The Dictionary of DOTA and Others
If you’re just learning how to play DOTA, League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, or one of the other MOBA’s out there, or if you’ve played for a while but had no idea what other players are trying to communicate to you, this guide is for you. We take a step by step look at some of the phrases you’re sure to see plastered across your screen during a game and break down what they mean - You’ll be typing commands like a pro in no time!
If you find this article useful, you may also want to check out our specific glossary of League of Legends terms as well.
These are omse general game mechanics which you should familiarize yourself with to better understand the different champion skills, stages of the games, and to get better map awareness.
Ace - Signifies that the entire enemy team has been wiped out. Also known as Genocide in Heroes of Newerth, this is an excellent time for your team to assault the enemy towers or base. To score an “ace” is to kill the last remaining enemy champion when all others are dead.
AD - Attack Damage. This boosts physical-based abilities by a certain multiplier and also determines the damage you will do with one auto attack.
AOE - Frequently seen in more traditional MMORPG’s, it means the same here. Area of Effect, an ability that covers an area rather than a specific target.
AP - Ability Power. This is only seen in League of Legends, and it directly boosts many of the magi-based abilities in the game by a certain multiplier that varies by champion, skill, and level.
Aura - An ability which is usually passive and buffs allied heroes or debuffs enemy heroes in close proximity. Sometimes auras may have costs associated with activation or upkeep.
Backdoor - To attack an enemy tower or base location while the rest of your team is engaged in a fight, usually 4 versus 5. The risk to doing so is great, but the reward of pushing another lane or tower/inhibitor can be great if done correctly and your team can hold its own without you.
Barracks/Racks - The spawning location of the creeps inside a base. When these are taken out, the creeps of the destroying team will get much stronger, allowing them to push deep inside opposing territory and possibly kill characters by themselves. In LoL, this is the inhibitor which spawns Super Minions.
Bottle - An object found in Heroes of Newerth and DOTA, it can be used to “bottle” runes, allowing them to be used when they will confer the most benefit.
Brush/Bushes - Foliage which provides the ability to hide. Only found in League of Legends. Some champions gain a passive ability when running or being in a the brush such as Cait’s headshot attack or Nidalee’s speed boost.
Buff - Something that boosts stats or abilities, generally for a set duration of time, although some are permanent. This could also refer to the improvement of a champion following a patch.
Carry - A character that can eventually “carry” the team to victory. Typically has scaling abilities which allow him to take on multiple heroes at the same time, sometimes entire teams. They are usually more squishy (eaiser to kill), but are capable of putting out a lot of damage.
CC - “Crowd Control”. Includes moves that stun, slow, fear, blind, and anything else that may impair movement or disable enemy opponents.
**Champion/Hero -**The character you play for the duration of a game.
Channel - The act of temporarily losing the ability to move or attack in order to activate a skill. Most channeled abilities are very powerful and can be broken with a stun or disable. The progress of a channel is displayed in a bar on the bottom of your screen.
Creeps - Traditionally refers to the game-spawned armies from each team that flow mindlessly toward the opponents base within a lane. See also Neutrals.
Cooldown (CD) - The duration between when you can cast the same spell again. Spells that do more damage (such as ultimates) usually have longer cooldowns.
DD - Direct Damage. An ability that is basically “point and click” to result in X amount of damage to an opponent as long as they are in range. In LoL, this is referred to as True Damage (damage not mitigated by armor or magic resistance).
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Game Mechanics (Cont)
Deny - The act of killing your own team’s severely injured creep (below 50% HP) or even champion to prevent the opposing team from getting experience and/or gold. Deny is not featured in League of Legends since the rework of Gangplank’s “Raise Morale” skill and will likely never be included.
Disable - See Crowd Control. Any ability that somehow impairs an opponent’s actions or movement, hard CC.
DOT - An ability, spell, or skill that does “Damage Over Time.”
DPS - As seen in more traditional MMORPG’s, refers to a character whose job is to do continuous, usually physical, damage per second (hence DPS). Often related to the Carry but not always the case.
Farm - Killing creeps or neutrals for money, although on occasion may be used to refer to a case of Feeding. One of the most important aspects of the game since this will be your main source of income (gold). Highly-experienced players are very adept at farming and last hitting for gold to avoid pushing their lanes in the laning phase and to maximize their gold.
Fear - A form of hard disable that functions like a stun except the “feared” enemy unit wanders randomly in a limited distance unable to move, attack, or cast any abilities on their own.
Feed/Feeder - A player who die to the other team multiple (often many) times is considered to be Feeding, this is not a label you want to have in a game. A player who has gotten strong from killing a Feeder is considered Fed, what you do want to be labeled.
