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Thread: MMO Glossary

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    Join Date
    May 2008
    Ely, UK

    MMO Glossary

    MMO Glossary

    This document is designed to give an overview of the language and acronyms that may be used during the MMO class. Feel free to post more and I will edit them in.

    NB: Some of these may seem very basic and simple that you may feel that everyone should or does know … part of the point of this thread is to save some face for those who may not have played many MMOs or RPGs.

    In addition several of these definitions are compiled from other sites, I will try to keep tabs of what sites I’ve used. Tons of thanks to the people who originally compiled these lists!

    MMO: Massively Multiplayer Online (gaming)

    RPG: Roleplaying Game

    RPG Specific

    Ability, Talents, Traits: A distinguishing characteristic of a character. This could be the ability for a character to size up a fight better than most or perhaps the person has exceptional leadership skills. It doesn't have to be positive: a bad trait could be a phobia or uncontrollable greed. Some games give advantages/disadvantages for traits. Traits can be further defined by being assigned a numeric or textual value to indicate the competency of the ability being described by the name of the Trait. When numerical, this is normally called an Ability (Typically Strength, Agility, Dexterity, Intelligence, Spirit)

    Action Resolution: A general mechanic used within the game to drive the story forward. Action resolution most commonly is determined randomly with variable chances of success based on character skills/abilities/stats and often involves dice or a table-lookup to determine outcome and may include degrees of success or failure. Probably originated in discussions at the Forge but has become part of a wider body of language.

    Actual Play
    1) A reference to the recording or transcription of a session of play into a form intended to be read by a third party. Actual Play is considered in some quarters to be the sole basis for criticism of game mechanisms as anything "intended" or "expected" is irrelevant in the face of the actual play.
    2) Having literally played a game.

    Advantages: Skills or traits the character has that aid him in the course of game play. Often set at time of character creation.

    Adventure: A single challenge, often short enough to be completed in one session. Often makes up one smaller piece of larger story with a beginning and an end, but may be stand alone. Contrast with Campaign.

    Adventure Seed: a short description of a setup for an adventure, intended as a jumping off point for a GM to expand into an adventure.

    AP: Action Points.
    1) Often given to players for use during the game and may be spent to allow their characters to perform actions above and beyond what they may normally do.
    2) An acronym for Actual Play (q.v.)

    Attack of Opportunity (AoO) : Special attacks that a character can make as a reaction to some game event or Character / NPC action.

    1) Refers to gameplay which some players find morally objectionable; a character or campaign based on rape would be considered badwrongfun by many.
    2) Sometimes used to refer to playing a game in a non-thematic way to achieve a comedic effect.

    Battle mat: A piece of paper, vinyl, cardboard, Lucite, or other substance marked off in a grid (hexagons, squares, offset squares, triangles) for use in simulating combat. Often they are designed to be drawn on with an erasable marker of some kind. Usually used with miniatures to determine precise position information during play.

    Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG) : Most often the main antagonist boss NPC for a particular adventure or campaign.

    Breath or Breath Weapon: Commonly used to refer to a weapon / attack type of a creature, (i.e. dragon, white wolf, hell hound, etc)

    Broad Skills: Skills that cover a wide range of activities, such as "Wheeled Vehicles," "Medical," "Melee," or "Artisan." Systems with broad skills tend to have short lists, often 30:60 skills. Usually seen in design discussions.

    Bug Hunt: Most often used in a Science Fiction RPG involving nothing more than killing some alien creature(s). See Dungeon Crawl.

    Called Shot: An attack made by a character which targets a particular area on an opponent or object. Depending on the system a called shot will trade off increased difficulty for increased damage and/or an additional effect. See Hit Location.

    Caltrops: A common slang term for 4:sided dice where the traditional tetrahedron shape of the die means a pointy end is always pointing up waiting in ambush for poorly shod gamers.

    Campaign: A longer story told by chaining or linking a number of adventures together. Sometimes, one single very long adventure can be called a "campaign". Whereas an adventure may only encompass one to three levels of character improvement, a campaign will allow Player Characters to achieve much more levels of character improvement. Also, the story and overall goals tend to be much more epic than an adventure. Campaigns almost always require more than two or three gaming sessions to complete.

    Campaign Setting: The (fictitious) world where a specific adventure or campaign takes place. Lord of the Rings stories are set in the campaign setting of Middle Earth.

    Canon: Original material, or referring to "official source material", which is created or accepted by an RPG’s designer(s). Canon is often used to ensure continuity within a RPG or fantasy setting. May refer to mechanics or fluff material.

    Character/Toon: A character refers to all the people within a world, this includes the players.

    Character Generation (CGen): The act of creating a new character.

    Character Points: A pool of points used to advance a character's abilities / level / skills / etc. Players often begin with a large pool to design a character, and then earn more as they adventure with the character.

