Talk:Nerf (video gaming)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Video games (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Video games, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of video games on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the MUD task force.

To Nerf, or not To Nerf!?[edit]

That is not the question. The question is: "What to talk about in the lead-in section?"


In computer gaming, a nerf is a change to a game that downgrades the power, effectiveness or influence of a particular game element in the attempt to achieve balance. The term originated as a reference to the NERF brand of child toys, which are made to minimize possible damage. In the same way, "to nerf" describes the action of making something less harmful.


OK, as-is, this is very much an opinion item. Trying for a neutral PoV, and to be balanced in presenting different interpretations, how about something more like:

In computer gaming, the term nerf is often used to refer to a change that reduces the utility or desirability of any game element, for any reason. It may refer to an item "They nerfed my Axe of Extreme Coolness! It now looks just like a rusty axe!", an encounter "They nerfed The Encounter Of Extreme Uberness! Now *ANYONE* can just zone in and get keyed! And after all our work in beating the Whatsit Of Doom!", an area "MAN they nerfed the exp in Colossal Plains of Long Running! I killed 100 zeebaras and got like half a bubble!", a tradeskill, ability, class, or even technical game feature "They nerfed the reconnect thing, and now you have to stay logged out 5 minutes if you /quit out."

There are a number of theories as to how the term entered the gaming jargon. One idea is that NERF toys are designed to minimize possible damage, and that "nerfing" in computer games reduces the harm done by that game element. Another is that while it hurts to be hit by a NERF bat, it probably won't cause an injury: similarly, having one's "Axe of Extreme Coolness" change from a huge glowing axe to a small rusty axe won't injure the player, but it may well "hurt".

There are also many causes for "nerfing". Developers may find that a feature is exploitable, or it may use too many resources. They may simply have made an error, or corrected one, with or without knowledge of its impact on one or more players. It may be the developers' method of correcting a balance issue: an item or feature might favor a class or style of play, or it might put too much money into a game economy, or it might obsolete future content.

Sinneed (talk) 02:12, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

That's all original research. I consider the short version to be much less full of "opinion" than the long one. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:56, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Massive cut?[edit]

Perhaps we should just kill off everything but a stub?

As previously discussed, here and on other similar computer gaming slang, does this belong in Wikipedia at all?

Consider this for a "stub" article, with the "stub" header.

A nerf or "to nerf" in computer gaming jargon refers to a change or the act of making a change that reduces the utility or desirability of an item, encounter, area, trade-skill, ability, class, technical game feature, or any other game element.

There are a number of theories as to how the term entered the gaming jargon.

There are also many reasons given by developers for "nerfs".

Sinneed (talk) 18:46, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, Sinneed. I don't mean to undermine your work, but I find that the article read much better before the extensive amount of edits you've made. Also, you've added quite a bit of unsourced material to an article that was already suffering from the lack of such. I am particularly against the addition of the "Popular Usage Section", especially without sources.
Perhaps I can subpage the last version of the article after your edits to your user talk page and you and I can work on what material to keep and what material to discard. ((Edit by Sinneed, under no circumstances! I will delete it immediately. Thanks. Sinneed (talk) 22:16, 18 June 2008 (UTC))
On a final note, nerfing is not exclusive to World of Warcraft so we should try to stray from adding further external links (or material for that matter) that show how the term applies to the game. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:59, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Usually best to discuss before making such a massive edit.
Sorry Dorvaq, but perhaps you would like to improve the page, or join the discussion.
On a final note, reading the article carefully before commenting might be good. You may note that I *DID NOT MAKE* the WoW addition. I make no references to any game here. None. I did "soften" some existing references to games, seeking a NPOV.
Looking forward to your edits, and hopefully discussion of them beforehand. Sinneed (talk) 23:04, 18 June 2008 (UTC)


Ignoring that sidebar, I note that the problem with sourcing online slang is that... it is online slang. This has been a concern a number of us have voiced: "Do these slang terms belong in Wiki at all?" As I have cleaned these up, I have taken the personal POV out, and presented various points of view. Sinneed (talk) 22:16, 18 June 2008 (UTC) Sinneed (talk) 23:01, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Finally, I again want to suggest that this article be "stubbed", with just the note of what nerf means and the header requesting the article be improved (if possible) with sourced material. Reverting to a mishmash of personal POV nerf-hate and nerf-love seems very very counterproductive: thus the article languished for months.Sinneed (talk) 22:21, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

