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Glossary of Online Gaming Acronyms, Abbreviations and Slang

Over the past several years, online gamers have popularized certain acronyms, abbreviations and slang phrases used to express their emotions, opinions and physical conditions.

Newbs (see Newbs below) are often bewildered by these coined phrases and find themselves typing "?" "???" and even "??????" over and over again. To avoid this overuse of the question mark (and instruct you in the proper use of it), we provide the following glossary of internet gaming acronyms, abbreviations and slang.

Expressions of appreciation for a fellow gamer's humor (please keep in mind that online gamers have a tendency to overstate their feelings):

LOL - You are "laughing out loud" though in real life (RL) you may be simply smiling broadly or perhaps quietly chuckling.

KIK - "LOL" for the typing-impaired.

ROFL - You are "rolling on the floor laughing". Obviously, if you were really rolling on the floor you would be unable to reach the keyboard to express your delight. However, you are mightily tickled by someone's comment or action.

ROFLMAO - You are "rolling on the floor laughing your ass off". Completely overcome by mirth, you respond to the funniest thing you've heard in days by collapsing into helpless laughter. In RL, you really are laughing out loud, sometimes for minutes on end.

LMFAO ("Laughing my fat arse off"); LMTAO ("Laughing my thin arse off"); LMAAO ("Laughing my average arse off") - Variation depends on your self-image!

Expressions of approbation, approval, achievement, and congratulations:

Woot! - Gee, that went well. Wow! We killed that sumbitch. That sumbitch is dead. Ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

WOOT! - The keep is ours! All them damn sumbitches is dead! Or, that humongous, horrible, impossible to kill dragon or monster and all its nasty minions is dead. We rule! We are uber! We are de best! WOOT! Yea.

FTW! - "For the win!" As in, "Skimpy-clad, epic-busted, bouncy-bottomed chick avatars ftw!"

Ding! - You've achieved a new level in your game. Newbs sometimes announce "Ding!" to their mates at every level. Hint: No one gives a hoot if you make level 2. No one gives a hoot if you make level 12. Above level 15, if you are fighting in a group, it is appropriate to announce a "ding!". When achieving a particularly important landmark such as Level 60, 70, or 80 in WoW, it is appropriate to announce a "ding!" to your guildmates as well. When achieving the ultimate level of the current expansion, it is permissible to announce your "ding!" to the entire gaming community. Go for it! You earned it! You did it! Everyone will be entirely pleased for you and will respond with:

GRATZ! (or the variations: Grats!, Gratzz! Gratzzzz! - some gamers get carried away with their zzzz). Gratz is an easy abbreviation to decode; it is simply a contraction of "Congratulations". Use it often, make friends, play nice.

WTG - "way to go!" Self-explanatory.

PWN or PWNED -- "Thr styff of lemgendz: Gamer defeats gamer, types in 'I pwn you' rather than I OWN you. 'This word is just an overly used Internet typo. It has been overused to the point that people who play online games are using it in everyday speech.' -- Tory Rowley, Corunna, Michigan" - taken from the Lake Superior University's Banished Words List for 2007.

Expressions of dismay and concern:

WTF? - "what the f%#&?". Please note the question mark included in this expression. In RL, WTF connotes a shrugging shoulder and "so what" attitude. In gaming, WTF? expresses confused alarm, as in "what the HECK just happened here?" or "WHAT the heck just happened here?" or "what the heck just happened HERE?"

OMG - "Oh My Goodness!" or "Oh My Gosh!" or "Oh My God!" For those moments when you wish to express your shock, dismay, or other similar emotion; like that moment when 50 Olthoi Eviscerators spawn right in front of you.

ZOMG - A leet addendum to OMG. You can basically fool people into thinking you speak leet by attaching a "z" to the front or back of every English word. "zomg izz leetz iz pwnzzz ur azz lawlz"

? - "what are you talking about?" "Please explain your inane non sequitur."

??? - "what the hell is that supposed to mean?" "where do you get off with a remark like that?"

????? - "who the hell do you think you are?" "take it back, right now." "how dare you pass such an insulting, untrue, and completely uncalled for remark?" I shall now kill you. /duel challenge

STFU - "shut the %#&@ up" Nice people never use this phrase.

JK - "just kidding" You better say it quick.

IAMF - It's all my fault. Yes, it is. You screwed up. Admit it, apologize and move on.