    Character Sheet: The document containing a character's basic traits, skills, carried equipment, background, etc. Historically a single sheet of paper, but is more commonly becoming an electronic document or spreadsheet and/or may be made up of multiple sheets.

    Class: The "main area of expertise", “role”, or "job" for a player character. Typical classes in role-playing games with a fantasy setting are fighter, cleric, thief, or wizard. The chosen class typically affects what skills / abilities the player character can learn / use. Classes usually incorporate fixed set of abilities appropriate to the fiction the class represents.

    Class-Based: An RPG using character classes to define player character job or role within a group, commonly limiting a player character to one or two areas of expertise. For example, a Fighter class is generally best at melee combat, a Magic User class is generally best at spells and their use in a game.

    Collapsing Die: Opposite of an Exploding Die. A collapsing die, when a minimal result is rolled, is rolled again and the result subtracted from the total roll, often resulting in a major failure.

    Core Rules: The subset of rules that is basic and core to the game. The rules are commonly shared between different games published by the same publisher, (often culled out into a separate book to save duplicate information in each book published). In most cases the core rules are the only rules needed to play an RPG.

    Creature: Term used generically to refer to anything that can take actions / interact within the game / story. (Character / NPC / monster / living objects / undead / etc.)

    Critical (Crit): When a character uses an ability they have a chance to ‘crit’. Crits improve the effectiveness of that ability for that instance. E.g. A crit in combat usually deals extra damage.

    1) Often used to reference a skill, or ability that may be used by more than one class.
    2) Used to mean a skill, or ability generally reserved for a specific class which a different class may pick up, often at a reduced level of effectiveness.

    Computer Role-playing Game (CRPG): Refers to role-playing games designed for computer or console play. These are typified by the presence of character development and tactical combat but usually lack the other features of table-top role-playing games as they are usually designed for solo play. Some exceptions exist.

    Crunch or Crunchy: Rules-heavy. Referring to rules which detail how actions and/or action resolution is determined. Also includes rules which specify abilities, statistics, monsters, equipment, etc. Often includes little or no story information.

    Damage: Any harm that comes to characters is usually expressed as damage. It comes in many flavors, not the least of which are: Normal damage (in some systems with multiple damage types, a type of damage with potentially lethal side effects, but mostly likely to stun or injure. Also called half-lethal damage. In several other games, used as a merely as a contrast to Lethal or Aggravated Damage), Stun Damage (in some systems with multiple types of damage, Stun may b a type of damage resulting only in unconsciousness or impairment of function), Aggravated Damage (a synonym for Lethal Damage). Damage types may be distinguished by the particular kind of hit point that is reduced, as with Composure Damage.

    Difficulty Check (DC): A check against a characters ability, how close a character fail or passes the test normally alters the result.

    Deus Ex Machina : An unexpected NPC or plot-device, often only appearing for a single scene, that saves a seemingly hopeless situation. Generally seen as a bad design choice in adventure design. Derives from the classical term with stricter definition: a sudden and unexpected resolution to a seemingly intractable problem. Literally, the god from the machine, a solution that seems to arise from outside the fiction.

    Disadvantage: Skills or traits the character has that deter him in the course of game play. Often set at time of character creation and used to enhance / encourage role-playing.

    Dump Stat: A Stat with little or no perceived value, thus one that is often sacrificed or shorted in favor of another one if there is an opportunity to distribute points. Example: Charisma in a D&D dungeon crawl.

    Dungeon Crawl: A role-playing game scenario or adventure in which the main focus is exploration of the environment, engaging and fighting any monsters, and collecting treasure. Commonly set in a dungeon made up of hallway and rooms with little to no story line.

    Effect: A positive or negative element which affects a character, almost always causing modifiers to abilities or allowable actions. Example: stunned, poisoned, hasted, unconscious, etc. Sometimes called a "status effect" or, depending on the context, a "buff" or "debuff".

    Experience Points: A system for improving characters in role-playing games. Typically, a character will be awarded experience points for succeeding at challenges, like defeating a monster or completing a mission. After a certain amount of collected experience points, the player character will improve, usually either by increased stats or by achieving new skills.

    Expiration Level: Term coined in 3.X Ed. D&D to refer to a level in which a particular class peaked for the most efficient character improvement. In other words, taking any level of a class above the expiration level is less efficient in character improvement than taking a level in other available classes. (Example: Fighter expiration level is level 2).

    Exploding Dice: When a certain number is rolled and you get to roll again, adding the second result to the first. Often this may be repeated as long as you continue to roll the trigger number.

    Fanon: A play on Canon, referring to fan created material that has become so ingrained in the community it is accepted as canon even though it hasn’t been ‘canonized’ by the designer / publisher of the RPG.

