What Does Griefer Mean?

A griefer is a player in a multiplayer video game that goes out of his or her way to annoy other players. The term griefer is derived from the idea of “giving [someone] grief”. There are many, many ways that a griefer may go about angering others, including:

  • Trash talking
  • Stealing kills
  • Camping
  • Turtling
  • Intentional friendly fire

Techopedia Explains Griefer

Much like chat room users can report trolls, gamers can report griefers. Once a person is accused of griefing, they are given warnings and other due process before being removed from the game if they do not change their behavior. It is a difficult balancing act for companies because they want to encourage competition, but not abuse.

Griefers can be a business concern for online games that depend on subscription fees because they can make other players dislike playing (and paying). For this reason, many online multiplayer gaming companies have specific employees to monitor players’ grievances and act as arbitrators and – if needed – judges.

Popular types of online games that can be negatively impacted by griefers include:

Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) – takes place in a persistent state world (PSW) with thousands, or even millions, of players.

Role playing – the gamer controls a fictional character who undertakes a quest in an imaginary world.

Player versus player (PvP) – designed for one person to compete against another player or players, rather than against the game's artificial intelligence (AI).

First person shooter (FPS) – can have multiple players and each gamer plays from the point of view of the protagonist.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…