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Mobile gaming terms: An A-Z dictionary

If you are confused about in-game chat terms, don’t worry, we’ll help you out.
mobile game being played on smartphone
Image: Unsplash

Whether you are new to mobile games or have been playing for years, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the terms. From “rerolling” to “gz”, mobile games are packed with abbreviations and terms that cross games and genres.

Gaming is an ever-evolving medium and with that evolution comes new terms. Think about texting and chatrooms in the early and mid-2000s.

The older ones among us started abbreviating everything. BBL, TTYL, LOL. All of these terms made sense to us, but maybe not to our parents and grandparents.

Mobile gaming is no different and abbreviations are everywhere. We’ll walk you through some of the more prevalent terms, as well as little-known ones.

Mobile gaming terms: An constantly evolving group of abbreviations

If you play a bunch of games, you are probably familiar with many of these terms. That said, you probably don’t know every single term out there. We’ll try to fill in the gaps.

A

archeland game showing different characters
Credit: Zlongame

Action Games: Games that focus on fast-paced combat with enemies. Hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes matter most in these games.

AFK: “Away from keyboard”. It lets people know you will not be on your device for a while or that you will not be online.

AFK Games: Games that grant you in-game currency while not playing the game.

Alpha Release: The stage in a mobile game where some functionality exists but is not complete. An alpha release mobile game will have missing and/or unavailable features.

AoE: Area of effect; An area on the ground where the effect of the spell, action, or item takes place.

ARPG: Action Roleplaying Game

Atk: short for Attack; an offensive move in a sport or game.

B

Banner: A character or item promoted by a mobile game that you have an increased chance of acquiring. For a limited time. Usually through special events, completing certain tasks, in-game currency, and/or gacha mechanics.

Battle Pass: A monetization system that rewards a player with in-game items. Obtained by playing and completing challenges. Usually using a tiered system and purchased with real-world currency.

Beta Release: The state of a mobile game where functionality is complete but some important items are not finished. This mobile gaming term is very common before full releases.

Boss: A game-controlled opponent that is significant to the story and stronger than prior opponents. Requires a greater level of knowledge of the game’s mechanics to defeat.

Buff: An increase in positive attributes for a character or item. Used to balance weaker characters or items within the game

C

Camping: Finding a strategic position in-game and waiting for players, items, or in-game enemies to appear.

Casual Games: A type of video game that does not need a major time investment to play, win, and/or enjoy.

TCG/CCG: Collectible card game (CCG) or Trading card game (TCG); A digital card game that features trading cards combined with strategic deck building. Played with and/or against real players and computer players.

Cheese: Exploiting system quirks and/or design oversights to achieve tasks.

Class: In mobile gaming terms, Class means different roles in games. Typically, you find things like Attackers, Defenders, Spell Casters, and more.

Cooldown: The amount of time a player would need to wait after using an ability or item before they can use it again.

Crit: Critical Hit; the chance that an attack will do more damage than the normal attack.

Cross-Platform: When software is compatible with more than one gaming system.

Cutscene: An in-game movie or clip that is not interactive during gameplay. Most of the time it will provide a story or character insights.

D

Def: Defense; the measure of your character’s ability to withstand damage.

E

Energy: The amount of in-game time or actions that you can take before you have to wait to play again.

Exp/XP: Experience points; A number that counts your in-game character’s experience in the game.

F

F2P: Free to play; an online game that does not charge you to play the game in some capacity.

Farming: Performing repetitive actions to gain some in-game currency. That could be experience or other items

FOV: Field-of-view. This is how much you can see on your screen at any one time

FPS: This stands for Frames-per-second and dictates how many times your screen refreshes/shows a new image during a singular second

G

genshin impact characters including lumine, ventire, shogun, and more
Credit: HoYoverse

Gacha: A game mechanic in which players receive a randomized in-game item or asset per purchase. Like loot boxes, games utilizing Gacha mechanics often use both in-game and real-world currencies.

GG: Good game; A way to congratulate another player in victory or defeat.

Glass Cannon: A glass cannon character is one that does a lot of damage but has low defense and health.

Grind: Spending time doing repetitive tasks within a game.

GZ: A shortened version of “Congratulations.”

H

HP: Hit points; The amount of health a unit or character has

L

Localization: Preparing a mobile game for release in a different country or language.

Loot: Loot or Loot Box is a small bundle or box with has one or more items used in-game.

M

MMORPG: Massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Typically, these games offer class-based, open-world gameplay with other players.

N

Nerf: An decrease in positive attributes for a character or item. Used to balance stronger characters or items within the game.

NPC: Non-player character; a character in the game not controlled by a player.

P

pokemon go logo with pokeballs in background
Credit: MobileBytesGG

P2W: Pay to win; The need, actual or imagined, that you have to spend real-life currency within a game to succeed. This is a mobile gaming term that has spread to console and PC games, as well.

Puzzle Games: Games where players solve a puzzle or navigate a challenge to progress. Challenges become more difficult as the game goes on.

PvE: Player vs Environment; A human player competing against game-controlled enemies

PvP: Player vs Player; A human player competing against other human players.

R

Ragequit: To quit a game when things are not working out in the player’s favor. Most of the time abruptly.

Rank: A player’s status/level within the game or a specific mode of the game

RPG: Role-playing game; a genre of game where a player controls a fictional character(s) in a specific role. That player then completes a story and/or quests

S

archeland screenshot showing grid
Archeland, an sRPG (Credit: Zlongame)

Splash Damage: Damage taken by players or objects in the area around the point of weapon impact

Split Damage: Damage split among many enemies

sRPG: Strategy roleplaying game. Similar to a standard roleplaying game, but with elements more tactical elements

W

Whale: Players who spend a significant sum of real-life currency on in-game purchases

Mobile gaming terms are here to stay (but they continue to evolve)

We’ll continue to update this guide with more terms as often as we can. If you’ve spent any time playing video games, you’ll surely run across some you aren’t familiar with.

So GZ for finding this guide, and GL out there! Hopefully, your pulls go well and you don’t have to whale to get your favorite characters.


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