What does nerf mean in online gaming?


In gaming, to nerf something means to weaken or depower it. Game developers often nerf op characters, items, and abilities via game patches, to ensure a game remains balanced. For example, League of Legends (LoL) frequently nerfs powerful champions' stats and abilities, to bring those champions back in line with others' power level.

Any MOBA (like LoL), MMORPG, RTS, or even FPSes that is updated via patches is likely to have a character, item, or ability nerfed at some point. The term nerf originated as a joke among Ultima Online players, who griped that a reduction in weapon capability turned their swords into NERF foam bats.


They're planning to nerf combat rogues in the next patch
A LoL player arguing for an Akali nerf
A LoL player arguing for an Akali nerf

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Updated February 22, 2022

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