Monday, June 1, 2009

MMORPG Glossary

Active Accounts
As opposed to SS : Subscriptions.
See Requirements and definitions for a more elaborate definition, as used by

Alternative characters, as opposed to a main character.

Artificial Intelligence
Refers to the "intelligence" programmed into a game that controls the actions and reactions of NPCs, simulating independent intelligence.

The graphical representation of a player in a game, this can be a person or creature, but also a ship or a car for example.

Automated/scripted character, which is illegal in most mmo's.
It can also be a second character on another account brought along merely to buff or heal, in this case it is mostly called a buffbot.

A general category of skills that allows players to manufacture objects from raw resources.

A backbone of servers that power a single shard. Examples are the EVE Online and Second Life shards, each powered by hundreds of servers. But also the traditional MMORPG's use server clustering to run their smaller shards, albeit on a more modest 2 to 8 servers on the most common mmo's.

Combat Upgrade
A not very well received revamp of the combat system in Star Wars Galaxies.

Illegal copies of particular items obtained while using an exploit or bug.

Eastern countries, most notably, but not limited to : China, South Korea and Japan. Opposed to West - Western countries, most notably, but not limited to : Europe, North America and Australia

Electronic Entertainment Expo

Taking advantage of a glitch or game mechanic to gain an advantage that is not allowed per the terms of use of the game.

Free To Play
As opposed to pay to play.
Free to play systems use microtransactions and cash shops.

Free For All
A loot option that allows any party member to loot. Also used in terms of PvP, where you can fight everyone and/or where you can loot everyone.

Game Master

Clan, Corporation
An organization of players. Most of the time guilds are supported by in-game systems that allow for sharing of resources, experiences, and information with other members.

These are private non-persistent area's on a server where there can be 1 or more identical copies. In SWTOR they are called flashpoints. Examples from WoW : The Deadmines, Molten Core, ...
In EVE Online there are no instances, there are however complexes, which are areas inside systems ( read zones ), they can be persistent or non-persistent but they are always public ( as opposed to instances which are always private ) and thus everyone can find and enter them.

In my humble/honest opinion

In Real Life

Slowdowns in an online game as a result of latency with the connection to the server.

Laughing My Arse Off

Your primary character of all the characters you play

A payment system where players buy virtual items, currency, services or other virtual parts of an MMORPG, these kind of MMORPG's are also often called F2P because some parts of it are free to play. This is the opposite of a subscription system where the players pay a monthly fee for the complete package.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
The definition of an MMORPG can be found here :
See Requirements and definitions for a more elaborate definition, as used by

Massively Multiplayer Online Game

Massively Multiplayer Online
Pretty much the same as an MMORPG, minus the roleplaying part. This could be for example an MMOFPS or MMORTS. Sometimes without avatars as we know it in MMORPG's.

Massively multiplayer online first-person shooter

Massively multiplayer online real-time strategy

Monthly Unique User Repeat Logins
Used in Second Life as a means to determine the amount of active players. Previously they used MUUL.

Monthly Unique User Logins
Used in Second Life, World of Warcraft and others as a means to determine the amount of active players and/or subscribers. Second Life now uses MUURL instead though. Blizzard still uses MUUL to count their Asian Internet Café players, but only in combination with prepaid cards, if you haven't bought a prepaid card, you won't be counted. ( aka Trials etc ).

Multi User Dungeon
A digital world that contains multiple players, most of the original muds were text based.

Mobile Object Block
Strictly speaking, Mobs are all computer controlled characters in the game, but in practice MOB is only used for NPC's you can attack. While the term NPC is used for characters you can interact with ( like vendors, quest givers, etc. ).

MUD Object Oriented
Users in MOOs are able to create their own content - both static and dynamic objects.

When players attempt to create their characters as powerful as they can be by crunching statistics, planning their future routes, and any other methods in order to make their characters the statistically best character possible.

To downgrade, make less effective.

A term that means a new, inexperienced player, also used to suggest that a player is not good.

non player character
The characters are controlled by the system. A "computer" character.

To loot something very quickly before anyone else can take it, considered the same as stealing.

New Gaming Experience
A complete transformation from the old, pre-NGE SWG sandbox style MMORPG into the new SWG, theme park style MMORPG. Sony Online Entertainment hoped to replace the userbase at that time with a new bigger userbase. Generally accepted as one of the biggest mistakes in MMORPG history.

Oh my god
Term used to express surprise about something.

Player Killing

Pay To Play
As opposed to free to play.
Pay to play means using a monthly subscription model.

A downloadable update that fixes bugs, improves stability and introduces new features to a program.

Player versus Environment
Combat between players and computer controlled opponents.

Player versus Player
This is the fighting between players, as opposed to fighting mobs.

Peak Concurrent Users
The highest number of players online at the same time.

I use the term Premium for all MMOG's with a monthly subscription higher than $10.

An adventure requiring cunning, discipline and bravery to succeed, but invariably undertaken with idiocy, disorder and cowardice. Reward is always inversely proportional to the effort and risk involved.

