Esports Terms Explained: From CS:GO to DOTA and LOL

Gaming HeadphonesThe terms used in esports can sometimes be confusing, given that esports is a relatively new phenomenon.

Starting off with small beginnings and developing within something of a niche community allowed for the development of jargonised terms and acronyms that are greatly confusing to those outside these communities.

However, this article aims to support the uninitiated and explain exactly what gamers are talking about when mentioning certain acronyms and words whilst discussing their video game of choice.

Acronyms Of Games

Sometimes in the gaming community, players might consider the title of games they play as being too long to put into an everyday conversation, so they tend to shorten game titles into abbreviations. Provided below are just some of the most popular games currently abbreviated by many gamers.

CS:GO: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike Global Offensive LogoCS:GO is a multiplayer FPS developed by Valve and is the fourth game in the series. The game sees two teams named as terrorists and counter-terrorists battle against each other to achieve objectives such as to plant a bomb as a terrorist, or to defuse the bomb as a counter-terrorist. The game also includes a battle royale mode.

Massively popular amongst the esports community, the professional scene has an array of leagues and tournaments, including Valve-sponsored ‘Major Championships’. Esports team Astralis are often regarded as one of the greatest CS:GO teams of all time, having won four major championships at the time of writing.

DOTA: Defence of the Ancients

DOTA 2 LogoDOTA is a multiplayer online battle arena where two teams of five players aim to destroy an opponent’s heavily guarded base, whilst defending their own team’s base. Beginning life as a community-created mod for the game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, the mod’s popularity led Valve to acquire the intellectual property of the mod, as well as hire one of the mod’s leading designers, a man under the pseudonym IceFrog.

2013 saw Valve develop and publish a sequel to its predecessor, releasing Dota 2. Since its release, Dota has developed an extensive esports scene. Tournaments include the Valve-managed ‘Dota Pro Circuit’, as well as a World Championship event ‘The International’. Dota events can often see viewing figures within the millions, as well as being live-streamed on Twitch, and TV channels such as ESPN and BBC Three have broadcast Dota matches in light of its popularity.

PUBG: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown's BattlegroundA battle royale video game where 100 players parachute onto an island, scavenge for weapons and equipment with the aim of killing their opponents, whilst avoiding being killed themselves.

The playing area slowly becomes smaller and smaller as the game continues, forcing players to get closer and closer together so that avoiding combat is not an option. The winner is the last person alive on the island, who will be greeted with the famous ‘Winner winner chicken dinner’ phrase.

Its esports scene includes the PUBG Global Invitational and the PUBG Continental Series.

CoD: Call of Duty

Call of Duty LogoA first-person shooter franchise that was first published in 2003 by Activision.

Verified by the Guinness World Records as being the best-selling first-person shooter series of all time, its popularity translates to a highly active esports scene.

An annual ‘Call of Duty League Championship’ operated by Activision determines the best player in the world at CoD, with viewing figures often averaging around 100,000.

LOL: League of Legends

League of Legends LogoA MOBA-developed game that is published by Riot Games, with inspiration arising from Warcraft III’s DOTA mod (modification). The game sees two teams of five players battling against each other, defending their half of the map whilst attacking the opposition’s half. It’s claimed that LoL is the world’s largest esports game with there being a global span of 12 regional leagues, including the ‘LoL European Championship’ and the ‘LoL Japan League’. Each season culminates with the LoL World Championship.

LoL tournaments often see high viewing figures, with it reported that the 2019 and 2020 ‘LoL World Championships’ saw 44 and 45 million viewers respectively. Its high level of public interest has led to the consideration of including LoL as an Olympic event, whilst the 2022 Asian Games will include League of Legends as a medal event.

AoV: Arena of Valor

Arena of Valor LogoFormerly known as Strike of Kings, AoV is a MOBA game where the game’s most popular mode, ‘Grand Battle’, sees two teams of five aiming to destroy their enemy’s turrets on the map whilst securing objectives such as killing an ‘Abyssal Dragon’.

Its esports scene includes two annual world championships, the AoV International Championship (AIC) and AoV World Cup, and like LoL, AoV is set to be a medal event during the 2022 Asian Games.

TCRSS: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Tom Clancys Rainbow Six Siege LogoA first-person shooter that was developed and published by Ubisoft.

