Experienced MMO players throw around a lot of jargon and specialist phrases, referring to conventions within their own games, and the shared history of the MMO community and industry. This can be really confusing for first-time MMO players (or people who’ve come from a different background); this glossary defines a lot of the commonly-used terms, slang and abbreviations. It also acts as a primer, giving brief introductions to very common mechanics. If you have any questions about phrases that aren’t on this list, please feel free to ask!
For a guide to the specific crafting system of SWTOR, please check out my overview of SWTOR’s tradeskill system.
And now, on to the Glossary!
A skill that allows you to make items that your character can use. Also known as tradeskills and, in SWTOR, crew skills. For instance, Armstech is a crafting skill.
A skill that allows you to gather raw materials while you’re adventuring; these raw materials can be used by people with crafting skills to produce usable items. Also known as tradeskills and, in SWTOR, crew skills. For instance, Scavenging is a gathering skill.
Gathering skills don’t usually allow you to make any items, although sometimes they let you process a raw material into an intermediate stage. For instance, in a fantasy MMO like World of Warcraft or RIFT, someone with the Mining gathering skill would mine raw ore from minerals, and then smelt that ore into metal bars or ingots. However, it would take someone with a crafting skill like “Blacksmithing” or “Weaponsmithing” to turn the ingots into a usable item.
The items you pick up with gathering skills, that crafters turn into finished products. Also commonly called components, resources or mats (for materials). These items might be mineral (metal ore, jewels, etc), animal (meat, hides, other byproducts), vegetable (herbs, flowers, wood), technological (spare parts, data, energy/fuel), and so on, depending on the genre of game.
The instructions that tell you how to make a specific item. Usually a schematic is associated with a particular crafting skill – for instance, Armstech might have a schematic for making a basic blaster pistol. A schematic may also be referred to as a recipe, pattern, design and so on.
Depending on the game, schematics might be taught by a trainer NPC, sold by a vendor NPC, earnt through questing or other gameplay, “researched” by special gameplay mechanisms over time, looted from dead enemies, or some combination of the above.
Shorthand for a quantity of a given material. Identical raw materials will usually stack on top of each other in your inventory to save space, up to a maximum stack size – for instance, in WoW, ore will stack to 20 while magical elements stack to 200. If you’re talking about copper ore, “a stack of ore” means 20 units but “a stack of Volatile Fire” means 200 units. “Stack” generally refers to the maximum stack size of whatever item you’re talking about.
An item that is ‘bound’ is limited to you; you can wear it, carry it in your inventory, or put it in your bank storage space, destroy it or sell it to an NPC for cash – but you can’t mail it to anybody, sell it to other players, or trade it.
In SWTOR, items are usually categorised as ‘Bind on Equip’ (BoE) or ‘Bind on Pickup’ (BoP).BoE items will become ‘bound’ to you the first time you equip them, whereas BoP items are bound to you from the moment they hit your inventory, regardless of whether you ever use them or not.
A “combine” is one “use” of a crafting skill, regardless of how many items it produces. It’s often used to specify how many times you want a crafter to make something. Explanation is easiest if I give a hypothetical example.
Let’s say a (fictional) fantasy MMO has tailors in it that make magical embroidery that you can put on your clothes to give you a temporary boost to your Intellect. It takes ten pieces of cloth to make the pattern, but sometimes you get a bonus embroidery as a random chance. If you give twenty pieces of cloth to a tailor and ask for “two combines”, you’re saying “make this pattern twice and give me all the embroideries that result, which may be anywhere from two to four”.