In the distant future, before users can officially become licensed by authorities to browse the internet, they will have to pass a written test about internet lore and the history of online goofs. One of those test questions will, inevitably, focus on Leeroy Jenkins, the shorthand name for an infamous World of Warcraft video.
(To review: World of Warcraft is the most popular “massively multiplayer online role-playing game,” or MMORPG, in the world. Players must coordinate and work together to complete missions, also known as raids.)
In 2005, a video called “A Rough Go” was posted online, depicting a group of players planning a raid. Midway through, a player named Leeroy Jenkins (real name: Ben Schulz) ruins the plan by sprinting into the arena without any rhyme or reason, causing most of the players to follow him and die in the encounter. As he runs in, he shouts his name, “Leeeeeeroooooy Jenkiiiiins!” The battle cry became an early internet meme and non sequitur.
Last week, the player who recorded the video, Anfrony (real name: Ben Vinson), uploaded an earlier, alternate version of the famous video, recorded slightly prior. In it, you can still hear the group planning, and you can hear another “Leeroy Jenkins” battle cry, but it doesn’t end entirely in disaster.
Anfrony writes that he posted the video to keep attention on net neutrality, which the FCC voted to dismantle protections for earlier this month. “I’ve been holding onto this for over a decade waiting for the ‘right’ moment to make it public,” he writes, “and then last week Ajit Pai created his awful/condescending video and it riled me up so much that I decided it was finally time to unleash this gem of Internet history on the world to do my part to help out.”
On the WoW forums, Leeroy himself posted a link to the video. “This should answer the on-going question that we all already knew the answer to, and hopefully support a good cause.” The question he’s referring to is whether or not the original video was planned, or if it happened spontaneously. For years, players have pointed out that, among other details in the original, the strategy that the group is running through is a great way to lose the fight very quickly, lending credence to the theory that the incident was a staged parody of people who take WoW too seriously. Now they can say that for sure.