The virtual world found in Ready Player One is very similar to MMO games. Like MMOs, The OASIS features its own economy, history, and cultural norms. Given the similarities between MMOs and The OASIS, gamers (and our wonderful readers) will no doubt recognize much of the movie’s video game terminology. However, audiences unfamiliar with games may have a difficult time understanding specific terms used in the film. That’s where we come in.
In order to prepare folks for Ready Player One (even those torn apart by it), we’ve compiled a list of the 7 MMO terms you’ll need to know. You may have heard these terms in passing, or know them intimately. Either way, a good crash course on these terms should help everyone out.
If you die while playing an MMO or most online games, you almost always get brought back to life. This is respawning. Upon your return, you either end up exactly where you left off or at a nearby save point. Thanks to respawning, players can take chances they otherwise wouldn’t if they had limited lives.
This is also the case in The OASIS. Protagonist Wade Watts and his friends can partake in death-defying stunts without fear of dying. The only real penalty one suffers after dying in The OASIS is losing valuable loot. This can also be the case in other MMOs. In general, respawning makes playing online games (and even offline ones) a lot more enjoyable.
These aren’t the eggs kids paint (and rabbits lay?) during Easter. Easter Eggs have been a staple in gaming almost from the beginning. They are either objects or inside jokes developers like to hide in games. They are usually put in there for the hardest of the hardcore fan. World of Warcraft is known for containing Easter Eggs from franchises like Super Mario Bros and Final Fantasy, for example.
The central plot of Ready Player One actually revolves around an Easter Egg. The game’s creator, James “Anorak” Halliday, planted this object somewhere in The OASIS. The first person who can find it gets awarded with Halliday’s vast fortune. Naturally, Wade Watts and other “gunters” (egg hunters) do whatever they can to find this Easter Egg. If they succeed, they can finally make a better life for themselves in the real world.
NPCs, or Non-Playable Characters, are the AI-controlled characters found in any video game. They aren’t limited to humans, either. Animals, robots, and monsters all fall under the NPC umbrella. It’s actually quite difficult to think of a game that doesn’t have NPCs of some sort. In fact, some of gaming’s most memorable characters are NPCs. Think of all the interesting individuals you meet in games like The Elder Scrolls or Fallout.
Wade Watts comes across various NPCs during the course of Ready Player One. So keep in mind that when he or his friends talk about NPCs, they aren’t referring to other players.
A Raid is a special mission that multiple players can partake in. Usually, Raids contain challenges a single player cannot hope to overcome. Raids typically have endless enemy waves and a large monster (or more) to slay. Raids can even have players fight against each other.
Given their difficulty, Raids almost always reward players with high-end loot not found in other game modes. Of course, rare drops aren’t always guaranteed; meaning players may have to replay Raids multiple times to get the goodies they desire. Raids are mostly associated with MMOs, but even games like Destiny have them.
PVP means Player Versus Player. This is different from PVE, Player Versus Environment. As the name tells you, this is a mode in online games where players can fight and kill one another. The OASIS in Ready Player One has dedicated PVP locations and even entire worlds strictly for PVP. Wade Watts has to travel through dangerous PVP areas and avoiding fighting the “Sixer” forces during his hunt for the egg.
Games like EVE Online are famous for their large-scale PVP battles which can contain thousands of player-controller ships at a single time. For many players, PVP is the main reason they play MMOs or other online games. To them, nothing is as thrilling as facing off against human-controlled enemies.
Aggro is when a monster becomes “aggressive” and focuses all of their attention on a single player. Typically, you’ll want monsters to attack players who have high defense (“tanks”) since they can survive such a barrage. While these players draw aggro from monsters, users who specialize in magic or ranged attacks can attack from a safe distance.
Having players that can effectively draw aggro is a vital component in MMOs, especially during Raids. Even non-MMO titles like Monster Hunter: World have an aggro system in place.
This doesn’t refer to waxing one’s car. A Buff is a beneficial status effect that boosts attributes for you and your party. Buffs include increased health, defense, and attack damage. Dedicated healers can place buffs on tanks to help them survive vicious attacks or heal the team if they are low on health. Conversely, “de-buffs” remove beneficial status effects from enemies or players.
Games like Entropia Universe and other MMOs rely heavily on buffs and debuffs. Managing both is the key to overcoming the toughest monsters. Plus, knowing when to buff and debuff adds a nice level of strategy to battles.