Dammit, Leeroy
May 11, 2020 1:53 PM   Subscribe

15 years ago, a certain video was uploaded to the internet "documenting" a raid in World of Warcraft going horribly wrong with the exuberant cry of "LEEROY JENKINS!"

Of course, today we know that the video was staged (an accusation that had always dogged the video even from the beginning), but since then the video became a meme, inspiring a quest/achievement in WoW and reminding many MMO players of that one raid member who would act before thinking.
posted by NoxAeternum (46 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
All the world's a stage. I choose to believe in the myth that is Leeroy.
posted by Fizz at 1:55 PM on May 11 [18 favorites]

Man I laughed so hard at this when it came out
posted by nevercalm at 2:01 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]

Previously on Metafilter — that is, 15 years ago. Original link is dead, which is perhaps no surprise.

Damn, Metafilter has been around for a while.
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:02 PM on May 11 [10 favorites]

I've played with tanks like Leeroy. Dammit, I'm a healer, not a miracle worker! Well... maybe I'm both. But my HPS only goes so far.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:06 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]

LEEROY JENKINS!!! Is the battle cry of my barbarian character in one of my d&d campaigns.
posted by calamari kid at 2:09 PM on May 11

There is a tool for continuous integration / continuous deployment pipelines called Jenkins. The devops team at my workplace loathes it with a passion. So of course to deploy I go to https://leeroy.internaldomainname.com.
posted by PMdixon at 2:13 PM on May 11 [13 favorites]

I was willing to believe literally everything in that video except for the "chance of survival" percentage bit. That always struck me as the hat on a hat of this piece - but I love it anyway.
posted by abulafa at 2:14 PM on May 11 [4 favorites]

Fifteen years ago?!? Oh my.

The one that always sticks out in my mind is the Serenity Now funeral crash video set to Where Eagles Dare. That just broke my brain on so many levels.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:15 PM on May 11 [8 favorites]

Fifteen years ago?!? Oh my.

I know I'm getting older because my first thought was: 'Only fifteen years ago? Huh.'
posted by StephenF at 2:23 PM on May 11 [17 favorites]

I was willing to believe literally everything

At the time it came out, killjoy WoW players would point out that the recording player was deliberately running through the eggs, spawning them, which gave the game away. Even then, I loved its subtler touches... South Asian guy doing the math, "infinitely repeating, of course", Leeroy sitting to one side.... and the pained sigh of the raid leader when he knew his duty demanded they traverse the room.

"Well, that's better than we normally do..."
posted by fatbird at 2:28 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]

> today we know that the video was staged

I'm sure that's important to many people, but as a non-WoW player it doesn't really matter to me. It's funny even as improv theater, and it's funny even if you barely understand what's going on because you can still get the gist that a guy is tired of working by committee rules and goes cowboy, dragging the entire project down with him. Except instead of being a corporate meeting room it's all sworts and dragons.
posted by ardgedee at 2:33 PM on May 11 [32 favorites]

"Least I'm not chicken..."
posted by Windopaene at 2:38 PM on May 11

So reading the 2005 thread, I was pleased that this is still up.
posted by suetanvil at 2:43 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]

Watching this gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. For some reason, I just adore watching (non-hateful) trolling in video games. Here is another one I recently discovered with high entertainment value.

Also, those were pretty good actors. They had "aggravated nerd" down.
posted by Jess the Mess at 2:47 PM on May 11

Staged or not, I am eternally grateful for the video convincing me to never, ever, ever, even touch WoW.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:48 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]

In game, if you do a specific set of actions and get the mentioned achievement, you also get to set a title.

like, there's titles like "Professor" for Archeology. If you get the achievement, you can set yourself with a last name of "Jenkins". It's fun.
posted by mephron at 2:49 PM on May 11

I am just learning that this was staged.
posted by chaz at 2:57 PM on May 11 [13 favorites]

It convinced people because everyone who's ever played an MMORPG (or just plain tabletop RPGs, for that matter) knows someone like that.