    Fluff: Opposite of crunch. Most often story based material designed to enhance role-playing. This material includes background information for NPC’s, scenarios, settings and/or even scenes. Material used to ‘flesh-out’ elements of a role-playing game so they appear in the mind’s eye as more than just a list of statistics. Non-mechanic based material.

    Fortune: A method of deciding the outcome of an action resolution where the GM chooses based on the result of a randomizer (dice, cards, etc).

    1) To kill another player character.
    2) To kill something.
    3) To kill using a fragmentation device.
    4) Referring to a warhead and/or grenade type device.

    Free-form: A role-playing game without a rule set (or a very minimal rule set). All actions and results are decided by the GM, (or sometimes vaguely suggested in the scenario). A role-playing game which emulates improvised theater with a director.

    Fudge: Secret modification of a roll or other action resolution by the GM to achieve desired results. Example: GM secretly rolls a 20 on a d20, (in many games considered an automatic hit). Instead of applying a hit to the player character which would kill them outright, the GM declares the roll a miss. GM’s may fudge to the Player’s detriment instead of benefit as well.
    Fumble: A "critical failure", generally speaking a particularly bad result when attempting a particular action, usually brought about by a bad die roll or other randomizer. In game terms, results in worst possible outcome.

    Game Master: Term referring to the person runs the adventure, tells the story, determines what action resolutions mean, etc. for their players. This person, (or persons), runs also all of the NPCs.
    Game Master Player Character: Term for character that is part of the party, and played by the GM as if the GM were "just another player." Though it is entirely a personal choice for the game group, it may be perceived as bad form by the community.

    Gamist: 1. A player whose primary objective is to overcome challenges to achieve his goal. 2. A player who typically manipulates game rules to overcome challenges or win points.

    Gearhead: A player who loves to create weapons, vehicles, equipment, etc in deep detail, the more detailed the better.

    Gestalt: Combining classes or other game elements, generally in an attempt to maximize benefits of all used.

    GM Fiat: The ability for the Game Master to make a judgment that may not follow the rules explicitly but is usually done to speed up play (rather than spend the time looking through the rules during a session) or to re-balance the game while playing.

    GMPC: Game Master Player Character

    Gun Bunny: A player who loves to have detailed guns for his character.

    Healer: A character who’s main abilities focus on healing other characters; Very important in group play.

    Health: A characters ‘life force’, equals to how much damage they can take before they die.

    Hit Location: In detailed systems the actual location of a particular hit made be rolled after a successful attack. Damage and effect of the attack may the attack may be modified based on where the strike lands. Some systems don't always randomize location, but allow players to make a "called shot" to target a particular area.

    House Rule: A new or altered version of current rule used by a given group. This rule is not part of the published material for the game.

    In Character :
    1) An action or discussion which is meant to be performed by a character in the story of the game.
    2) Character behavior in line with the character's personality.

    Indie or Indie RPG:
    1) A role-playing game which is created, produced and released outside of traditional mainstream ways. These are often self-published or done by very small press publishers where the creative control generally remains with the designer.
    2) Occasionally refers to anything not produced by the big companies, (Wizards of the Coast, Green Ronin, White Wolf, etc.), in the RPG industry.

    Karma : A method of deciding the outcome of the event where the GM chooses the result based on a static attribute of the acting character (your Strength, Dexterity, etc). Originates with Ron Edward's design essay, System Matters.

    LARP : Live Action Role Playing. Role-playing as a theater, without the use of character skills, die rolling or cards. Instead, players assume set roles, and then act them out in an improvised theater play. In fantasy LARPs, combat is usually resolved using latex (rubber) swords. Huge scale LARPS are held outside and can involve hundreds or thousands of players.

    Lasersharking : The act of combining two or more "cool" elements in one setting, character, or game; based on the erroneous assumption that combining two cool things will result in something twice as cool. Unless you are specifically going for comedy, it is often too easy to go over-the-top, turning the end result into a ridiculous self-parody that cannot be taken seriously:: thus making it actually less cool. (e.g. The setting for Rifts. In common parlance at the website The Forge.) Reference: From the Austin Powers movies.

    Lethal Damage : Also called Killing damage. In systems with multiple damage types, lethal damage has more debilitating effects, require longer healing time, be affected by armor differently and/or may kill the target. See Subdual Damage.

    Level : A seriously overloaded word in the RPG world, usually used to refer to a clump of related changes that happen at once when a character advances, though often put to more vigorous duty. In AD&D the term was used to refer to Character Level, Spell Level, Dungeon Level and Monster Level. Context usually was enough to resolve, so a sentence such as "My 3rd level fighter fought 4th level monsters on the 5th level and with hit with a 6th level fireball" could be understood.

