Top 30 Gaming Terms in 2016 and What They Mean

Top 30 Gaming Terms 2016
The chat widows in multiplayer Games like "World of Tanks" are where gamer terms first took shape

Why Do You Need to Know Gaming Terms

Gamer Terms are the collected vocabulary that has developed over the years through word of mouth and text of keyboard. Not simply L337 speak; gamer terms as a definition includes idioms, jargon, slang and acronyms that to the non-gamer appear random or nonsensical but are in fact well defined and mean particular things to players. For some of these terms it’s in the gameplay; not knowing what a Tank is or what a healer does is downright sinful in most gaming circles and can affect the outcome of a game of World of Warcraft or League of Legends so it behooves all gamers to have an understanding of terms and slang. For other words in this list, it is more a matter of understanding gamer culture as a whole. Certain terms like FPS and mod are industry terms that have stuck and are used in casual conversation even by those outside of gamer circles. Whether you are looking for new ways to gripe about certain games or need to understand the difference between a MOBA and MMO, this list is for you.

 1) Noob

We all know one and we’ve all been one. Sometimes being a noob is innocent like not knowing where to aim when shooting a Tiger Tank in World of Tanks, sometimes being a noob can be as malicious as refusing to pick a different hero in Heroes of the Storm for  the benefit of the team because “to hell with team balance, I really like Sgt. Hammer!”. Which one were you?


2) Camper

Campers are those players in a multiplayer game that like to tuck themselves into a corner and wait for YOU to find them. This is typically the go to tactic for younger siblings who can’t compete with your skill at the game in question.

3) RPG

Role Playing Games are a genre of games that emphasize leveling up, deep storylines and a special focus on stat based combat. They can be traditional RPG’s (think Skyrim Skyrim is high fantasy not western or Fallout), which tend to rely more on the accumulation of special rules or abilities and equipment for stat changes while heavily focusing on character creation. There are also Japanese flavored (or JRPG) that rely more on party based combat and less on stat manipulation and more on building the characters ability scores through leveling. Either may include real time combat or turn based action. The term, RPG, also expands to the pen and paper side of gaming to include such classics as Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder.

4) Free to play

A commonly used, deceptive term for an occasionally fun “genre” of games that, just like freedom, isn’t truly free. Free to play games will draw in players by giving a free download and full access to the game in question but tend to keep better items or some areas locked behind a paywall. See also: Pay 2 win and pay to progress.

5) Roguelike

What started as a text based monster of a game has in modern times spawned an entire sub-genre of games. Roguelikes are characterized by difficulty, Permadeath, procedurally generated levels and RPG elements. Essentially, the player starts the game, gets as far as they can before dying and then makes a new character and tries again, maybe getting just a little farther than the first time. Rinse and repeat. Don’t get to cozy with that character you just made cause he’s probably going to die. Some modern examples of Roguelikes include Sunless Sea and The Binding of Isaac.

6) Metroidvania

Metroidvania Games are best described as love letters to the bygone days of 2d platformer/hack and slash/shooter games made famous by the likes of Metroid and Castlevania. While graphics and storylines have been updated, a Metroidvania game can only be called such if it keeps the combat and platforming of these classic titles.

7) Pay 2 win

Defining Pay 2 win starts with a question. Do you want a max level crew for your favorite armored fighting vehicle without having to play roughly 500 games of World of Tanks just to get your first crew skill? Do you want your energy levels on that cell phone game you just downloaded to refill without needing to wait for 24 hours? If you say “yes”, then get ready to enter your credit card information or it’s going to be a long haul. Often the ugly truth behind many Free to play games, pay 2 win is a nasty nickname given to those games that will often hide their best items, characters and chances for progressing behind an arbitrary pay wall.


 MOBA’s or Multiplayer Online Battle Arena style games are so big right now that they are bringing down Starcraft II Pro-leagues in Korea! Let that sink in for a minute. The basic gist is two teams will select their character, champion, hero, ship etc. and fight across ‘lanes’ while trying to simultaneously destroy the enemy teams base and defend their own. The best gamers in the world are currently playing these types of games. The most popular are Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) and League of Legends (LoL). If you have ever wanted to make money playing video games, these are the ones to look at.

9) Balanced

Calling something balanced in a video game is not the compliment that some might think it is. When the term “balanced” is used in chat logs or forum posts, it’s typically done so sarcastically by gamers to describe something so overpowered that the players feel they need to call it out in in hopes that the Developer gods will hear their prayers and smite the character, weapon, tank, ship or whatever with the nerf-hammer.

10) Get gud

 Another online slang meant to make a player feel bad, “get gud” is oft used when a player is playing… well, terribly.

11) MMO

Massively Multiplayer Online games, the destroyers of souls, the taker of (social) lives, the harbinger of grades. MMO’s generally come in a couple of flavors; RPG or Shooter and typically follow the same formula: the player creates a character, joins a server and enters a persistent world with other players and complete missions and quests alongside other players and includes PvE and PvP combat. Historically, The first MMO’s technically originated in the 70’s (according to my know-it-all friend anyway) and there were a couple of famous ones in the early 2000’s, Evercrack or Ultima-something like that, and then the Titan rose, World of Warcraft. When Blizzard’s Behemoth of a game released, the nation’s collective GPA dropped by one and a half points.

12) Spam

 Not the edible kind, gaming spam refers to the repetitive use of the same units, abilities, moves or combos in gaming.

