The Non-Gamer’s Dictionary

I decided to create a dictionary of gamer terms and phrases because I’m tired of talking to non gamers (who start gaming conversations with me), and having them give me a blank stare when I respond. For the gamers out there who are reading this, please respond with anything I’ve forgotten or not explained clearly enough! This is intended to be a work in progress.

As of 10pm Sept. 20, I still have more on the list, I’m just too tired to finish. Will update tomorrow.



Aggro is what happens when players generate threat (usually very HIGH threat) against an enemy, keeping it focused on themselves so that other players can attack said target without fear of the target turning on THEM. “Oops, I just pulled aggro. Someone get this zombie off of me!”


Stands for “Artificial Intelligence” and is what makes mobs and other NPCs react the way that they do in different situations.


Stands for “Area of Effect”. Spells and abilities are considered AoEs if they effect more than one target at a time. AoEs can be heals or DPS.


Boosting is considered cheating, and is (usually) done by a group of  players trying to raise (boost) their rank. This usually involves a higher level character and a lower level character “helping” each other out and is seen more in console games. The PC MMO equivalent is referred to as power leveling.


Casters are characters whose damage is almost purely magical, as they are nearly ineffective with melee weapons.


Consoles are stand alone systems that are used for playing games. Examples of consoles are the Xbox 360, Playstation, Nintendo, Dreamcast, etc.


Stands for “Damage over Time”. DoT spells and abilities drain health from a target over a short period of time. Example: -100 damage every second for 10 seconds.


Stands for “Damage Per Second”. Any class of character can do DPS, but healers and tanks will do considerably less damage than a DPS caster or melee class.

Flavour Text

This is the text that describes certain items that you will pick up while looting corpses. Example: “This blade has a faint glow.”


Stands for “First Person Shooter”. In FPS games, the only part of your character that is seen is your hand holding a  weapon. Examples of FPS games are Halo, Halflife, BioShock, etc.


The act of grinding is when a player repeatedly kills the same mob or continually runs the same instance/dungeon in the hopes of either getting a specific item or amount of money.


Characters that are healers do exactly that – heal the group. Healers do not do much DPS in group settings, as healing the group and tank are always a priority.


Stands for “Heals over Time”. HoT spells heal one or many targets over a short amount of time. Example: +100 health every second for 10 seconds.


Stands for “Hit Points”. The amount of HP a character has determines how much life or health they have.


Stands for “Heads Up Display”. The HUD is everything that you see on your screen: mini map, buffs/debuffs, spells/abilities, notifications/warnings, text, group members, etc.


Stands for “Live Action Role Playing”. Rather than playing RPGs on a PC or console, LARPs are played out in the real world, where players frequently dress up and fail to differentiate between “role playing” and “real life”.


Any items picked up from fallen targets is referred to as “loot”. This can be anything- money, armor, weapons, crafting materials, quest items, or garbage.


Melee refers to physical damage done by a character with weapons such as swords, daggers, and maces, etc.


Stands for “Massively Multi-player Online”.


Stands for “Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game”.


Mobs are NPCs that are either hostile towards players, or, if they’re passive/neutral, can be attacked by players.

Power Leveling

This is similar to boosting, where a higher level character will help a lower level character by killing low level mobs for them, running them through instances/dungeons that are too hard for them, or helping them obtain achievements that they would not normally be able to obtain at their level.


Stands for “Player vs. Environment”, where players can roam around the world without fear of being attacked by other players.


Stands for “Player vs. Player”, where players (usually opposing factions on a server) can hunt each other down and kill one another as often as they like.


Stands for “Regeneration” and refers to how fast a character regains health and mana.


Stands for “Role Playing”.


Stands for “Role Playing Game”.


Stands for “Statistics”. Statistics are  character attributes such as stamina, mana, vitality, armor etc. Most characters are higher in a select few stats, rather than trying to be high in all of them.


Short for “strategy”.


Characters that are tanks are usually at the front of a group holding a target’s aggro. Tanks do not do much DPS, but are designed so that they can take a large amount of damage and therefore protect the group.


These are the insignificant NPC mobs that are between you and a boss. They rarely drop decent loot, and are sometimes referred to as “flavour”.


In some circumstances, mobs will come in waves: this means that a group of mobs will attack players over a set amount of time. Once the first group is defeated, a second group will appear, and so on. An example of waves can be seen in Halo ODST’s Firefight.


To “zerg” something means to kill it quickly without following a strategy. In these cases, players are usually very over-geared, a much higher level than the target, or can DPS the target(s) down due to an extremely high number of players working together.


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