What Does AFK Mean in Gaming? Interesting insights on afk exploitation

Competitive online gamers know that efficiency is the key to gaining a competitive edge over opponents. Sure, being efficient with your execution skills and strategy is crucial, but it’s also important to be efficient with team communication.

And one of the best ways to efficiently communicate with your team is to use gaming/chat room abbreviations, with one of the most common being AFK. 

What Does AFK Mean in Gaming?

Afk stands for ‘away from keyboard.’ By using this abbreviation, you let game players (including your team members) know that you will not be using the keyboard briefly for taking a break or other purposes. This, in turn, means that you will not be playing the game for a short time. 

If you aren’t going offline entirely, one good gaming chatting etiquette to follow is to use the abbreviation BRB (which means ‘be right back’) when you are using afk. 

Example 1: I’m taking a break, brb afk. 

Example 2: afk brb, gotta take care of something urgent. 

Example 3: hi all, brb afk. 

Here are some examples of how gamers use afk in different ways:

Image source: Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/DotA2/comments/69oxoe/brb_going_to_walmart/
Image source: Github (https://github.com/TheRealKizu/AFK/issues/4

Why to use AFK and other abbreviations? 

If you are playing genres such as MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena), RTS (real time strategy), RPG (role-playing games), and MMO (massive multiplayer online), it’s important to let other players in the game know that you will be temporarily unavailable. 

There are several important reasons why you would want to use afk and combine it with other terms. These include: 

  • Building trust – Trust is an important factor in the world of online gaming when it comes to gaining a competitive advantage over opponents. With trust comes great teamwork which is essential to get closer to gaming victory. By using afk in gaming chat, you can alert your team members about your temporary unavailability which, in turn, helps them compensate for your absence. 
  • Being professional – Using afk in gaming chat rooms may seem trivial but it goes a long way in helping you become more professional as an online gamer. By letting your team members as well as opponents know that you’ll be temporarily unavailable, you do not leave them wondering about your inactivity in the game. 
  • Making the online gaming community better – It’s the gamers who make or break the online gaming communities. By using afk, brb, and other terms, you play your part in making the online gaming community better which, in turn, benefits every online gamer. 

How to use Afk with other terms? (other gaming chat terms)

There are no defined rules as to how to use afk in gaming chat rooms. However, it helps to use them sensibly, even if you combine it with other terms. Here is a list of terms that you can combine with afk:

Afkn – away from keyboard now (a common alternative to afk) 

Brb – be right back (best term to use with afk)

BBIAB – be back in a bit (similar to brb)

Ggp – gotta go pee (best to use with afk when taking a short bathroom break)

Dc – disconnected (use with afk when your gaming server is disconnected)

TTYL – talk to you later (best to use with afk to let the other player(s) know that you’ll continue with the chat)

HOIC – hold on I’m coming (use when you’re resuming your game after taking the afk break) 

EAK – eating at keyboard (best alternative for afk when you are eating or doing other work in front of your gaming PC/console)

OTP – on the phone (this term goes with afk and brb when you have to attend an important call) 

F – Twitch stream accidentally disconnected (use this with afk when your Twitch stream gets disconnected)

Wb – welcome back (use it when another player has returned to the game after AFKeing)

Afk typos 

At times, other players may make typo errors when using afk. Some of these common typos for afk include: 

  • agk 
  • adk 
  • ifk 
  • afjk 
  • afl 
  • afj

If you want to learn about all the terms used in the gaming chat realm, check out this list here

Many players exploit afk 

Not all online gamers stick to the professional side of things when gaming. Many gamers are always on the lookout for adopting an opportunistic game strategy, especially in competitive and pivotal matches. 

Therefore, it’s not always best to go afk as your temporary absence may be an opportunistic victory for your opponent. We have compiled two examples from Reddit thread, including one of Rocket League and another of Apex Legends, to help you have a good idea as to how gamers can exploit afk status of other players for gaming victory advantage. 

Another side of afk exploitation

Another perspective that comes into play when analysing afk exploitation is many players tend to use afk as an act of leeching (avoiding confrontation). They may use this strategy in order to make it a must for their team members to take action or waste time in time-based matches in order to win in an easy, non-confronted way. 

Some games encourage afk gaming

There are a handful of games, including Black Desert Online that encourage afk gaming. Black Desert Online offers players the option to make their in-game avatar perform repetitive actions in an automated way while being away from keyboard. 

This type of gameplay often leads to questions such as ‘what is the point of afk games’ in many online gaming forums. The main point is to make the gameplay as in-depth as possible. By making it possible for players to remotely put their in-game avatar to work, the game keeps players hooked. 

Although this strategy seems appealing to many players, it has several downsides as well. One interesting write-up highlights the environmental downsides of afk gaming, including significant wastage of electricity and faster wear and tear of gaming PCs and consoles. 

Afk players can get penalty points 

Some games are completely opposite to Black Desert Online when it comes to AFKeing. Games such as League of Legends and Free Fire Rampage do not entertain false afk or multiple AFKs. These games address afk exploitation as game-ruining behaviours and therefore have kept strict policies in place. 

In a press release, League of Legends announced that it will identify false AFKeing as disruptive behaviours at all levels of play and will roll out multiple new policies to curb it. 

Free Fire Rampage also has policies for false/inappropriate AFKeing. The game sends an AFK warning mail to players if they violate AFK rules for more than 3 times. Violating the AFK policies for more than 8 times will have the players “prohibited from playing CS Rank Mode”.

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