Lost in (Shorthand) translation #Blapril2020

Shintar has a post about the kind of shorthand used in global chat channels to gather or organise players for public content. It’s something I’ve seen in many different MMORPGs over the years.

Some shorthand is easier to understand than others for the unitiated. I know the dungeons in World of Warcraft very well, since I’ve played them all in static dungeon groups for years. So if I see people advertising in Global or LFG channels for an abbreviated dungeon (e.g. DM or VH), I instantly know what that means. In Everquest 2, as pictured above, I’m unlikely to know what the dungeon is that quickly as I’ve only done solo versions of the more recent ones. PQ for Public Quest is easy enough to understand, though, not that I necessarily have a clue where to go for it unless the message is particularly wordy or precise.

Gamers tend to produce their own vocabularly beyond simple abbreviations, as Shintar illustrates for Neverwinter with the oft repeated “+Ape”. Given my relatively good Dungeons & Dragons lore, as soon as I saw the particular Big Heroic Event, and saw the Barlgura demon it clicked what they were on about. It’s obvious if you know the context.

I’ve seen this plus ‘+’ notation in other games too. On the few times I’ve played Archeage there’s a regular stream of requests, some with multiple ‘+’ as prefixes. I never had a clue what any of these was about and given my character’s low level, it wasn’t worth looking into it either. Such use of made-up language fits well into the end-game zone where gamers are expected to know what they are up to, and often use codes and abbreviations without thinking (or caring) of the barriers to understanding this can create. I find it interesting, and telling, how a global chat channel uses and reacts to questions to these abbreviations. If a channel is polite and civil when someone asks “what is VH”, then I take that as a good sign for the general server community, if there’s hostility or sarcastic “Google is a thing” style responses, then I’d view that as a negative sign.

Do you learn the shorthand for your MMORPG(s), do you use it yourself?

This entry was posted in EQ2, MMORPG, Neverwinter, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lost in (Shorthand) translation #Blapril2020

  1. kiantremayne says:

    I usually try and learn the shorthand because not understanding one of these cryptic messages annoys me. I only really used it a lot way back when I was playing DAoC, because there wasn’t a lot of time to type out an essay when there’s a swarm of thirty Midgard players trying to butcher you for your realm points.
    Oh, and “rez plz” never goes out of style 🙂

  2. bhagpuss says:

    Both the EverQuest games have insanely arcane jargon. You could charitably put it down to the age of the games and the preponderance of veteran players but honestly it’s always been like that. I play every day and I can still barely understand half of the abbreviations I see in General or LFG.

    On the plus side, people are very willing to explain, meaning no-one needs to feel left out. On the PQs, for example, it’s pretty much standard for someone to call one out and several people to respond with “Which PQ?”. And when the Guide quests happen, which seems to be fairly often these days, there are always people asking for instructions on how to get them and where to go.

    Actually, on Skyfire at the times I play there are several regulars who make answering questions into some kind of performance art. I’ve learned quite a lot listening to them.

Comments are closed.