    Level-Based : Having character proficiency defined by a discrete number; all else being equal, a character of greater level will generally be more capable than a character of lesser level.

    Line of Effect : The term used to describe if an effect, (spell, attack, trap, moving object, etc), may affect something, (Another creature, object, location, etc.). Most often used to determine if something targeted may be affected by an effect.

    Line of Sight : The term used to describe the ability of one creature to perceive something, (another creature, object, location, etc.), at any distance. Most often used to determine if something may be targeted.

    Lumping : A system where skills are lumped together into broad groups, such as "pistols" covering ALL pistols from derringers to desert eagles.

    Magic Points/Mana : A designation of the amount of magic power a given character has to perform magic.

    Mary Sue : A character who is over-the-top perfect and exists to fulfill the fanciful thinking of the player. The original Mary Sue was a fictional character in a set of fan written Star Trek stories where this nothing cadet out smarted Spock, slept with Kirk, saved the Universe, etc.

    Meat Shield : A term used to describe a tough character able to withstand powerful attacks. A term oft used in fantasy games with fighter classes. The fighter would place itself between the enemy and the party to shield them from attack. Effectively acting as a shield of meat.

    1) Hand-to-hand, hand held weapon combat or to fight in close proximity.
    2) A long, knock-down, drag-out fight.

    Mattagami :
    1) Things discussed about the rules by the GM and players as opposed to things happening in-game (by the characters).
    2) To calculate success/failure of an action by reviewing character stats and game mechanics, as opposed to acting based on character personality and what the ‘character’ knows.

    Metaplo t: Literally, "the plot about the plot", where the second plot is what develops at the gaming table. Usually an ongoing storyline written by the setting publishers which changes or moves forward the setting over the course the supplements. Sometimes called metastory.

    Min-max a.k.a. Min-maxing :
    1) A technique of using the rules to try and squeeze every last advantage out of a character rather than design a character that is more reflective of the warts, quirks and disadvantages we all possess. Often this is the result of a player trying to build a character which will achieve unbalanced success in a game.
    2) A term used to describe a character designed to maximize one set of abilities, at the expense of minimizing all others. Example: A fighter with high attack, damage, and strength, but little to no intelligence or abilities out of combat.

    Miniature : a small model representing a person, persons, a vehicle, or other pawn or actor to be manipulated during the combat simulation portion of the game. Sometimes these can be very elaborate (highly detailed metal sculptures, hand painted). Strictly speaking, only those that are three-dimensional representations are considered miniatures, but in some circles the term has been broadened to encompass any token used for representation.

    Minion: A minimally detailed NPC; usually hostile, easily defeated; subject to special rules which require less bookkeeping than a normal NPC.

    Munchkin: A player who uses the rules to try and gain power that is unbalancing to the game including possibly resorting to cheating. See also Min-max

    Multi-Class: Combining or using aspects from more than once class / role in a single character. Similar to Gestalt, but frequently done with a sacrifice. (Halting all progression on one of the classes and only advancing the other one, or notably higher costs to advance either class).

    Narrativist: A game experience emphasizing dramatic (or thematic) events and development.

    Narrow Skills: Skills that cover a fairly small rage of closely related activities, such as "Drive Passenger Auto", "First Aid", "Broadsword", or "Painter". Systems with narrow skills tend to have long skill lists, often 100:200 skills. Usually seen in design discussions.

    Natural #: The result of the actual dice roll, before any modifications are made. Example: a "natural 1" or a "natural 20" on a D20 are often considered "fumbles" or "criticals"
    Nerfing: Change made by an authority to the rules reducing the overall effectiveness of a particular ability or system. Can be caused by the publisher revising rules or providing errata or the GM imposing house rules. Generally seen as a negative. It is a reference to Nerf® brand foam toys, especially balls and toy weapons, designed for safety through use of soft foam.

    Non Player Character (NPC): A character controlled by the game, usually used to allow the players to interact with the world and its people.

    Old-School or Old-School Revival:
    1) A style of game that harkens back to the early days of role-playing and seeks to capture what was best about those games.
    2) Often used by older gamers to refer to the time when they first started playing RPGs.

    One Character Game: A type of game where there is basically only one type of character to play. Examples would be games like "Judge Dredd" where the players are all assumed to be Judge characters. Some of these games have expansions that allow other character types.

    Opposed Action: A direct conflict between characters, whether PCs or NPCs. Many games handle this differently than unopposed actions. Examples: fighting, seduction, persuasion, forcing your will on someone, etc.

    Optional Rules: Published rules but used at the discretion of the Game Master. Rules not designed to be part of base rules, but can be used, (often by experienced players), to alter game play.

    Out of Character:
    1) An action or discussion made between GM and Players not meant to be performed by characters in game.
    2) An action that is not in line with the character's personality.

