Learn the Definition of 'Proc' and 'Proccing' in Programming

These terms are usually used within a gaming context

Young man playing computer game.
ColorBlind Images/Iconica/Getty Images

Proc means "programmed random occurrence." It's a computer gamer term, rhyming with "dock" and used as both a noun and a verb, that's used to describe whenever a random gaming item activates, or a random gaming event occurs.

Particularly common for massively multiplayer online games, procs are random events where special armor or weapons provide the user with temporary extra powers, or whenever the opposing character suddenly becomes more powerful in some way.

Proc & Proccing Examples

Here are some examples of gaming procs:

  • A special spell cast suddenly becomes available to the player
  • A sudden armor bonus will activate and last for 10 seconds
  • The player will temporarily receive more health points, allowing him/her to fight a monster longer
  • The opposing character will suddenly gain extra strength to crush the players in front of it

Here are some ways you might see the word proc used:

"Whenever my trinket procs, I get extra dodge for 20 seconds"
"My rifle speed-up never procs enough for my tastes."
"My ring usually procs once every two minutes"
"Don't let his lightning charge proc, or else we are all dead"​

The Origin of the Term "Proc"

While no single source has been definitively credited with the term "proc", here are some candidates:

Programmed Random OCcurrence

This is a favorite explanation of "proc" amongst programmers. This alleged origin describes the randomness of a proc, and how it's not a guaranteed event.

PROCess

Most laypeople believe this to be the source of the expression "proc", but software programmers prefer the explanation above.

PROCedure

Coming from the world of Pascal programming, there were text-based games where gamer commands would be typed like "proc meleestrike wraith."

special PROCedure

This is a variant of the third explanation above.