Also, and I don't believe that this is a coincidence, one of your first squadmates in the first Mass Effect game is Richard L. Jenkins, a soldier who you can choose gear and skills for like any other squadmate... but who dies almost immediately in the first mission that you go on, in an unavoidable cutscene. He's later brought up when you get drunk with Dr. Chakwas.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:01 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]

My understanding, which may be outdated/inaccurate, was that it wasn't staged per se, but more of a dramatized recreation of an actual event. But I also figure it was fairly heavily dramatized.
posted by tclark at 3:03 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]

Metafilter: A dramatized recreation of an actual event. But I also figure it was fairly heavily dramatized.
posted by CynicalKnight at 3:19 PM on May 11 [16 favorites]

I am always amazed that whenever I shout 'Leroy Jenkins!' in class to point out a really stupid military decision most of the students still get it.

I too prefer the myth.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 3:54 PM on May 11 [15 favorites]

Leroy Jenkins will always have nostalgia energy for me, right alongside the 50 DKP MINUS!!!! recording of how to run raids with laughably zero chill.
posted by Drastic at 4:20 PM on May 11 [11 favorites]

I still shout "Leroy Jenkins" when I'm playing games and decide to rush into a dangerous situation without preparing as I know I should. Sometimes in other situations as well, like work, and I'm also surprised at how often non-gamers get the reference.

I think it has staying power as a cultural reference in part because people recognize it in so many domains. That's why it always surprises me how much people get hung up over whether it was "real" or not. I thought at the time it was pretty clearly a staged comedy routine, but the joke works because I think almost everyone who's played any sort of multiplayer team game, whether it's an MMORPG or an FPS or even just Dungeons & Dragons, has been in a situation where they've had to deal with a Leroy on their team, or been Leroy themselves. That exact event may have been set up for comedic effect, but it might as well have been real because we've all seen it happen ourselves.

I think it also resonates because in 2005, the idea of doing comedy theater (like ardgedee said) in an online venue like WoW was still pretty new. Today I don't think it would stand out so much, because we're all much more accustomed to the Internet being a place that performances happen all the time.
posted by biogeo at 4:24 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]

Leroy Jenkins will always have nostalgia energy for me, right alongside the 50 DKP MINUS!!!! recording of how to run raids with laughably zero chill.

many whelps handle it

still a phrase i say in my head regularly
posted by lazaruslong at 4:49 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]

If you ever played the game, you'd know it was staged in 10 seconds. It was never intended to be realistic, just a funny internal joke. But obviously it took on a life of its own.

It is a little based in reality however. tl;dr backstory is the guild merged from two other guilds. One guild was a super serious guild intent on doing everything right and by the book. The other half of the guild were jokers and didn't take things as seriously. So the parody was an internal clash of people who took the game seriously and those that didn't. One group was very serious and methodical, the other group was carefree, by the pants and freewheeling. The video was a joke comparing the two attitudes.

Once I saw the video I knew I had to play and I spent the next few years playing.
posted by andryeevna at 6:02 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]

Yeah, if you played WoW back then it's fairly obvious that the "plan" they're discussing doesn't make a lot of sense, and is an almost sure-fired way to wipe (have the whole group of players die). Generally you would want to break a few eggs at a time, not all of them at once, and especially with a group wearing blues (i.e. they have relatively low-level equipment). And if you are going to try to AoE the whelps down (using Area of Effect spells), using Intimidating Shout to scatter them is counterproductive, because you want them all clustered together so the spells will have maximum effectiveness.

But back in 2005 players all thought it was hilarious, even if it was a re-creation of an actual incident.

Also: Nobody ever wanted to do the egg room on UBRS runs. Took me forever to get those Devout Shoulders on my priest.
posted by good in a vacuum at 6:06 PM on May 11 [7 favorites]

I have a nethack character with the name Leroy. He doesn't ascend a lot...
posted by jim in austin at 6:06 PM on May 11

Also the tank isn't even using a shield. But what he is carrying, to name-check another 2005/2006 era WoW meme, is an:

posted by good in a vacuum at 6:09 PM on May 11 [2 favorites]

I was a fan of Ian Dunt’s summary of the debate he was engaged in with ardent Brexit supporter Melanie Phillips on the Brexit Breakdown podcast
“to illustrate the vast cultural chasm between us, we were asked to recommend something which explained Brexit. She picked Shakespeare's Richard II. I picked Leeroy Jenkins.”
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:43 PM on May 11 [12 favorites]