I'd rather it were reverted to yesterday's for now. This lame edit warring has to stop immediately in any case. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 22:54, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
I like that idea as well. I would encourage avoiding of "lame" in a talk page. :) Sinneed (talk) 23:04, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

The Problems[edit]

Ok, Sinneed, a couple of things before I go on with listing the issues regarding your edits. I want you to keep in mind that everything I am listing here adheres to wikipedia's policies and guidelines. I can list all of the policies that pertain to the issues as well if you want me to, but I'd rather save time/space here and assume you have read them yourself and work on the issues with the article instead.

First off, I don't have to discuss anything before making any edit regardless of how massive that edit is - my duty as an editor is to the reader; not to other editors. Yet, I was going to(did) discuss the reason why I made such an edit, as mentioned in my edit summary, and was referring to the very short timeframe you gave me to post on the talk page - 6 mins according to the timestamp. Now for someone who genuinely wishes to discuss the edits, your actions aren't very convincing.

Secondly, I never accused *you* in particular of adding the WoW entries, but the removal of them were part of my edits, which I wanted to explain on the talk page.

Now on to the problems

In your version, you went ahead and listed in the lead paragraph every game element you could think of that could be nerfed, which creates 2 problems. First, the lead should summarize the article in a concise manner and using the term "particular game element" to capture all of the elements that can be nerfed as opposed to listing them achieves just that. Secondly, by listing each element you encourage other editors passing through here to list other elements you may have missed and risk having the list get ever so longer creating listcruft, which is not prohibited per se, but is ever so annoying as a reader and doesn't belong in the lead paragraph if accepted anyway.

As with the list you created about "game elements", the section you titled "Popular usage examples" has similar problems. Every 2nd editor coming through here is going to want to add their example and we find ourselves again with listcruft, which doesn't do the article a favour. More importantly however, is that the section is completely unsourced, which *is* unacceptable as per wikipedia policy. Especially seeing as you are claiming these usage examples are "Popular".

Speaking of sources, the fact that online slang is difficult to source does not excuse the article from being sourced. We are not trying to achieve a stub here, as you put it, but a lengthy unsourced article is no better. The added injury vs. hurt theory on how the term came into usage is a particular problem. Not only is the theory unsourced, but it's borderline original research, which is also unacceptable.

Anyhow, that's all I have for now. There's more to come in the future I'm sure. — Dorvaq (talk) 14:16, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

"you went ahead and listed in the lead paragraph every game element you could think of" - false - opinion.
Anyhow, that's all I have for now. There's more to come in the future, but not from me. Be safe.Sinneed (talk) 16:07, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
"False opinion"? Ok. I'll concede, but to the very least you expanded on a term that did not need to be expanded on in the lead. — Dorvaq (talk) 16:18, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
False - opinion again. Sinneed (talk) 18:19, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
No, it's not a false opinion, unless you're suggesting that wikipedia's style guideline on the lead section is also a false opinion. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:44, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it is false, and yes, it is opinion, unless, of course (as seems quite clear) your opinion about the interpretation of the statements on your link is the only one that matters. While a complex meaning cannot be conveyed in a single sentence, its falsehood can be reduced with adequate detail. Yes there is a balance. Yes, you and I disagree about where the balance is. Yes, *TO ME* your statement is false, and very very certainly it is opinion.Sinneed (talk) 19:17, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
It's not my interpretation of the guideline, but the guideline in question. It's an opinion, yes, but one developed by consensus. If you are not happy with that opinion, then you can take up your issues regarding whatever part of the guideline you disagree with on its talkpage. — Dorvaq (talk) 19:40, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
How did I miss this gem? Yes, it is your interpretation of the guideline, not the guideline in question. It's an opinion, and no, not one developed by consensus. *ANYTHING* that is not directly sourced is certainly opinion. Your interpretation of a guideline, mine, a random wombat posting on a wireless solar-powered station in the Outback... opinion. sinneed (talk) 20:28, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

New lead[edit]

You inherently reduce the desirability of a game element by reducing its "power effectiveness or influence..." I suggest we keep desirability and remove the other 2 points. — Dorvaq (talk) 16:25, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

"all nerfs affect desirability." False. Source? *kicks self for rejoining fruitless discussion* Addicted.  :,( Sinneed (talk) 18:15, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Item - "They nerfed my Axe of Extreme Coolness! It now looks just like a rusty axe!"