13) Troll

No longer content with staying under bridges or your bed, trolls have taken to the internet. For gaming this means many things. Sometimes a troll is just that annoying player who won’t stop saying the same annoying crud in the chat repeatedly. Sometimes it’s the way a player will abuse gameplay tactics or game mechanics that makes a troll of them. My personal troll tactic back in the day was uppercut spam in Mortal Kombat III; friendships were tested over that…

14) FTW

You’re on a forum, someone says they figured out a perfect equipment layout in Final Fantasy VII to instantly start each battle with 7777 health. FTW (for the win). It’s often used for bragging and compliments and of course, (because gaming, internet and sarcasm go so well together) ridicule and satire.

15) GG

Maybe one of the best-known gamer terms to ever grace a computer screen, Good Game is the gentlemen’s handshake at the end of a game. The epitome of sportsman-like conduct in gaming, one typically types out the acronym when they have either bested or been bested by their opponent.

16) GLHF

 If “GG” is the Gentleman’s proper send off after a game, Good Luck Have Fun is the Gentleman’s greeting. Sure, you’re probably about to lose your mind in chat when he drops the hammer on you but at least your manners are in place at the beginning.

17) RNGesus

 And lo, did the player spin the wheel of fate. Would the attack do max damage? Would the opponent drop the last component for his armor set? Would the player draw the card they needed to set up a game winning turn? RNGesus is who they pray too. RNGesus is a play on the Random Number Generator, an algorithm that a lot of games with randomized elements use to determine damage, loot drops, encounters etc.

18) PvP

Player vs. Player is the classic multiplayer set-up, real gamers play against each other in their game arena of choice.

19) AFK

Away From Keyboard may be more mainstream internet lingo but if you’ve ever lost an online match because you were down a player because they had went to the bathroom or to get a soda then it’s clear to you why it would make this list.

20) Bot

The only good bot is a dead bot. Sometimes, players cheat. I know it can be hard to accept but they do. Bots are how they do it. It can be as simple as an Aim bot that will target players through walls or as nefarious as a full A.I. script that plays the game for them. Bots are also the computer controlled characters that gamers can practice against when they want to practice without risk of messing up their K/D ratio or win rate. Alternatively, calling someone a Bot can be an insult for someone who plays as bad as the computer.

21) PvE

Player Vs. Enemy is commonly used to describe any multiplayer games where a team of players will play against the computer A.I. Popular PvE games include Left 4 Dead, dungeons and raids in World of Warcraft and horde mode in Gears of War.

22) Loot

The prizes that players get for winning. It can be gold, weapons, armor, potions or any number of in game goodies.

23) Mod

A sometimes controversial topic, mods (or modifications) are changes (often player made) installed into a game for visual, performance or gameplay changes. Most are innocent and improve the game for the better. Bethesda games are the best example of this, Fallout and Elder Scrolls have massive and highly dedicated Mod communities. Sometimes however, a mod can be used for evil. Mod’s that change the graphics in a way that allow you to see the opponent easier, hit them easier or win easier are almost universally despised by those who don’t use them.

24) Nerf-hammer

 Also, see Nerf bat. If your character, class, tank, ship or favorite weapon is an unstoppable force of nature that destroys everything in its path with careless abandon then take care because developers are watching, hammer in hand. To get nerfed is to re-balance for the sake of everyone’s fun. For an example, every class in World of Warcraft has been hit with the nerf-hammer as some point when they have become the most powerful of all the classes. Sometimes the nerf-hammer is also used to fix exploitable problems that the Developers missed first time around.

25) Tank

The character designed to absorb punishment so others may live and deal the damage in return. Famous examples include World of Warcraft’s Warrior class, Overwatch’s Roadhog and the Main Battle Tanks in Armored Warfare (yes, even Tanks have tanks).

26) Healer

The most loved and hated classification or role in video games. When they are good, your damage dealers and tanks can take on an entire dungeon seemingly by themselves. A bad healer is the pair of concrete boots as you’re dropped in a lake. Famous examples include Mercy from Overwatch and the aptly named Medic from Team Fortress II.


A stat number used to determine Damage Per Second/Minute for attacks made by their units or characters in a game. High DPS is usually saved for units designed to give damage and not receive which is where the tank comes in.

28) APM

Actions per Minutes is another stat but used more on the pro side of gaming then anything. It refers to the number of keyboard and mouse clicks a player makes on average in each minute of a game. Most commonly associated with StarCraft pro players, a good APM number to shoot for is 300. Get practicing.

29) Nintendo hard

Ghosts and Goblins, Castlevania; these games were staples of classic NES and SNES game libraries… and harder than steel. When something is called Nintendo hard, that is because its difficulty harkens back to these games of old, where death is everywhere and unforgiving. Famous modern examples include the Dark Souls series (well, anything made by From Software really).

30) FPS

First Person Shooter, named for the perspective from which your camera is positioned on the screen, is your one stop shop for all your competitive and stress relieving needs. First person shooters are (if done right) fast, bloody and fun. Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake and Duke Nukem started the genre towards its domination of the gaming landscape with titles like Overwatch and Call of Duty defining the genre in the current generation. 

There it is my gaming brothers and sisters, your crash course in gaming terminology and lingo. No longer will you worry if you should call Paladins a MOBA or a FPS (it’s both) and now you’ll know what to type after the colorful expletive you just entered into chat when a camper picks you off from across the map. So go forth and spread the word. Think we missed one? Comment below.

Would you like to know more?

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Matthew Bartley, always the open book, carries his heart (like his stories) on his sleeve.
Gamer Since: 1994
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Starcraft 2, Brutal Doom, Doom
Top 3 Favorite Games:, Bioshock Infinite,

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