New to MOBAs? Here are 30 terms you oughta know!

Stepping into a MOBA community is a little like stepping off a plane into a foreign country. There are a lot of words flying around that mean everything to the people around you and nothing to you… yet. But by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll be good to go. Let’s do this…

  1. Last hit/last-hitting: Killing a minion, monster or enemy hero yields a set amount of gold. But that gold isn’t divided up among teammates. All the gold goes to the hero who delivers the killing blow. The act of striking the enemy last—resulting in the enemy’s death—is known as “last-hitting.” Last-hitting is an art form in unto itself; those who can consistently last hit will be much more successful because they’ll have more gold to play with. In the lane, this is all about timing because friendly minions will continue to attack the enemy despite your desire to last hit. You’ll need to time your final attack to kill the enemy before the minion does. Most new players will try last-hitting in Practice Mode until they feel pretty confident in this, especially if interested in playing in lane.
  2. Farm/farming (related to CS): Focusing on gaining gold through the act of last-hitting minions or monsters. Farming is the primary way you will get enough gold to buy better items at the shop.
  3. Ranged: A hero (or creature) who attacks from a distance with a projectile weapon.
  4. Melee: A hero (or creature) who attacks from close up, often with a handheld weapon such as a sword or axe.
  5. Gank/ganking: A “gank” is an ambush, usually involving multiple allies attacking an unsuspecting enemy. To “gank the lane” is to hide in the brush at the edge of the lane and jump out when the time is right.
  6. Kite/kiting: Using a ranged hero (like Ringo with his gun) and continually firing and damaging an enemy while dancing at the edge of the enemy’s range. Ideally, you’d fire and then dance back out of range and so on and so forth. Kiting is often a means of simultaneously attacking and retreating, in an attempt to maintain a safe distance. Visualize a kite on a string caught in the wind. This represents the distance and fluid nature of the attack.
  7. Juke: A quick change of direction while moving, in an attempt to fool or evade an enemy hero. Often, this when you’re low health and attempting to escape. You might run around a corner, get into the brush and then go an unexpected direction to see if you can shake the chasing enemy.
  8. Buff: A temporary boost to a stat. “Buff self” refers to boosting one of your stats. “Buff ally” refers to boosting a teammate’s stat(s). An example is Adagio’s Agent of Wrath ability. This will boost an ally’s basic attack power for several seconds. If Adagio buffs himself instead, the bonus attack power is even greater.
  9. Crowd Control (also known as “CC”): Umbrella term referring to all abilities or items that can temporarily inhibit the enemy. Crowd control comes in a number of different varieties: “Slow” reduces move speed. “Silence” prevents ability use. “Stun” will briefly incapacitate the target. That’s just a few …
  10. Cooldown: When you use an ability, it goes on “cooldown.” This is the timer that represents the real-life time that must elapse before you can use that ability again. “Cooldown acceleration” refers to speeding up the timer so you can use the ability again sooner.
  11. Lifesteal: Gaining health back from an attack that damages the enemy. Weapon lifesteal occurs when you regain health from basic attacks. Crystal lifesteal occurs when you regain health from attacking with your abilities.
  12. Ultimate (Ult): Your third (and most powerful) ability. Always spend an ability point on your ultimate when possible. It’s often your most devastating option of the three.
  13. Turret: The big military cannons in lane. Your turrets defend the giant crystal in your base. The enemy turrets defend their crystal. Be very careful around a turret. If friendly minions aren’t present to distract it, you will take massive cannon damage and quickly die.
  14. Lane/laning: The lane is one of two main zones on the game map. It’s the long, turret-filled alley in a direct line out from your base. You’ll often find ranged heroes in lane. Those in lane focus on two things: farming unfriendly minions for gold and destroying turrets, when possible. You will most often find a Carry in the lane.
  15. Freeze/Freezing the lane/Stall/Stalling the lane: To stop the progress of minions fighting in the lane. Players usually want this to happen close to their turret, but not so close that the turret attacks the minions. If done well it helps keep you safe while keeping the enemy closer to your side risking a gank in order to keep farming, or to back off and lose farm. Stalling is a bit different, often times Carries would like to leave the lane in order to shop or help out in the Jungle, using a Minion Candy is a good way to do this, preventing the enemy minions from pushing to your turret easily.
  16. Jungle/jungling The jungle is the other main zone in the game. It’s the large, brush-filled region beneath the lane. You’ll often see a pair of melee heroes head into the jungle, but that’s not a given. Those in jungle focus on two things: farming monsters for gold and ganking in the lane whenever the opportunity arises. You will most often find a Jungler in the jungle.