Gank - The act of attempting to kill a character or characters with superior numbers, often unknown to him. Ganks can be “set up” by using the river to travel quickly between lanes, or by coming out of the jungle. It can easily be prevented with wards.
Harass - To continue pelting an opponent in a lane with damage, not with the intent to kill them (although it can definitely happen as a result) but to force them out of the lane or to make bad decisions.
HP - Hit (health) points. Refers to a champion’s health.
Initiate/Initiator - The character (hopefully) most suited to beginning the team battles with the opposition. This role is best suited for Tanks.
Juke/Juking/Juked - The act of using either the fog of war, brush, or terrain available to avoid a situation where death seems imminent and unavoidable. A player is considered to have juked his way out of trouble if he survives.
Jungle/Jungling/Junging - The act of entering the non-lane areas of the map and killing the neutral creatures there for money and experience. Some heroes can Jungle from very early on due to abilities, and this can allow for a team to have two solo lanes (top and middle lane). a Jungler also adds to the element of surprise allowing them to potentially gank any lane.
Lane - The area in the game where the creeps flow from base to base from spawn points. The standard layout features three lanes, but Heroes of Newerth contains a two-lane map as well.
Last Hit - Often overlooked by new players, “last hitting” refers to getting the final hit on a creep or player resulting in gaining gold. It’s very important to try and get the last hits on creeps, as the gold will go to waste if “the creeps kill the creeps”
MR - Magic Resistance, reduces the damage taken from magic-based attacks, mainly those from casters and AP characters.
MS - Movement speed. The rate at which a champion moves by walking.
Neutrals/Neuts/Neuting - Refers to the Jungle area monsters, who are not on either team but can be farmed for experience, gold, and effectively act as rune spawns in League of Legends.
Passive - An ability that does not need to be activated for it to activate. In LoL, each champion has a unique passive ability.
PBAOE - Point Blank Area of Effect. A spell that radiates out of the caster and will hit any target within the range. Many powerful abilities featured in these games are Channeled PBAOE’s.
Ping - To click a place on the minimap, triggering an audible alert to the rest of your team about that location. It’s considered in poor taste to spam ping and annoy your team. Can also refer to a player’s in-game latency (amount of lag between their computer and the server).
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Game Mechanics (Cont)
Push - To clear a minion wave towards the enemy tower (farming).
Root - Any ability that stops an opponent’s from movement, but they may still be allowed to attack and cast normally.
Rune - Runes are found in the river in Heroes of Newerth and DOTA, and on the neutrals in League of Legends. Collected runes offer a timed buff to the player that gets them, often allowing the player a significant advantage in combat. Not to be confused with the rune system found in League of Legends which allows upgrades to be purchased with Influence Points (IP).
Rush - To build a particular item first above all other items (such as boots).
Silence - Any ability that stops an opponent from using abilities, but they may still be allowed to attack and move normally.
Skillshot - An ability that has to be aimed, and connect with its target to work. Some skillshots will go through regular creeps but many of them require excellent positioning and timing to connect with their intended targets, and can be stronger than regular “point and click” abilities.
Snowball/Snowballing - The act of getting progressively stronger while the opponents get weaker through kills, can have a devastating effect on the game when it happens early. League of Legends features Snowball items, which boost the owner while they rack up kills but lose some power when the owner dies.
Stun - The hard disable, stuns render a character unable to move, cast, or attack for a set duration.
Support - A character who primarily “supports” other characters through heals, buffs, or sometimes disables.
Summoner Spell(s) - In LoL, you can choose two summoner spells which allow a variety of skills with very long cooldown times to allow you to quickly escape, chase an opponent, heal, or teleport to name a few. Timing is critical when using a Summoner as it can be the difference between getting a kill and dying.
Tank - A character designed to soak up the majority of the damage, can often fulfill the role of Initiator to start a team fight.
Taunt - Forcing an enemy champion to attack you (usually a tank). Has a short duration and functions like a stun, a hard disable.
True Damage - Damage not affected by a champion’s armor or magic resistance.
TP - Using a scroll or ability to telport in to a location.
Ult - Refers to a character’s “ultimate” ability, usually a very strong move that can’t be obtained until level six with a longer cooldown and cost than the rest of their abilities.
Wards - Used to prevent ganks, set up ganks, and to find stealthers, these items can be purchased in the shop. They provide vision to the surrounding area and last for a short duration (3-6 minutes depending on the game). These are critical to in-game success as having vision over the entire map is helpful for tracking down the enemy team and eliminating any surprises. They are best placed in bushes and over ledges to reveal concealed places.