Common chat/text expressions often used in gaming:

Occasionally, you will need to leave your computer to perform a variety of RL tasks (mainly, getting another beer, mug of coffee, paying the pizza delivery person, changing the baby's diaper, or reassuring your partner that you are still aware of their existence.) It is courteous to inform your groupmates of your absence:

RL - "real life"
BRB - "be right back"
AFK - "away from keyboard"
BIO - short for "biological" - ie, you are taking a potty break.
ATM - "at the moment"
OTW - "on the way"
BTW - "by the way"

Other courtesies when coming or going, or in general chit chat include:

TTYL - "talk to you later
TYT - "take your time
NVM - "never mind"
TY - "thank you"
WB - "welcome back"
NP - "no problem"
TYVM - "thank you very much"
BBL - "be back later"

Additionally, sometimes in group play, you need to rest and recoup your resources. Depending on your character class, you might use these abbreviations:

OOE - "out of endurance". You must rest in order to perform the fighting styles inherent in your class. In some games, tanks and stealthers use a lot of "end" (endurance).

OOP - "out of power". Your healer or caster class teammate is pooped and must sit down for awhile. NEVER continue to play when your healer is OOP. You will die. (Other variations include: OOM - for "out of mana," LOM - for "low on mana," and LOP - for "low on power.")

OOC - "out of concentration" Some classes require "concentration" to do their stuff, usually when it comes to buffing themselves or other characters. When a player says he or she is OOC, it means their concentration pool is all used up.

OOC part two - Actually in use longer than "out of concentration," this acronym is also used by role-players when they need to say something that is "out of character." An example might be: "OOC: Crapola, guys, the cat just barfed on my mouse - brb." Then, once the mess is cleaned up, they will say "IC" to let their fellow adventurers know they are back "in character" and ready to face the next challenge. (As a side note, we have a great admiration for our role-playing brothers and sisters. They are a breed apart from we casual - translated "lazy" - players. /salute role-players!)

((Insert speech)) - Double brackets are also used by role-players to indicate they are saying something out of character.

OOM - "out of mana", same as OOC. You're oom-ph is all gone.

Once rested, you are:

GTG - "good to go" or RTG - "ready to go". GTG can also mean "got to go" (no, not that. As in time to log, leave the game.)

Expressions to display your infinite knowledge and wisdom:

IIRC - "If I recall correctly" - used to cover your ass if you misspeak. For example, someone asks "Where do I find the elite green and purpled speckled hahabird?" and you respond, "IIRC, he is crouching at the top of the third hahatree to your left." Naturally, at that point, Mr. Know-it-all Perfect Gamer says, "FWIW, actually, he is hiding beneath the tiny hehebush under the tree."

FWIW - "for what it's worth" - an expression of false modesty when stating your (flawless) opinion.

IDK - "I don't know" - then why are you speaking up?

Expressions referring to loot:

phat lewtz - nice gear.

BoE - "bind on equip" - refers to loot drops that anyone can pick up to use, sell, or give away.

BoP - "bind on pickup" - the moment you pick it up, it becomes bound (soulbound in WoW) to you. In groups, if you pick up a BoP item which you cannot personally use and without asking first, you will die and go to the deepest, coldest hell ever imagined by any gamer anywhere. Your first response to any BoP drop is to PASS.

Ninja Looting - grabbing loot from a slain monster, chest, etc., that you don't have a right to grab, or that you didn't earn, or that you don't need. Ninja looting is very, very bad form, and - if you do it consistently - can get you labeled by other players as a "ninja looter." Which is a sure way to get yourself black-listed from groups, guilds, and/or raiding parties. Ninja looters often become very lonely players.

Online gamers have a variety of slang terms for the various character classes and their abilities:

Tank - One of the heavily armored fighting classes, usually without magical ability or with limited magical ability, such as armsmen, paladins, warriors, champions, heros, etc. The tanks' motto: "hold the agro."

Caster - Any of the wide variety of magical spell-casting classes such as mages, wizards, cabalists, shamans, enchanters, etc. Casters have their very own set of expressions describing the important work they do. Some common terms include:

Freeze - A spell that "freezes" the recipient, making them unmoving or majorly slowed and at times completely unable to defend themselves. In some games, "root" is a similar type spell.
Mezz - Short for "mesmerize". Arrgh, to be mezzed is to be made helpless, confused, and unmoving while the tanks move in and kill you. You can't run, you can't hide. You are dead, dead, dead.
AOE - "area of effect" - a spell that effects everything within a designated perimeter.

Stealther - Any of a class that can become literally invisible. Assassins sneak up on the foe, and slice their throats with a single stroke. Rogues, assassins, archers, and minstrels/bards often have the ability to stealth.