  • Encounter - "They nerfed The Encounter Of Extreme Uberness! Now *ANYONE* can just zone in and get keyed! And after all our work in beating the Whatsit Of Doom!"

Prestige. NOT desirability. THAT will go *UP*.

Seeing as it's no longer prestigious, the "Encounter" in question is no longer as desired by those looking for prestige. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
No, but seeing as it is doable to the other 99.999999% of the universe, its desirability will go up.Sinneed (talk) 19:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Area - "MAN they nerfed the exp in Colossal Plains of Long Running! I killed 100 zeebaras and got like half a bubble!"

Maybe desirability. The area may be heavily hunted for other reasons... in fact it might become MORE popular and desirable by removing (real example) mass slaughter of the entire zone by small groups of players.

Regardless... desirability is affected with your example and the nerfed element in question is the amount of exp obtained from killing "zeebaras", making killing "zeebaras" less desirable. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Desirabilty - Not in all cases. The world is not you.Sinneed (talk) 19:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Trade-skill - "Yikes! The latest nerf to armor-making made it useless! Newbie zone loot is better!"

Desirability...maybe. But the reality is that most trade-skilling in most games is essentially an end in itself... the rewards are very occasional... in VERY general.

Desirability nonetheless. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Desirabilty - Not in all cases. The world is not you.Sinneed (talk) 19:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Ability - "O NOES! They nerfed my death-touch, and now it won't work on anything more than 10 levels higher than I am!"

Desirability? Maybe.

Desirability nonetheless. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Desirabilty - Not in all cases. The world is not you.Sinneed (talk) 19:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Class - "After that nerf, who would want a Weezer in their raid?! A Morloc with points in Wind will outdamage them!"

Desireability? Not in my experience. Usually this is just wounded pride.

That's just it, "your experience". When many people rush to play an overpowered class, the result of nerfing said class is less people willing to choose the class in question... desirability. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
That's just it, "your experience". You are not everyone. You make false, broad, sweeping statements of absolute "ALL"... but they apply only to you and to those who agree with you. Many many classes have not been overpowered, but were nerfed in some specific way for some specific reason... perhaps because it ruined the continuity of a progression. This nerf affected the *CLASS* not at all... but it affected the strategy of those who used that class to bypass steps in content.Sinneed (talk) 19:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Technical game feature - "They nerfed the reconnect thing, and now you have to stay logged out 5 minutes if you /quit out."

Nah. People have the same desire to log out as before. It might affect the ease of an encounter, for example... which might make it MORE desirable, if it increased the value of the reward. *shrug*

What are you talking about, "same desire to log out"? You're going to be less willing to logout for no reason knowing that you'll have to wait 5 minutes before reconnecting... desirability. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I am talking about the /quit command being just as desirable.Sinneed (talk) 19:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Some encounter where abusing /quit might become harder... which might make the encounter more desirable.Sinneed (talk) 19:06, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Every single example you're using to refute my point still has to do with lowered desirability, so I really don't know what to tell you anymore. I'm really trying to work with you to make a better article, but you seem more interested in simply discarding for the sake of discarding and making personal attacks. If this is the type of discussion you were asking for in your edit summaries, then I guess you and I aren't discussing anymore.

I'll refrain from entertaining any point you make where I feel you're arguing for the sake of arguing, and in fact, I won't even make any edits to the article page unless I'm reverting clear vandalism, because I don't care all that much. Feel free to add/remove whatever it is you want and I'll allow you to get whatever it is you are getting out of this with another editor.

Whenever you wish to participate in a real discussion, let me know as I would be glad to hear constructive comments. — Dorvaq (talk) 19:26, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Ah, the key difference between us, I think. I won't refrain from entertaining any point you make, even though I feel you're arguing for the sake of arguing. I will make edits to the article page, including removing vandalism, even though I don't care all that much.
Whenever you wish to participate in a real discussion, or even make "for show" statements, let me know as I would be glad to hear any comments.

