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Chaos Theory: A Secret World lexicon

MJ Guthrie


Look familiar? If you play The Secret World, you've likely seen this string of characters, or something similar, a thousand times over. Anyone who has done any MMO gaming is used to seeing a flood of acronyms fly by in chat channels. It's a special shorthand to convey as much information as possible without spending all that time and effort typing out whole words (which certainly comes in handy when you are busy dodging incoming attacks). Some terms are fairly common to the genre as a whole, but others are game-specific. So what happens when players jump into The Secret World for the first time? They can be left scratching their heads wondering what weird language people are speaking.

But with everything else there is to get a handle on in the game, like the ability wheel and builds, who wants to spend time deciphering every communique? New players could speak up and outright ask what a certain term means, but who wants to expose his newbness for all to see? Instead, many just try to deduce the meaning or ignore the message all together. The problem with that is you might get something wrong (and look worse) or completely miss out on something worthwhile.

To help allay confusion and give everyone a fair chance at understanding TSW-speak, I've gathered the most relevant terminology here in a handy guide. Not only can you decode what you read with it, but you'll have the key to sending your own messages like a pro.

Some terminology is pretty standard across games, but a new player to MMOs might not have them. Here is a list of a few of the most common ones:
  • AFK -- Away From Keyboard. Player needs to step away and is not paying attention to the game.
  • AH -- Auction House. Where you can buy and sell from other players (located in London).
  • AoE -- Area of Effect. Incoming/outgoing attack or skill will encompass not just a single target but an entire area. Can create unintended adds.
  • BRB -- Be Right Back.
  • CC -- Crowd Control. Can refer to either the act of controlling mobs through roots, stuns, blinds, etc. or the build that can do such acts.
  • CD -- Cooldown. The length of time you are locked out of repeated a quest, dungeon, or scenario.
  • DC or D/C -- Disconnected. In TSW usually refers to being disconnected form a particular server or dimension instead of the entire game world.
  • DoT -- Damage over Time.
  • DPS -- Damage Per Second. Also commonly refers to a damage dealing class/build.
  • rDPS -- Ranged damage dealer build. This one is a bit more specific to TSW and focuses on ranged weapons (showing that you wont get underfoot of the tank).
  • exp -- Experienced player. A player is very familiar with a task/dungeon and knows how to fulfill his or her role without needing any guidance. (Not to be confused with XP)
  • HoT -- Heal Over Time.
  • LFG -- Looking For Group.
  • LF1M -- Looking For # More. The group is already established and is seeking more members.
  • LoS -- Line of Sight. The direct path between player and target needed for skills and attacks to work (if it can't see you, it can't kill you).
  • PST -- Please Send Tell. Called a whisper in some games (/tell).
  • XP -- Experience. The points you gain through adventuring and questing that move you along to new levels and skills.
  • WTB -- Want To Buy.
  • WTS -- Want To Sell.
  • WTT -- Want To Trade.
Although these specific terms are pretty exclusive to The Secret World, some can be easily deduced just from context or a rudimentary understanding of the game systems (such as the weapon names). However, assuming you understand a term and replying when you are in fact incorrect can make you feel pretty sheepish, so be in the know with this list!

