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Behind the Curtains - The Story Behind Popular WoW Memes

Updated Wed, May 04, 2011 by Mem



Chuck Norris, the Onyxia wipe video, and Leeroy Jenkins are just some examples of the phenomenon that is the internet meme. An internet meme is any catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person using methods available through the Internet. World of Warcraft provides not only the perfect environment for these memes to spread, but also the perfect means to create new memes born out of the game. 

Funnily enough as commonplace as some of these memes are, quite a few people have no idea where they originated from. I think that this is a situation that should be remedied immediately. So without further ado, here are my personal favorite World of Warcraft related memes and their origins.

Leeroy Jenkins

Ben Schulz (better known as the infamous Leeroy Jenkins) is probably one of the best known players ever in World of Warcraft. Forever immortalized in a video showing his guild (<PALS FOR LIFE>) planning out a strategy for taking out the eggs in the Rookery in Upper Blackrock Spire. Leeroy, supposedly AFK, comes back to the computer and before his party is fully prepared charges into the Rookery popping every egg in sight screaming the line that made him famous, “LEEROOOOOOOYYY JEEENNKIIINNSSS!!!!”.  His party members rush in behind him into the fray and quickly wipe. The movie ends with Leeroy saying, “At least I have chicken” (the guild‘s favorite snack is KFC according to Ben).

Since the video was released, Leeroy’s guild has admitted that while the video was based on an actual event, the video itself was staged. Regardless, this video has made Leeroy’s name synonymous with any action that could be potentially stupid, and lead to less than desirable consequences. The video became so popular that Blizzard and the rest of the world took notice. Leeroy was asked to attend Blizzcon 2007 where he preformed his famous line for the crowd, and an achievement was added to the game to gain the title Jenkins by killing those pesky whelps.

Leeroy has also been mentioned on Jeopardy, been made into a trading card in the World of Warcraft Trading Card game, and is even made reference to in several shows and commercials. The video itself is fun, and a must see for any World of Warcraft player.

More DOTs! (Onyxia Wipe Video)

Think your guild leader is a real jerk? Then you obviously haven’t watched this video. Starring a very angry raid leader, with an interesting accent, a foul temper and a big mouth, this video  follows the adventures of the guild <Wipe Club> in it’s attempt to defeat Onyxia, back when Onyxia was 40 player. Ah, memories.

Apparently the guild had had enough of their guild leader’s antics and to get some revenge, they recorded their voice chat for the night and posted it for all the world to hear. Throughout the video the raid leader curses, degrades, and outright yells just for the sheer pleasure of yelling at his fellow guild mates. While it is an amusing video, it also can give a general idea of the standard strategy for defeating Onyxia….if you can stop laughing long enough.

Since it’s first release the More DoTs recording has been put to various animations that can be seen on sites all over the internet. It has also been made into an add on that can be used to assist you while in Onyxia’s lair. There is nothing that motivates you more to stay out of the whelps than some guy yelling THAT IS A 50 DKP MINUS in your ear.

 Please be warned this video contains profanity, and is not for the faint of heart.

Mankrik's Wife

Almost every World of Warcraft player has seen someone mention Mankrik‘s wife. If you have no idea who  Mankrik’s poor wife is, and why the heck people are looking for her, let me explain.

Finding Mankrik’s Wife is part of the quest Lost in Battle (Horde only), in which Mankrik asks you to find his wife, who he believes to have fallen in battle. Mankrik, being the helpful quest giver he is, offers no directions, and he also doesn’t mention that there is no NPC actually called “Mankrik’s Wife”. This results in tons of requests in Barrens chat for her location. This tends to annoy more experienced players, or even less experienced players who have seen the question pop up for the 50th time that day.

Now when you make a request to find Mankrik’s wife you may get lucky and have some kind soul send you in her general direction, but you also take the chance to be sent to some far-fetched, hard to reach place (such as in Vaelastrasz’s room).  Mankrik’s Wife is also now used as a generic response that can be applied to almost any question. For example:

“Where can I buy water?”
“Mankrik’s Wife.”

Used in the right way, Mankrik’s Wife (rest her soul) can provide many laughs, even though it’s sometimes at the expense of new players. If you haven’t, try it out sometime.

*If you take the road from Camp Taurajo to the Crossroads, you will come across a bridge that crosses a dried up river bed. Go southwest of the bridge and you will discover a collection of huts. Inside one of these huts is Mankrik’s Wife, aka “Beaten Corpse”.

Chuck Norris

While these jokes are not only found inside the World of Warcraft, they have become such a part of the game that I couldn’t help but add it to my list. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see a Chuck Norris joke in Trade chat, and just when they seem to die away, they come back again. Chuck Norris facts can be used in any situation, and during any type of conversation.

Chuck Norris has appeared in numerous action films, and even began his rise to stardom as a martial artist. Always playing the tough guy, the image stuck and resulted in the various Chuck Norris facts which appeared in 2005 as a by-product of the Vin Diesel Fact Generator. Conan O’Brien’s Chuck Norris jokes are also seen as a inspiration for it’s popularity. These “facts” attribute various (and mostly impossible) feats and traits to Norris. Norris has stated that he is not offended by these, and actually finds some of them funny.

Some of my personal favorite facts are:

  • Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
  • There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.
  • Superman only has two weaknesses. Kryptonite and a round house kick from Chuck Norris.

O RLY? YA RLY!


Once again, this meme phenomenon did not begin in the World of Warcraft universe however it is heavily used and I thought it deserved a spot on the list (mostly because O rly is one of my favorite responses to just about anything, even in real life).

The details of O rly’s beginnings seem rather sketchy, however at least as early as August of 2003 O rly could be found being used on the Something Awful Forums. Eventually it made it’s way to 4chan and became connected with a bunch of images, the most popular being a snowy owl picture captured by nature photographer John White.

O rly literally meaning “Oh, really” can either be used in friendly conversation, or as a sarcastic response to someone you feel as no idea what they are talking about. The most common response to O rly is Ya rly (Yeah, really).

O rly has quickly spread through the general population and was an instant hit, being used in games across various gaming systems such as Game Boy Advance, Xbox, and Nintendo DS. References to O rly can be found in Everquest 2, Runescape, and even in our beloved World of Warcraft in the form of two Auctioneers. Auctioneer Yarly can be found in the Undercity, while Auctioneer O’reely makes his home in Booty Bay.

This brings me to the end of my list of favorite World of Warcraft related internet memes. I hope you enjoyed learning the stories behind them as much as I did, even though I barely scratched the surface.  Join us on our forums and share your favorite World of Warcraft related memes. And remember, when in doubt, just kite it to Vael’s room!

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