On Tuesday, Alex Pham wrote about the game-changing aspirations of the e-sports scene and companies such as Riot Games. Today, she listens in on the language of e-sports.
Marcus Graham is the John Madden of e-sports, a genre of competitive online gaming where thousands of players compete, often for cash prizes. The matches, played online with computers, pit individuals, and in some cases teams of players, in contests of wit and skill as they plot to annihilate each other.
While not as big as, say, the NFL, e-sports is large enough that people like Graham can make a living from being a professional commentator. He won’t say exactly how much he makes, but it’s enough to pay a mortgage and support his family of three in Omaha.
It helps that Graham has a full-time gig as a host of four shows on Twitch.tv, which broadcasts thousands of online matches a week online. But half of Graham’s earnings also come from live events, in which thousands of people gather at convention centers and arenas to view these matches.
Graham, 34, was once a competitive Quake 3 player, but switched to commentating when the team he was coaching said his verbal comments on their play-by-play sessions were entertaining.
We interviewed Graham, who goes by the online handle djWHEAT, to help us decipher the terms used when describing competitive gaming. Hockey has the hat trick. Baseball has dingers. What about e-sports? Here’s a glossary of 10 frequently used terms for the n00b.
1. Frag: A kill or point scored.
2. Micro: One’s ability to control different units within a game. Akin to tactics.
3. Macro: The larger strategy that emerges from the micro. A player who acts with a bigger picture of the game in mind.
4. Red versus Blue: You’re either on the red or the blue team. ‘Nuff said.
5. Best of 3 or 5: Length of the series, or number of matches needed to win.
6. Metagame: The meta is akin to the style of play that a team is known for.
7. Jungling: Players in League of Legends will focus efforts on attacking non-player characters in the jungle areas of the arena in order to buff up a character’s powers, while teammates engage other players. They use their power against other players late in the game to help their team in the final, crucial stages of battle.
8. No-scope: Top-level players of first-person shooters feel they are so good that they spurn the use of a scope to hit their targets.
9. Cheesy play: Unorthodox and early aggression tactic to get a quick win. As in, “I’m gonna cheese this guy.”
10. Bootcamping: Anytime teams get together to practice and refine their strategy before a competition.
– Alex Pham
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