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DiscussionMay 27, 2015 8:00 am CT

Breakfast Topic: How do you like your gaming slanguage?

A few days ago, I found myself discussing my position at Blizzard Watch with an older relative. I mentioned that I enjoyed being able to write and reflect on games that I had enjoyed for years, and that I wished my “IRL job were as flexible!” I waited for a response, only to be met with a confused stare. After a few moments they plucked up the courage to ask “…IRL? Is that a banking term? I thought you worked in investigative journalism.”

While I laughed at the time and explained what the term meant, I noted the general ease with which I had assumed someone would understand what I had meant. Having participated in online gaming communities for many years, I’ve become very accustomed to certain terms such as “Tanking”, “DPSing”, “Lag”, “Buff/Debuff”, “Griefing” and even the connotations carried by more common phrases such as “Farming”. No matter what game I’m playing, the use of these phrases by other players is something that I’m able to understand and process as part of my experience in that particular game. Within the Blizzard universe, there are almost certainly unique phrases or themes that only make sense to players within that context- knowing, for instance, that “mop” usually refers to Mists of Pandaria, rather than a household cleaning instrument!

In a sense, it’s pretty amazing that various online communities have created the equivalent of a gaming lexicon that contains phrases which are mutually intelligible across games, yet often leave others baffled. I’m curious to hear about some of your experiences on the matter. Have you ever unconsciously used gaming slanguage with real life friends/family, and had to explain what it meant to them? Have you found that certain phrases differ vastly in what they mean across games? What were your first impressions when learning what these terms meant? Let me know in the comments below.

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