Of course, the most famous WoW
meme of all time was also one of the first. The Leeroy Jenkins video
has already been covered in its own Archivist column
, so I won't go into detail here.
Of course, the Leeroy video was staged. Another famous vanilla-era recording, the Onyxia wipe, was all too real. The audio featured a raid leader named Dives, who delivers uncontainable scorn and rage in a fun Finnish accent. In the audio, he first provides profanity-laced instructions, then completely loses his mind over a mistake, and ends the wipe with a scorching tirade. His phrases 50 DKP minus
, Many whelps! Handle it!
and More dots!
were instant classics. The latter two both became achievements
during Onyxia's second incarnation. The recording reached new levels of hilarity when an enterprising player named Alachas created an animation
for it. The guild, Wipe Club, later released a "best of" video
Onyxia's most dreaded ability in those days was Deep Breath. Players had a lot of superstitions about what would trigger a Deep Breath. It was believed that placing multiple DOTs on the boss would increase the time between breaths (which is probably why Dives keeps demanding them). Every time the game got patched, someone on the forums would claim that "Onyxia Deep Breaths more
" than she did before the patch. Eventually, players began to post that claim mockingly in any thread alleging a stealth buff to a boss. This too became an anchievement
Molten Core had its own memes. One of the first came out of an odd situation. Core Hounds were trash mobs in the zone that could be skinned for Core Leather
, a necessary component in many recipes for fire resist gear that were helpful versus bosses like Ragnaros. Like any other mob in the game, the hounds dropped random gray vendor loot that were assigned to one player. In a raid of 40 players, a lot was going on. Few people noticed when a trash mob had loot for them, but the skinners couldn't skin until the bodies had been looted. Thus, the Loot the hounds!
meme was born.
Molten Core also gave us the first raid boss meme, from Ragnaros' infamous awakening speech
. The full line is "TOO SOON!
YOU HAVE AWAKENED ME TOO SOON, EXECUTUS! WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS INTRUSION?" (and yes, he uses all caps). Players of course latched on to the "Too soon!" parts, but what made the whole exchange so great was how Ragnaros came across as an angry middle manager, and Majordomo Executus as a disappointing cubicle chump who doesn't understand why his boss is mad -- right up to when Ragnaros kills him.
Other vanilla bosses had memorable lines that approached meme status, such as VanCleef scolding us as Lapdogs, all of you!
and Herod's terrifying run away moment, Blades of Light!
It's a well-known fact that placing an exclamation point after any line of boss dialogue gives it a 20% greater chance to become a meme.
Not prepared for setbacks
Perhaps because we hear them so often, boss speeches have been the origin of many WoW
Illidan's speech became a meme before he was even patched into the game. In the trailer
for The Burning Crusade
, Illidan warns players, You are not prepared.
Players took the phrase and ran with it, applying it to everything from Blizzard's server problems during the early days
of the expansion to literally every other conceivable or inconceivable
concept. Yes, this was one popular.
Karazhan's Big Bad Wolf gave us a sound bite that isn't so much a meme anymore as a crucial raiding asset. If you've ever wondered why Deadly Boss Mods
sometimes yells at you to "Run away little girl, run away!"
then you can thank the BBW.
In his original form, Kael'thas was memorable more for his insane difficulty than his speeches. It wasn't until he returned from defeat -- during the same expansion -- that he became meme-worthy. The minute his Magister's Terrace version
cryptically claimed that "Tempest Keep was merely a setback
," a meme was born. The nonexplanation became the go-to whenever a WoW
boss (or anyone or anything else) inexplicably returns from the dead. Blizzard paid tribute to the phrase's popularity during Icecrown Citadel's three princes encounter, where Valanar explains that "Naxxanar was merely a setback." At they had the excuse of being undead . . .
had its share of boss memes as well. In addition to a few from Ulduar mentioned last week, we had Jaraxxus, the boss who name-checked himself every time you pulled him. You face Jaraxxus!
and it's own Facebook page
Players found multiple things hilarious about Marrowgar's Boooonestooorm
announcement -- and really, how could you not? The voice acting is over the top, the word itself is hilarious, and out of context it becomes even more so. During Tier 10, players would break into conversations by announcing a Bonestorm of their own.
While Bonestorm was beloved, many phrases in Icecrown Citadel became memes because they were so very hated. One of very few blemishes on the raid was its penchant for unskippable "cut scenes" that triggered prior to certain bosses -- on every single pull. The most egregious of these was certainly the Saurfang encounter. As with Thorim's long speech, one phrase really stuck out. This time it was We named him Dranosh
. The line goes on to say, "It means, 'heart of Draenor' in orcish." Players, of course, reinterpreted the name in many different ways, most commonly "It means, 'We just wasted ninety seconds.'"
