A WoW Pocket Dictionary

I tend to use a lot of slang or jargon in my posts, so I thought I’d make this handy guide for those who are still new to the World of Warcraft (or anyone else who may be unfamiliar with it). Have a WoW term that you need defined? Just ask in the comments section.

AE or AoE: Shorthand for Area of Effect. This is a type of spell that effects multiple targets with a single cast. This can refer to both damaging spells and healing spells or buffs.

Aggro: The player that is currently being attacked and/or targeted by the enemy is considered to have Aggro. Usually (but not always) the player with the highest threat will have aggro. It is the tank’s job to try to maintain aggro on all mobs so that his less-sturdy teammates do not take as much damage. DPS and Healers should try to avoid aggro whenever possible, since in dungeons or raids, some enemies can kill a character in one hit.

Ankh: Shaman have the ability to resurrect themselves, even during combat. The self-resurrection is named Reincarnation, but is often referred to as an Ankh or Ankhing because of the reagent cost (the reagent required is an ankh). This is not generally considered to be a true battle rez because it may only be used on the shaman himself: it cannot be used on another character. Additionally, it has a prohibitively-long cooldown that prevents it from being a staple for either wipe-prevention or wipe-recovery.

Combat Ressurection (Battle Rez, BRez): Only druids can resurrect a dead character during combat. The spell is called Rebirth and as of this posting it has a 10 minute cooldown and requires a reagent to use (many druids use a glyph to be able to skip the reagent cost). It may be cast on any party member that has died, but cannot be used as a self-rez. For other varieties of in-combat resurrection, see Ankh and Soulstone.

Cooldown (CD):  A Cooldown is the amount of time you must wait between uses of an ability. If you must wait 12 seconds after using an ability to use that ability again, then it has a 12-second cooldown (commonly abbreviated as 12s

Damage Over Time (DOT): Damage Over Time refers to damage dealt to an enemy in several small pieces over a given time period. For example, if a Warlock’s Corruption spell deals 12k damage, it does so in 6 increments of 2k, spaced 3 seconds apart over 18 seconds. This is the opposite of Direct Damage.

Direct Damage: Direct Damage refers to damage dealt to an enemy in a single chunk. For example, if a Mage’s fireball spell deals 12k damage, it does so in a single hit. This is the opposite of Damage Over Time.

Direct Heals: Direct Heals refers to healing done to a friendly player in a single chunk. For example, if a Paladin’s Holy Light heals for 12k health, it does so in a single heal. This is the opposite of Healing over Time.

Face-pull: A (usually inadvertent) pull in which a player pulls aggro on an enemy (or enemies) by walking into them. Other inadvertent pulls may sometimes be called face-pulls, even if, for example, the enemy patrolled up behind the unsuspecting puller.

Global Cooldown (GCD): The global cooldown is a cooldown that applies to most spells and abilities that do not have a specific cooldown period. Generally this time is about 1.5 seconds, but can be lowered through talents and/or gear to be as low as 1.0 second. Casting any spell or ability (with the exception of a handful of spells in the game that are immune to normal CD rules)  will trigger the global cooldown, during which no new spells or abilities may be used. The global cooldown is triggered when the spell or ability is activated (rather than when it is finished casting), so many spells and abilities can be chained back-to-back without any apparent pause because the global CD is shorter than the casting time.  For example: a mage’s fireball spell can be chained because the casting time (2.5 seconds) is longer than the global cooldown (1.5 seconds), so the GCD finishes before the spell is finished casting. However, if that same mage had cast an instant spell, say Fireblast, he would have to wait out the global cooldown before he could begin to cast another spell. Most often this is of more concern to healers, since they tend to have several instant-cast options.

Healing Over Time (HOT): Healing Over Time refers to damage dealt to an enemy in several small pieces over a given time period. For example, if a Druid’s Rejuvenation spell heals 12k health, it does so in 4 increments of 3k, spaced 3 seconds apart over 12 seconds. This is the opposite of Direct Healing.

Nuke: Generally refers to the primary damage spell that is cast by a player. Also known as the “filler spell” since it is what you are casting to fill the spaces between procs of a bigger spell or the spaces between refreshing damage over time effects.

One-Shot: To kill or be killed in a single blow. As in “Festergut one-shotted me when I pulled aggro on my priest.” Sometimes also used in the context of dungeon or raid attempts, meaning that you successfully completed the boss on your first attempt, as in “We one-shotted all the bosses in Heroic Deadmines last night.”

OOM: Shorthand for “Out Of Mana,” this is your healer’s way of letting you know that he or she needs to refill the mana bar. If posted between pulls, this means you should wait before making the next pull. If used during a pull, this means that you should wait after the pull is over. Additionally, if you are a tank and you see the healer yelling “OOM!” you should check his mana bar and if it’s completely empty do whatever it takes (like blowing CDs or popping potions) to survive the pull.

Pull: The pull refers to one session of combat – for example, fighting a pack of trash mobs would be considered one pull. A pull might also refer to the action of initiating combat, as in “making the pull” or “I am pulling the patrol first.” A tank should always be the one to make the pull unless he specifically asks someone else to do so. Even threat-redirecting abilities (like Tricks of the Trade or Misdirection) should be used to initiate combat only if the tank asks. If a rogue or hunter uses these abilities to initiate a pull before the tank and/or healer is ready, the tank may suddenly be taking too much damage to keep up with (he may have been pulling a group other than the one you redirected, leaving the group fighting twice as many enemies as planned), or be unprepared to begin combat (for example, the tank may know that the healer is afk, even if she has not said as much in party chat).

