MMOs: A Snarky Guide for the Perplexed

October 23, 2015 – 6:31 pm

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Having now played three MMOs — one fairly fanatically — for, wow, a year now I am of course perfectly suited to explain the entire hobby to the rest of humanity.  Well, OK, that’s pretty heavily sarcastic of me; obviously there are people out there who know this stuff backwards and forwards, because they’ve been playing it for what’s getting on to be decades now and I haven’t.  On the other hand: there are people out there who haven’t played an MMO at all. These folks could use a primer. So let’s do a glossary!

  • MMO. Short for ‘Massively Multiplayer Online.’ A MMORPG is Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game: in practical terms, it’s a bunch of people who all created characters and play in the same game-world(s). This largely involves a Level 50 Whatever running past a Level 1 Whatever as the latter is collecting ten bird kidneys, because the Level 50 Whatever is too busy collecting ten MEGA-Diamond Bird Kidneys.

  • Avatar/Character. This is your doll! There are many like it, but this one is yours.  You may typically dress your doll as you like, as long as the naughty bits are covered.  Most people tend towards the rococo; but if you encounter a Level 50 Whatever wearing the equivalent of jeans and a t-shirt… don’t fight that character in PvP.

  • Build. The combination of abilities and skills and whatnot that make you a death-dealing demigod. Like Gear, Build is often tinkered with at a level of obsession that rivals… actually, it probably should be the standard by which all other obsessive behavior should be judged.

  • Cabal/Guild. Like a Faction/Side, except that you can pick it yourself. Generally a good source of people for doing Dungeons and Raids. Also: an excellent source for drama.

  • Character Classes: see DPS, Healer, Tank for the main distinctions; also, there’s usually some sort of breakdown of classes into fighting/magic/sneaking around.

  • Chat. How you interact with your fellow players, in handy text-based form. Contrary to popular belief, Chat is not ALWAYS a wretched hive of scum and villainy.  Unless you’re in PvP.

  • Crafting. Do you have a slight case of obsessive-compulsive behavior?  Well, you can scratch that itch by building your own Gear. And building it. And building it…

  • DPS. “Hi, I shoot and/or stab things.  Please don’t hit me.”

  • Dungeon. Basically, it’s this big hole in the ground in which you – either by yourself, or with a few people – run in and slaughter everybody you see (except for anybody who needs rescuing).  But it’s OK, because they’re bad.

  • Escort Quest: “Hi, I need to get from Point A to Point B. It’s a real shame that I die if people look at me funny, huh?”  These Quests are hated. You get them anyway.

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