Sinneed (talk) 04:01, 21 June 2008 (UTC)


Pity there is no way to source online slang, it might be possible to turn this into a good article.Sinneed (talk) 18:16, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Absolutely. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:41, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not against having a list of examples of particular game elements that have been nerfed in popular games. Perhaps a way to have some good referencing completed is to reference whatever game aspect has been nerfed with a source linking to the announcement of the nerf on the game's website. — Dorvaq (talk) 18:53, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
I am against having a list of examples of particular game elements that have been nerfed if it can't be sourced *OR* is going to result in more of the nerflove/nerfhate nonsense. These things are VERY sensitive and lure much POVposting. Nonspecific examples of the USAGE would be good... but it can't be sourced. Since it can't be sourced, it gets whacked, and really... it doesn't belong in an encyclopedia. So... why is this still here?Sinneed (talk) 19:12, 19 June 2008(UTC)
We're not here to prevent against "nerflove/nerfhate" nonsense. We're here to write an encyclopedia. If it is a fact that a particular game element was nerfed, referenced by the game's website, then there is nothing wrong with such an entry. I don't get it... why were you so quick to jump the gun and revert the "massive cuts" I made, when you don't even seem to want the article to begin with. — Dorvaq (talk) 19:36, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
"We're not here to prevent against "nerflove/nerfhate" nonsense." - False. NPOV is critical. We are indeed here to strive for it.
"If it is a fact that a particular game element was nerfed, referenced by the game's website, then there is nothing wrong with such an entry." - Did not intend to imply that there was. Though as I read, I understand that I was not clear. If someone says "Nerfs are wonderful. Here is one that was great!<linky>", then I will mod it to say something more balanced, and including the source.
"I don't get it... why were you so quick to jump the gun and revert the "massive cuts" I made," - because they were not productive. Clearly opinion.
"... when you don't even seem to want the article to begin with." - Hmmm. I can't even imagine how to begin to address this, really. Perhaps an example: You see a man shooting at a crowd. You stop him. Someone objects because they say you should instead have removed all weapons from the planet. I find this very common on Wiki. A very acceptable downside, I feel.Sinneed (talk) 04:09, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Recommending for deletion.[edit]

No minor improvement is being allowed. The basic problem being objected to by Thumpy is that the online jargon cannot be sourced, no improvements will be allowed unless sourced. I am again correcting the lead in.

As an alternative to deletion, I propose changing the article into a stub, containing in whatever format would somehow be acceptable, 3 items:

  • nerf is slang/jargon for a negatively perceived change to a game item
  • nerf is slang/jargon for *making* a negatively perceived change to a game item
  • nerf appears to refer to the "NERF" brand of of toys - though this is not as important, IMO, as the other 2... as it has to do with origin, rather than meaning

If anyone can source usage of nerf, it would be grand to include examples of usage, IMO.

If anyone can source reasons devs and players claim nerfs are good, that would be good, IMO.

If anyone can source reasons devs and players claim nerfs are bad, that would be good, IMO.

All comments, including those made only for effect, are quite welcome.

And, of course, there was no discussion, and no improvement. Please either stop reversing out my edits or make some kind of improvement. This edit war silliness needs to end. Reinstating the simple, and not ambiguous, use of nerf as a verb. Sinneed (talk) 04:39, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

If you think the article should be deleted, take it to WP:AFD. Otherwise, please stop repeating yourself ad infinitum on the talk page: creating a new section to repeat what you said yesterday is no helping us to discuss this issue. As for the reverting of your edits, you've been repeatedly told not to insert unsourced material into the article. Rather than spamming the talk page, try breaking your edits down into discrete parts and discussing them here individually. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:33, 24 June 2008 (UTC)


If you are interested, you may look through the history of a number of terms like nerf, and find that there is much discussion of whether they belong in Wiki at all.

Proposing that if no unsourced changes are to be allowed, and no sourcing is possible, that the article be deleted is not a threat. It is a realistic alternative, of only 3:

  • leave the article as is
  • change it
  • kill it

I will not leave the article as it. You will not let me change it. ( at least not so far ) You will not let me kill it.

