Pronunciation: 'nü-bE, 'nyü-
Etymology: early 133t sp33k.
1 archaic: Beginner, Novice.
2: Moron, Idiot; often prefaced with the words "Dumb" "Stupid" "Worthless" and "Gay."
I. Expanded Historae of "Newbie": The MMORPG Context
Growing up in the early '90s, the first online game I got to play was Diablo -- where there were a healthy amount of teens like me out to murder, plunder, and dishonor everyone I came into contact with, and of course the 35 year old guy living in his basement who felt like injecting morality into virtual life usually under the righteous paladin image. The image of the noble paladin would quickly expire in the MMORPG community, as calling someone a "kissing roleplayer" was almost as bad as a "kissing newbie." Anyways, there were also an abundance of college kids playing Diablo -- mostly to mess around with Assembly (ASM), (to make God Mode, Res-Kill, Ear Creation, and Duping and a host of other shit I can't remember) propagate their .dats, and play with various flooding techniques that would nail Blizzard's Servers. If you were not a member of these elite Diablo Technomancers (Enigma, BoBa FeTT, TechWarrior, Levi) then you most likely used WinNuke to settle your channel disputes or kick other clans out of their channels, and the .dats provided by the great hax0rs to kill victims.
Not all of us PKs cheated or used .dats to kill people, but that’s a different story.
In Diablo the first place I ever heard the word newbie was in the channel Bounty Hunters, where the hacking college kids would aggregate from time to time. BoBa FeTT was there pretty regularly I think (though I did hear at one point he was a 16 year old aussie). People were trying to figure out how to make their own hacks, and just “letting the text fly”, asking questions without doing any research what so ever (there was no Google at this point, but I remember Alta Vista being big, and also Yahoo and Lycos), and every now and then one of the notable hackers would preface a statement with "Look newbie..." I never used it as an insult, it seemed to lack the verbal pyrotechnics that I relied on to inflame opponents, sucker people into "honest" duels and taking their God Mode off, or just to damage their ego.
It was not until I went into Ultima Online that the term "newbie" really started to be used in force (and it kept that spelling for most of the time, it wasn't until about 1999 that the "l33t sp34k" spellings of j00, newb, etc permeated the online circle I was involved in). Even at this point it wasn't employed all that often, as being a "roleplayer" was the more common phrase to express someone's inexperience (because you weren't jaded as shit with 4 other characters that were 4-5x GMs). But as more people realized that the same guys they were fighting alongside with against the evil Dread Lords were just as likely to loot their corpse as the Player Killers were, the more people made Player Killer Alts and their disdain for newcomers (unjaded and trying to roleplay the Noble Lord) increased. So in the "virtual context of my cyber-youth" "kissing newbies" were as bad as "kissing roleplayers." Of course there were still some good guys who roleplayed well, and PvP'd well (Chris the Avatar comes to mind); but overall roleplaying was looked down upon as naive, and the people who participated in it, skill-less. I lament the loss of roleplaying though really, there were some great personalities that flowed from it and the practice enriched the community; now all we are left with is "kissing n00bs" who join the MMORPG community hurling gangsta slang and leet speek all in one giant clusterkiss.
Then you have kissing EverQuest (EQ). MMORPG creativity DIED with this game. I can't discern whether or not everyone was jaded as hell by the time all the murdering, looting, raping, and shit talking of UO had concluded, or if a new generation of mmorpg players flooded the community and local communities around the U.S. are missing their abortion campaign poster-boys. The group of people one encounters across the spectrum of EverQuest servers categorically BLOW. In EverQuest the term "newb" "n00b" "noob" "newbie" "nub" "gnub" was abused beyond all kissing belief: you had angsty 15 year olds saying it; you had jaded paladins on Erollisi Marr saying it; and you had 31337 p3k4yz saying it. In EQ roleplaying was almost completely dead after about the first year; its absolutely dead now, and the grave has been urinated and defecated on. The 35 year old in his mom's basement from Diablo was now a 35-45 IT worker or computer programmer who wanted nothing but the respect he was denied daily for 8+ hours; there were still fat ugly roleplaying chicks masquerading as 115lb super models, but there was also the 35 year old wife trapped in suburban hell raising 2 kids and driving a mini van (who often enough might have been (a) married to the IT worker/Computer Programmer or (b) simply got involved in EQ because it was dragging her husband away from her, and was the only way to save a marriage from Ruin[ed]). In addition, there was the 12-17 year old kid talking shit--except he wasn't creative at all; his vocabulary of "smlak tkalk" was calling others a variation of the word newbie, pressing the yawn or laugh emote, and contrasting gear (which usually was just saying how much of a newb quality the gear was of the person he wanted to insult). The vehicle to their release from their awful lives turned out to be EverQuest and its “phat l00tz.”
The upside of this turned out to be the tough-guy attitudes that all these players [IT worker, angsty teen, IT workers neglected wife] carried around, because when a tough guy dies in PvP online due to some lag, or because he dropped his daughter and had to pick her up or because he forgot to bring his pocket druid for thorns/regen/heals/sow/etc you know he’s going to have some angry things to say. Especially if you kill his wife who plays next to him. And bindpiont camp them. Afterall, he is the #1 pvpr, “biach.” I don’t see the need to go into much detail here, because if you have killed or trained just one person in EverQuest you know exactly the types of comical responses you get when a not-so-smart-but-very-angry-person-reaches-deep-down-for-an-insult- and-comes-up-with : “FCUKING N00B!!1”