How to speak gamer: Lingo for n00bs

Sunday, September 27, 2015 - 12:03pm




Attention Daily readers, this is your friend, neighborhood media nerd here to drop a little helpful knowledge. Since video game culture continues to become more prevalent, those outside it are becoming aware that there is, in fact, an entire culture. Often with a culture, there comes a language, and the video game community certainly has its own vocabulary which can be confusing to people who aren’t familiar with the terms. Since I plan to cover both video game culture and video game news throughout this year, consider this your guide to any lingo you may not understand.

Game Types:

There are many different times of games to play, and while no two games are exactly alike they usually fall into a category. Often, these categories are represented with acronyms. Here are some of the more common acronyms:

MOBA: This stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. It features team based online competitive gameplay in which the two teams compete to either capture or destroy the other team’s home base. These games focus on teamwork and strategy. Examples include “League of Legends” and “Smite.”

RPG: Standing for Role-Playing Game, RPGs are games in which the player creates their own personal character within the game. To further personalize them, this character can be modified and leveled up. The most well-known RPG is “World of Warcraft.”

MMO: Often attached to RPGs as MMORPG, this term stands for Massively Multiplayer Online (game). These are games with huge servers to allow for many players to play on the same map. “Minecraft” and “Eve Online” are examples of two very different MMOs.

FPS: One of the most common game types, this stands for First-Person Shooter. This is a game where the camera view is from the Point of View of the character. These games require the player to traverse game maps to discover new weapons and ammo for them while killing enemies. They often include online multiplayer maps as well as a single player campaign. The most popular FPS is “Call of Duty.” There is also a related category of game called 3PS or TPS which is a shooter game from third-person. The camera on these games is often situated slightly above and behind the playable character, as in “Grand Theft Auto.”

RTS: This stands for Real-Time Strategy. This is a game that focuses on group strategy as a player must focus on the overall movement of their unit in order to secure a victory. They often include a mini-map. This genre includes war games and most MMORPGS. Games like “StarCraft” and “Age of Empires.”

DLC: This is the acronym for Downloadable Content. DLC is an addition to a game that comes after game release. They often include additional game maps, game modes, character models or upgrades. They are meant to increase the hours of content in a game or create a new way to play it. Some are free with the purchase of the original game and others must be bought separately.

Enemies and Friends:

This is a list of terms that are related to the many characters you will encounter in games, as well as those related to your own gameplay.

NPC: This stands for Non-playable Characters. These are the in-game characters that the player runs into during their run of the game. There are different kinds of NPCs. Some free roam, and others are delegated to specific locations. Sometimes the player can interact with them, such as in shops. Others can be killed or frightened, and others remain unaffected no matter how many times you shoot them with an arrow.

Mob: Mob is short for Mobile Object and refers to a NPC that can free roam. However, this term has become associated with hostile enemies. Some Mobs attack unprovoked, while others are passive until the player attacks. Defeating a Mob often rewards the player with experience points or upgrades. In other game types, such as hoard mode, the player must defeat all Mobs to advance. Mobs are popular in zombie games like “Dead Rising” and “Left 4 Dead.”

Agro: This is a shortening of the word aggressive and refers to the moment when a passive Mob switches to attack mode. When a Mob agros (is agroed by a player) they often become relentless in their attack and sometimes receive an increase in power. It is a bad idea to agro many Mobs at once as a player may find themselves overwhelmed, and in some cases there is a particular Mob that is super powerful and ought to be avoided at all costs.

Spawn: Spawn refers to the action of a Mob or player appearing in the game map. With a spawn comes a spawn point. A spawn point is the place on the map where the player or NPC spawns. In games where points are gained from killing other characters, a player may choose to sit and wait by the enemies spawn point and kill them as they appear (this is called camping, because you camp out). Spawning occurs at the beginning of the game and after death in a game with multiple lives. Every spawn after the first is called a respawn. Sometimes it is automatic or timed, and other times another player must come “pick you up” in order for you to return to play. Often times spawn points are random, but some games allow a player to set their spawn point at a certain location.

Buff: This is a temporary positive status effect that can be acquired in-game to help the player. It increases health, speed, power or any other aspect of game play. These are common in games that feature magic and result from spell casting. There are also debuffs, which negatively affect players.

Grind/Mine/Farm: These terms refer to a repeated action done to receive some kind of bonus advantage. This could mean replaying a certain level or fighting a specific boss over and over. The rewards vary: it could be to find a specific rare item or simply for experience points to level up the character.


This is the list of terms that one needs to know to understand the Speedrunning sub-community of gaming. Speedrunning is the competitive practice of completing a game as quickly as possible.

Frame Perfect: This refers to the execution of a move that requires an action to be done at a certain time and place that is so specific it is done within one frame of animation. These are notoriously hard to execute, but when done successfully, they can usually allow the speedrunner to skip a significant portion of the game map. They are often considered to be worth the risk of failure.

Any% and 100%: These refer to how much of the game must be completed on a given run. In an Any% run the goal is to simply get from the start to the end. It does not matter if you don’t collect every item or if you skip levels using glitches. A 100% run is a complete run of a game. What constitutes a complete run varies per game and is agreed upon by the community.

Damage Boost: A damage boost is a tactic that involves intentionally taking a hit off an enemy or a hazard in order to quickly reach a location. Sometimes it grants temporary immunity, allowing the player to traverse previously deadly terrain or, for example, use an enemy as a platform to reach a higher level.

TAS: This stands for Tool Assisted Speedrun. This is when speedrunners use technology to find the fastest way through a game. It helps with techniques like frame perfect glitches, but it is generally not considered acceptable for record breaking attempts.

Sequence Break:  A sequence break refers to a moment during a speedrun when the runner enters a level or section of a map before they are supposed to get there. They “break” the linear progression of the game.

RNG: This acronym stands for random number generator. It refers to the math behind random enemy spawns. During a speedrun, having a lot of enemies spawn, or even just having one spawn in an unfortunate place, can ruin a run. When this happens, it’s called having bad RNG.

Other Acronyms:

Acronyms are just really important to gamers.

IP: IP stands for intellectual property. If a game or game series is referred to as an IP, it is a reference to the fact that a developer owns the copyright to a product. If a game is created that is not a part of a series it is considered to be a new IP. For example, a popular Nintendo IP is the “Mario” series.

PvP: This stands for Player vs Player, and this occurs anytime that two players are pitted against the other. Battle and fighting games feature this mechanic often.

gg: The only acronym to be in lowercase letters, gg stands for good game. This is what you type into the server to let your team know they put up a good fight even if you got crushed.

AFK: There is nothing worse than having to leave the computer in the middle of an online game. Let your teammates know that you have to leave by typing AFK, which stands for away from keyboard.

HUD: This stands for heads up display. This is the display that is most commonly associated with FPS games. It often includes a health meter and ammo count. It is also where your options to switch weapons will be as well as some kind of radar or mini-map.

DPS: DPS stands for damage per second. This refers to how much damage your character takes over time from enemies or hazards. This is also related to the effects of poison or debuffs.

KD: This is your kill-death ratio. Most common in online deathmatch games, this is tracked automatically by the game, and it is arguably the most important stat in the games that feature it. You want a high KD.

So, go forth and impress your friends with your knowledge of video game acronyms and check in with the Daily for monthly recaps of video game news and releases.