WoWspeak and Memories of N00bness

Well, we’re now deep into running our custom quest, “Shadows in Dalaran: Menace of the Mauve Marauders” and it’s been great fun. And people seem to be enjoying it, even!

One of the things we had to train the few researchers who were nOObs and also keep an eye on for our analysis is how people use “WoW speak.” You know, all those combinations of letters and phrases that are unique to WoW and other MMOs – those things that when you first start playing make you go, “huh?”

So we’re making sure everyone knows how to decipher LFG, GTG, WSG, BGs, ganking,  hearthing, and nOOb of course… to name only a few. Conversations about all those special words couldn’t help but make me recall back in the old days when I was the one saying huh?

I asked my fellow guildies about some of them, of course, but others I tried to figure out on my own. Aaaaand hilarity ensued.

Like AFK. “Well in context that’s obviously being away, but… K?” I thought. ” I would assume people know how to spell computer…” (of course, “AFK” means “Away from Keyboard,” not, um, “komputer”)

Then there was MT. That one baffled me for the longest time. Even when more knowledgeable friends told me, “oh, it means “mistell,” I had no idea what that meant. “What’s a tell?” I wondered. Took me months to figure out that “tell” meant whisper, which is a private instant message. In WoW they’re displayed as “whispers” on the screen (in a lovely pink), but in Everquest those private messages were called “tells.” So “mt” was a carry-over from that MMO into WoW.

A related term that seemed really obvious at first – but totally wrong – was PST. That one is often used in public Trade Chat when players are asking for a private message about buying or selling something. “Oh sure,” I thought. “That means   “pssst,” like a whisper!” Um… no. It means “Please Send Tell.” (“Send tell? what? oh, right, whisper. Why don’t they just say PSW?”)

The list is long, but one more that I still like my interpretation of better than the actual origin is dots. I thought it referred to the little squares underneath the bad guy’s image that warlocks and others could put on him to do gradual damage. You know, a dot. Under their picture.

Well, no. Apparently it’s not about the pretty, pretty decorations on the mob’s portrait. It means “Damage Over Time” – “DOT.”
Meh. I still like the idea of the little dots better.

5 responses to “WoWspeak and Memories of N00bness

  1. I used to think that “WTB” meant Where To Buy (instead of Want To Buy). I’ve been corrected so many times but kept making the mistake because this was how my head translated it during several years of playing WoW.

  2. oh yes for *sure*! that one gave me problems for ages :)

  3. Lol yeah I guess a dictionairy would be nice to have. I think actually has a lot of them.

    A lot of the words get carried over from game to game too. I think that’s why you got confused with “mt” in WoW since it uses whispers, not tells. I think a lot of people consider mt = misstype too.

    Some words are indeed different. If you want to indicate a class dealing high damage you use dps in WoW right (for high damage per second)? While in the FF series you would use dd (for damage dealer).

    The first words I had to learn were “ty” & “np” for “thank you” and “no problem”. It sounds so easy now, but it really took a while for me to figure even those out.

  4. @ironyca: those things are so funny, too. once we get a certain interpretation in our head, we sometimes just can’t get it out!
    @Morfus: WoWiki also has a ton, which is really handy. I assumed I would know most of them when i started playing WoW, though, because I had spent a decent amount of time in other virtual worlds. So ty was familiar already…. but I was *very* wrong. WoW and MMOs have a ton that you just don’t see in chat rooms or the like.

  5. Yeah FFXI was basically an introduction for me to the whole online chat community;

    And for WoW getting used to all the short names for dungeons always took a while for me too. Probably even worse now if you join WoW late and still need to learn all the old content names too.

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