The Truth: The Indignity Of Being Nerfed

Posted May 29, 2012 by in The Truth

Headline:: The Indignity Of Being Nerfed

Sometimes being great at a game is fleeting

by Jason Moquin
Full Article

If you play video games long and well enough, you will most likely stumble across a character you enjoy, who is suddenly less powerful than he or she was before. Most likely this occurred after an update of some kind.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called being Nerfed. It happens when a developer didn’t predict how a character would fare in an open environment. The result is a extremely powerful character that dominates everything in its path.

The latest occurrence of this is in Diablo 3, where some character classes have been created in such a way that they are exceptionally overpowered in ways that it is quite obvious that the the developer never expected them to be. Now I certainly understand and appreciate a developer concerned about his or her work, the game’s image, and the welfare of players. However, I believe that if you are able to find the best way to utilize a character to its maxium potential, then you should be able to do so freely, without restraint or modifications.

I prefer to level grind the crap out of my RPG’s so that most boss fights amount to a 900 pound gorilla freeing itself from a wet paper bag.

In the case of Diablo 3 there are three classes that are exceedingly overpowered when equipped with certain enchantments. In order to curb any exploitation, Blizzard decided to decrease their potency. While this does prevent disreputable players from abusing the system, if on the off chance you were genuinely enjoying one of these characters and their subsequent “perks,” it is up to you to regroup and form a new play style.

That is what bothers me most about being “nerfed.” Not everyone plays games the same way, and everyone certainly approaches a game differently. Personally, I prefer to level grind the crap out of my RPG’s so that most boss fights amount to a 900 pound gorilla freeing itself from a wet paper bag. Others like to level up just enough so every single battle is competitively challenging and close. And there are others still that need the extra help that a powerful character can bring because they can’t play as well or are just learning.

Who’s to say which play style is “correct”?

When a developer nerfs a game, what they are really saying, “You’ve been doing it wrong,” and that just rubs me the wrong way. Other industries can’t work that way. I can’t keep editing this article every single time someone comments on it until I get the desired reaction from it. In a restaurant you don’t have someone ladling on and siphoning off sauce until they feel the correct level is achieved.

Know what being “nerfed” makes me think of?

Mega Man

The entire point of that game is to find out the correct order in which to power yourself up so that subsequent boss characters become a breeze to beat. Your job is to outsmart the game. Even the newest Mega Man games reward you for figuring out each villain’s Achilles heel.

“Oh you’re really difficult Solar Man, what happens when I use my Water Shield?”

It spits in the face of being nerfed. Instead, it’s embraces Unnerf!

Mega Man’s boss system is the pinnacle of a user rewarded for figuring out a game. In Diablo 3, people found their Water Shield and they were rewarded by promptly having it taken away.

About the Author

Jason Moquin

Jason has been around video games since he's been born. He's also been around Godzilla, Giant Japanese Robots, and the Marx Brothers.

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