- Nerf (n.)
- A product line of toys made from soft foam. These toys are in the shapes of objects to be thrown, launched, or swung at other people; their soft foam nature insures that they will cause little harm on impact. Common items are balls, arrows, missiles, bats, truncheons, swords, hammers.
- Nerf (v.)
- to make something safer, so that people won't be so butthurt when it is used against them. When a change is made by a game designer to "improve" a feature by making is less useful in contests, players say the feature has been "nerfed" and will complain loudly in the hopes the change will be undone and they can resume exploiting this feature to beat on other players too naive to avoid it.
Examples of Nerfing
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(tabletop/traditional games only please)
- Psionics in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons gave players a set of spell-like abilities without the drawbacks of Vancian magic, and were not subject to anti-magic defenses. Later editions reduced the amount of power points available to fuel these powers and made it dependent on character level, balancing it with a Sorcerer's spell casting abilities, and explicitly stated that anti-magic and anti-psionic effects were one and the same.
- The Winnu racial technology in Twilight Imperium 3rd edition allowed the player to stall everyone for two turns, long enough to over-extend their reach to get a winning amount of victory points even if their empire would self-destruct in the very next turn. Fixed with an errata to the game.
- The Iron Warriors chaos marines in 3rd edition 40k, and Chaos Daemons in 7th edition Warhammer fantasy were incredibly powerful. The Iron warriors having access to insane firepower while the Chaos Daemons could stack multiple stat buffs on every model. They were so strong GW had to release the next edition of both games just so they could re-release their books and nerf them.
- The Fireball/Channel(/Black Lotus) combo in Magic: The Gathering had players converting most of their Life to Mana with Channel, than one-shotting their opponent with Fireball (on turn one before the opponent could do anything for maximum lulz if Black Lotus was involved) until Channel was banned.
- WARMACHINE'S most recent errata hit Epic Haley and Epic Deneghra, two of the highest tier warnouns in the game with some. Battlegroups can now shake Deneghra's shadowbinds letting them move, and Haley can no longer control her opponent's order of activations the turn after she Feats. This was pretty big since they're two of the most frustrating warnouns to play against, and in Haley's case, the cornerstone of her faction's tournament presence.
- Buff, the exact opposite of this subject.