MMO Tidbits

Perspectives on MMO Design and Production

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    Contents Copyright 2009-2010 Arnold Hendrick


Abbreviations Used in MMO Tidbits

NOTE: This list just supports abbreviations used on this site as a convenience to readers. It will be updated as new posts with new abbreviations are added.

AAA Games – Large budget games intended to surpass all competitor titles of that topioc or genre. Budgets of $25 million to $100+ million with development times of 2+ years are common.

AI – Artificial Intelligence; programming that guides NPC movement and combat.

AOL – America Online; a very large online service and internet destination.

BDUF – Big Document Up Front; the practice of creating large documents in the early phases of a game project, usually including a “GDD” (game design doc) and “TDD” (technical design doc). I saw GDDs and TDDs in common use at Electronic Arts in the late 1990s.

Churn – The number or percentage of players who cease spending money on an online game.

CMM – Capability Maturity Model; precursor to CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration), which provided a 5 (CMM) or 6 (CMMI) level advancement path for software dev groups.

CMMI – Capability Maturity Model Integration; a system for describing and ranking the level of process sophistication in a software development organization. Version 1.2 published in 2006 by the Carnegie Mellon software Engineering Institute.

CoH – City of Heroes; an MMORPG developed by Cryptic Studios for NCsoft.

CoV – City of Villains; an MMORPG developed by Cryptic Studios for NCsoft.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management. Typically a suite of systems to manage customer interaction with a business.

 DAoC – Dark Age of Camelot; an MMORPG developed by Mythic Stuiods before it became a division of EA.

Darkfall Online – an MMORPG developed by Adventurine.

DDO – Dungeons & Dragons Online, an MMORPG licensing the original “Dungeons & Dragons”
paper and pencil RPG. Developed and operated by Turbine, Inc.

Early Live – Making an online game available to players while it is still under development, well in advance of traditional beta testing.

E&B – Earth & Beyond; an MMORPG developed by Westwood Studios (then part of EA).

EA – Electronic Arts; a major game publisher based in Redwood City, California.

EQ – EverQuest; the first fully 3D MMORPG (its predecessor, Ultima Online, originally used isometric graphics).

EQ2 – EverQuest II; an MMORPG developed by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE).

F2P – Free to Play; which actually means there is no cost to download or play the game from start to end. Players are invited to spend money within the game to facilitate their success and status among other players.

Freemium – Part of the game is free to play, and part of the game has “premium” features or content that players must pay to access. Payment can be either one-time or recurring (typically monthly).

Ganker – People who deliberately kill much weaker players, often quite frequently; requires PvP gameplay.

Griefer – Game player who seeks to make other players unhappy. Techniques vary widely and may not require PvP gameplay.

Grind – Game play that encourages or requires a player to go to the same spot and kill the same monsters over and over again.

Group – A standard feature in MMORPGs that allows 5 to 8 players to form a “group” and work together. Grouped players see a special information display about other members, and usually have a special chat (or voice) channel to facilitate communication.

Indie – Independent Game Developer; typically operate without traditional corporate structure, often an individual or very small group, rarely make enough money to live on.

IP – Intellectual Property; in industry-speak, a licensable topic with enough popularity to increase the number of players purchasing or playing the game.

IMVU – Virtual world / social networking environment developed using Web 2.0 philosophies and supported by a microtransaction business model.

LARP – Live Action Role Play: a real-world activity where people dress and act out parts in a semi-scripted drama over a period of hours to days.

MMO – Massively Multiplayer Online [Game]; game where players log into a central server via the internet; user interface is typically graphical, usually with fairly advanced 3D graphics.

MMOFPS – Massively Multiplayer Online First-Person Shooter; a genre within the MMO field.

MMORPG – Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game; a genre within the MMO field.

mobs – Enemy non-player characters; in-game entities that attack player characters.

MT – Microtransaction; in games, a system for purchasing low-cost virtual items with real-world currency.

MUD – Multi-User Dungeon; generic term for early text-only online role-playing games (RPG). Often a hobbiest activity where one or more players created the game from an open source code base, the first of which was developed in 1987.

noob – also “newb”; new user or new player without experience.

NPC – Non-Player Characters; in-game entities controlled by the computer, usually enemies.

PC – Player Character; in-game entities controlled by players; typically one player per character.

PK – Player Killer; people who regularly kill other players; requires PvP gameplay.

PMBOK – A Guide to] Project Management Body of Knowledge; procedural and terminological handbook for project management; the “magnum opus” all PMPs must understand to receive their credentials. 4th Edition published in 2008 by PMI. It is an approved ANSI standard.

PMI – Project Management Institute; an international organization that credentials project management, with associated training and testing procedures.

PMP – Project Management Professional; a specific credential from PMI for project managers.

PvE – Player vs Enemy; gameplay against computer opponents.

PvP – Player vs Player; gameplay against human opponents.

RL – Real Life; physical reality, as opposed to virtual reality.

RP – Roleplay; people who have their game characters act like the game world is real.

RPG – Role-Playing Game; pen-and-paper, solo, and MMO versions are common.

RvR – Realm vs Realm; a form of PvP where all players belong to one of two (or more) “sides” in a continual war.

RW – Real World; the physical world we live in, not the virtual world of some electronic game.

Sandbox Game – A game without a specific plot line or “content” path. Instead, algorithms generate challenges for the player, such as randomly appearing enemies, randomly constructed adventure areas (as in Diablo and Diablo II), and/or randomly created missions (as in EVE’s or Anarchy Online’s missions).

Scrum – A method for defining and controlling software development in relative small increments of time (typically 2-4 week “sprints”) that result in working software.

SOE – Sony Online Entertainment; a major game publisher based in San Diego, California.

Solo / Solo-able / Soloing – Game play that allows a player to advance through the game on their own (solo), rather than by teaming with other players.

SWG – Star Wars: Galaxies; an MMORPG developed by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE).

SWOT analysis – A marketing planning method that examines the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to a product’s success.

TR – Tabula Rasa; an MMORPG developed by Destination Games for NCsoft.

UML – Universal Modeling Language; an “meta-language” for designing software systems, intended to define and clarify a software design before code was written.

VC – Venture Capitalist; often used as a placeholder term for any person or group who finances MMO development in return for anything form a portion of the profits to part ownership of the developer or publisher.

Viral Marketing – The use of a pre-existing connection or social network between potential customers to promote a product.

Virality – The degree to which a viral marketing technique supports self-replicating growth. This self-replication is also called the “viral expansion loop.”

Virtual Currency – An online currency, typically in “points” of some kind. Virtual currency (VC) can be gained by spending real-world money. Virtual currency can be used to buy online items. In MMOs, most game operators have their own virtual currency, purchasable by real-world money, and which can be spent for special game items. Most game companies do not permit users to exchange virtual currency back into real-world money. Most do not permit transferring virtual currency between customer accounts, although the items purchased are sometimes transferable.

WAR – Warhammer Online, Age of Reckoning; an MMORPG developed by Mythic Studios while a division of EA.

WoW – World of Warcraft; an MMORPG developed by Blizzard.

XP – Experience Points; points used to improve a player’s character; common in RPGs and MMORPGs.

2 Responses to “Terms”

  1. interesting take on the subject, count me as a new subscriber!

  2. FigaroGype said

    Прогресс в ! :

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