Each player controls either an attacker or a defender and must achieve certain objectives, i.e. rescuing a hostage, defusing a bomb or securing a particular area of the map.

Its current esports scene includes a ‘Rainbow Six World Cup’ and a ‘Six Invitational’ which gathers the game’s best players from around the world, alongside having several major leagues based in various global regions.

WoW: World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft LogoAn MMORPG game that was released by Blizzard Entertainment in 2004.

Despite being one of the most popular MMORPG’s, it is comparatively small compared to the likes of LoL and CoD.

An annual ‘WoW Arena World Championship’ indicates the presence of an esports scene, but peak viewing figures are typically between 20,000 and 40,000.

SF: Street Fighter

Street Fighter LogoA Japanese competitive fighting game developed and published by Capcom where players use a variety of attacks and special abilities to knock out their opponent. First created in 1987, Street Fighter has since become one of the highest-grossing video game franchises of all time.

There are various competitions for the game such as the Capcom Cup and it has a billing at the Evolution Championship series. Six-time EVO champion Daigo Umehara is often regarded as the best Street Fighter player of all time.

SSBU: Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Super Smash bros Ultimate LogoA fighting game published by Nintendo and developed by Bandai Namco. Players take control and fight playing as characters typically associated with Nintendo, i.e. Mario, Donkey Kong, and others, although characters such as Pac-Man and Minecraft’s Steve can also be used.

The various events include an annual ‘Super Smash Con’ that is set to return in 2022 after two years of cancellation, and it has a billing at the annual Evolution Championship Series alongside other fighting games such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.

Acronyms For Types of Games


Most video games and esports don’t fall under one type of game, and instead can be divided into various subcategories such as the genre of game it relates to. Listed below are just some of the ways certain game types have been abbreviated.

F2P: Free To Play

Free to play games are games a publisher provides entirely for free, with the option of additional in-game purchases that enhance the in-game experience. An example is seen in Fortnite, which is free to play but players have an option to purchase different in-game outfits referred to as ‘skins’.

FPS: First Person Shooter

A combat-based game that is viewed through the eyes of the character being controlled by the player, with the focus centred on the gun being used by the character. Examples include games such as CoD and CS:GO.

RPG: Role-Playing Game

Single-player game where players immerse themselves into the role of a character. Typically adventure games using character progression, i.e. The Witcher and Skyrim.

MMORPG: Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game

Evolution of the RPG, but the difference is that a player shares a vast, open world online with other people around the world. Games of this type are typically cooperative, whilst also providing a player-versus-player (PvP) component. Examples include World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online.

MOBA: Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

A team-based strategy game where two teams compete against each other on a predefined battlefield. Fast-paced and team-oriented, with each player taking on a specific role, the central objective is to destroy the enemy base. Examples include Dota and League of Legends.

RTS: Real Time Strategy

In these types of games, players control entire armies and have complete oversight of the map via a bird’s eye view. Games in this category include Star Craft 2 and Warcraft 3.

TCG: Trading Card Game

A game where players collect, trade and battle through the use of a vast range of strategies and card combinations. An example is Hearthstone.

TPS: Third Person Shooter

Somewhat similar to an FPS, however the player’s character is visible on-screen during gameplay. Examples include Gears of War and Fortnite Battle Royale.

Esports/Gaming Jargon Buster

Gamers Fist Bump

When communicating, players might use certain jargon which other players might not understand; listed below are just some of these terms which also have their meanings defined.