Important Game Locations
Big Red/Baron Nashor/Kongor/Roshan/Rosh - The “Final Boss” of the neutrals are much harder to defeat than their jungle counterparts and provide large bonuses to the team that defeats them. It will generally take the entire team to take them down. Killing Baron for example gives your team a nice buff with increased HP and mana regeneration, AP, and AD. In LoL, Baron spawns at 13:00 and once killed, respawns every 7 minutes.
Dragon - Found in League of Legends, on the bottom of the map opposite to Baron Nashor. Killing Dragon provides gold and experience for your entire team, the equivalent of destroying one enemy tower. Once killed, it respawns every 6 minutes. Control over Dragon and Baron with wards are very important to gaining good map control and awarness for your team.
Nexus - The enemy’s base and objective in the game. The first team to destroy the enemy nexus wins. They are located oppositely across the map in the bottom left and upper right. Between them sit three Lanes in the standard 5v5 map.
Top, Mid, Bottom - Refers to the standard DOTA layout of lanes on the map**.**
River - The path through the middle of the map filled with water that interlinks all three lanes. Ganks can often be spotted early by catching glimpses of people in the river.
Rune Spawn - The two areas of the river where a a rune can spawn every 2 minutes in a game of Heroes of Newerth or DOTA. Rune effects have been added to the neutrals in League of Legends, who must be slain to gain the benefits.
In-game chat continued on the next page
In-game chat with your team is very important. Good communication is what makes the professional teams so good. They are highly coordinated and know what one another are thinking when they act. This alleviates misunderstandings and helps to set up a gank or team fight properly by focusing a certain enemy champion. Learn to use chat courteously to build good will amongst your teamates so that you can maintain a fun winning environment. No one likes playing with a foul-mouthed troll who just ruins the game.
Use these abbreviations and terms you have learned in this guide throughout the game to alert your teamates of enemy champion positions, missing champions from your lane, or to set up a gank.
B or Back - A declaration notifying one or more players that they should back up, as they may be the target of a gank or a push has lost its momentum and it’s time for a tactical retreat.
Bait or Baited - The act of having a seemingly vulnerable target in a place where the opponents can’t resist trying to kill him, where your team waits hidden and waits for them to initiate, then ganks them.
Care - Short for “be careful” as there are players possibly MIA or you may be too far extended up your lane with no backup.
D - “Defend” means you should be defending the primary (and often pinged) target. In general, you should protect your carry since they can dish out the most damage.
Focus - The act of placing your group’s DPS and disable on a specific, dangerous target. It is not wise to focus the tank first. You usually want to focus the squishiest (most deadly) enemy champion.
Heal - A player communicating to another that their health is low and they should probably go back to base and heal.
Kite - To draw a hero around like a kite on a string, to a location where you’ve set up a trap or a gank. Ranged characters are especially good at kiting since they can continue running and be able to attack backwards.
MIA, Miss - Spoken when a character on the other team is missing in action or unaccounted for. It’s important to let your team know about this because if you can’t see them, they are probably getting ready to gank someone or are in the woods neuting/jungling. This can also refer to champions that have went back to base or have died and have not returned to their lane.
OOM - Simply, out of mana.
Push - To gather creeps and teammates to a location in order to mount an assault on a primary target such as a tower or base.
Re - A quick signal that an enemy previously called MIA has returned to that lane.
Ragequit - The act of quitting in frustration after being killed. Heroes of Newerth features a sound effect for this occurrence.
Shop - Indicates the player is leaving wherever he may be to head to the shop to purchase items.
SS - Short for a Missing champion in your lane.
QQ, Cry Moar Noob, Umad? - Some of the many phrases used to irritate, taunt, or cajole other players. Don’t use these terms, be nice and play respectfully whether you win or lose. Remember to have fun, it’s a game after all!
League of Legends Chat Commands
In the league of legends chat box, there are several special chat commands for communicating with buddies and for playing character sounds and animations.
/all “message” - allows you to chat with everyone, globably in your game
/ff - initiates a surrender vote requiring a minimum of 4/5 teamates to end a game after the 20 minute mark.
/whisper name - Allows you to privately send a message to someone on your buddy list while in a game. They can be in your game, in the lobby, or a different game.
/r - Allows you to quickly respond to someone who has sent you a private whisper by inserting their name after you type /r and a space.
/taunt - Makes your champion speak a witty phrase with a victorious animation gesture.
/laugh -Makes your character laugh out loud.
/dance - Makes your character dance.
/joke - Makes your character tell a joke.
Images used belong to their respective game developers (Defence of the Ancients, DOTA, Heroes of Newerth, HON, and League of Legends, LoL).
This post is part of the series: League of Legends Beginner Guides
Tips and strategies for beginners playing League of Legends (LoL) as well as some basics every newbie needs to know.