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In the game Monster Hunter World, the "affinity" is used to describe "the probability of a weapon doing critical hits to a monster".

Is this really an idiomatic usage? Or is it better to just use "Critical Chance"?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I think this should be on a gaming-related site.
    – shin
    May 28 '19 at 5:40
  • I think that it is OK to ask about English found in a game, but that it’s difficult to make a question about a term for something in a game that is describing an abstract concept found only in games into something relevant to a lot of people. Monster Hunter World is also influenced by Japanese (I think) gaming culture, which makes it even more difficult to explain “affinity” from a strictly English language perspective. Maybe someone in the community will have some ideas though if you explain what a “critical hit” is.
    – ColleenV
    May 29 '19 at 15:51
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Affinity here appears to be a technical term used in this specific game. This use is not one of the natural meanings of the word, although it may be derived by extension from such a natural meaning. It is not a common term in RPGs in general -- I played several of the early RPGs, including Original D&D, 2nd ed Advanced D&D, Traveler, Top Secret, and several others, and none of them used "affinity" in this sense. So this is a term specific to a particular game -- or possibly a group of related games.

There is nothing wrong with that, but it means that the meaning of the term in this use can only be determined from game rules or documents, or from writings about the game, or the discussions of players. General English meanings won't help much.

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Let's check the meaning of affinity according to the Oxford Dictionary

affinity

  1. A natural liking for and understanding of someone or something.
  2. [Biochemistry] The degree to which a substance tends to combine with another

And let's check also the thesaurus

affinity

correspondence, relationship, association, link, analogy, similitude, agreement, compatibility, congruity, parallelism, consonance

You can not translate it as "critical chance". Notice the two synonyms that I've highlighted: compatibility and consonance. Affinity in your context marks the degree of compatibility between a weapon and a monster, meaning that the most compatible weapon is the one that causes more harm - critical hits - to the monster.

Notice the second nuance of affinity: degree to which a substance tends to combine with another. What about the degree to which a weapon combines with a monster? That's affinity.

So I think that it's perfectly idiomatic the usage of affinity in your context. Maybe another good synonym for your context is fitness.

fitness for/to do The quality of being suitable to fulfil a particular role or task.

being that role "killing a specific monster".

UPDATED: OP has indicated that the affinity is the same independently of the kind of monster. Still it got nothing to do with the Japanese gaming culture or a mistranslation. It's a term derived from the original role playing games. If the term is not related to the monsters, probably it applies to your chosen character. For example if you choose an archer, your chances of striking a critical hit with a bow should be greater than the ones that you get using a sword. Affinity is the grade of compatibility between the character and a specific kind of weapon.

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  • Thank you RubioRic. Affinity is, in fact, a weapon attribute that is irrelevant to monsters. For example, for a weapon with a 20% Affinity, the chance for it to do extra damage to monster A and monster B is totally the same (in both cases 20%). As ColleenV mentioned, the game's text was probably translated from Japanese to English and the translation could be influenced by the Japanese gaming culture. Based on all these, I think "Affinity" is not an appropriate translation and maybe Critical Chance better fits the context.
    – Kalot
    Jun 5 '19 at 2:58
  • @Kalot I don't agree with you, it got nothing to do with the Japanese culture. It's a term derived from the original role playing games. If the term is not related to the monsters, probably it applies to your chosen character. For example if you choose an archer, your chances of striking a critical hit with a bow should be greater than the one that you get using a sword. Affinity is the grade of compatibility between the character and a specific kind of weapon.
    – RubioRic
    Jun 5 '19 at 5:46

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