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Inside the Nerf

Posted Oct 27, 2009 by Jon Wood

Inside the Nerf

In this week's column, MMORPG.com's Victor Wachter takes a look at the thought process and fallout that occurs when developers pull out the old nerf bat.

If you play a multi-player game for any length of time, you'll inevitably run into the nerf. In my career working in games, I've helped nerf spells, guns, robots and super powers.

As people play together, they are always taking account of how they compare to their fellow players and begin to note which play styles are the most efficient. As a result, they generally do one of two things: They either adjust their own style to include the optimal mechanics or they decide that certain mechanics are too powerful to be allowed and seek to make their feedback known.

Sometimes, developers act on that feedback and swing the nerfbat. The magnitude of a nerf varies. Sometimes, it's a simple adjustment of damage tables, changing the effectiveness of certain mechanics, which pretty much every game does on a regular basis. Sometimes, it's a complete overhaul of certain classes, such as the EverQuest Monk or EVE’s medium spaceship changes. Sometimes, it will be a complete gameplay overhaul, such as Ultima Online's Trammel.

Read Inside the Nerf.

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