Disney animated movie Wreck-It Ralph, which is centered around the world of video-games, features the background graffiti "JENKINS". A deleted scene in Dreamworks' Monsters vs. Aliens has B.O.B yelling out Leeroy Jenkins before running into a battle with Gallaxhar's clone army. The National Geographic Channel documentary series Inside Combat Rescue, which features pararescuemen performing combat rescue operations in Afghanistan, shows the mission launch alarm used is a recording of Leeroy Jenkins.
- Joel Warner. "The Legend of Leeroy Jenkins".
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- Higgin, Tanner (September 17, 2009). "How I Use Leeroy Jenkins to Teach Race in Videogames". p. MediaCommons.
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