It was 12 years ago today that saw the birth of one of gaming's most notorious memes. On May 11, 2005 World of Warcraft player Ben Schultz, playing as his alter ego Leeroy Jenkins, charged headlong into battle screaming "Leeeeeroy Jeeeeeenkins!" while ignoring all of the planning and battle strategies laid out by his guild mates. In an attempt to salvage the situation, his guild followed him into battle, and everyone got themselves slaughtered in the process.
The video was uploaded to World of Warcraft video site WarcraftMovies.com 12 years ago today, and became a massive viral hit. It has since become a part of the very fabric of gamer culture. Blizzard even immortalized the character of Jenkins in World of Warcraft itself – voiced by Schultz – and later turned him into a minion card in Hearthstone. In the past dozen years Leeroy Jenkins has been referenced numerous times elsewhere in pop culture – he's been referenced in South Park, My Name is Earl, How I Met Your Mother, and as a Jeopardy! answer. There are even references to him in other games, including Mass Effect and Duke Nukem Forever.
Schultz has since admitted that he and his college guild mates staged the whole thing for comedy purposes, but noted that the idea of a player stepping away to eat some chicken and missing all of the meticulous planning that occurred in his absence was actually based on something that really happened.