Learning the language in any new game is hard, especially one with so much jargon. This thread will compile some of the essential vocabulary of the VG community.
(Disclaimer: Some terms may not be the ones everyone uses. This guide is not an official community consensus.)
These are all things you’ll see in both regular discussion and heavy-duty guides. It’s good to be familiar with these terms if you’re planning on spending some time on any MOBA discussion platform.
MOBA - Multiplayer online battle arena
VG - Vainglory
HP - Health or Hit points
EXP - Experience
CP - Crystal power (Blue items and text)
WP - Weapon power (Red items and text)
Minions - The friendly and unfriendly critters in the lane. Each team has an unlimited supply of minions that move towards the enemy base in waves of four (3v3) or five (5v5).
Activatables - Items that you tap to use, located on the left, right, or bottom of the screen (changeable in the game settings). There are two types; consumable (flares, scout traps) and cooldown (boots).
Slippery - Slippery heroes are fast and hard to pin down, usually able to keep out of range of damage from enemies. A slippery hero might have dash abilities like Vox or Idris.
Squishy - This describes a hero’s makeup, role and/or item build. A “squishy” hero is focused on dealing damage and has low defense, making them easy to kill. These heroes can make up for this in speed, damage, and evasive capabilities.
Tank/tanky - This describes a hero’s makeup, role and/or item build. A “tanky” hero is focused on life sustain and is difficult to kill. This often comes in the form of lots of max health but can also refer to defense such as armor and shielding. “Tankiness” often comes at the expense of attack power.
Farm - To repeatedly last-hit monsters for EXP and money to level up
Push a Lane - This is when the all the enemy minions are killed quickly to allow your team to push forward and damage the enemy turret.
Buff - A temporary boost in stat, visually represented by a blue, red, or green icon on or around the hero or the ‘activatables’ bar
Dive/Focus - This is when the several of the enemies all attack a single target, with the goal of eliminating them from a fight quickly. The target will usually be the carry or support.
Laner/Carry - These heroes are responsible for farming in the lane(s), and can be frequently seen with high damage, low defense builds. They are the main offensive damage-dealers of the team, but their high damage almost always comes at the cost of low health and defense. Ranged carries are popular because they can deal damage from a distance and avoid being dived/focused. Carries are classified by their low health/defense base stats, powerful abilities, and slippery nature.
Jungler/Tank - These heroes are seen farming in the jungle and occasionally helping push a lane. They have less damage and more health than a carry, but more damage and less health than a captain. Junglers are often melee. They are also responsible for a large portion of vision in 5v5, because they spend so much time traveling around the map. Junglers are classified by their well-rounded stats and wide range of abilities/play styles.
Roam/Captain/Support - These heroes are an essential part of a team, because they provide healing, and utility like crowd control, barriers, and speed boosts. The role of placing vision falls on supports most of the time, as well as blocking CC and other debuffs from the enemies for their team. There are many different types of support; some heal and buff from the sidelines (Adagio, Lyra), and others lead the charge in dives and teamfights (Fortress, Ardan, Flicker). Captains are classified by high base health and defense, and CC or buff-type abilities.
DPS - Damage per second
ADC - Attack damage (WP) carry
APC - Attack power (CP) carry
CS - Creep score (monsters last-hit)
CC - Crowd control (any kind of disables)
AoE - Area of affect (often associated with CC)
DoT - Damage over time (often associated with burn and bleeding effect)
Vision - collective noun used to describe all the items that reveal stealth, hidden enemies. (Scout trap, flare, camera, contraption, flare gun) Also used to describe abilities that give vision of the enemy position, such as Varya C / ULT
Lifesteal - Gaining health back from an attack that damages the enemy. Weapon lifesteal occurs when you regain health from basic attacks. Crystal lifesteal occurs when you regain health from attacking with your abilities
A/B/C - These refer to your first (A), second (B), and third (C/Ult) abilities
Ult/Ultimate - Your third (and most powerful) ability. It is usually worth priority upgrading.
K/D/A - Kill/Death/Assist
An example of a kill/death/assist
Feed/don’t feed - To “feed” means repeatedly putting yourself in a vulnerable or exposed position, resulting in your death at the hands of an enemy hero. This is called feeding because you’re personally supplying that enemy with the gold needed to build powerful items. (Killing a hero yields a lot more gold than killing a minion or monster.)
Aggro - “Taking aggro” from an enemy monster or hero means to take the damage from it. For example, if you’re tanky and another player is weak or low health, you’ll want to take the aggro when engaging an enemy, if possible.
META (abbreviation of Most Effective Tactics Available) - A strategy, action, or method that uses basic components of the game and amplifies them in a way that they make certain interactions more superior than other strategies, actions, or methods. Most of the time, sticking to the META is the best way to ensure victory.
Freeze lane - To use your body/attacks to put the enemy minion wave at a certain position to make it harder for your enemy to farm and allow you to farm under the protection of your turret. If you are a weak hero early game, this is the way to success. Just make sure to have backup if the enemies are too powerful.
