Top 8 World of Warcraft Memes

by Tyler Edwards, April 3, 2013

World of Warcraft is a strange cultural phenomenon with a language, a set of customs, and a history all its own. Due to its extreme popularity, WoW has almost become a distinct society unto itself. But it's not an ordinary society; it's an online society, and that means one thing: memes. Lots and lots of memes. The following are just some of the more popular memes to have arisen from the world of Azeroth.

sha of happiness

8: The Sha of Happiness:

The recent Mists of Pandaria expansion introduced a new group of villains to the WoW landscape: the Sha, evil spirits that feed on negative emotions. Over the course of the expansion, players do battle with such nightmarish beings as the Sha of Hatred, the Sha of Anger, the Sha of Despair, and the Sha of Fear.

But most terrible of all is... the Sha of Happiness.

This vile being spawned from a thread on the WoW official forums, and since then it seems to have taken on a life of its own, spawning thousands of nearly identical posts, a Twitter account, countless meme images, and coverage by WoW fan sites.

There is no readily apparent reason to explain the Sha of Happiness or its continued spread across the Internet. What would, under any other circumstance, be considered mindless spam has somehow become hugely popular and beloved by countless players.

You must be careful when dealing with the Sha of Happiness and its crazed followers lest you, too, be consumed by its remorseless good humor.

not prepared


Every era of WoW seems to have a boss quote that becomes a meme among fans. Classic had its, "TOO SOON, EXECUTUS." Cataclysm had its, "There is only POWAH!"

But no boss meme is as well-known or enduring as The Burning Crusade's "YOU ARE NOT PREPARED!" This line, spoken by fan favorite Illidan Stormrage, is something players can be found randomly shouting to this day.

It's hard to say why this one line just keeps getting repeated. There have been more meaningful, more emotional, and more intense boss quotes aplenty in WoW's history. Maybe it's because BC is regarded as the high point of WoW by many old school players.

The irony is that the Internet is crawling with guides, automated gear optimizers, and walkthrough videos. As a result, WoW players tend to be so ludicrously prepared they make the Boy Scouts look like noobs.

kael setback

6: Merely a setback:

Back in Burning Crusade, there was a boss in the Tempest Keep raid by the name of Kael'thas Sunstrider. He met the same fate all raid bosses do that is, he was horribly murdered for his loot but that was not the end of his story. A much more haggard Kael later appeared in the Magisters' Terrace dungeon.

Upon seeing players, Kael declares, "I know what you're thinking, but Tempest Keep was merely a setback!" And a meme was born.

Blizzard's fondness for bringing characters back from the dead is matched only by players' fondness for mocking them about it, and so every time a previously killed character returns or even has a chance to return cries of "____ was merely a setback" can be heard from far and wide.

Blizzard, always ready to poke fun at themselves, has gotten in on the fun. Many bosses who have been previously defeated in some form now spout some variation on the infamous "setback" line. The meme has even spilled into some of Blizzard's other games, such as Starcraft II.


5: Saurfang facts:

Any WoW player worth their salt knows the legend of Varok Saurfang, the most badass Orc to ever grace the universe with his presence. This legend began early in WoW's history, when Alliance players learned it was possible mind control Saurfang. Add to this a bug that vastly increased his damage, and you had some of the most awe inspiring massacres in Azeroth's history.

Saurfang went on to become a major player in several important story arcs, all of which further showed him to be the badass of all badasses. As a result, players began recording various facts about Saurfang similar to the infamous Chuck Norris facts such as, "If Saurfang cleaves glass, it reverts to sand" and "Saurfang can do that while stunned."

It has been suggested that the reason Illidan declares raids to be unprepared is that they neglected to invite Saurfang. Others believe the reason players must pay for repairs on their gear after dealing damage is that Saurfang actually invented damage and is claiming royalties.

If you doubt any of these claims, then you simply have yet to witness the power of Saurfang. You're also likely to be cleaved into oblivion. For he is Saurfang, and he dual wields Chuck Norris.

makriks wife

4: Mankrik's wife:

Once upon a time, if you played a Horde character in WoW, you had to level in the Barrens zone. There really wasn't any other option. And that meant you would eventually run into the quest to find the wife of an Orc named Mankrik.

Horror ensued.

The Barrens was the one of the game's biggest zones. Add to that vague quest instructions, no in game directions, a lack of reliable online guides early on, and the search for a lone Orcish woman quickly became a nightmare of epic proportions. The most brutal raid bosses have nothing on the agonizing struggle that was finding Mankrik's wife.

It became something of a right of passage for Horde players, and countless jokes have been made about the excruciating struggle to find this one poor woman. The constant pleas for help became a staple of the infamous Barrens chat a notable meme in its right.

Sadly or perhaps mercifully this quest was removed in the Cataclysm expansion, meaning no more poor noobs will embark on this most Hellish of journeys.

huntard meme

3: Hunter loot:

In WoW's early history, hunters were somewhat of a confusing class. They were mainly physical damage dealers, but they also had some spells, and they used mana. They could get attack power from strength or agility. They used a combination of melee and ranged weapons.

Couple that with an easy play style that appeals to new players, and Blizzard inadvertently unleashed a nightmare on their players as new and foolish hunters gobbled up every piece of loot they saw.

Strength mail dropped? That's hunter loot. Agility sword? Hunter's totally rolling on that. Caster gloves? "I need the extra mana." Tank gear? "Stamina makes my pet tougher."

This led to the long standing joke, "All loot is hunter loot." And for every person saying it in jest, there was some poor hunter desperately trying to convince his group that he really did need that dagger more than the rogue. To this day, hunters have not lived this tomfoolery down, and they still live with the "huntard" stigma.

blizzard logo

2: Soon:

This is more of a meme related to Blizzard Entertainment in general than a WoW meme specifically. If you have any experience with Blizzard at all, you know they take their sweet time to do anything. As a result, their interpretation of the word "soon" is somewhat different than that of the general populace.

To Blizzard, "soon" means any point between now and the end of time.

As an example, look at the dance studio a feature that would allow WoW players to customize their characters' /dance emotes. This was first announced as "coming soon" in 2007.

That was six years ago, and it's still "coming soon." There is no indication that it is any closer to release now than it was then.

So you can understand why any mention of the word "soon" by Blizzard employees is now met by a mix of mocking laughter and anguished groans. Players have no idea whether "soon" means "next month" or "shortly before the universe is consumed by entropy, ending the space time continuum."

leeroy jenkins

1: Leeroy Jenkins:

If you didn't expect this to be in the number one spot, you need to hand in your MMO fan card right now and hang your head in shame. By now, everyone knows Leeroy his trademark battle cry, his reckless courage, his complete disregard for strategy or common sense, and his chicken.

Anyone who's played WoW for any length of time knows Leeroy. More importantly, they get it. You can't play WoW for any length of time without encountering some clown who wishes to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Jenkins and achieve fame by horribly, stupidly killing everyone in their group.

But Leeroy's fame transcends the WoW community. The entire gaming world is by now familiar with this eccentric folk hero. Even the mainstream media has taken note. Leeroy has been a clue on Jeopardy, and he's even appeared briefly on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. People who've never touched an MMO in their life can be seen making "LEEEEROOOY" jokes.

Never in history has someone attained so much fame and adoration for being a spectacular failure. Well, except for every reality TV star ever.