Communication is one of the core parts of gaming; over the years we have been able to devise new means of ranging from code-words to acronyms and even gestures.
In the gaming community, we use acronyms to further simplify communication and it’s always helpful to learn a few to help you settle into the world of gaming faster.
One of the frequently used acronyms in the gaming community is AFK, which quite simply means “Away from keyboard”.
This is used to tell your teammates that you’re going to be away for sometime and hopefully return very soon. Many players will type in chat, a simple “brb” when ever they want to go AFK.
This term has been incorporated in so many areas now that workplaces have started using this acronym, too, since workers can let others know, they’ll be unavailable for some time.
I know what you might be thinking, console players aren’t exactly using the keyboard, so does this not apply to them? And that’s a good question.
However, AFK in gaming is simply used to identify someone that’s been inactive during gameplay for quite some time; a console player can be AFK too.
The Use of AFK In Gaming
AFK originated from those chatrooms back in the 1980s, where users usually had to tell others they’d be away for some time to prevent others from logging off.
AFK gained popularity in the gaming community since the rise of online multiplayer games, like MOBAs and even MMORPGs like EVE Online and RuneScape.
AFK quickly switched from just meaning “Away from keyboard” to just describing a player who is inactive or not playing again.
A person can say a player is AFK when the player has gone off or is inactive for a certain period.
Gamers frown against this act, as it is a punishable offense that can most of the time get you reported especially if you do not indicate beforehand and can cost your team the entire game.
One of the major offenses a player can make is to leave when the game is not over; this can cause a significant amount of toxic frustration from your teammates especially in games like Overwatch, League of Legends and DOTA 2.
Game developers often give a good amount of punishment for AFK players, which can prevent you from getting you into future games or get your account suspended.
Since online games can be highly competitive, any slight edge can cost you your game.
So, a player going AFK will significantly damage the chances of others winning that game, and if you know anything about gamers, they do not like to lose games, so they’ll report the AFK player leading to your suspension or even ban.
How to Use AFK in Games?
Since AFK can also be a casual internet term, there might be slight differences in how it is used in the gaming community.
It is still applicable to tell your you want to take a quick break by typing “going AFK, be back in five”.
However, games like League of Legends don’t really support this; once a League of Legends game has started, it is not advisable you leave.
If you say you are going AFK during a game, you are going to get a lot of backlashes from teammates leading to your suspension.
It is advisable to go AFK before the game starts or some games give you a 15-minutes window for you to leave once the game has started.
Or sometimes, if you really have to go make sure you are back in the next 5 minutes, games like League of Legends consider you AFK when you’ve been gone for quite some time, and might prevent you from entering into future games.