Away (also known as AFK or Away From Keyboard) means a user is not at their computer.

In WoW, Away Mode can be set by typing /afk or /away in chat.[1] The name of the character will show up as <Away>Name, and an auto-response will be sent to anyone who sends the flagged user a tell or a ready check. A message can also be typed after /afk (or /away) which will be included in the auto-reply.

AFK is a common acronym and phenomenon all over the internet, not just in World of Warcraft.


A player who enters Away Mode while in a battleground will automatically leave that battleground. The player will also gain the Deserter debuff, which prevents the player from joining a battleground for 15 minutes.

"Detailed" AFK messages

You can make your AFK status more detailed by typing a message "behind" the /afk. This can be used to tell people why you are AFK and how long you will be gone. Some addons will also make your AFK (and DND) more detailed, giving automatic replies telling where your character is located and the like.

Alice types: /afk eating, back in 10 minutes
Bob types: /w Alice Hello.
Bob receives: [Alice] is Away: eating, back in 10 minutes

Various AFK mechanics

  • You are marked AFK automatically after 5 minutes without any interaction.
  • You'll be logged off and sent to the character selection screen if you are AFK for 30 minutes.
  • You'll be disconnected from the server if you remain at the character selection screen for 30 minutes.

In your Interface Options, under Controls, you can select "Auto Clear Away Mode", which will automatically unset the AFK flag when chatting or moving. It should be noted that any input that would reset the AFK flag if Auto Clear Away Mode is enabled will also reset the AFK timer, regardless the user having the option disabled.

Useful AFK macro

As AFK may be used to let people you don't want to talk with believe you are not available at the moment, it may be useful to make a macro which marks you AFK and keeps you so no matter what you do. To do this, one must access the CVar autoClearAFK while adding a simple AFK command.

/run if IsShiftKeyDown()then SetCVar("AutoClearAFK", 1);else SetCVar("AutoClearAFK", 0);end
/run if IsShiftKeyDown()then print("Auto-Clear AFK is now enabled.");else print("Auto-Clear AFK is now disabled.");end

Clicking this macro will mark you AFK if you are not already marked so. (If you are already AFK, clicking it will drop your AFK status. Clicking it again will turn it back on.) It will also turn Auto Clear AFK off, preventing actions you make from removing your AFK status. Shift-clicking the macro will turn Auto Clear AFK back on. Both actions will be notified to you via private messages.


Before the <AFK> tag was changed to <Away>, players on PvP realms often said "AFK" stood for "A Free Kill", because a player of one faction could often attack an AFK character of the opposite faction without that character fighting back.

Patch changes

  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.3.5 (2010-06-22): The <AFK> tag was replaced with <Away>, and the <DND> tag was replaced with <Busy>.

See also