What is – A Nerf

Posted by John Jackson July 30, 2019 in ADVICEEsports

Straight off the bat, let me tell you, if you’re thinking of blue and orange foam bullets, you’ve got the wrong nerf. Although, you’re actually much closer than you may have thought! Let’s go all the way back to the end of 1997, the release of a game called Ultima Online. Ultima Online was one of the first games of its type, being massively popular and hugely multiplayer it was definitely something new and therefore gained a lot of traction with fans. Alongside this popularity, unfortunately, came issues for the development team, inconsistencies with the strengths and weaknesses of weapons/armours & spells. This, of course, had to be fixed.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, that all sounds about right but where does ‘nerf’ come into this? Well, when the developers of Ultima Online dropped the fated patch containing balance changes to weapons, the players began to complain that their weapons felt like nerf weapons now, and the term ‘nerf’ was born! As for why this didn’t happen sooner, previously it was much harder to ‘patch’ or ‘update’ a game for developers, some even going to the lengths of releasing an entirely new version of a game in order to balance and fix bugs.

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Something as immense as Ultima Online brought online patches and well, nerfs into the realm of possibility. As you could imagine, the use of the term nerf to describe any kind of negative changes to a character, item or otherwise has spread like wildfire throughout the gaming world, cementing itself for years now in the culture, and whilst we might hate to see that a nerf has come to our favourite god in smite or our favourite gun in counter-strike, we absolutely love to see something we think is overpowered get nerfed into the ground. The opposite end of this process is called a ‘buff’ and I’m going to be covering that in my next ‘What is -’ so stay tuned for that!

Thanks for reading, and may you be blessed with no nerfs for eternity! (Unless you’re overpowered!)