The only thing more annoying than unskippable cut scenes is perhaps repetitive boss shouts that grate in the headset. The less said about Sindragosa's Your pathetic magic betraaaays you
Soon, bears and campfires
Many of these boss memes peppered the official forums, but the forums have also spawned quite a few memes of their own. Perhaps the ultimate forum meme comes from Blizzard itself, but isn't actually a trademark: Soon™
Many don't know this, but in the earliest days of WoW
, Blizzard actually gave projected dates for things like patches well in advance. Blizzard being Blizzard, however, they rarely met these deadlines. Players would then slather the forums with angry, irrational reaction posts, calling Blizzard's CMs "liars" who "broke their promises." To end the cycle of disappointment and forum rage, the CMs stopped giving out dates and reduced deadlines to a binary system. Either something was coming "soon" or not soon. The CMs relied on the "soon" gambit so many times that it has earned both a capital S and a trademark.
Hand in hand with missed deadlines and other traumatic events were players threatening to quit the game. Quit posts have never really gone out of style, much to forum users' consternation. During WoW
's first few years, however, they were really out of control. Perhaps as a way of discouraging others from posting similar silly threats, players discovered the only relevant reply: Can I have your stuff?
Complaints are ceaseless on the forums, but few were as perfectly reasoned as a thread in 2007 about a change to mining nodes. Blizzard planned to make mining the node aggro nearby mobs. Apparently some players thought that was unfair, because other types of gathering didn't inherently draw aggro. As the argument went,
Skinning a bear should aggro every bears
in a 40 yard radius. It makes sense, you are actually skinning their best friend.
Something about the ungrammatical phrase "every bears" -- or perhaps the compelling argument -- caught players' fancy. The thread soon grew to epic proportions. Players made similar arguments about "disenchanting a boot should aggro every boots" etc. The phrase has appeared in one of Blizzards' April Fools' Day
jokes, and a forum troll using the meme in an insulting joke eventually led to CM Tseric leaving the company
Many people thought Blizzard was joking when they said that Garrosh would become the new warchief of the Horde. From emo teen to 'roided out warmonger, Garrosh didn't exactly have the kind of track record Hordies look for in their leadership. A forum thread by Vacant on Eldre'thelas offered 50 better alternatives
, including Gamon
, a Sickly Gazelle
, "that unclickable goblin girl who pedal-powers the Northrend zeps," and the Basic Campfire
. People scoffed at first, but the campaign picked up a lot of steam, with support from blogs
, The Daily Blink
, the MMO Champion community
, and WoW Insider's Allison Robert
. Personally, I'm a Gamon man.
Ghostcrawler in all caps
Greg Street, aka Ghostcrawler, is the lead systems designer for WoW
and the inspiration behind two of the game's most enduring memes. The first came about in the fall of 2008, shortly before the launch of Wrath
but after the expansion's class changes had gone live. In a beta forums Q&A about ret paladins, whom many players perceived as extremely powerful at the time, Ghostcrawler posted,
Q: Are we going to nerf Ret?
A: TO THE GROUND BABY. Okay, not really, but sometimes I can't resist. We'll see how much that quote comes back to haunt me.
As it turns out, that quote didn't just haunt him -- it turned all the furniture in his house upside down, made the walls bleed paladin tears, and then possessed his dog and bit him. Yes, Blizzard had to nerf ret paladins drastically
. One could even say to a level approaching sea level. When it happened, ret paladins immediately made reference to his "joke" that now seemed cruelly prophetic in hindsight.
Ever since, "to the ground baby" has become the rallying cry for posters calling for nerfs -- or for players mourning the enfeeblement of their favorite spec. The Tanaris quest To the Ground!
and the achievement of the same name
are references to the meme.
In the spring of the following year, a forum post
complaining about mage nerfs went so far over the top with QQ about what Blizzard "promised" them that the usually calm and reasonable Ghostcrawler couldn't help himself. His initial reply was merely
GHOSTCRAWLER PROMISED ME A PONY.
At first people were taken aback by the sarcastic bluntness. Then we all realized how hilarious it was, and a legend was born. The phrase has since become synonymous with excessive complaining. The WoW Insider crew rocked custom "Ghostcrawler promised me a pony" T shirts
at BlizzCon 2009.
Later, during the 2010 Winter Olympics, players asked for an Olympics-themed companion pet
, claiming that "Ghostcrawler promised me a moose." The moose meme even made an appearance
at the Games themselves.
Ultimately, Ghostcrawler delivered. We got our pony
in 2011. We're still waiting for the moose, though.
has had so many memes that no single column could possibly cover them all. Someday I will write a followup with more. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to share your favorites below.
The WoW Archivist examines the
WoW of old. Follow along while we discuss the lost legendary, the opening of Ahn'Qiraj, and hidden locations such as the crypts of Karazhan.