Pull Aggro: To cause an enemy to switch targets from the player it is currently attacking (typically the tank) to yourself is to “pull aggro.” Players within melee range of the enemy will pull aggro when they achieve 110% of the current target’s threat, while players at range will pull at 130% of the current target’s threat. Because many tanks require aggro to build up threat and resources it can be quite difficult for a tank to regain aggro once he’s lost it. For example, tanks will often get threat and/or resources (like rage or mana) not just from dealing damage, but also from taking damage or avoiding it (i.e. from dodges, blocks, or parries). This is why it is very important to let the tank make the pull during dungeon runs. Even if the tank taunts off of you, he must get to and maintain 110% of your threat or you will get aggro back as soon as the taunt effect wears off.

Proc: Refers to a server-side procedure initiated by a certain set of variables being completed. To be less technical, it is a bonus effect that you get when some pre-determined checklist is met. For example, you might get a small heal, a mana-free spell, or an instant-cast version of a non-instant spell when a bonus procs. Procs are not directly player-controlled, but rather are set off when certain criteria are met, such as getting two critical strikes in a row (in the case of a Mage’s Hotstreak talent), or when you get lucky with a server-side dice roll (in the case of a % chance on cast item).

Resurrection (Rez): The ability to bring a dead character back to life. All healing classes have the ability to resurrect dead characters as long as they (the casters) are not in combat. Only druids have a full in-combat resurrection. Each class has a unique name for its resurrection spell: Druids (Revive), Shaman (Ancestral Spirit), Paladins (Redemption), Priests (Resurrection). Despite this, most people simply call it a “rez” or resurrection. Additionally, characters with high-level engineering can attempt to use goblin jumper cables to restore a dead character to life. Unlike the class spells, however, jumper cables have a chance of failure (the more advanced the jumper cable, the lower the risk of failure).

Soulstone (SS): A warlock can conjure a soulstone and use it on any friendly player in its group or party. The person under the effect of the soulstone can self-resurrect, even during combat. This is not usually considered a true combat-rez, however, because it has many limitations that make it unreliable as a wipe-prevention tool, although it is often used for wipe recovery. First, it must be cast on the character before it dies. The stone itself has a 3-second cast time, making it extremely difficult for the warlock to use it during combat on a character that is about to die, even if the warlock has excellent awareness and reaction time. Because of this, soulstones are almost always applied before combat, usually on a key party member, like a tank or healer. Since there is no way to know in advance who will die during any given encounter all you can do is place your best guess. If you guess incorrectly you’ve wasted the soulstone and the 15-minute CD.  This is why many warlocks pick the healer. Not only is the healer more fragile and thus more likely to die than the tank, but the ability to rez other members after a wipe can sometimes save time on dungeons in which the graveyard is far away.

Threat (Hate): Threat is an in-game resource that is typically used to determine which character an enemy will attack. Almost all non-player enemies in the game follow a so-called “threat table” (a list of all players currently posing a threat to the enemy) to determine which player it will attack (typically the one with the most threat against the enemy) . Any action (buffs, potions, abilities, damaging the enemy, healing allies, etc.) will cause threat to an enemy.

Uptime: Refers to the amount of time that you are able to keep a particular spell or effect active, generally given as a percentage. This is commonly used to calculate the effectiveness of trinkets or other item procs by providing a number that is the rough equivalent of a flat bonus. For example, a trinket that gives a 300 spellpower bonus is roughly equal in overall damage to a trinket that gives a 600 spellpower bonus with a 50% uptime because, averaged out over a minute, both players received 300 bonus spellpower for that minute. Sometimes also used to monitor how effective a player was at keeping a spell active in its target, for example a dpser might want a high uptime on his DOTs  to maximize damage, while a healer might want a high uptime on his HOTs to provide a steady stream of healing to the tank.

Wipe: An attempt is considered a wipe if everyone (or almost everyone) dies without succeeding in completing the challenge. An attempt in which someone uses an ability – like the Shadowmeld racial ability or the paladin spell Divine Intervention – to leave combat after the rest of the group dies is still generally considered a wipe.

Wipe-prevention: An ability that allows one player to save another (or himself), from a situation that would almost certainly cause the group/raid to wipe. Usually this situation involves preventing or reversing the death of a key party member, but it can sometimes apply to other abilities, as well. For example, missing a stack or two of Inoculated on Festergut can easily cause a wipe. However, abilities like a paladin’s Divine Sacrifice redirects a huge chunk of the damage to the paladin, lowering the raid members’ damage taken to survivable levels and preventing the wipe. The paladin would usually use this in conjunction with a Divine Shield to negate the redirected damage or else the paladin would die.

Wipe-recovery: An ability that is often used to recover the raid after a wipe has occurred. Because resurrecting dead players is usually faster than having them run in from the graveyard, wiper recovery usually involves one or more players (usually healers) breaking combat without dying or using an ability that restores them to life after having died (ankh, soulstone). A prime example of this is a paladin’s Divine Intervention: while it kills the paladin that casts it, it makes sure that the target will survive the battle. By casting it on another healer, the paladin ensures that a healer remains alive (and probably with a relatively intact mana pool) to start resurrecting other players as soon as the boss disappears to reset the fight. Generally, during wipe-recovery players that can rez others will be resurrected first so that they can then help resurrect the remaining dead.


3 thoughts on “A WoW Pocket Dictionary

  1. Ironically we’ve never called a shaman’s self-rez Ankhing… We typically call it “repop”.

    “[InsertNameHere] can you repop?”

    • Hmm… never heard it called that. I’ve always heard “repop” in reference to creature respawns. It fits in that context, though. Reminds me of one of the rez quotes from my rez macro “Hey, what’s the respawn timer on a [insert name here]?”

      • I love seeing different people’s rezzing macros! People come up with the most clever ones!

        But yeah, we call it repop. Not sure why or how it started… Probably was our resident enhancement shaman… he’s always coming up with random variations on words/new words that make their way into the guild vocabulary.

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