Kite (also known as Stutter-step) - To attack after every movement command, done very quickly in order to maximize attack speed and to chase down the target while keeping distance or to flee while putting pressure on the enemies, threatening their deaths if they continue their pursuit. Kite backwards by tapping the target to release a basic attack and tapping the ground behind or forwards by tapping the ground in front of you to move while attacking. Gwen might stutter-step in circles around a slow-moving Phinn to do the most damage while assuring she’s safe from his CC.
Snowball - To quickly gain a significant advantage over your enemy counterpart(s). A jungler might snowball and end the game with a high K/D/A of 15/1/8 by repeatedly killing and suppressing the enemy(ies)
Gank - To ambush an enemy, usually with an ally, and kill them quickly. Your jungler might gank the enemy carry so your team can push a lane.
Split push - Pushing more than one turret at the same time (with one large force at one turret, usually the mid-lane turret with a smaller force at the other, usually done by a single person on the side-lane turrets) to force the enemies to spread out. This is most effective if one or more of your teammates have snowballed. In 5v5, it is even more effective with one or both of the dragons captured.
Items are commonly shortened in discussion to avoid text walls, but it’s often confusing for users unfamiliar with the whole item pool. An item’s abbreviation is usually the two or three first letters of the item’s name or syllables. Tier 3 items are the ones most frequently talked about, so if two or more items share an abbreviation, it’s often safe to assume it refers to the highest tier item. For in-depth information about each item, visit the official wiki here. (5v5-specific items not displayed.)
Weapon Items (Red)
- BoE - Book of Eulogies
- SS - Swift Shooter
- WB - Weapon Blade
- MF - Minion’s Foot
- BN - Barbed Needle
- BS - Blazing Salvo
- HS - Heavy Steel
- LS - Lucky Strike
- PS - Piercing Spear
- SS - Six Sins
- BS - Bonesaw
- BP - Breaking Point
- PS - Poisoned Shiv
- SM - Serpent Mask
- SB - Sorrowblade
- SSW - Spellsword
- TB - Tension Bow
- TT - Tornado Trigger
- TM - Tyrant’s Monocle
Crystal Items (Blue)
- CB - Crystal Bit
- EB - Energy Battery
- HG - Hourglass
- EP - Eclipse Prism
- HP - Heavy Prism
- PS - Piercing Shard
- VB - Void Battery
- CG - Chronograph
- AS - Aftershock
- AC - Alternating Current
- BM - Broken Myth (item and reliable VG news resource)
- CW - Clockwork
- DE - Dragon’s Eye
- EoH - Eve oh Harvest
- FB - Frostburn
- SG - Shatterglass
- SF - Spellfire
Defense (Yellow, Green)
- LA - Light Armor
- LS - Light Shield
- OH - Oakheart
- CoP - Coat of Plates
- KS - Kinetic Shield
- DH - Dragonheart
- LS - Life Spring
- RFB - Reflex Block
- AP - Atlas Pauldron
- FoR - Fountain of Renewal
- MJ - Metal Jacket
- SH - Slumbering Husk
- Crucible (not commonly abbreviated)
- Aegis (not commonly abbreviated)
Missing scout cam items from 5v5
- SB - Sprint Boots
- SGB - Stormguard Banner
- FG - Flare Gun (3v3 only)
- TB - Travel Boots
- HC - Halcyon Chargers
- JB - Journey Boots
- WT - War Treads
- TB/TPB - Teleport Boots (5v5 only)
- NWG - Nullwave Gauntlet
- SHS/SVS - Shiversteel
- SC - Stormcrown
- SS2000 - Superscout 2000 (5v5 only)
- Contraption (not commonly abbreviated) (3v3 only)
- Echo (not commonly abbreviated)
- DBC - Dragonblood Contract
- IGC - Ironguard Contract
- PC/PTC - Protector Contract
- Flare (not commonly abbreviated)
- Minion Candy (not commonly abbreviated)
- Scout trap (not commonly abbreviated)
Ability names, game mechanics, and other things also have nicknames and abbreviations. “Other” is not necessarily VG-related, but frequently seen around the forums.
Objectives and Mechanics
GW - Ghostwing (team buff dragon; 5v5)
BC - Blackclaw (lane-pushing dragon; 5v5)
Vain - Vain crystal, or main objective
BR - Battle Royal
BP(s) - Blueprints
MMR - Matchmaker
CD - Cooldown
MV - Malice and Verdict (Samuel’s A)
Debuffs and Disables
MW - Mortal Wounds: A cursed status that reduces incoming healing by 1/3. It can be applied under certain conditions by certain items (Poison Shiv, Spellfire) and heroes (Taka, Fortress, Rona)
Root - Disable movement and movement-based abilities like dashes
Silenced - Disable the usage of skills
Stun - Disable and disrupt all actions
Fear - Force the targets to move in the chosen direction while stunning them in the duration of the Fear
Taunt - Force the targets to move in the chosen direction and attack the skillcaster while silencing them in the duration of the Taunt
Snare (removed but relevant) - Disable movement-based abilities like dashes
QoL - Quality of life: visual or simple changes to improve and streamline the game
AFK - Away from keyboard, or absent
LoL - League of Legends
DotA - Defense of the Ancients (known widely by its abbreviation)
HotS - Heroes of the Storm
AoV - Arena of Valor
ML - Mobile Legend
This post is a wiki, so feel free to add anything I’ve missed or you see needs an edit.