    Party Charter:
    1) In-character document establishing the adventuring company, its shares, inheritance and dissolution procedures.
    2) out of character document which may include the elements of definition 1, as well as other aspects of play and environment, including roles in party, snack schedules, and attendance policy. It is a form of Social Contract.

    Percentile: 1. Rolling either a d100 or two ten-sided dice in which one die refers to the tens place and the other refers to the ones. 2. A system where the primary resolution mode is based on the use of percentile dice.

    Player: The physical person playing the game: i.e. not the character(s) they play.

    Player Character (PC): A character controlled by the player.

    Phase: Usually a sub-unit of a round (a round may comprise several phases). See Round
    PHB or PH: The Player's Handbook for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games. The latter abbreviation is sometimes spoken as "Fuh". May be used to denote a "Player's Handbook" from other game systems as well. A core rulebook.

    Pen and Paper (PnP) :. Usually referred to with tabletop RPGs (as opposed to CRPGs: Computer RPGs, etc).

    1) a game designed to make use of supplements for an older out of print game, but with significant rules changes, EG: Castles & Crusades.
    2) a rework of the mechanics of a recent system to recapture the feel and setting tropes of an older system. EG: Basic Fantasy Role-playing Game (1st & 2nd Editions).
    3) a game designed by mimicking the mechanics of an older game, without concern for compatibility but focusing on similar mechanical approaches. Usually done as a "What if they had been inspired by ___." EG: Mazes & Minotaurs (1st Edition). Sometimes called a Similacrum.

    Point-Based: Having characters that are 'constructed' with a budget of points for attributes, skills, abilities, etc; generally as opposed to being determined randomly at character creation.
    Politician: A player who frequently discusses his politics at the game table. ***BJM: needs reference October 8, 2009***

    Powers: Supernatural abilities possessed by a character.

    Progression Tree: A list of skills, powers, or anything else designed in a linear advancement tree. Advanced abilities are unlocked by earning / buying prerequisites lower on the tree.

    Psionics: Powerful abilities of the mind. May be the same as spell-casting but often used in an otherwise magic-free system. (i.e. mind reading, telekinesis, etc)

    Power creep: The gradual unbalancing of a game due to successive releases of new content. The phenomenon may be caused by a number of different factors and, in extreme cases, can be damaging to the longevity of the game in which it takes place.

    As new expansions or updates are released, new game mechanics or effects are introduced, making it increasingly difficult for older content to remain in balance without changes. Usually, this means new content releases grow successively more powerful while older content becomes relatively underpowered.

    Race: The biological being the player chooses to play. In typical fantasy role playing games, this can be human, elf, dwarf, gnome etc. The choice of race typically affects the basic traits of the character.

    Railroading: Referring to a game's story being forced in a particular direction most often by the GM. Commonly perceived as bad form.

    Rules as Written (RAW) : The literal meaning of the published rules, as opposed to designer's intent, either assumed or explicitly stated.

    Range Bands:
    1) system of abstractly measuring movement for combat or chases one dimensionally. Used in Classic Traveller, Pendragon, Diaspora.
    2) measurements of the various distances at which a weapon's efficiency changes. Used in d6, and several others.
    3) system of labeling various distances rather than giving explicit measures. Used in Classic Traveller, MegaTraveller.

    Ranged: Ranged combat or an attack/effect that takes place over a distance.

    Redshirts: An NPC that has little purpose other than to die. Commonly used in a Sci-Fi RPG setting. Derives from the classic Star Trek television show in which a security detail wearing red uniform shirts accompanied the bridge crew on adventures, almost always to their regret.

    Retro-Clone: a game that is designed to emulate the rules of an older out of print game (so as to be compatible with anything produced for the older system).

    Round: Unit of time in a game which generally limits the number of actions a character can take before another creature / character can act.

    Role-play: The act of taking on the role of a character. May be done in any of several modes, including 1sterson dialog, 3rd person narration of action, or even 1st person improvisational acting.
    Role-playing Poems: Are short, often LARP-like games designed to be played in 15 minutes. They often focus on a specific experience, rather than character or narrative. (Stoke: Birmingham 0:0)

    Rules-Heavy: Having many rules to guide action and resolution. Opposite of Free-form.

    Rules Lawyer:
    1) A person known for arguing GM rules calls by recourse to quoting the rules from the rulebooks.
    2) A person who disrupts play by excessive references to rules in play.
    3) A player who misrepresents the rules for their own advantage in play

    Rules-Light: Having few rules, leaving much up to player fiat and/or social contract.

    Save: Referring to a character's attempt or success at avoiding a negative effect
    Seed: See Adventure Seed.

    Simulationist: A game experience typified by adherence to simulating the imagined world impartially, as if it were real, often with a high level of detail.