Healers - Duh, the classes that heal. The most beloved, yet most maligned, of any class in group play. When the group lives, the healer is the greatest thing since sliced bread. When the group dies, the healer takes the blame. You need a thick skin to be a healer.

Rezzers - Those classes with the ability to rez (resurrect) the dead. The wonderful thing about playing games is that you never really die. You get to come back for more, over and over again. If you learn from your karmic mistakes, you will eventually reach the highest level and never, never have to worry about losing experience ever again. Game nirvana.

PUG - 1. In RL, a pug is a small, wheezy dog that looks like it had its face smashed in by brick wall. 2. In online gaming, the acronym PUG stands for "Pick-Up Group," which is a group of players who've gotten together (or been thrown together) in order to accomplish a goal, a quest, or whatever. PUGs are oftentimes mix-and-match, hit-or-miss groups that are less than optimum for achieving a goal. The opposite of a PUG is a:

Pre-Made Group - A planned, balanced group of players (with the appropriate mix of tanks, healers, AoEers, DPSers, etc.) who have gathered to accomplish a specific goal.

Expressions referring to monsters or foes:

MOB - a dangerous monster. You will kill it.

INC - the dangerous monster, group of monsters, or group of enemy players is "incoming" - in other words, headed your way.

ADD - Oops, here comes another one.

BAF - Dang, it "brought a friend." Or, someone might pass the remark, "watch out, it BAFs (brings a friend)."

Pat - short for "patrol", a wandering mob or group of mobs. Best to wait till they're gone before starting the pull or a wipe may be the result. (pull = attacking the targetted mob, often from a distance. wipe = everyone dies.)

Agro - a military term brought to the gaming world. The monster is whacking on you - you have the agro. Ouch. If the healer or caster has the agro, they will shout "HELP" or "Get it off me" "Now". If you're a tank or melee specialist, do so.

PvM or PvE - Player versus Monster and Player versus Environment.

PvP (Player versus Player), RvR (Realm versus Realm), and FvF (Faction versus Faction) - A lot of games include player versus player action in one form or another. There's a lot of satisfaction to be had in burying your sword, arrow, or spear in an enemy when you know there's a real person behind the toon on your screen. Talk about a challenge! But that does bring up the inevitable:

PK or PKer (Player Killer) - While there's "honorable" PvP action to be had, many games leave room for the inevitable PKers, those people whose only joy in gaming seems to be in killing other players. As a rule, though PvP action is integral to many games, the term PKer is generally a negative one used to describe a person who kills players much lower level than he is or at a disadvantage for some other reason. Synonym - "griefer" - gives much grief to lowbies just trying to level their chars.

PKK/PKKer (Player Killer Killer) - The knight in shining armor who rushes to the rescue of lowbies throughout the lands, dashing from point to point to take out the griefers, restore order, and make those bullies run crying for their mamas.

PKKK/PKKKer - Is there no end in sight? Someone, please, stop this endless cycle of violence.

PC and NPC - Humanoids, friendly or foe, either controlled by a real person (PC - Player Character) or by your computer or server (Non-Player Character).

Spawn - A place where an NPC or MOB appears in the game world. Example: "Anyone know where blue-bellied, bug-eyed, big-bottomed barflies spawn? I need to seduce one for this quest."

XP - Experience points.

Zerg - Tactics? Who needs 'em! Organization? Never heard of it! All you need to do is overwhelm the other guys with NUMBERS! (The video game word "zerg" orginated with the zerglings of Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft game. In online video gaming, it means to overpower an enemy with sheer numbers.)

Expressions used with computer malfunctions or difficulties:

Lag - Lag means to slow, due to excessive memory use or slow Internet connection. Commonly found in graphic-intensive or player-intensive environments, lag causes a huge slowdown in your character's movement, often leading to disaster. Lag kills. A longer word for lag is latency.

DC - "disconnected from server", LC - "lost connection" or LD - "link dead". You are standing there, arms held loosely at your side. You are not fighting back. Your connection to the game is gone, but for 5 or 10 seconds or longer you are at the mercy of your foe. You are now dead.

S@%# - What you say out loud in RL when you DC.

General gaming terms and acronyms of popular games:

FPS - first person shooter (kill them all, faster than they can kill you)

MMOFPS - massively multi-player online first person shooter (kill the real peeps, faster than they can kill you)

FTP - free to play, the future is now

Pay to win - the game may be "free", but not worth it unless you invest the real gold.

RNG - random number generator, the bane of all farmers and fishers.

Newb (newbie) - a new player, generally used derisively as in "stupid newb".

Noob - dweeb, lame a@#, twit, nerd. "What a noob."

Dood - dude. Dudes are cool. Doods are kewl. They are also leet and uber.

