The Top 18 RPG Terms Every Gamer Should Know

If you’re new to RPGs, the jargon and jargon may seem confusing at first. However, you can finish right from the start if you know a few basic terms that you will come across playing various games in this great genre.

Keep in mind that different RPGs use these terms a little differently, that’s why we’ll just cover their basic meanings. With that said, here are 18 RPG terms you need to know.

1. Experience Points (XP or EXP)

Experience points are what your character earns in RPG video games for performing certain actions, such as defeating enemies or completing a side quest. If the character accumulates enough XP, they will level up. After leveling up, the XP counter will reset and start counting towards the next level until max is reached.

2. Character Level

A character’s level is a number that represents how strong they are in the game. It also applies to enemies. So if your character encounters an enemy with a higher level than them, you may find that enemy more difficult to defeat (the reverse is also true for enemies with a lower level than your character).

3. Level up

Leveling up is the act of making your character stronger by earning EXP. Usually, when you level up a character, their stats, such as health and strength, improve. Characters can also gain new skills through leveling up.

Leveling up is useful if you’re up against tougher enemies. This can sometimes force you to grind in video games, especially if your enemies can kill you with a few hits.

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4. Main quests and side quests

Main quests are quests that your character must complete in order to advance the main plot of the game. Side quests are optional and do not matter to the progression of the game. However, they grant you rewards that can make it easier for you to complete the main quest.

5. Inventory

Inventory is a game feature that shows you all the items, such as weapons, armor, and potions your player character currently owns.

6. Skill Points

Skill points are what you use to gain new abilities for your character or increase the power of existing ones. Your character can earn skill points in many ways, including leveling up (the most common way), completing quests, or opening treasure chests. Other games call them substitution points.

You spend skill points in what is called a skill tree.

7. Skill Tree

The skill tree is a graph that shows the skills you can get for a particular character. It can be linear or multi-branched. The second type of skill tree allows for better skill customization and specialization.

8. Class

Class or job is the role assigned to a character, and it determines their abilities and fighting style. Popular character classes include warrior, gunner, wizard, thief, assassin, archer, healer, hacker, and tank.

9. Crafting, Blacksmithing and Cooking

Crafting means creating new items by combining two or more from your inventory. Forging means crafting new weapons, armor, accessories, and similar items for use in battle. And cooking is the art of creating consumables, such as food and potions, to heal diseases and gain status effects.

10. Access Point (HP)

Hit score is another term for your character’s health and represents the number of hits they can take from an enemy before dying. For example, if your character has 10 HP left and an enemy attack deals -11 HP, they won’t survive the hit because their HP will drop to -1 HP.

11. Party

When other characters in the RPG join the protagonist on a quest, you get a party. Some RPGs let you switch between the characters of your party and even customize them, while others don’t. And the game usually ends when the enemy wipes out your entire party.

12. Dungeons and Towns

A dungeon is a dangerous, self-contained area or level, such as a castle or cave, rife with enemy encounters. Completing a dungeon usually provides rewards.

The town, on the other hand, is a place for respite. Here, your character can rest to recuperate, stock up on items and equipment, and find new quests and more.

13. Main Boss and Minor Boss

Bosses are powerful enemies that you must defeat to progress in the game. Also, defeating them often rewards you with more XP than standard enemies. Some main bosses even give you a special item or two when defeated.

Mini bosses are another type of powerful enemies you’ll encounter in an RPG game, but defeating them is optional. You often encounter small bosses at the end of the dungeon when you go off the beaten path, and they also give you special rewards for being defeated.

14. Status and Disease Effects

The status effect is a positive but short-lived effect on your character. For example, your character can consume a potion and gain a status effect that temporarily increases their maximum health or increases their strength.

A disease condition is the opposite of a status effect. A common medical condition is “poison”, in which a suffering character slowly loses health over a short period of time.

15. Character Creator

The Character Generator is a user interface feature that allows you to create and define a character from scratch. For example, it can let you choose which class a character will be in and what gender, race, body type, hairstyle, and voice they will have.

16. Variable-based RPG

In a turn-based RPG, your character and the enemy take turns in battle. When it’s your turn, a menu pops up, allowing you to choose an action, such as attack, block, heal, or revive a fallen member. After all the characters in your party have moved, it will be the enemy’s turn.

17. Real-time combat RPG

In a real-time combat RPG, your character and the enemy attack each other simultaneously instead of taking turns. It’s like any other traditional action game but with deep RPG mechanics.

18. Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG)

MMORPG is an online game where your player character coexists with hundreds of thousands of other people in a persistent world. A persistent world is one where in-game events continue to happen even after you’re logged out. MMORPGs often have social elements, such as voice and text chat, that allow you to communicate with other players, such as organizing quests or trading in-game items.

Now you are ready to explore other RPG terms

There is such a long list of RPG terms that it is impossible to cover them all in one article. But with what we’ve covered here, you’ll be proficient enough to venture into the genre with confidence. As you play more RPG video games, you’ll learn more terms along the way.


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Sarah Ridley

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