When Gear Is Made Less Effective In Video Games, Gamers Say It Has Been?
The advent of online multiplayer gaming introduced an element of game design that designers hadn’t previously had to wrangle with: balancing character abilities and in-game items so that game play was fair and didn’t encourage players to flock to a certain character class or only use a specific weapon or gear combination.
With nearly every multiplayer game, there are updates and revisions over time to rebalance and adjust areas that developers consider problematic such as weapon/armor combinations that stack to give unreasonably powerful bonuses, character-class skills that prove to be too effective, valuable objects that are too easy to acquire, etc.
When developers make adjustments to weapons, gear, or skills in such a fashion that it decreases the effectiveness of the aforementioned thing (or makes it harder to acquire), players say that the thing has been “nerfed”. The term, which originated in the Ultima Online community, is a reference to Nerf toys (specifically, to how a Nerf toy weapon is a softer, less dangerous version of the real thing).
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