MMO Lexicon: Il Brutto

This is the second in a three part series on MMO Lexicon.  Now, the bad.  The lexicon that requires explanation, or doesn’t always make sense.  These are words that a seasoned MMO gamer will know, but that doesn’t make it right.  These suckers are the squinty eyed angels of death that might do you some good, but in the long run they will sell their soul and allegiance for an extra buck. Admittedly, they do get the job done.

aggro: gaining attention of an enemy so that it will attack the player. “I overhealed our tank and drew aggro from the boss.”

Aggro is a bad word because I think it’s overused generally for all of MMO’dom.  First, the word “aggro” is great for short-hand guild chat speak, but it is a hard word to blog with (aggro’d or aggroed, aggroing, aggroable?).  It obviously came from the root word “aggravate” because in many MMOs the gnoll is peacefully strolling through the forest until the player ruins its windy walk, and therefore the player must die.  Or the ogre can’t bash the knight good because a healer is negating all of the ogre’s damage.  It makes sense in those simple senses, but I feel the term is starting to get thin and stretched.  Do players aggro other players in PvP?  Are adds aggro’d before they spawn?  I think it has become overused, but I do agree that it is simple to use “aggro” instead of a more specific definition of what is truly meant.  Your raid leader will probably understand as you are punted.

proc: “programmed random occurence,” usually in terms of an action gaining some additional benefit.  “I proc’d a HoT (heal over time) just in time.”

I just don’t like “proc,” and I don’t think I ever will.  Everything in MMOs is a “proc,” not just a weapon’s inherent ability to give a player +5 strength for 5 minutes on a 5% chance-on-hit.  It’s also a faux acronym, and people generally don’t use “programmed random occurence” in long hand.  I much prefer just using “chance,” as in chance-on-hit or chance-on-cast.  “Proc” is shorter, but the word is like nails on a chalkboard for me.

carebear: a player who avoids combat, or more specifically PvP combat.  “Carebears aren’t allowed on our server because we are hardcore.”

Awhile back I was laughing at a blog or forum post where someone used “carebear” in a clever manner.  I then had to spend 20 minutes explaining to my wife why “carebear” was a derogatory term in MMOs.  The term made absolute sense in my mind, but I couldn’t relate it to a non-gamer.  Plus, the term has unfortunately moved from a player that likes playing house and Barbie in an MMO to a player that doesn’t like PvP.  The latter makes little sense because now a carebear can take down a demon ruler of a netherworld, and still be a carebear.

I think his idea was that I kill you.

4 thoughts on “MMO Lexicon: Il Brutto”

  1. Aggro is without a doubt, my favourite MMORPG term.

    Aggro really fits, it’s got serious oomphage and it’s flexible (it reminds me of George Carlin’s rant on a certain other flexible word). The root can equally be applied as aggravation or aggression, initial mob attention or level of threat from a mob / boss.

    Plus yeah, you can absolutely aggro players in PvP, although the feeling of being able to tank or not on a player is completely dependant upon the game (collision detection sure helps).

    It enters into real-world lexicon too, in fact I think the verdict is out whether the etymology comes from MMOs or not. It’s more commonly used in Europe than North America though, kinda as the opposite of Emo, but sometimes it’s used exactly as in MMOs: “hey don’t aggro that crazy streetkid”.

    I’m the other way around on usage, I love playing with words that are quirky that way. “Aggro’d” works for me. =)

  2. I remember explaining my to my foreign friend in EVE what carebears were (It was a shock since he was a PvP’er). I told him to look it up and he came back in chat laughing.

  3. I’ve always seen Proc = Procedure, which seems a little less unwieldy. Because some ancient programming languages required certain types of functions to be called procedures, I think it works a little better. Still not something you use in normal conversation, but not insane. I’m not sure I’d use ‘aggravation’ or ‘mobile’ that often, either.

    Carebear drives me batty, though.

  4. Aye, I’ve seen “proc” as “procedure”, like a programming procedure call. This is the first I’ve heard of the faux acronym version. Neither is really appealing to me as a writer, though. *shrug*

    Beware the carebear stare. Those little cuddly beasts pack a punch.

    (Which, less obliquely, means that I think the term is silly, but it’s one that I wear with pride, having little love for the abusive effects of most PvP play.)

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