If I have missed one, please share it with me. If there is a way to source online slang, please share it with me, strictly as a courtesy, and I realize I am asking for an unearned favor.

But please, either join in or stop reversing me. This doesn't seem to be an unreasonable request.Sinneed (talk) 04:48, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I find it unlikely that there is not one reliable source for online gaming which makes use of the term "nerf". Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:37, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
(posted and removed)sinneed (talk) 03:10, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Lead-in Version 1 zillion.[edit]

"In computer gaming, a nerf is a change, and "to nerf" the act of making a change, that reduces the desirability of a particular game element."

I have been informed that this needs to be different. I should hope this would be an area that an editor actually interesting in improving the lead-in might contribute.

I think the leadin needs these 3 things to convey what "a nerf" is, and what it means "to nerf" something:

  • nerf is slang/jargon for a negatively perceived change to a game item
  • nerf is slang/jargon for *making* a negatively perceived change to a game item
  • nerf appears to refer to the "NERF" brand of of toys - though this is not as important, IMO, as the other 2... as it has to do with origin, rather than meaning

Sinneed (talk) 04:59, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

": they're fun to shoot people with, but their plush, foamy dart-like qualities make them generally innocuous. "

I have some hope that no one enjoys nerfing. I have a stronger sense that this is not quite the lead-in we would hope to find if we opened a $2000.00 encyclopedia and looked up "nerf". Perhaps I am missing the need for this addition, and if so, I apologize. Sinneed (talk) 05:03, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

I've made a slight edit to the introductory sentence which includes the verb without making the first clause completely meaningless ("a nerf is a change"). Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:34, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
(Added and removed)sinneed (talk) 03:11, 25 June 2008 (UTC)


It seems the origin of the term has been lost to most, but i was there. Dark Castle MUD circa 1992 ( There was a weapon in game called the nerf assault rifle that had a special procedure to automatically cast the spell magic missle on attack. The game's imp increased the damage of magic missle to be based apon character level, which inadvertenly made the weapon vastly more powerful than the norm. The wepaon recieved a significant downgrading to such an extent the weapon was near worthless. Apon further 'rebalancing' of items in the game, the players harkened back to the original downgrading of 'the nerf'. At this time MUDs were pretty much the only games with dynamic content and thus i am fairly certain this is the true origin. Most MMORPG's to date still have identical gameplay mechanics to MUDs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:48, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Don't be dumb. The Nerf brand of toys, which probably includes a large number of assault rifles, is certainly much older than 1992. Your game of highly questionable significance clearly got the name of the item from the toy manufacturer, so your point is irrelevant; the name still ultimately comes from Nerf brand toys. Even if you had proof, which seems very unlikely, I would still oppose adding anything about Dark Castle MUD to this article. (talk) 18:19, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. I'd go so far as to suggest that this explanation was simply made up. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 19:32, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
'is certainly much older than 1992'.. Well, america existed before certain explorers discovered it. Perhaps we shouldn't include the names and dates about them either? Not that I really care all that much about history. And as for 'simply made up', you want proof? I was an eye witness, I'm living proof. Disprove me if you think you know it all. (talk) 09:13, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
"...disprove..." - no, that isn't needful. One must substantiate one's facts in order to add content. This is one of the reasons I am very concerned about the sheer bulk of web/gaming jargon/slang that is being dumped into Wikipedia. Once the article arrives, replete with error, it is very difficult to fix... reliable sources for online slang are scarce. Thus, despite the "take your marbles and go home" cutesyness, my reasoning in arguing that these simply don't belong in a general purpose encyclopedai. I can't really visualize a "nerf" article in an Encyclopedia Britannica. On the "I was there" thing... while I am sympathetic... original research is Not A Good Thing in Wikipedia. Idea: write your recollections up and see if you can interest one or more of the more reputable web sites to investigate/publish about the history. It would please me to find some useful citations for this article, even if the overly rude Thumperward is convinced that the term existed before 1992 (but of course Thumperward can't or won't produce sources... but insists that they "must" exist). sinneed (talk) 14:24, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Text added to the lead-in by an anon editor: "This meaning of "nerf" entered wide usage due to an across-the-board reduction in the effectiveness of melee weapons in Ultima Online undertaken by developer "EvilJohn" in 1998. The reduced damage led players to complain that they felt like they were "fighting with nerf weapons", in reference to the NERF brand of toys."