    Skills: Area of proficiency. In a typical role playing game, a character will have a number of ‘skills’, namely things they are especially good (or especially not good) at. For example “hide”, “discover hidden things”, “hit with a sword”, etc. Skills are often trainable so they may improve during the course of the game. For more information see Broad Skills.

    Skill-Based: Having characters that are defined by narrowly-defined skills, e.g. "Broadsword," "Fast-Talk."

    Social Contract: Agreements between a group of players, often implicit, often unique to each group, that guide and/or constrain action. E.g. "no one should interrupt except the GM." "No character in the story should attempt to rape any other character." "It is your responsibility to make sure you have fun."

    Splat Book: Supplementary book for a game system covering an individual class, race, clan, tribe or like concept.

    Squaregrid: A game that used squares as a map base and for measurement.

    Stats: The numerical value applied to elements of a game. 1) A character’s abilities. 2) The numbers detailing how much damage a sword does. 3) The details of how an object, such as a vehicle, interacts with its fictitious environment.

    Story Games: Are RPGs which focus more on the overall story than character building or rules enforcing. Most RPGs can be made to be more story driven given the predisposition of the GM/Players, but clearly some RPGs are more tailored to this style of play.

    Subdual Damage: Also called Non-Lethal or Bashing damage. In systems with multiple damage types, subdual damage can generally be healed more quickly. It may be affected differently by armor and usually results in unconsciousness rather than death. See Lethal Damage.

    System: The big-picture of a game's mechanical choices, including not just rules but also design philosophy etc. Or from a story point of view: the method in a game by which new facts are added to the fictional setting.

    Take X: Where X is a number. Indicates that a roll for a check of some kind (usually skill) is not made but rather it is assumed that X is the result of the roll. Modifiers are added as normal and the result calculated. Examples from the d20 system include "Take 10", indicating the reliable effect of a skill and "Take 20" indicating use of the skill while taking an arbitrary amount of time under no pressure to succeed.

    1) A set of abilities laid on top of a character / creature to add abilities and/or specialize the character.
    2) A pre-made example of a PC, NPC, Item, etc. used to assist in quickly generating multiple copies of something.

    THAC0: To Hit Armor Class 0. Used heavily in AD&D 1st and 2nd edition.

    Third-Party: Publications for a game that are from someone other than a game's current publisher. Often printed under license.

    Total Party Kill (TPK) : The event of an entire group of player characters in a game being wiped out by a threat or challenge. “The dragon caught us by surprise and it became a TPK.”

    Transhuman: A RPG setting based on transhumanism, the idea that through genetic engineering and cybernetics humans will be able to modify themselves to extreme degrees, becoming "transhuman", possibly even becoming software based entities living in cyberspace. Not technically a term specific to gaming, but perhaps obscure enough to be valuable here.
    Turn: See Round

    Unopposed Action: An action which requires action resolution, but does not directly involve an opponent. Many games handle this differently than opposed actions. Examples: scaling a cliff, forcing open a door, creating a magic item, etc.

    MMO Specific
    AE (Area Effect) Area of Effect (AoE): A effect caused by an ability that effects an area opposed to a single target E.g. fireball, smoke grenade.

    As a verb,
    it refers to a hostile mob that has noticed a player and is actively trying to attack that player.
    As a noun, it refers to the amount of “hostility” the player has generated on the mob. In typical combat strategy, the fighter tries to take as much aggro as possible away from weaker players such as healers and mages.

    Alt: An alternative character a player has from their main character; allows players to have different experiences within the same game. Several players use alt characters to support their main.

    Bind of Equip (BoE): When an item becomes “owned” by a character (cannot be traded or sold or given to other players) only when it is equipped by the player.

    Bind on Pickup (BoP): When an item becomes “owned” by a character (cannot be traded or sold or given to other players) when it is picked up by the player.

    Bind Spot: In certain MMOs, characters are teleported back to a safe spot when they die. This spot is predetermined by the user. The act of determining the safe spot requires an explicit action by the user. That action is known as a bind. The spot is typically referred to as a bind spot.

    Boss: A character, usually within an instance, that a single player of an equal level could not defeat alone, players come together in PvE play to defeat bosses.

    Buff: A Temporary boost to a characters abilities or skills that improves performance in some way.

    Corpse Run: The act of retrieving your corpse after you have died. This is typically a dangerous thing because people tend to die in dangerous places rather than safe places.

    Corpse: In certain MMOs, a corpse appears where a character is killed. Sometimes items and money are left on the corpse.

    Crafting: A general category of skills that allows characters to manufacture objects from raw resources.

    Crowd Control: Refers to a set of spells / abilities that temporarily paralyze or stun other mobs or players. Crowd control is an important group support ability when fighting multiple mobs.

