Account: n., Paid copy of WoW associated with a single monthly fee. Players can create multiple characters on a single account, but can not play more than one character at a time. Many “hard core” players will have several accounts so that they can “duel box”, or play several toons at the same time.
Agro: n., Attention from monsters. Also, to agro, v., to draw attention from monsters. When a player has agro, the monster will attack him or her and start combat. “Pulling agro” is generating attention and attacks from monsters. Players fighting together have to coordinate who will pull agro in order to fight effectively. (see player roles, at bottom)
AH, the: n., The WoW auction house, accessible in major cities. Here players can post items they wish to sell to other players. A thriving market for needed materials, gear, and a range of items exists on the AH, allowing those who collect something of value to others to make considerable game-gold by selling it.
Battleground(bg): n., Designated area separated by a loading screen where players fight against the opposing faction to fulfill a series of specific objectives, such as a capture the flag game. There are now 9 battlegrounds, each associated with a specific set of goals. The winning faction (Horde or Alliance) receives honor points, which can be exchanged as currency for special gear.
Class: n., The type of character players select when creating a new character. Classes can not be changed, and are associated with player roles (see below). Available classes are: mage, warlock, priest, hunter, rogue, druid, shaman, paladin, death knight, and warrior.
Daily: n., Repeatable quests players perform up to once per day in order to gain gold and often to increase reputation with a specific faction.
DPS: n., Damage-per-second. This is the measure most players use to identify how powerful fighting characters are. High DPS signals good gear and well-played fighting; low DPS means characters are not as helpful. When seeking party members for raids and instances, players want high levels of DPS so that monsters can be killed quickly. It is important to note that DPS is often used as the final say in character value, but this is misleading. A truly effective raid has the best character coordination, not necessarily the highest DPS done.
Faction: n., A clan or group classification of NPCs and toons. Players select a major faction when creating a character, either Alliance or Horde. These two are at “war”, and on a PvP server, most areas allow players from one to attack players from another. Factions are also associated with certain aspects of the WoW storyline (such as the Knights of the Ebon Blade); gaining reputation with a faction can permit players to purchase items such as special gear or mounts normally unavailable. For example, the highest reputation level, “exalted”, with Netherdrakes is required for players to purchase the coveted Netherdrake mount.
Gear: n., Armor, weapons, and accessories equipped by players on their characters. The best gear has high bonuses to abilities and character statistics, such as strength, agility, hit rating, spell power, defense, etc. Gear can be looted off monsters in dungeons or purchased from NPC vendors for gold or special tokens.
Instance: n., Dungeon area requiring 5 players for survival. They are areas separated from the game world (pass through a loading screen to enter) and can not be entered by more than 5 players in a single party at once. Each party entering an instance creates a separate copy of the dungeon running on their screen so that only a player’s own party is present in that version of the instance. The monsters are far more powerful than encountered in quests, and instances have 3 to 6 “bosses” with even more power, special skills, and high level loot.
Loot: n., Gold, quest items, and gear players can pick up from slain monsters.
NPC: n., Short for Non-Player Character. The creatures and beings that populate the WoW universe that are not controlled by players. Some NPCs are friendly, and can not be killed by players, others are unfriendly, and can be attacked.
Party: n., Players grouped together, usually to run instances or to quest together. When in a party, players can use party chat, a separate text-chat channel, and certain actions affect only other party members, such as benefits derived from helpful spells. Parties are required to do instances together. Party members’ icons appear on each player’s screen, along with health/power information so they can keep track of each other as they perform activities.
Pug: n., pugging, v., A “pick up group”, a group of strangers who join a party together, usually to run and instance or a raid. They are socially risky because players are often nasty to each other if anyone makes a mistake.
PvP: adj., Player versus player. Designation for server type, in which players are permitted to attack players of the opposing major faction in most regions. Also, PvP area, n., a region where opposing players may attack each other. Also, to PvP, v., to enter specified battlegrounds to fight against opposing faction players.
PvE: adj., Player versus Environment. Designation for server type that does not allow players to attack one another except for in designated battlegrounds.
Quest: n., Specific task assigned by an NPC that players complete in order to receive experience points while leveling, gold, and various items of value such as weapons or armor. Quests frequently require players to kill a certain number of a specific monster, collect specific items, or perform other tasks such as freeing prisoners or planting seeds. Some quests also lead to follow-up quests (in a “quest chain”) only available after the qualifying quest is complete. Completing quests is how players increase character levels. WoW has well over 3,000 quests that can be done.
Race: n., Character identity selected when characters are created. Races can not be changed. Races are associated with major faction and do not overlap. Horde races are: Orc, troll, blood elf, tauren, and undead. Alliance races are: human, night elf, gnome, dwarf, and draenai.
Raid: n., Dungeon area requiring 10, 25, or 40 players for survival. They are the same as instances except for their higher difficulty level. Raid bosses drop much better loot than instance bosses, and are thus more desirable for players seeking to improve gear. In addition, only players with good gear can effectively perform in raids.
Server, WoW: n., The host for a separate copy of the full game. When first creating a character, players select a server on which to play, and can select a server type, PvP, PvE, or Role Playing. Players can only interact with and communicate to others on the same server, although players can create characters on multiple servers. WoW runs hundreds of servers, or identical copies of the game, that are loosely grouped by geographic area, such as North America, Europe, Asia, etc. Generally players can only set up an account in their general geographic area; in the US one can select North American, Oceania, or Latin American servers.
Spec: n., Class specification selected from three options. Each class can select one of three specs that focus abilities and strengths in a specific area. Hybrid classes like paladins, druids, and shamans can change roles (healer, tank, or DPS, see below) when they change specs, but most classes do not. To select a spec, players allocate “talent points” in a range of abilities in one spec. Blizzard recently introduced the “dual spec” function, where a player can create two different specs to switch roles between, for example, healer and DPS, at no cost.
Toon: n., Character generated by player, short for “cartoon”.
Vent: n., Short for Ventrilo, the voice chat software used nearly ubiquitously by WoW players. It is downloaded and run as a separate program while playing WoW. Players log on to a specific server (version), join a chat channel, and (via a headset with microphone) can talk to each other. It is preferred to the WoW voice chat system because it handles groups of up to 40 players better. Its setup and use requires one person to pay a modest monthly fee to create a private “server”, usually the Guild Master’s responsibility, and those with the login and password can use it at no additional cost.
Players in WoW generally focus on one of three major roles: Tank, DPS, or healer. Role depends on class and spec (specification).
The Tank is generally the lead fighter in an instance or raid. Tanks have high defensive capabilities, and must hold “agro” in order to keep monsters from attacking less protected players. They generally do not try to do high levels of damage, but instead receive all of the blows from monsters. Good tanks generate high threat to maintain agro, coordinate attacks and instruct players so that all work together. Warriors, paladins, druids, and death knights can be tanks.
DPS classes / specs have two jobs: avoiding attacks and doing damage to monsters. High DPS levels mean monsters are killed more quickly, but if DPS characters receive attacks (“pull agro” from the tank) they can increase the burden on healers too much. All classes can be DPS.
Healers are primarily responsible for maintaining the health of the tank in instances and raids. They also make sure DPS players keep health levels up for survival. Good healers cast quickly, manage a range of healing approaches (multi-target, single target, over-time heals), and do not run out of mana. Healers are frequently both under-appreciated and blamed when the party dies. Priests, druids, paladins, and shaman can be healers.