While this is a very attractive statement, it is not sourced, and I know how difficult that is with these... but without sourcing it is just telling stories around the campfire... it is not an encyclopedia article. Sorry to kill your edit, and I hope you can find sourcing that I cannot. sinneed (talk) 21:01, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

This link died right after I added it, but now it is back. The link in the text is to the cached version, so this is a note explaining why. Protonk (talk) 17:22, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Sources identified in the AFD & rescue processes.[edit]

  1. Rubicite Breastplace Priced to Sell, a whitepaper written by tim burke (not the baseball player), a games researcher. Talks about nerfs coming down the pike and how they influence player actions.
  2. Terranova posts Terra Nova (blog) is a games researcher group blog on the subject of virtual worlds. The blog itself is not RS, of course, but the individual authors are (double check to see, of course)
  3. Raph Koster's website A dicdef, but Ralph Koster Raph Koster (helped make Star Wars Galaxies) does a lot of work in the field of virtual worlds.
  4. Owned: Finding a Place for Virtual World Property Rights in the Michigan State Law Review defines and explains "nerfed" in the contest of property rights.
  5. Designing Virtual Worlds, page 305.
  6. Julian Dibbell talks about it in his book, Play Money
  7. In the New York Times talking about player protests after a nerf in AO.

Presented (Thank You!) by Protonk (talk)

Over on the German version of this page, these additional sources are listed:

  1. Donna Gibbs / Kerri-Lee Krause: Cyberlines 2.0: Languages and Cultures of the Internet. James Nicholas, Albert Park (Austr.) 2006, ISBN 1-875-40842-8, S. 180
  2. Jessica Mulligan / Bridgette Patrovsky: Developing Online Games: An Insider's Guide. New Riders, Indianapolis (Ind.) 2003, ISBN 1-592-73000-0, S. 280-281: "Bug-Fixing versus Nerfing"

Editors who want to contribute may find this list useful. But even if not, I wanted to preserve the sources in an easy-to-find spot.

The full deletion discussion is archived (I have no idea for how long) at sinneed (talk) 00:36, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

nerfs and what they mean in the world[edit]

In addition: The term nerf does not apply to corrections made by simple clerical error. For instance 2 new weapons are put into the game. One is a 15th level quest reward and the second is a 30th level quest reward. Upon database entry the transcriber enters the 15th level weapon with the same DPS (damage per second) as the 30th level weapon. An obviuos mistake that is not caught until the weapons have gone live. The developers are made aware of this issue and correct it. This is not a nerf.

1st - this is a classic example of a nerf.
2nd - you'll need a wp:rs to add that. Yes, lots of stuff here with no source, but just because wp:other stuff exists doesn't mean it is good stuff. Please dive in and source madly. :) It is a real challenge with these Internet jargon terms. I have argued that they don't belong in Wikipedia because they are very difficult to source. I am in a small minority and the consensus is to leave them in.
3rd - The lead in rests on the rest of the article... it leads in to it. If you can find sources to add the content you appear to feel strongly about, please wp:be bold and add it to the body. Perhaps a section called "What is and what is not a nerf". Then, once it is in and sourced, perhaps it will merit a mention in the lead in (and you can always jsut wp:be bold and add it... but without source it won't stay...and if it is too much for the lead-in it won't stay). But I am dubious.