A raid is a large-scale attack on an area by a group of players.

Real Money Trade
This is the trading of real life money for ingame items or currency between players. Often this is not allowed/legal by the EULA.
RMT has a broader scope than microtransactions, microtransactions are always between the player and the company running the MMORPG.
RMT can be between the player and the company, between players themselves or both.
In EVE Online there is a special system using PLEX ( Pilot License Extension ) where you can buy a PLEX from CCP which is worth 1 month of playtime. You can use it for the playtime or sell it for ISK ( ingame currency ) to other players, effectively buying ISK for real life money. This is a form of RMT between players, because you do not buy the ISK from CCP but from other players. Players with enough ISK can play the game for free, while other players pay extra.

Role Playing

Realm versus Realm
A factional PvP system where there are generally 2 or 3 sides ( realms ) fighting each other.
This was essentially invented by Mythic with the MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot, but since then never really successfully replicated.
For an RvR game to work there are a few important requirements :
- There have to be ideally 3 sides, so in case when one side becomes dominant, the 2 underdog sides can work together.
- There have to be some elements of persistence and rewards, for example :
Claiming and holding keeps until you decide to release it or an enemy takes it over by force.
Being able to take a relic from the enemy ( which gives a realm wide boost in power ) and keep it until the enemy takes it back by force.
Being able to control a number of keeps and by that unlocking extra content as long as these keeps are under the control of your realm ( for example Darkness Falls ).
- There has to be Realm Pride ( players working together to defend their realm ), you can get this by having persistent elements as described above and having the choice of your realm locked.
Meaning you can't play 2 or 3 different sides on the same server.
- There has to be population control, when there are too many players in one Realm, this Realm should be locked ( no new player can create new characters on the locked server and only part of the locked realm can log in ). There can also be given boosts to Realms that have less population ( best example is to boost guards, so the fight evens out a bit ).
- There has to be a certain level of balance between the classes of the realms.

The full state of the game world is usually not saved permanently on the game servers continuously, but is done at intervals. To fix a big problem with a gaming world, the game may be rolled back to a previous state. Players possessions, their whereabouts, their state, etc. will all be rolled back and appear to be in the same state as they were on that point in time.

A Realm has 2 meanings :
1. Used in RvR games and has essentially the same meaning as a Faction.
2. Used as a synonym for Shard, however this is not recommended to avoid confusion.

A region can have several meanings :
1. The MMO server region, often servers are divided into several regions, some examples are : Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, ...
On many occasions it is not possible to play in a different region depending on IP address or Serial code.
2. EVE Online Regions : These are a collection of Constellations, which are in turn a collection of Systems. The EVE Trade market is based on these regions and if you wish to do inter-regional trade you will have to physically transport the goods.

Real Life
As opposed to your virtual life.

A type of MMORPG where you have more freedom than more traditional MMORPG's. Notable examples of sandbox MMORPG's are : EVE Online, Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies Pre-CU-NGE, Second Life.

Various abilities the character is capable of using, such as wielding specific types of weapons, wearing specific types of armor, casting specific types of spells, or even creating specific types of items.

A Server is a combination of hard and software that services a client computer, in the case of MMORPG's they service the game world, mail system, item and character database and more.
Even though it is often used as a synonym to a Shard or Realm, it is not the same, there can be many servers in 1 shard, and many shards can use a single server for specific purposes ( i.e. a mail system ).
Generally it is best to use the term Shard instead of Server when talking about a single MMORPG game world.

This is the collection of 1 or more servers that make up a single entity or game world, in principle, all players can go to all the places inside this game world as opposed to going to another shard, which is generally not possible.
The main EVE shard Tranquility is an example of a large clustered shard that can hold 50k players and more at once.
Second Life is also an example of a single large clustered shard.
In World of Warcraft many small shards are used. Using the term shard is preferred over server or realm when talking about single game worlds.

As opposed to AA : Active Accounts.
See Requirements and definitions for a more elaborate definition, as used by

Theme Park
A linear MMO, with less freedom and more prefabricated content as opposed to a Sandbox MMO. Notable examples of Theme Park MMO's : EverQuest, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online.

Western countries, most notably, but not limited to : Europe, North America and Australia. Opposed to East - Eastern countries, most notably, but not limited to : China, South Korea and Japan.

These are public persistent area's on a server, there are no identical copies of zones.
Examples from WoW : Northrend, Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Outland ... , these zones are interconnected by Portals, Zeppelins, Boats, ...
Examples from EVE : Regular Empire and 0.0 systems ( these are interconnected by jumpgates ), Wormhole systems ( these are connected to regular systems by wormholes ), Stations, ... these are all examples of zones in EVE online.

A combat strategy where a large group of players play together and generally overwhelm the enemy by numbers ( mostly used in PvP but also possible in PvE ). Often seen as a simple-minded strategy that requires no skill, then again often a necessity ( safety by numbers ) or a more social approach. Originated from the Zerg rush tactic from StarCraft.