UBRS and the anniversary of Leeroy Jenkins
May 11th was the 14th anniversary of the most iconic early World of Warcraft video, where Leeroy Jenkins runs right through the middle of a carefully calculated plan. This gives us a chance to reminisce about the good old days.
For those who don’t know, Upper Blackrock Spire started as a 10-man raid. You needed a key to get in and that was a grind to get. I remember having to chip in to pay someone to open the door. I still have my Drakefire Amulet which acted as the key. I worked hard for that — I’m keeping it forever.
The room beyond where the players are standing as the video opened was filled with dragon eggs and a few dragonkin who were tending them. At the far left end of the room was an obelisk which you could click on and summon an optional boss. Your goal was to get through this room. Across from the door was a ramp which lead to the upper floor, but between you and this ramp were at least two dragonkin and at least 20 eggs. The eggs respawned exceptionally fast.
It was a nightmare. You’d pull the dragonkin back into the initial room and kill them. Then — assuming no one needed the optional boss for anything — made a beeline for ramp. There were dragonkin at the top of the ramp and a couple of them had a knockback. Oh the joy of getting down all the whelps who spawned during your run up the ramp, only to have a healer punted into a mass of eggs on the floor below. When you spawned whelps on that lower floor and you died — not if — those whelps made a beeline for the rest of the party trying ever so hard to handle what was on the second floor. It was incredibly messy.
Leeroy in WoW
Leeroy Jenkins went viral long before we understood what that meant. Wikipedia lists 13 different references outside of WoW. There were Hearthstone and World of Warcraft Trading Card Game cards, of course. There’s the in-game achievement Leeeeeeeeroy, which was added when the achievement system went live in 2008. Killing 50 whelps in 15 seconds could still wipe a decently geared party of level 80s if you didn’t do your AOEs properly. Of course, it was hilarious when that happened. We had “Leeroy” nights in my guild because why not?
When we got followers in Warlords of Draenor, you could get Leeroy. You had to do the updated UBRS — now a 5-man dungeon. He had to be rezzed and then you needed to kill all the mobs between him and Son of the Beast. You can’t kill the trash and then rez Leeroy. You have to rez him as you’re killing trash. He has to cook his chicken leg which gives you some time and he’s quite slow, but there are a lot of mobs between you and Son of the Beast so keep chain killing.
Leeroy — 14 years on
Ben Schultz, a gamer and the player behind Leeroy, went to BlizzCon. Originally he and PALS FOR LIFE — the guild, which is still in existence today — were circumspect about whether the video was staged. Schultz said, “I like people to decide for themselves.” In 2017, however, Ben “Anfrony” Vinson told Kotaku the video was staged. “We didn’t think anyone would believe it was real, we thought it was so obviously satire.”
The knowledge the video was staged doesn’t make it any less humorous. I have to admit to standing in the doorway of a room full of mobs and hearing someone on voice chat say, “You know what we should do? Leeroy this.” If you’re any kind of gamer, you know the reference. Even if you don’t know gaming, this is so far into popular culture, it was on Jeopardy. While some decried the “hard-core mindset” of the raider planning for yet another assault on a room which seemed to bedevil them, most people saw this as a testament to the raid gone wrong. We’ve all been there and darn it, this is funny.
Happy anniversary, Leeroy. With WoW Classic on the horizon, I’m already getting asked if we will run this and can we roll to see who gets to be Leeroy.
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