The jargon of online gaming

“If the tank can’t hold the aggro, then things are going to get nasty for the squishies back with the dd’s. If an add joins the mix as well, then it’s going to be a wipe. Experienced online gamers will process these statements with an unconcerned nod of their head. It’s probably no better than gibberish to everyone else.

Online games are more than just a hobby for millions of people. They are also a Petri dish for entire insider languages between gamers who want to communicate specific information fast. Newcomers to this world will find it a bit easier once they learn at least a few basic terms.”

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Among the many different kinds of online games, the most successful are the MMORPGs. The term stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games – games where a great multitude of players control virtual characters – known as Chars or Avatars for short – through adventures in fantasy worlds. It’s certainly possible for a gamer to go it on his own. But much of the fun comes through playing in groups. And to find those players to make group quests happen, the games all provide some form of chat functionality.

To those versed in the lingo, “4/6 lfm tank and dd” is a more scientific notation than lazy shorthand. It represents a want ad with very specific information: The first part of this seeming jumble of letters and numbers indicates that four characters have already come together for what is to be a six member group (4/6). They are looking for two more members to fill out the group (lfm – looking for more). Specifically, they are looking for either tank or dd (damage dealer) characters.

Tank and dd – these refer to the different classes of characters that can be created. It’s important to remember that online games usually centre on chasing down nasty monsters. Those are usually dubbed as Mobs, short for Mobile Object.

To make the hunt successful, most groups feature a warrior in heavy armour capable of absorbing punishment from the monster – in short, a tank. Each group usually includes at least one healer in the second row to help keep the tanks fresh, using magic or medicine to keep the front line’s HP (health points) in the green zone. The damage dealers are responsible for high dps numbers (damage per second) to keep the monster’s HP headed downward.

The tank’s job is to take the aggro – lure the monster into applying its aggression exclusively to that hero’s armour. If one of the characters wearing only thin cloth robes – a “squishy” – ends up “drawing aggro,” that is, ends up the target of the monster’s blows, then that character is likely to end up lifeless on the floor in a hurry.

And then there is the “add”: The term stands for “Additional” and refers to a situation where more monsters join after the fight has begun. The result as after a wipe: after the battle the monsters the ones ready to wipe the floor with the vanquished heroes.

But adds aren’t the only thing that can disrupt a game. Behind each avatar is real life person, with real life concerns Typing “bio” into the chat window freezes a character within the online world and marks the player as afk (away from keyboard) while the player takes care of urgent biological needs. Upon returning, a “re” (return) notice will usually bring in several “wb” (welcome back) from polite players.

With luck, a party will not be completely demolished by a tough fight, because the returning character was parked in a safe state. With even more luck, that char possesses the ability to “rez,” or resurrect, other players. If the members of a group may have been pursuing a common quest that is now completed, they can then return to the NPC (Non Player Character, a character not controlled by players) who assigned them the quest.

Completing quests brings XP (Experience Points), which are needed to develop characters. In many cases quests bring a reward that is bop (bound on pickup): the object is tied to that character. There is no option to barter it away to other players with a “wts” (want to sell) in chat.

Should a player find himself alone after surviving an adventure, he can speed up the search for companions with a “lfg” (looking for group) call.

As odd as many of these terms may be, it only takes a few adventures for even the greenest Noob (Newbie) to become an experienced hero. He can then help the next wave of newcomers learn the lingo of the online role playing world.

INFO BOX: Key terms from online RPGs

Buff: temporary positive spell that improves specific abilities for the character. Guild: a permanent group of players. Lag: Time delay between ordering of an action by the player and its execution, caused by technical problems. LD – Linkdead: Broken connection between computer and gaming world. Loot: Objects found after monsters have been dispatched. Mainchar: primary character used by a player. PVE – Player versus Environment: most commonly available method of game play. The opponents here are mostly computer controlled monsters. PVP – Player versus Player: Players fight against one another. Twink: Additional, rarely used playing character.

Author: Kiven
Kiven originally started this blog back in 2004 to document his forays into Half Life 2 and World of Warcraft. For more Play to Earn gaming news, Add me on Twitter: @Kiven and Like my Page on Facebook:

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