Leeroy Jenkins is a player character created by Ben Schulz in Blizzard Entertainment's MMORPG World of Warcraft. The character became popular in 2005 from his role in a viral video of game footage where, having been absent during his group's discussion of a meticulous plan, Leeroy returns and ruins it by charging straight into combat shouting his own name. A video which captured the character's antics subsequently went viral and became an Internet meme. As a result of positive reception to the meme, Blizzard subsequently added Leeroy Jenkins into World of Warcraft as an official non player character, as well as Hearthstone with his very own card.
The original video was released by the World of Warcraft player guild "Pals for Life" to video-sharing site Warcraftmovies on May 11, 2005. The video features a group of players discussing a detailed battle plan for their next encounter while Leeroy is away from his computer, preparing a plate of chicken. This plan is intended to help Leeroy obtain a piece of armor from the boss monsters, but is ruined when Leeroy himself returns and, ignorant of the strategy, immediately rushes headlong into battle shouting his own name in a stylized battle cry. His companions rush to help, but Leeroy's actions ruin the detailed plan and all the members of the group are killed.
The Internet meme 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 plz.", which 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 mimicked.
When in April 2008 he was 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." As time went on, some began suggesting that the video may have been staged. Schulz had refused to confirm or deny whether the video was staged. Later, in December 2017, Schulz, along with Ben "Anfrony" Vinson, the cameraman of the video, released what he described as a first take/dry run of the video. Regarding the video, Vinson stated, "We didn’t think anyone would believe it was real, we thought it was so obviously satire."
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 May 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" whose members fastidiously plan raids with all the seriousness of actual military tacticians. They added that they felt Leeroy is the hero acting against the geekiness of his guild.
Blizzard eventually paid tribute to Leeroy within World of Warcraft itself creating the achievement "Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy!", which awards the title of "Jenkins" to players who kill 50 of the rookery whelps from the video within 15 seconds. Also, in the new expansion Warlords of Draenor, Leeroy returns as a non-player character and will join the player's garrison if they help him find the Devout Shoulders he was seeking in the video. Blizzard also added a "Leeroy Jenkins" card to their popular online card game Hearthstone. When entering the battlefield, Leeroy gives his famous battle cry. While attacking, he says "Time’s up, let's do this!" And when he dies, he says, "At least I have chicken." In addition, the adventure mode "Blackrock Mountain" added a new game board themed on the mountain. In the bottom right section, there is a pink tabard with a white heart lying on the ground, a reference to the guild Leeroy was in, <PALS FOR LIFE>.
Leeroy Jenkins was mentioned as part of a clue on the November 16, 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 the indigenous armed forces in Iraq. Although Leeroy Jenkins is not an official character created by Blizzard, IGN acknowledged the character's iconic status and ranked him 10th place on their list of best Blizzard characters in 2017, and noted that he represents the crossing of a line which typically separates a game’s content and its community.
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- In the 2007 video game Mass Effect, a character named "Richard L. Jenkins" dies after taking point right before the first enemy encounter.
- In episode "Little Bad Voodoo Brother" of My Name Is Earl in 2008, Randy charges out to "fight thirty people at once" while shouting "Leeroy Jenkins!"
- In the episode "Murtaugh" of How I Met Your Mother in 2009, Barney yells "Alright chums, let's do this. Barney Stinson!" (mimicking the Leeroy war cry) after shaking on the gentleman's agreement with Ted.
- The home media release of the 2009 film Year One includes a bonus feature titled Leeroy Jenkins: The Gates of Sodom, featuring the cast recreating the video.
- In the episode "Last Night Gus" of Psych in 2011, protagonist Shawn affirms one Leeroy Jenkins to be their new prime suspect by yelling the name.
- In the 2012 video game Borderlands 2 as a random encounter "Loot Midget" that emerges from certain loot sources.
- The United States Air Force Pararescue (PJs) use this sound bite to notify them of an upcoming medevac mission on the show Inside Combat Rescue in 2013.
- In the 2015 novel Armada by Ernest Cline, the protagonist Zack Lightman is accused of being a Leeroy Jenkins by his friends in video game space dogfights. Later in the book he shouts "Leeroy Jenkins" while committing a headlong assault referencing the same character from the Blizzard universe.
- In several episodes of Heroes Reborn (2015-2016), Miko and Ren shout out "Leeroy Jenkins!" as going into battle.
- In the episode "Chapter 5: Do Your Job" of Barry in 2018, Taylor ignores Barry's plans and jumps into a room of henchmen while yelling "Leeroy Jenkins!"
- In the episode "Veteran Guy" of Family Guy in 2018, Peter Griffin makes a plan to subdue some terrorists on a boat; however, Cleveland opts for a Leeroy Jenkins strategy and shouts "Leeroy Jenkins!" while rushing their foes, resulting in an extended clip that parodies the Jenkins video.
- In the episode "Hackerville" of Z Nation in 2018, one of the hackers drone has a decal "Leeroy Jenkins" in it and rushes into a wall exploding before the rest of the team.
- In the 2019 novel Arena by Logan Jacobs, the protagonist shouts "Leeerooy Jeenkkinss" while jumping into a bloody arena battle.
- In the season 5 episode "Back From the Future, Part 2" of Supergirl in 2020, Brainy charges into battle to act as a distraction while shouting "Leeroy Jenkins!"
- In the season 4 episode "Red Cell + Quantum + Cold + Committed" of MacGyver in 2020, Russ Taylor performs what he calls "the Leeroy Jenkins" plan, charging toward the main entrance of Cheyenne Mountain while shouting "Leeroy Jenkins!" to create a diversion for MacGyver to find another way in.
- In another season 4 episode, "Soccer + Desi + Merchant + Titan" of MacGyver, Russ Taylor and Bozer find four bodyguards outside the soccer stadium luxury box of criminal mastermind Titan, when they hoped for only two. Russ says "If we're going to down, we're going to go down fighting." Bozer replies "Hey, take it easy Leeroy Jenkins, lets be strategic about this."
- In the Pinky and the Brain segment “How to Brain Your Dragon” of the second episode of the 2020 Animaniacs series, Brain says to Pinky “Remember the plan?” to which he replies “Righto” and immediately runs in shouting “Leeroy Jenkins!” much to Brain’s disappointment.
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