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World of Warcraft's greatest meme, Leeroy Jenkins, hits its 13th anniversary.
Screenshot via YouTube

On this day 13 years ago, one Leeroy Jenkins entered the memedom canon with an ill-fated raid that still echoes through the halls of time.

Lest you’ve forgotten what transpired that cursed day, in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, a guild called PalsForLife gathered in front of the notoriously difficult Rookery in the Upper Blackrock Spire. While they discussed in detail their strategy (and odds of getting their asses kicked) before entering the dragonspawn-infested room, one paladin leapt to life.


“Alright, let’s do this!” he screamed, charging headlong into the Rookery alone as his guild stands baffled. “LEEEEROOOY MMMJENKINS!”

They followed him into the battle. The entire guild perished.

The first video of Leeroy’s moment of glory was uploaded to fan site Warcraft Movies on May 11, 2005, and its first upload to YouTube followed in November (which only has half a million views, because people keep ripping and reposting it). The man behind Leeroy’s character, Ben Schultz, still won’t say whether it was staged or an authentic moment, but of course it was staged. Come on.

It was a simpler time for memes. Instead of a dozen new memes to keep up with every week, the good ones were few and far between and stuck around forever. Pop culture referenced Leeroy Jenkins for years, with shows like Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother nodding to the video. Leeroy even got a question on Jeopardy! As Engadget’s “WoW Archivist” column pointed out in 2011, Leeroy even showed up as an example of what not to do in the Armed Forces Journal for a time.

WoW developer Blizzard fully embraced the meme, honoring his abiding legacy with Leeroy Jenkins playing cards, non-playable characters, and achievements.

As generations pass his story down through the ages, the legend of Leeroy Jenkins may never die.

At least he has chicken.