    Damage over time (DoT): Damage over time. Refers to a class of spells that deals damage over a period of time. These spells typically do more damage than DD spells overall.

    Damage per second (DPS): The amount of damage, in points, that a character can deal to a target within one second of combat. This is very often taken as an average over time. DPS is normally used by players to tune their characters abilities and how they use them in order to increase their DPS as well as a rough guide as to their competency when referenced to the quality of their gear.

    Direct Damage (DD): . Used to refer to a class of spells and abilities that allow players to damage enemies from a distance. The firebolt is the archetypal DD.

    Debuff: A Temporary damage to a characters abilities or sills that retards performance in some way.

    Dungeon: A small PvE instance in which players progress though a mini story defeating mobs and bosses.

    Endgame: The gameplay available when the player has reached the end of any existing levelling structure, at which point play for character advancement is irrelevant but prestige amongst peers, pursuit of rare items, participation in group activities, and conquering goals unattainable except by large numbers of highest-level players are the lure to continue playing.

    Farm: The act of accumulating currency or a specific item by repeatedly killing a mob or repeatedly performing a series of actions.

    Gear: Items characters wear in order to improve their abilities. Gear can be armor, weapons, hats, boots, rings or anything a player can fit on their person. Gear often provides major bonus to a characters stats or have abilities that can be activated by the player, or in response to another action.

    Guilds: Semi-permanent player groups. In typical games, players must use a substantial amount of capital to start the guild.

    Grinding: Refers to players completing repetitive tasks, e.g. Quests to gain a small advantage. It can also refer to a player power levelling a character.

    [u]Group:[u] A small group of players who have come together in order to do something together. There are multiple, usually game specific reasons why players may chose to make a group. E.G. to complete an instance, to help locate each other.

    Instance: An instance is a location separate from the main world which players can enter either in groups, on their own. A notable point of instances is that several can easily be active at the same time with different individuals. In addition it is possible to have instances in which the progress of players may be saved.

    Kite: To lure a mob or player around much like a kite on a string while attacking it in some capacity. A player draws agro and the mobility of the monster is reduced. The monster tries to follow the target (thus becoming the kite on the string with the target hold the string.)

    Loot: Currency or items that are dropped by a mob when it is defeated.

    Macro: Programming term applied to user-made scripts that can automatically send messages, cast spells, and a variety of other functions. Mainly used to automate things that are repeatedly done to expedite gameplay.

    Mob: An AI controlled monster. 'Mob' originally comes from the MUD era, where it was short for 'mobile', to differentiate monsters that would patrol a set of rooms as opposed to monsters which would stay in one place until killed.

    Modification (Mod):
    As a noun, refers to add-ons by 3rd party programmers designed to augment the game (e.g., the self-cast mod).
    As a verb, refers to the act of performing this modification (e.g., he's modding the interface).

    Mule: In many games, due to long travel times or inventory limits, it is helpful to create a character explicitly for the purpose of being able to check auction houses or store extra items. These characters are seldom actually played and are referred to as mules.

    Nerf: To soften or reduce an ability, item, player, or action. Usually this is a term applied when a power or ability is reduced because it is perceived to be too powerful.

    Pick up Group (PUG): A group assembled on the spot for a quest, a PvP group, or an instance raid.

    Player vs Player (PvP): Combat specifically between player controlled characters. This can either be in the main world or in special instances that have specific rules and environments.

    Player vs. Environment (PvE): Play vs the game environment as derived by the designers. Completing quests, killing mobs, killing bosses, etc this usually this takes place in instances.

    Point Blank Area of Effect (PBAoE): Area effect abilities that radiate from the character using said ability.

    Power Level: When a higher level player tries to help a lower level player level faster. Most games have mechanisms that prevent power leveling. It also refers to a player leveling a character via the fastest route possible, usually ignoring plot entirely.

    Programmed Random Occurrence (Proc): Proc is a common term used primarily in game programming to refer to an event - a "procedure" - triggered under particular circumstances. For example, in WoW, a particular weapon (that hits many times) might have a 10% chance on each hit to apply a special effect, such as poison damage. When WoW users talk about "how often this weapon procs", they are talking about the likelihood of the special effect occurring.

    Pull: A standard strategy where a player lures a single or a group of mobs to the group so that the group can defeat the mob in a safe area instead of doing so in areas where new mobs may spawn. It is also very often used by tanking characters when they are gaining agro on a boss for the first time that fight.

    Raid: A more substantial instance involving a large organized group of players typically set in a dungeon and involving difficult mobs.

    Real Money Trade (RMT): selling virtual currency for real currency.

    Regen: Short for regeneration (of health, mana, or other replenishable attributes)

    Respec: At certain high levels in some games, you are given the chance to “respec” your character. When you respec, you recreate your character from level 1 until the present level in terms of skills/powers/abilities/etc.

