MMO & Computers Musing

Dude, stop calling it “Wife Aggro”.

“Hang on a sec, guys,” I read in the group chat window, “I’ve got Wife Aggro.”

I’ve read this phrase or something close to it many times over the years, or heard it on Vent or TeamSpeak.

“Hold up: spouse aggro.”

“/afk a minute – baby aggro.”

“Gaaaaaah. Hang on guys I’ve got kid aggro.”

It’s an interesting phrase; one that I’ve given a lot of thought. Let’s break it down a little bit.

We’re probably all familiar with the term ‘aggro’, but let’s go to the Fountain of All Knowledge (Wikipedia) for an official definition.

Hate, aggro, or threat is a mechanism used in many MMOs as well as some RPGs by which non-playing characters (NPCs; such as mobs) prioritize which players to attack. Players who gain the most aggro on an NPC will be attacked by that NPC.

Oh, okay. I see what they’re saying: they’ve done something to attract the anger (or at least unwanted attention) of someone in their home. Okay. That seems… fine, I guess.

But hang on a second: I want to look at one more thing. In the wikipedia page I quoted, there were links over to the definitions of “mobs” as well. Let’s see what it says:

A mob is a computer-controlled non-player character (NPC) in a computer game such as an MMO.

Okay. Seems fairly harmless.

“Mob” may be used to specifically refer to generic monstrous NPCs that the player is expected to hunt and kill, excluding NPCs that engage in dialog or sell items, or who cannot be attacked.

Oh. Hmm.

Named mobs are distinguished by having a proper name rather than being referred to by a general type (“a goblin”, “a citizen”, etc.). Dumb mobs are those capable of no complex behaviors beyond attacking.


You know why I’m making that face? Let me see if I can explain.

Someone in my group says “Guys, I have wife aggro. AFK a minute,” and here’s what I hear:

“Fellow Gamers: I have generated unwanted attention from a non-player character. Given the tone of my voice and the words I used, you can assume that (a) this is a generic, non-named mob and (b) it’s not capable of any complex behavior beyond attacking. Give me a moment to take care of this annoying problem, and we can continue to play.”

Dude. DUDE.

You wanna know why your spouse is angry with you? Maybe it’s because you use phrases like “wife aggro”.

Is your spouse a gamer? Then they know what the term means, they know how it’s usually delivered, and they know the type of slobbering, cackling goblin you just grouped them in with. That’s bad.

Is your spouse not a gamer? Then all they know is that you just used the same term to describe them as you use to describe fights with this:

That’s worse.

“But dude, my wife is aggr– I mean… angry with me: what should I do?”

I’m here for, and I understand that you need some help, so let’s break it down in terms I know we’ll all understand. Let’s talk gaming.