Image via Activision

What does AFK mean in gaming? AFK Explained

AFK players are troublesome in multiplayer games.

Every community has its own terminology, and gamers are no different. AFK is an acronym that’s often used within first-person shooter games or other significant multiplayer team-based titles like League of Legends and World of Warcraft. Here’s a complete description of what AFK means.

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The definition of AFK

Image via Activision

AFK means directly that the player is “Away From Keyboard.” The situation usually occurs when someone has left the game to go to the washroom, needs to talk to their relatives, or has some chore that needs to be done immediately. Players usually come back from this situation, but an “AFK” player can be removed from the game if they stay inactive for too long. Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Mobile does this when you play online.

Additionally, AFK is similar to the more popular term “BRB or Be Right Back.” It means that the player has taken a short term of absence before returning.

You’re likely to hear the term AFK more during PC gameplay as it’s typically used in chat boxes. Console gamers typically use voice chat, and not many people would say AFK out loud in public. You’ll likely see the term used in MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV Online, MOBAs like League of Legends and Smite, and first-person shooter games like Call of Duty: Vanguard and Battlefield 2042.

According to multiple reports, AFK originates from the ’90s, when online chat rooms were common. You’d expect it on programs from AOL and other messager apps during those days.

There’s even a popular game called AFK Arena, a turn-based RPG that lets you make parties of heroes and then have them auto-battle against foes.

A related term you may be interested in finding out about is RNG, a term that involves luck within the gaming medium.


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Author
Chris Penwell
The British “Canadian” Chris Penwell has been a video game journalist since 2013 and now has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University. He loves to play JRPGs and games with a narrative.