  17. Rotation: This is the path/time to take to finish killing all the monsters on your side of the Jungle. You have rotated from start to finish and now need to wait for them to spawn again. During this waiting period is when crucial things happen like ganking the lane, purchasing at the shop, placing vision, ambushes, and more. It is important to time your Rotation to match well with your Carry or to counter the enemies Rotation timing, getting yourself into better position before a fight starts.
  18. Vision: This is one of the most important parts of any MOBA! To be able to know where your opponents are and what they are doing is vital! In order to do this, you must use items or skills that grant you "vision" of the map. Scout Traps will stay in place and grant vision as long as they have not been exploded. Flares are a way to quickly check brush or over a wall for enemies or enemy scout traps. Some skills like Gwen's Buckshot Bonanza can also grant "vision" on an enemy if they are hit by it. It is most always the Captain's job to support the team with vision so their Junglers and Carries are not caught in an ambush.
  19. Minions: The friendly and unfriendly critters in the lane. You have an unlimited supply of friendly minions that spawn from your crystal and march toward enemy turrets. Your opponents have an unlimited supply of unfriendly minions that do the same. Minions come in “waves” from base.
  20. Monsters: The native creatures in the jungle that yield gold. The monster with the green aura also yields a small amount of health to the hero who last-hit it.
  21. Feed/don’t feed: “Feed” means repeatedly putting yourself in a vulnerable or exposed position, resulting in your death at the hands of an enemy hero. This is called feeding because you’re personally supplying that enemy with the gold needed to build powerful items. Killing a hero often can yield more gold than killing a minion or monster.
  22. Tank/tanky: This describes a hero’s makeup, role and/or item build. A “tanky” hero is focused on life sustain and is difficult to kill. This often comes in the form of lots of max health but can also refer to defense such as armor and shielding. “Tankiness” often comes at the expense of attack power. These heroes are often the Captains of their team.
  23. Carry: An offensive hero role with two meanings. Often the carry is expected or needed to “carry” the team to victory, but first this hero often needs to be "carried" to the point where they are powerful enough to become the "carry"; meaning they are weak early game heroes. Weapon carries are focused on basic attack power. Crystal carries are focused on ability power and are sometimes referred to by the community as AP carries. These heroes are the often Carries.
  24. Support: A type of hero that can focus on bolstering the power of teammates and/or sustaining the health of teammates. In Vainglory, heroes with support qualities also possess offensive qualities or other capabilities. These heroes are often the Captains of their team.
  25. Assassin: A type of hero that can focus on striking suddenly for massive damage and then getting out before getting killed. Koshka exhibits all the qualities of an assassin. These heroes are often Junglers, coming out for quick ganks.
  26. Team-fight: When your entire team of three is battling all three enemies at once. The later the game progresses, the more important and frequent team-fights will become. Always keep an eye on the mini-map to anticipate team-fights and get there in time to avoid a 2v3 engagement.
  27. Aggro: “Taking aggro” from an enemy monster or hero means to take the damage from it. For example, if you’re tanky and another player is weak or low health, you’ll want to take the aggro when engaging an enemy, if possible.  You should also be careful about taking aggro from the turret as it can kill you quickly.
  28. Build (Item Build): The sequence of items purchased during the course of a match. One of the most fun and interesting elements of exploring a new hero is seeing what “item builds” work for you most effectively. There is no one “right build” for a hero. Different combinations will yield different results, and certain builds complement certain play styles more than others. Part of the fun is sharing your favorite builds with the community at VaingloryFire or on the forums and trying builds that other Vainglory players suggest.
  29. CS (Creep Score): This is the number of minions and monsters you have killed and is used as an indication of the amount of gold you have collected over a certain period of time. Usually you'll hear this used in matches with a comparison of two Carries. For example, if one Carry has a CS of 45 and the other has a CS of 98 at a certain point in the game, it means the one with 90 should have roughly double the amount of gold, and therefor better items.
  30. KDA (Kills/Deaths/Assists): This is a representation of your stats in the match: The number of enemy heroes you Killed during the match (you must get the last hit to get the Kill). The number of Deaths you had during the match.  The number of Assists you had during the match - you must participate in the Hero Kill within a certain limit (a mixture of many factors) - assistance can be counted from damage, heals, item usage, scout traps, etc.

Don’t worry about remembering everything above. The more you play, the more you watch, and the more you read, the more second nature this will become.

See you in the Fold!

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