Nerf - to reduce abilities and/or effectiveness in battle. Eg, "when will Mythic nerf them damn bone dancers?" or "Blizz gotta nerf those stupid pallies."

Toon - Short for cartoon, a character in an online game. Usage example: "I'll log and get my other toon." "The toons on this server are lame."

Twink - They sparkle. They shine. They positively twinkle in their ill-gotten glory. A Twink is a low-level character wearing gear far, far superior to what they could afford on their own. Sugar Daddy (a high-level character, often the main of an alt Twink) has twinked them sweet enough to "own" the low-level PvP combat arenas.

AA - "alternate abilities." Some games or game expansions include paths you can take to acquire skill or expertise in areas other than your main skill or ability lines.

NP - This means "no problem" and is used in a couple of ways. First, when that noob somehow messes up and gets you killed, but has the courtesy to apologize for his mistake, you can reply with "NP." Second, when you do something really sweet for someone and they gush over with thankfulness, you can say "NP," as in "no big deal" or "YW - You're welcome."

Bot or Buffbot - A character created solely to support other characters, usually a healer who trails behind keeping the main character (or group) fully buffed and healed.

Buffs - Spells that enhance strength, power, or other abilities. One of the primary functions of the healer classes and some caster classes is to "buff" their fellow players so that they perform to their maximum ability.

DoT - A pesky spell or poison that causes "damage over time" - repeatedly hurting you until it is cured, wears off, or leaves you lying on the ground looking for a rez.

DPS - "damage per second." This can refer to a magical spell or a weapon, as in "My fire-up-your-arse spell does 1,350,000 dps!" or it can refer to a player class, as in "Looking for one more for Deep, Dark, Dangerous Dungeon-Crawl Quest. Have tank and healer. Need DPS."

LOS - "line of sight." Casters can't make firebolts curve around obstacles the way that guy in Wanted could. If only. We wish. Sadly, mobs seem to have no trouble shooting spells through walls or through ship decks. Damn those murlocs. Damn them all.

PL - "power level". When a higher level character groups with a lower level character for purposes of providing the lower level character with incredibly swift gains in xp. A level 2 noob sends a tell asking a level 45 to "PL" them. Appropriate response: "no way."

XP - experience points.

Alt - Alternate character. Characters you have created in addition to your "main".

LFG - "looking for group." When looking for a group, it's often helpful to let other people know what you're looking to accomplish, as well as your character's class and level. Example: "50 mage lfg for donut dunking quest."

Main - Your most played, highest level, or first created character.

Mine, Farm, Pharm - To stay in one place, killing the same mob over and over and over again, for loot or xp.

Grind - Just like RL, in gaming you still have your daily grind doing faction quests, farming for crafting materials, leveling toons, raiding for tokens. *sighs* There's something not quite right about that.

QFT - "quoted for truth." Used to express your agreement with another person's statement, opinion, etc.

RTFM - "Read the F*** Manual" - a not especially polite way to stop that annoying noob from asking you question after question after question after .... Or, if you're in a good mood, or feeling patient, it can also mean "Right Turn, Follow Me," after which you lead the noob through by the hand.

Spam - To repeat an action over and over again. This word is also used to describe speech, generally in a public chat channel, that is either out of place or repetetive. Example: Goober, the level 2 noob, wants everyone to know how many hairy spiders he's killed, so reports in the general channel the completion of every kill. Bigcheese, the level 40 been around a long time, tells Goober: "Stop spamming general chat!"

Tell, Send, or Whisper - Private communication from one player to another.

TP - "teleport" or, in some games "town portal." In-game service, or player-provided service, for teleporting instantly, or quickly, from one area of the gaming world to another.

Train - A whole bunch of mobs chasing after someone who can't handle them. Choo choo!

Zone - Many on-line gaming worlds are so vast they have to be divided into areas or "zones." Generally, when you enter a new zone in a game, there will be a delay while your computer loads the graphics, sound files, and other stuff for that zone into your computer's RAM.

WTB/WTS/WTT - "want to buy" "want to sell" "want to trade" Commerce and craft skills are an integral part of most every game.

PW - Most on-line games record actions of players, groups of players, or entire "realms" and change, accordingly, over time. These changing game worlds are called "persistent worlds."

RL - Real life.

RPG - role-playing game, either on or off-line.

-ZOR (suffix), with a definition from

MMORPG - massively multi-player online role-playing game.

Oh! And don't forget to have fun out there! There are dungeons to delve, creatures to cleave, dragons to drop, toons to trash, newbs to nurture, and quests to...uhm....

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