Most nerfs are just this sort. Someone makes a simple error. It has minor or profound effects that are found only once the change is live. The change is reversed, and someone objects... usually multiple someones object... to the nerf.sinneed (talk) 14:25, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

The section is totally pointless anyway. You were right to remove it. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 15:22, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Well sir or madam, I disagree strongly. It was not pointless. It was, however, not encyclopedic, which is what I care about. Even vandals and editors who name other's work "pointless" have a point.sinneed (talk) 05:24, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
It's probably "sir", and the section was...without much merit. To say that "nerfs aren't corrections to obvious errors" is both OR and wrong. A combination like that hardly improves an article. Protonk (talk) 05:52, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Heh, clearly I agree about the value of the edit as it was created, thus I cut it and it landed on the online equivalent of the cutting room floor. On the "sir" thing... mmmm, here we are whatever we say we are, within the rules of Wikipedia. *shrug*sinneed (talk) 06:06, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
..:) True. But chris is probably chris. Protonk (talk) 06:09, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Offtopicwarning! One of my favorite nerfs wasn't a nerf at all. Someone changed the lighting in a dungeon. All the lights in the cities went out. We jokingly accused them of nerfing light... there was so much squalling about nerfs at the time that our claim was no less reasonable than some of the others.sinneed (talk) 06:15, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
One of my favorites actually was an 'error' on the part of the game makers. The mosscovered twig was nerfed from being a "mainhand/offhand" weapon to "offand only" because the speed was just absurdly fast (even though the damage per hit wasn't that high). They never thought about it and people ran around doing some absurd DPS (it wasn't called DPS then, but I forget what) until Verant noticed and changed it. Protonk (talk) 06:46, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Merge into the very weak article game balance - lack of discussion[edit]

I learned of this proposed merge when it was implemented. There was some discussion Video Games Project archive "Nerfing? Section", but it was *VERY* short, there was no proposed redirect put here, none at the game balance. If the merge target article there were not so VERY bad, I would feel better about the merge. I spoke with the merging editor about the lack of consensus at User talk:Zxcvbnm#Erm., but I did not revert the merge...I think the idea in and of itself is fine... but the target needs very VERY much work.sinneed (talk) 22:01, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Yeah it does. I'm happy to see "nerfs" "buffs" and all that as player perceptions of changes to game balance, but I don't think that this article need be redirected in order to do that. What makes them nerfs is the player perception, not the actual change to the game balance (Arguably). At least it is what makes people write about it. The possible texts on "game balance" are spread hither and yon, should someone want to look for sources in places other than blogs or game reviews. the topic is too nebulous for me to want to jump in, too.
  • Anyways, if the editors who want to merge the content drop on by, my pitch is that they summarize the sub-articles rather than redirect them. I'm off to undo the "grinding" redirect, too. Protonk (talk) 22:52, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
    • Whoops, it was "gimp". Not much in the old article. I'll leave it be as a redirect. Protonk (talk) 22:56, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the pointer to the discussion. I don't check in on WT:VG with any frequency. Guess I should. I can see the point that was being tossed around (about buff/nerf being two sides of the same coin). I'm hesitant to make an article that says that without a source to go along with it. "Nerfs" clearly get more attention than "buffs" (unless they are buffing someone else's class...which they always are :)...) from players and the sourcing reflects this. Protonk (talk) 23:05, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I had never been to the VG project ever... I looked at the contributions of the redirecting editor and found the section, since the editor had stated that there was consensus and AGF. But it was a *REALLY* short discussion.
Nerf. Yes, I agree, entirely perception of the "speaker." Not all nerfs are for balance in any real sense of the word. They can be just to preserve a story line...or to restrict the speed with which players tire of an expansion...or just "by god because that was the way it was intended to be"... or because something was too easy... or too hard.
Nerf/Buff... no source... thus it isn't in the Buff article. I'd have added it if I could find one. Annoyingly difficult to source the online slang.sinneed (talk) 04:54, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Bad sources[edit]

The claim that the name was first used in Ultima Online was not properly sourced (and the idea that this was actually the first use is ludicrous). The first reference says that its first use in online games was on Ultima Online, not that its first use whatsoever was in Ultima Online. The New York Times reference is only a reference for the origin of the word, not for its first use. Ken Arromdee (talk) 15:39, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

You got a bit too extravagant with the editorial hatchet. The sources speak to the usage. They can stay and are good sources. I agree with some of the content cut, and will cut it to the talk page.sinneed (talk) 17:07, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see, you restored them. Sorry, was looking at the changes in order. I am good with it, but your title is now misleading. :)sinneed (talk) 17:09, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposed move[edit]

... to Nerf (Video gaming) - an editor argues that the term "video gaming" is broader than computer gaming.