Am I the only one who found it incomprehensible why they would follow him into the room? It was just inexplicable to me. I spend so much time on social analysis and this one... I got nothing. I mean I know you don't fuck your buddy, and you take one for the team, and one for all and all for one but I still can't figure out why they didn't simply take a break or do a small side mission while they waited for Jenkins to get back from the resurrection point.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:30 PM on May 11

Because it's a staged video. You either spam AoE or you pull aggro methodically towards the DPS, one chunk at a time. Trying to do both is crazytalk in any strategy game.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 7:43 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]

And of course if somebody runs into the egg room, you wait for them to get pasted and run back, or toss them a res if they die in range and the healers haven't decided that fuck him, he can walk.

(and an UBRS corpserun was a bit of a hike back in the day)
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:11 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]

If you want to experience the real, authentic nerd rage you gotta go back to Dark Age of Camelot and steal someone's Cloudsong.

posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:26 PM on May 11 [1 favorite]

I only knew Leroy Jenkins the musician, so this meme was always incredibly confusing for me. I get it now!
posted by trig at 11:17 PM on May 11

When I first saw this video I had to ask my brother why the one voice was awkwardly mumbling about repeating decimals.

"He's roleplaying a statistician."

That remains the most cringe-inducing part of the video for me, to this day.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 4:09 AM on May 12 [4 favorites]

I always figured he was there to give greater contrast to the "everybody is taking this very seriously and planning out the attack carefully vs this one guy who does not care at all" dynamic.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:45 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

Because I did LOLTrek (which, when it was posted to the Blue, finally pushed me to get a MeFi account after five-plus years of lurking), I got invited to the first ROFLCon meme convention. Leeroy Jenkins attended. I remember him talking about the video and looking bemused about how the video had led him to that convention.

Come to think about it, that's how most of us reacted to our life choices leading to be invited to a meme convention.
posted by sgranade at 6:04 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]

I played WoW for MANY years and while the Leeroy video is staged (as mentioned, if you played, you knew) but simultaneously SO VERY TRUE. The tired raid leader, the discussion of stats and strats for what was probably the ninth time, and Leeroy, the DPS who just wants to get in there and start the party.

Our guild's go phrase was "3..2..1..fuck it." As expected, we usually got just about as far as Leeroy. That egg room, though.. (shiver)
posted by kimberussell at 7:03 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]

Does anyone else think this is blackface? It's a stereotypical Black name with a southern accent. I'm white (and admit I laughed like hell at the time this came out), but it seems problematic, at best.
posted by wnissen at 10:12 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

Does anyone else think this is blackface?

Yeah, it's not screamingly overt, but it's not all that hidden, either. Also, the south asian guy doing the math is another stereotype.
posted by fatbird at 10:59 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

I would not say that "Lee Roy Jenkins" is at all stereotypically black. Southern, yes, but if you image google "Lee Roy" you'll find a mix of races. Same for Jenkins.
posted by tavella at 11:13 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]

Leroy is more frequently Black than 95% of first names. While according to that dataset 69% of Leroys are white, since Blacks make up 16% of the population, it is, statistically, a very Black name. I suggest we skip this particular derail.
posted by wnissen at 1:07 PM on May 12

There's plenty of white people from the south named Leroy (pronounced Leeroy), including my Republican uncle, and plenty of white people named Jenkins, including my next door neighbors. Seemed like a reckless "good ol' boy" southern character to me, but if you really want to interpret the name or the daredevil behavior as Black, suit yourself.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:08 PM on May 12 [3 favorites]

[Hi, one deleted. I don't know that digging deeper on the name specifically will resolve the question about whether it's blackface or whether it's making fun of an imaginary white southerner/good-ol-boy, and in turn what to think about it. It's fine to talk over how those stereotypes can overlap etc if people want.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:57 PM on May 12

I'm going to not-quite-name-drop here and say that I have met the real-life Leeroy Jenkins. It's giving away a bit about myself, but he was the son of my department head during my second go-round in undergrad. He did the yell for us and everything.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:09 PM on May 12 [4 favorites]

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