Aggro Me: What's In A Word?
What's In A Word?
As an English major and someone who writes professional documents all the time, I never expected to indulge in the perceived madness of internet speak. But, wow, did I sink quickly into that linguistic mire.
It started with "lol." Ah, the gatekeeper word. Can you blame me? I mean how are you supposed to convey laughter in an MMO? Sure, you can write "haha," "hehe," or the more popular "heh" but that doesn't really get the job done for some reason. When I first said "lol" I told myself I was using it ironically. But at this point, all traces of irony are gone. I've turned into a pretty bad offender, shortening "though" to "tho" at times. And while I've never said "rofl" (well I probably have) I do use my own variant "lolol" when something is extra funny. I'm sure I picked that up somewhere (probably from a typo) and I know it sounds stupid. But I like it.
Now, obviously, a lot of this type of language use originated from the internet and is hardly restricted to MMO's. But you do have MMO-centric slang too, such as "woot," "ding," and "afk." I put "uber" in this category as well even if it isn't quite as MMO-centric. Then you also have what I consider MMO technical terminology such as "kite," "nuke," and, of course, "aggro." There are also some acronyms like PITA which I suspect are used more for the purported cleverness of the acronym rather than anything else.
I've noticed a slight decline in the uses of the words "woot" and "ding" but maybe that's just my personal experience. I just don't see them flowing forth that freely any more and they're starting to sound a bit archaic, like saying "bravo" at a sporting event. Well, they're still in common usage, but I just see them diminishing in use. I'm not sure why, perhaps all words run their course. In a similar vein, I only ever see "uber" used ironically: i.e. "We're so freaking uber," (as a joke when failing to kill a mob) or "Check out Mr. Uber over there with the 28 master spells listed in his bio." Maybe that was always the usage. I don't know. It's sometimes intentionally misspelled as "ubah" for perceived comedic effect as well. "AFK" on the other hand is as popular as ever but that's a bit different because it is near essential to accomplishing its purpose. I don't see "AFK" ever going out of style. I could do without the occasional "bio" addendum to it. Just my personal taste. "Grats" is another one that I see having staying power, though maybe not to the degree of "AFK." Note to the people who make macros which say, "*Grats on your achievement*" and just spam the macro whenever someone levels: stop. Better to say nothing at all and it's obvious.
Another thing I've noticed is that while YTMND fad language makes its way into WoW, I haven't really ever seen it in EQII. I'm referring to things like, "o rly," "l2play," and "(blank) is serious business." Maybe that's just because a lot of WoW users are YTMND visitors and vice versa. Or perhaps a larger number of subscribers just leads to a greater chance of fad carryover. I'm not downplaying YTMND, I happen to be a huge fan who knows every fad. Same goes for SA, another huge source of internet fads. I'm a tremendous SA fan. I'm just making an observation. Well, I write some of these non news-specific posts over the weekend and since then I was on the Nagafen server in EQII. There, on the level 20-29 channel, in the span of an hour, I heard the entire history of internet fads from the venerable "All Your Base" to the quasi-recent "Chuck Norris." Literally. I'm not going to draw any conclusions about what that means at this juncture, just stating reality.
Obviously, some internet fads and the resulting catch phrases are so powerful they cross over between games, such as the infamous Leeroy Jenkins.
I've come to accept MMO slang and even embrace it. I see four reasons behind the general usage of MMO slang:
1. As I said earlier, a method of expressing things which are difficult to express through text. Also, a means of convenience for shortening words.
2. Societal influence is also a clear factor. People tend to talk like their peer groups. People that are into punk, hip-hop or computers all tend to have their own form of dialogue. And even amongst a tightly-knit group of friends, certain slang tends to find special use and catch phrases become popular and burn out. The same is true in MMO's. We tend to talk, or type, like the people we spend a lot of time with in an effort to be accepted into that peer group. It's just human nature.
3. A means of expressing personality. Without facial expressions and normal speech it may seem hard to get a grasp on a person's personality. But the use of MMO slang and emoticons sometimes helps us convey our personality and get a feeling of the personalities and even moods of others. 4. It's amusing.
I haven't seen that many new slang words coming into play outside of the occasional fad. Maybe that's due to the incursion of Teamspeak and Ventrilo and we'll never really see many new slang words. I've been catching myself saying "o" a lot lately and that probably annoys people. I don't know where I picked it up. I just use it in reply to statements as a shortening of "oh" as if that's not short enough. Maybe it comes from the aforementioned "o rly" fad but I tend to think it's a derivative of "o i c."
We may also see very specific and situational slang arise. Someone did inform me of the new word, "Qoob" for noob from Qeynos. As I said, quite specific and probably quite limited in usage.
Nick Yee put together this MMO Lexicon which is great but I'd like to see someone do a deeper study someday. If one hasn't been done already.