As the meaning of computer gaming has slowly come to mean desktop computer, rather than computer-in-general, this argument may have merit. However, computer gaming includes computer gaming for the blind (rare), and all other computer-based games, whether PC, Mac, mainframe, pager, handheld.

I oppose this move, somewhat weakly. - Sinneed 14:43, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

anon game designer: I also oppose this move, but for different reasons. Though I cannot dig up sources for it atm of course, in usage on forums and in life I've very commonly heard "nerf" as the "weakening" noun and "nerfing" verb be applied to non-computer games. I've heard tons of people talk about "nerfing" colors or cards in Magic: The Gathering, for one example, and that is no computer or video game. And it flies beyond the scope of gaming sometimes. I wouldn't be surprised to see "Nerf" become as ubiquitous a noun in this meaning as "Spam". Honestly though, this all reeks of "Wikipedia is not a dictionary". Why does this article need to exist? It should fall under a page on "Game Design" and the art of "Balancing", which ties in with other concepts like the double rule or risks/rewards or game theory, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:17, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

  • As a note, WP:NCVG explicitly says, never use "(computer game)" or "(computer gaming)" for any disambig even if the article is exclusively about a PC-related topic.. Therefore the page is being moved. - The Bushranger One ping only 07:20, 4 March 2011 (UTC)


OK, if a source scites a specific use, it doesn't mean there isn't a general use. I am not going to remove this, but I will povflag it. It doesn't belong in the lead at all, and if it needs discussion in the body, wording to the effect that it is commonly used in MMORPGS might be OK... but it is right there in the source, and I don't see the need.- Sinneed 00:24, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

This is slang, and it is used, for example in reference to "Call of Duty". The specificity needs to go. It is personal opinion.- Sinneed 00:45, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
You know that you're doing OR by referencing that, right? Just checking. You're not wrong, except by the standards that you're always holding me to, so I'll rewrite it, but it's kinda tiresome. I had written in less restrictive language than the sources and you dinged me for that, you'll recall. —chaos5023 (talk) 02:12, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
"You know that you're doing OR by referencing that, right? Just checking." - No, I am not. And this is a *talk page*. wp:talk page guidelines - not an article page.
"You're not wrong, except by the standards that you're always holding me to..." - Not at all.
", so I'll rewrite it, but it's kinda tiresome." - No need, I'll remove it, say, tomorrow.
"I had written in less restrictive language than the sources and you dinged me for that, you'll recall." - Yes. And I correctly removed it.
I'll remove this again very soon: It does not belong in the lead, wp:LEAD. It is wp:SYNTH - that is not what the source says. You have inserted your opinion. Stop now.- Sinneed 02:30, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
It is what the source says. "To nerf means to adjust the tangible effects of a virtual world element downward." —chaos5023 (talk) 02:41, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Exactly, and no, that wasn't the opinion you had inserted into the lead. The current text looks good to me. I am dubious of the "buff" bit in the lead, but I defer to you.- Sinneed 02:44, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
O I see, you justmoved the opinion down. I CNflagged it. I'll kill it in a few days if it isn't sourced. It is not clear to me that that source speaks to any other usage.- Sinneed 02:47, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
"mostly commonly"- is what I plan to remove. I also expect to restore the nerf bit to the lead, and the origin (leaving it in the body as well).- Sinneed 03:00, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Suppose we used a source at poker (game) that referred to "Tim had 3 aces and 2 eights: a full house, aces over eights." and someone placed in the body "When players named Tim, specifically, have 3 aces and 2 eights, it is called a full house." This would, quite clearly, be incorrect, and it would not be OR to mention on the talk page that everyone who has 3 aces and 2 eights has a full house, and to change the text to "For example, when a player has 3 aces and 2 eights, it is called a full house, aces over eights." - Sinneed 02:40, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

In that situation, we could cite any book on poker's rules for the clarification, instead of having to ourselves go to an online poker forum and find an example of somebody who is not named Tim being spoken of as having a full house, which is an example of what the words "original research" mean. —chaos5023 (talk) 03:05, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

::On second thought, I think it may be best to just go ahead and remove the OR now, I don't think this discussion is going to be profitable.- Sinneed 03:20, 25 April 2010 (UTC)