The Beginner's Guide to eSports Terminology (aka How To Not Look Like a Noob in Front of Your Friends/Kids)

Chris Broward on Oct. 15, 2018

So, chances are if you’ve somehow found your way here, you’ve caught a few matches of whatever eSport your friends or kids have been watching and had to feign a nod and smile when being talked to about what you just saw. While this article isn’t going to deep dive into the intricacies of each game, we are going to get you understanding a bit more about what’s being said so that way you don’t find yourself lost in the sauce.

MOBA: Massive Online Battle Arena. These are games such as DOTA2, League of Legends, and Smite.

FPS: First Person Shooter. Overwatch, Call of Duty, and CS:GO all are FPS titles.

CCG: Collectible Card Game. Titles like Hearthstone, Magic: the Gathering, Eternal, and Gwent all are CCG’s.

Carry (aka ADCarry aka ADC): The carry is almost always the player on a team that has the potential to deal the most damage while “carrying” the team to victory. Think of the ADC as the Quarterback of a team.

Tank: The Tank is a character that is built to survive a high amount of damage and serve as the frontline for the team.

Jungler: While not usually locked into a specific type of character, the jungler generally will float across the map, clearing out objectives while lending support to other members of their team, occasionally ganking an enemy when the opportunity arises.

Auto / Basic Attack: A simple attack that any character can perform. Generally, doesn’t consume any type of energy.

Aggro: This one has two meanings that vary quite significantly. The first definition is a playstyle where a team plays very aggressively and simply tries to overpower the opposing team. On the other hand, it can also mean to gain the attention of the enemy team to allow teammates to escape or switch who is being dealt damage.

Area of Effect (AOE): Refers to a move that instead of dealing damage or affecting a single target, it takes place (usually within a circle or cone) and affects multiple targets.

Buff: To make a character stronger via raising their stats. A buff can also apply to a character if other characters that do better against them are nerfed, thus making them viable.

Nerf: To make a character weaker via lowering their stats. A nerf can also apply to a character if other characters that performed weaker against them are buffed, thus making them a less appealing pick.

Pick/Ban Phase: The beginning of some games where teams will pick characters they want to use while also banning certain other characters out of the game, thus not allowing the opposing team to pick that character.

OP: Overpowered. A character that is seen as being so far and away above the other characters that they are essentially a “must pick.”

Top Tier: A selection of characters that are viewed by the community as being better than other characters in the game. While some might be “OP,” others are just good to use against a wide range of characters.

Meta: Short for metagame, it stands for the current strategies that are dominant in the game at any given time.  IE: Dive, Control, Burst, Tank.

Dive: The type of strategy in a game where a team tries to attack the enemy’s backline to then wreak havoc on the remaining members and gain an advantage.

Control: A type of strategy where a team uses a subdued style of play and in doing so, tries to affect how the game is played by either zoning out the other team from objectives or by forcing the opposing team to change their preferred style of play.

Burst: The strategy where damage is done in small, highly concentrated areas in a very quick timeframe. While usually not the most effective style of play, it can lend itself to allowing a team to gain a quick advantage that can grow from there.

Snowball: When a team takes early objectives or kills enemy characters rather early in the game and builds upon those advantages much like a snowball grows while rolling down a hill.

Comp: Refers to the composition of a team and how they fit together. Usually most comp’s are built with a particular gameplay goal in mind, be it early kills, stealing objectives, or surviving to the late-game in order to win.

Gank: A surprise kill of the enemy when they were believing they were safe.

GG: Good Game. Usually said at the end of a game to the opposing team. While usually meant in a polite manner, it can also be used as a way to trash talk the enemy when you’re ahead in a game.

Salty: Pissed. Mad. Upset.

Twitch: Refers to Twitch.TV A website that hosts multiple genres of games and the preferred broadcasting partner for most competitions.

Admittedly, this list of terms isn’t a complete list of terms used in the wide world of eSports; however, these should be enough to allow you to engage in the conversation and not feel lost.

Related Articles