What does ‘OP’ mean in gaming?

Or they may just be trying to sing "Gangnam Style."

Image via Riot Games

Games and their communities are frequently their own microcosms, incorporating their own rankings, methods, and terminology into their discussions. For those in the know, it can make discussing a given game easier, but for those on the outside, it can prove to be a difficult hill to climb. Learning to speak a game’s language is imperative to learning its ins and outs and becoming a card-carrying member of its community.

In multiplayer titles, communicating with your teammates during matches is mandatory if you want to win. If you don’t know the lingo, you may have a tough time understanding your teammates or community discussions. With single-player games, reading a guide or article online can be hard if you can’t get past the jargon. One such piece of jargon is “OP.”

OP most frequently stands for “overpowered.” The dictionary meaning of overpower is “defeat or overcome with superior strength,” but that’s generally not what it refers to in gaming. In games, OP is generally shortened and used as an adjective. When a character, gun, or in-game element is stronger than it should be, it’s frequently described as OP.

The term “nerf” is often thrown around with OP. To nerf an in-game element means to reduce its power, which is usually performed by a game’s developers. Lowering its damage, adjusting its drop rate, or balancing other stats to make a weapon, character, or item in line with its competition constitutes a nerf.

OP does carry one other meaning. When used in community hubs like Reddit or the official forums of a game, it can also mean “original poster.” You can tell the difference by context. If OP is referring to a particular person or comment, it means original poster. If it’s referring to an in-game element, it means overpowered.

It’s possible to purposefully study all of a game’s terminology, but part of the fun is learning it as you go. As you keep playing your favorite game and slowly become a part of its community, chances are you’ll get used to all the most frequently-used terms. At the end of the day, games are supposed to be fun, after all.