The gaming glossary - Fanatical's handy guide
Helpful tips on common gaming terms
Have you ever seen a acronym or abbreviation used to describe something in or about a game and thought 'what on earth does that mean?!'
They can be a little confusing for some, but never fear, we've complied a list of common gaming terms and a brief description on what they mean to get you up to speed.
A - G
AAA - This is used to describe the 'big' games; big budget for producing the game, big budget for marketing and expectancy of selling over one million copies.
Abandonware - A term used to describe games which are no longer being sold, which are then deemed fair to download for free.
ADS - Aiming down sights (or aim down sights).
AFK - Away from keyboard. This one is handy for players who have to step away from their computer mid-game for whatever reason (drink break, visiting the bathroom, etc).
Alpha release or Alpha testing - Alpha games are incomplete versions of the final product, this version is used to test the game's main functionality before moving into the 'beta' stage.
AoE - Area of effect. This term is often used in role-playing and strategy games (Total War: Warhammer) to describe attacks or effects that affect multiple targets within a specific area.
ARPG - This stands for action role-playing game, which describes games that have battles in real-time (Shadow of War) instead of taking turns (South Park: The Fractured But Whole).
Avatar - Not to be mistaken for Jame Cameron's 2009 science fiction film, avatar in the gaming world usually relates to character which players can control and customize.
Beta release or beta testing - Following the Alpha testing stage, the beta stage is when developers look at removing bugs which affect the game's performance - this is often an early version made available to gamers, who can play the game before the official release and give feedback to the developer.
Buff - No, it's not someone who has been hitting the weight machines at the gym. Buff in gaming terms is usually when a character/s gain improved abilities or statistics for a temporary period.
BM - Bad manners. If a player has been disrespectful, but not to the extent of cheating, some games may opt to ban or punish them due to bad behavior.
Camping - A term used predominantly used in first-person shooters (Insurgency) where players choose to stay in one place and pick off opponents. This normally involves sniper rifles or sitting next to a checkpoint/spawn point.
Closed beta - Commonly held over a weekend or a week, allowing players to access a game's beta version early for a limited time.
CMS - Construction and management simulation. This genre of game involves the player managing and influencing a population of citizens in town, city or other population centers.
Cover system - A specific built-in game mechanic whereby players can use objects such as walls to hide from enemy gunfire and other dangerous projectiles (Vanquish).
Cross-platform - This allows gamers on different gaming platforms to play with users on another platform, such as Windows PC and Xbox One gamers.
CTF - Capture the flag. A popular game mode often seen in multiplayer first-person shooters, which sees teams competing to capture flags and relocate them to a specific zone to earn points.
DoT - Damage over time. An effect on a player which causes lasting damage for a specific length of time, such as poison or bleeding out.
DPS - Damage per second. This states how much damage a players' abilities, weapons, etc can do to an opponent per second of interaction.
DLC - Downloadable content. This is a very commonly used term regarding information about additional content added to games, usually in the form of a digital update.
Emulator - Games of the past can be brought to life using this software program, which replicates the software and hardware of an old video games console (Mega Drive, Commodore 64) onto modern day consoles.
Episodic - A full-game which is released in a series of episodes over a period of time (Sonic the Hedgehog 4).
esports - A huge multi-million dollar/pound industry for competitive gaming. There are regular esports competitions where teams and individual gamers can win large sums of money.
Farming - No farm animals I'm afraid, this is a term used for when players repeat a game mode or quest to receive experience points, items or in-game currency.
FOV - Field of view. This measures how much of a game world is visible to the player on their display screen.
FPS - First-person shooter. A genre of games involving shooting guns and venturing around game levels from a first-person perspective. FPS can also stand for 'frames per second, which measures the rendering speed of a video game.
FTP/F2P - Free to/2 play. These are games which do not need to be purchased from a retailer and can often be accessed via smartphone apps or via internet browsers.
Gank - A term used to describe surprising an enemy or enemies by flanking them, more commonly used during online multiplayer games.
GG/GGWP - Good game or good game, well played. A sportsmanlike response to playing a match online, when you wish to acknowledge your opponent's performance... or rub it in basically.
God mode - This is when players have access to infinite health or power in a game, usually acquired by a cheat or by unlocking it after completing certain tasks or finishing the game.
Grinding - Spending a large amount of time in-game acquiring experience points or abilities, or obtaining money from missions (Grand Theft Auto V Online).
H - N
Hitbox - A specific area where the game is programmed to register any hits on a player or object.
Host - When someone's internet connection runs as the online game server, people complain about this particular method as it sometimes gives the host the advantage.
HoT - Hit over time. An effect which gradually restores a players' health over time without the need for medi-packs, health boosts, etc.
IAP - In-app purchase. A regular in most recent games, players can purchase additional equipment, perks and upgrades via microtransactions (fortress and army upgrades in Shadow of War).