  • 3:60 -- Dimension and server. Written with dimension always first, this information is important especially during events with world bosses that can appear anywhere and players need to group up to defeat them. Shift + F9 will give your information.
  • 18s -- A Nightmare Mode dungeon run consisting of Polaris, Darkness Wars, and Hell Raised (refers specifically to the 18 combined bosses of all three dungeons).
  • 24s -- A Nightmare Mode dungeon run consisting of all three from the 18s with Hell Eternal added on top (18 + 6 = 24 bosses).
  • .5 -- Gear level over and above purple QL 10. This signifies 10.5 level purple gear (can also see .2, .4, etc.).
  • .5.5 -- Gear level with added glyphs. Highest gear level currently possible.
  • 4.2k -- Attack rating. This is used to signify capability to handle difficult content.
  • Afflicted -- To be under the effect of a DoT.
  • AP -- Ability Point. The currency used to buy additional abilities (called skills in many games).
  • ARG -- Alternate Reality Game. A game played out outside of TSW on forums, Twitter, etc.
  • Auto -- Automatic meet-up. Using a script, players will auto-grant a MU request without having to click accept, making for faster meet-ups.
  • Blingzilla -- Nickname given to the golden Guardian of Gaia world boss golem by Kirsten Geary.
  • BS -- Breaching Shot. An elite shotgun skill that is referenced because of its group-wide buff.
  • Cabal -- Guild.
  • DLC -- Downloadable Content. Extra content you pay for (currently issues #5 through 8).
  • GK -- GateKeeper. That golden boy who must be defeated (using either tank, healer, or DPS build) before players can advance to NM dungeons. He can be accessed only after all Elite dungeons have been completed once.
  • Kirsten -- Kirsten Geary, the handler for the Illuminati faction loved for her snide demeanor (also called Geary or simply KG).
  • Leech -- AR build that utilizes leech heal skill (damaging enemy applies heals) instead of a traditional direct heal skill.
  • MU -- Meet-up. Used to jump to the same dimension and server as another player (make person a friend and select "meet up" from friends list).
  • Pos -- Position. Often called waypoint in other games, this is followed by numbers that are coordinates on the map; the first is west to east, and the second is south to north (mousing over the map will show you coordinates in the lower left corner). Pressing shift + F9 will give your exact coordinates.
  • QL -- Quality Level. Although characters don't have levels, gear does. QL ranges from one to 10, 10 being the highest.
  • RnS -- Reap and Sow. An elite Assault Rifle skill that is considered key in some situations.
  • Sonnac -- Richard Sonnac, the handler for the Templar faction.
  • SP -- Skill Point. Used to purchase the ability to use higher QL gear (talismans and weapons).
  • TAoE -- Targeted Area of Effect. An AoE that is centered on a target.
  • POL -- Polaris (in Kingsmouth)
  • HR -- Hell Raised (in Savage Coast)
  • HF -- Hell Fallen (in City of the Sun God)
  • HE -- Hell Eternal, Elite only (in Shadowy Forest or Agartha)
  • DW -- Darkness Wars (in Blue Mountain)
  • Fac -- The Facility, Elite only (in Agartha, quest in Besieged Farmlands
  • Ankh -- Well, just Ankh! (in City of the Sun God)
  • SH -- The SlaughterHouse, Elite only (located in Carpathian Fangs or Agartha)
  • NYR -- New York Raid, or Manhattan Exclusion Zone (in NY)
  • NM -- Nightmare Mode. The hardest level of dungeons, they can only be accessed after defeating the GateKeeper. (Not to be confused with Normal Mode as in many other games!)
  • KM -- Kingsmouth (Solomon Island)
  • SC -- Savage Coast (Solomon Island)
  • BM -- Blue Mountain (Solomon Island)
  • SD -- Scorched Desert (Egypt)
  • CotSG -- City of the Sun God (Egypt)
  • BF -- Besieged Farmlands (Transylvania)
  • CF -- Carpathian Fangs (Transylvania)
  • SF -- Shadowy Forest (Transylvania)
  • BG -- Battle Group. In Fusang Projects, Dimensions are broken into two groups to fight, BGA (Arcadia, Cerberus, Grim, and Drac ) and BGB (Daemon, Kobald, Leviathan, and Huldra).
  • ED -- El Dorado, a timed capture the flag match.
With this information tucked firmly under your belt, now you, too, can decipher chat with the best of them! While this is not a comprehensive list of every bit of shorthand that players use in game, it does give the majority of the terms that you'll encounter in chat on a regular basis. Do you have some other terms you are used to using/seeing in TSW that aren't listed here? Share in the comments below.

Conspiracies, paranoia, secrets, and chaos -- the breakfast of champions! Feast on a bowlful with MJ and Justin every Monday as they infiltrate The Secret World to bring you the latest word on the streets of Gaia in Chaos Theory. Heard some juicy whispers or have a few leads you want followed? Send them to or and they'll jump on the case!

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