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What Does Zerg Mean?

Zerg is a slang term for a group of low-level gamers who depend on overwhelming numbers to achieve victory, rather than relying on technique or strategy. The term is most often used in the context of online role-playing and strategy games, but it also applies to multiplayer first-person shooters. Gamers essentially team up and agree to attack a specific opponent at the same time. By forming a zerg, the gamers can usually kill an enemy while taking general – but not fatal – damage as a group. This strategy itself is known as zerging.


Zerg is also used to refer to a single player in a strategy game who uses enormous numbers of basic fighting units during the initial stages of the game to attack and defeat comparatively small-sized, but higher-level enemy units.

Techopedia Explains Zerg

The term zerg comes from a playable race of aliens featured in “Starcraft”. In the game, the Zerg targeted weak enemy units and killed them by swarming them with superior numbers. Zerg entered the gaming lexicon when gamers began applying the term to gamers in other games who used a Zerg-like strategy.

Zerg functions as a noun and a verb. When multiple gamers target the same opponent in order to score a quick kill, they are referred to as a zerg. Once the kill is made, they have zerged their target. Lastly, groups that engage in zerging may be called zerglings in a derogatory sense.

The key goals of zerging are as follows:

  • To ensure victory by using overwhelming numbers
  • To tremendously surpass the opponents and swarm them
  • To minimize the chance of an encounter by using bulk numbers of partners rather than skill

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.