Hate (video gaming)

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Hate, also known as aggro or threat, is a mechanism used in many MMORPGs as well as some RPGs by which non-player characters (NPCs; such as mobs) prioritize which players to attack. [1] Players who generate the most hate on an NPC will be preferentially attacked by that NPC. When a character draws the attention of an NPC, that character is said to have aggro, which means the mob in question will focus its attacks on that player. Hate is commonly conflated with aggro. They differ in that a character does not get aggro until they have the highest amount of hate relative to their allies. Some NPCs have fight mechanics that will ignore threat completely, aggro another character, or periodically reset what is called the threat list, resetting all hate to 0. The threat list or threat table is the ordering of players by the amount of hate they have generated. A game may calculate hate generated by a player on an NPC based on factors such as:

  • Whether the NPC is set to attack players on sight (aggressive).
  • The distance between the NPC and the player.
  • The relative strength of the player compared to the NPC.
  • How much damage has been dealt to the NPC by the player.
  • Debuffs and status effects inflicted on the NPC by the player.
  • Heals and buffs given by the player to other players or NPCs (such as pets) who are attacking the NPC.
  • Status effects on the player, such as invincibility, sleep, and death, which make him or her more or less favorable to attack.
  • Hate generating or reducing abilities (such as taunts or invisibility) used by the player.
  • Time elapsed since the player last generated hate on the NPC.

Hate is usually an undesirable side effect of the player's attack on an enemy, but some characters have powers or skills designed to draw the enemy's attention. Such intentionally hate generating abilities are often available to tanks, who can withstand more damage than other players and whose team role is to protect the others by distracting the attackers.

Hate can also be manipulated to deter an NPC from attacking. A player may use a hate reducing ability, may ask another player to generate more hate than himself, may run away or move to a distant position, or may stop generating hate and wait for the NPC to attack someone else. In many games, a player who is defeated or killed has his hate reduced to zero.

In games such as Army of Two, while one player acts as a decoy by gaining aggro (shooting continuously), the other player may use different strategies to take down the opposition focused on the one with aggro (such as sniping the enemy while it heads to the other player).

Hate factors also determine whether aggressive NPCs detect and attack players.


  1. ^ Kaelin, Mark (3 May 2006). "Playing a MMORPG is not all fun and games, you better have the right vocabulary". Tech Republic. CBS Interactive, Inc. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2009.