  • Auto Attack: An attack enabled by pressing a particular button/mouse click which makes the character automatically attack its target over and over again.
  • Aggro: Two uses for this word. One, a style of play where a team/player plays more aggressively with the aim of putting pressure on opponents. Two, a mechanism seen in games such as RPGS and MMORPGS which causes non-playable characters (NPCs) to attack players.
  • Blink/Flash: Form of movement where a character disappears, and then reappears a short distance away.
  • Buff: Power increase given to a character; could be temporarily mid-game or permanently as part of a content update initiated by the game’s developer.
  • Burst Damage: Damage dealt in a small amount of time.
  • Carry: Multiplayer games typically make use of a ‘carry role’. Traditionally, a ‘carry’ is player vulnerable in a game’s early stages so are protected by their team, but as the game moves on they become the main source of damage, often carrying their team to victory.
  • Cheese: Tactics used in video games which might be regarded as cheap, unfair or overly easy. An example is seen in Street Fighter, where some players repeatedly make use of ‘cheap’ moves such as fireball traps in order to defeat their opponents.
  • Cooldown: Minimum length of time that a player has to wait after using an ability before they can use it again. In first person shooters, machine guns typically have a short cooldown time, whilst shotguns typically have long cooldown times.
  • Diving: Term typically used in multiplayer games, refers to when a player ventures deep into enemy territory, often in an area heavily defended by the enemy thus increasing the likelihood of dying.
  • Farming: Repeating actions such as a specific battle or quest, with the aim of repeatedly obtaining reward items i.e. more experience points, in-game money, etc.
  • Feeding: When a player consistently dies in the hands of an enemy team/player, providing the enemy with in-game rewards such as experience points and in-game money.
  • Fog of war: Term used in strategy games, referring to an area of the map hidden from view and therefore hiding any enemy units in this area.
  • Frag: Achieving a kill in a game against an opposing player/NPC.
  • Ganking: Using element of surprise to attack an unprepared enemy; typically done from behind.
  • Glass Cannon: Typically seen in multiplayer games and is defined as a character/unit that has a high level of attack power, but a very weak defensive ability.
  • Griefing: Act of deliberately irritating/harassing other players within the game.
  • Inting: ‘Intentional feeding’, a player purposely loses the game for an entire team in order to feed the opponent with gold and experience points.
  • Juking: Term used in multiplayer games, where a player tricks an opponent to attack in a direction away from the player.
  • Jungler: Player clearing a certain area by killing neutral NPCs in order to acquire experience and gold.
  • Kicking: Removing a player from a game’s server; typically due to undesirable behaviour such as griefing.
  • Kiting: When a player leads an enemy to chase after them, in order to lead them elsewhere.
  • Loadout: Set of in-game equipment, abilities, power-ups, and so on, set by a player prior to the start of the game. Seen in first person shooters such as CoD.
  • Nerf: A game update tinkering with items/characters/skills perceived as being currently too strong. The updates typically reduce the effectiveness of these items/characters/skills so as to create a level playing field.
  • Noob: Insult used towards players making mistakes that experienced players typically avoid.
  • Peeling: Diverting focused attack away from teammates in order to save them.
  • Rush: Strategy game tactic where player uses low-cost units with the aim of ‘rushing’ to overwhelm an enemy.
  • Skin: Customisation option for a player’s in-game avatar which changes their appearance.
  • Smurf: When a highly skilled and experienced player creates a new account in order to be matched up with newer, more inexperienced opponents.
  • Tilt: A player that is angry and playing badly as a result is called a player ‘on tilt’.
  • Zerging: Strategy game tactic where a player uses an overwhelming number of inexpensive units to ensure cheap and early aggression.

Acronyms Typically Used In-Game

Gamers will often come across abbreviations within the games they play, and occasionally these acronyms may cause confusion. Provided below are just some of these in-game acronyms that players will come across.

  • DOT: Damage Over Time
  • DPS: Damage Per Second
  • HP: Health Points
  • KDA: Kills, Death, Assists
  • MOB: Monster or Object
  • MP: Magic Points
  • NPC: Non-Playable Character
  • PvP: Player vs Player
  • XP: Experience Points
  • AoE: Area of Effect; the vicinity that a spell/attack will hit someone

Player Communication Terms/Acronyms

Away From Keyboard

Some players might use abbreviations in the in-game chat to save time and focus on the game’s action, but this may cause confusion to other players. Provided below are just some of the abbreviations that might be used within the in-game chat.

  • AFK: Away From Keyboard
  • DC: Disconnect
  • BG: Bad Game
  • FF: Friendly Fire or Forfeit
  • FTW: For the Win
  • GG: Good Game
  • GLHF: Good Luck Have Fun
  • LFG: Looking For Group
  • LFP: Looking For Party
  • OMW: On My Way
  • OOM: Out of Mana (Magic)
  • TLDR: Too Long, Didn’t Read
  • TTYL: Talk To You Later
  • WTB: Want To Buy
  • WTS: Want To Sell