Indie game - Independent video game. This is a term used to describe smaller games made by one person or a small studio, which does not have the same budget as AAA developers.
JRPG - Japanese role-playing game. A specific type of role-playing game with a Japanese theme and concept (Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds).
Kill screen - A scenario where players become stuck on a specific screen as a result of a game glitch or bug, which can only be resolved by restarting/shutting down their console platform.
Kill stealing - A no-go for most online gamers. This is when someone kills an enemy that is either injured or downed by another player, taking a significant amount of their experience points and affecting their kill-death streak/ratio.
Lag - When players experience delays and moments of slow gameplay, particularly when playing online - which is often down to the host network having a slow internet connection.
Loot box - These are rewarded to players for completing a game mode, missions or tasks and reward them with added bonuses.
Loot system - Often seen in MMO games (The Elder Scrolls Online) this system shares out rewards in the shape of new armor, weapons, perks, etc, to a group of players who complete an online or co-op game mode together.
Matchmaking - A system which connects players together for online gaming. Players have to enter an in-game lobby and select specific game modes, and the matchmaking program then matches them with players often most suited (preferred game mode, country, character level, etc).
MMO - Massively multiplayer online. A game which has a vast amount of content within it in an online setting, often resulting in many hours of gameplay available. Players can log in and out as they please and partake in quests with others gamers.
Mob - A term used to describe an enemy who roams in a specific area of the game.
Mod - Mods often give players the chance for more customization. Either developers provide these changes, or experienced game modifiers apply these changes in updates which can be downloaded (this is often illegal or not approved by the developer and publisher of a game).
MP - MP stands for either multiplayer or magic points, often used in games where a character has a health bar displaying their health and a magic bar which displays how much magic they can use during combat.
MUD - A multiplayer real-time virtual world, which is usually text-based.
Nerf - An intended change to a particular item, tactic, ability, or character, etc to weaken it for balancing purposes.
New Game Plus - The chance to play through a completed game with additional perks or items unlocked from your original playthrough (Resident Evil 7: Biohazard).
Newbie - A player who is new to gaming or playing a specific game, and might not be as good as other players.
Noob - A little bit harsher than newbie, noob is a more precise way of saying that you're not very good at a game, or that you use overpowered weapons, abilities, etc to compensate for your lack of ability playing the game overall.
Noscope - Players of first-person shooters often challenge other players and friends to 'noscope' matches, where they cannot use their gun's scope to aim and shoot throughout.
O - U
Open beta - Opposite of a 'closed beta'. Players have access to a game's beta version, they are not bound by non-disclosure agreements, and are free to show the game to others.
Open-world - A game which allows players to freely explore vast locations.
Patch - An update for game from the developers, normally to adjust the game or to eliminate bugs and glitches.
Permodeath - Permanent death. If a player dies in the game, they do not have access to saves or checkpoints and must restart the game from the beginning.
PvE - Player versus environment. A term used to describe when players must fight against computer-controlled enemies.
PvP - Player versus player. Similar to PvE, this is where players fight against other players online.
QTE - No, this isn't a new way of telling someone that they're cute. QTE is short for 'Quick time event' - where players are required to press an indicated button, or move a controller's analog controls as instructed on screen, within a short space of time to survive or proceed past a scenario.
Rage quit - A delightful term for a player who is so angry during a game that they decide to leave early, often causing disconnection from the game mode and penalties in the form of point deductions or being blocked from accessing online games for a period of time.
RTS - Real-time strategy. A genre of games where players control one or more units in real-time combat, with either human or computer opponents.
RPG - Role-playing game. Often used to describe a game where players control a specific character and increase said character's skills and abilities by progressing through the game environment.
Sandbox game - A game which does not follow the traditional structure and direction of other video games - allowing the player to choose what, when, and how they want to approach available content. It alludes to a child's sandbox without rules, with play based on open-ended choice.
Season pass - A purchasable pass which grants access to additional content available at pre-release and post-release, as well as various DLC added to the game in the future.
Skill tree - An in-game system which allows players to upgrade their character/s by unlocking skills, which are connected via branches - meaning some upgrades are unavailable until the player unlocks core skills which will then branch out (hence the tree part).
Strafing - Moving sideways to dodge an enemy attack.
Turn-based game - This is a game where a series of turns take place during a match or game mode, with each team taking turns to move, attack, etc.
Underpowered - When a character's ability or attacks are deemed too weak compared to others in the game, resulting in a disadvantage.
V - Z
Vaporware - A term to describe games that are in active development for a while, but then get cancelled or shelved.
XP - Experience points. XP is gained by the player for their character in a number of game modes both in single-player and online video games, which helps them level up and unlock new items and abilities.
Zero-day patch - When developers schedule a patch for a game on the day that it's released.