    Resurrection(Rez): Refers to abilities that revive players that have just died. Typically only available to healer classes.

    Root: A root spell immobilizes a target. The target is then said to be rooted. Early versions of these abilities involved references to plants, hence "root". Also known as Snare

    Rotation: The best use of a characters abilities in a particular order. Individual for every class or speciality. This is often debated and generally differs from player to player.

    Server: Due to technical reasons, each server can only support a limited amount of players. Each MMORPG typically has several servers. Players cannot interact with players on other servers,

    Solo: The act of playing alone.

    Soulbound: An item-control mechanic where an item cannot be traded. In other words, only one person can own the object and it cannot be traded. See also BoE and BoP.

    Spawn: Mobs typically appear (spawn) on a given schedule. This is both a verb and noun.

    Specification (Spec): It usually refers to the build/specifications of your character in terms of skills/abilities/magic/powers/etc.

    Stun: A typical form of crowd control ability that immobilizes an enemy.

    As a noun, refers to character classes that can take a lot of damage.
    As a verb, refers to the act of drawing aggro from mobs before other team members strike with their abilities.

    Threat: The amount of “hostility” the character has generated on the mob. If a character gains too much threat the target will turn to attack them.

    Wipe: To "wipe" means for the entire group whether party or raid to all die. However, party or raid can only continue if there is a class that can resurrect oneself, thereby avoiding the time consumed from running back from the graveyard and regrouping at the beginning of the instance.

    Zone: In games where different areas of the world are parceled out for loading reasons, different areas are referred to as zones.

    MMO Culture Specific

    Carebear: One who avoids player-vs-player combat at all costs and generally sees it as ruining their gaming experience. Especially true for those who knowingly join a PvP-based server and loudly complain when killed by members of the other faction.

    Dragon kill points (DKP): . A fairly elaborate score-keeping system used by guilds to fairly distribute loot based on participation and contribution to the guild. A similar system exists based on points assigned for effort and gear.

    Gank: Verb. To be ganked is a term referring to one player being overwhelmed and killed by a large group. Can be either by a group of other players doing player-kill or a group of NPC monsters. Used in a sentence, "I got ganked yesterday in Fel." Typically has the connotation that the other people had an unfair advantage (in number or level).

    Griefer: Title for a player who enjoys inflicting pain upon other players needlessly. If you kill newbies in a PvP game when you are level 50, you will gain no experience or benefit from the victimization beyond the pure joy of knowing you have given the player “grief.” Though griefers are almost always PKers, PKers are not necessarily griefers.

    Kill Stealing: When another player attacks the same creature as another player and receives the reward for the kill instead of the person who originated combat. Newer games have mechanisms for discouraging this behavior.

    Ninja Looting: Ninja looting refers to the purposeful and malicious looting of a drop from a monster that doesn't follow the rules set by the group. In a sense, the item is stolen. This can take different forms in different games due to game-specific game looting mechanisms. In World of Warcraft, ninja looting refers to rolling for a BoP drop that a person should not have rolled on. Because WoW warns players when they roll for a BoP object, it is assumed that such behavior cannot be accidental. The player exhibiting such behavior is typically branded as a ninja looter.

    Twink: Twinks are below level cap characters who have gained the best powerful gear for their level with enhancements such as expensive weapon enchants. Often done as a challenge in games where level one characters engage in PvP with other level one characters.

    Last edited by NATO_chrisjm; 02-05-2012 at 09:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Manchester, England
    Thats great, but how do I mine for fish?

    Joking aside, this is an awesome job at explaining some of the important terms for non WoW'ers, or for people who have no experience with RPG's as a game format at all. Good job

    Your idea is dumb!

    @njl - YEP

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Wow, this is awesome, thx! I really haven't played many MMOs so this thread is extremely helpful.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I always heard "snare" used to distinguish a slowing effect from a "root" effect. I also note the distinct lack of the essential term "grind", which is the term given to repetitive tasks which exist to slow the advancement of a character to prevent access to high level play without significant investment of time. "Endgame" is the gameplay available when the player has reached the end of any existing levelling structure, at which point play for character advancement is irrelevant but prestige amongst peers, pursuit of rare items, participation in group activities, and conquering goals unattainable except by large numbers of highest-level players are the lure to continue playing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Very helpfull

    My Blog (Italian):
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Thanx! I actually learned some new stuff I never heard about. Great compilation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Phoenix, AZ
    Very helpful Thanks! Rep coming your way. Nice effort on this!
    "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." -Thomas Jefferson

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Great reference! Thanks!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Very Nice. Thanks for putting this together. There are many terms I did not know.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Great info on what it all means thanks

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