#1 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

I'm sure all of us here are familiar with the nature of every online multiplayer game and how over time certain elements of any given game may need to be adjusted to compensate for anything being over powered or improperly balanced. However it seems anytime something needs to be balanced there's always someone complaining that something has been "nerfed" and is no longer as great as it once was. Me personally I've never taken any real issue with changes made to some of the online games that I've played myself and from my personal perspective it seems like when I see someone crying "nerf" it's usually someone who would probably spam some cheap tactic and now that they can no longer spam it, they feel it's useless having to play at a fair level.

Now that's just my general assumption from the games I've played and the people I have played with at times. I'm not claiming to be right or state fact at all I'm just giving my experiance.

But what I want to discuss is what do you feel is the difference between acceptable balancing and nerfing? Are the people who cry nerf simply crying foul?

Granted I know this can be seen as a case by case thing where some games actually get their balancing right where as others really do dumb down certain elements to levels that would render said elements to just being down right useless.

Me personally the way I see it, balancing means you tweak weapons, abilities, powers, characters, etc. so as to compensate for players who may have found ways to exploit certain tactics that the developers may have never thought of. And by tweaking I mean adjusting something to an acceptable level so that said element is still useful and not be over powered. Nerfing on the other hand as I mentioned earlier is when something is dumbed down to a point of no longer being useful at all. I can't think of any real clear cut examples but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

What are your thoughts folks? As always please try to keep things civil and positive.

#2 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19336 posts) -

Nerfing is often necessary for balance and is just the act of worsening something, both terms can coexist. Nerfing definitely isn't making something completely non viable, but it's the act of making something not as good as it once was. For example, increasing the Marine unit build time, in SC2, from 25 to 30 would be considered nerfing Terran, but it definitely wouldn't make marines no longer useful as that's the Terran's base unit.

Perhaps you haven't played something competitively to the point where you are heavily invested in a single race/character/faction because I think anyone reacts negatively when their "main" is made inferior, even if they realize it's for the sake of competitive balance. The Ghost unit's "Snipe" ability was nerfed a while ago, for example, so it was obviously annoying for Terran players who used that unit a lot but, in the end, the nerf was necessary.

#3 Posted by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

nerfing is when you over do it, balancing is when you're just making the game better.

like in MMO's where nerfing and balancing is the most common and frequent. if a class or ability is too powerful, they need to be rebalanced. sometimes if not done well they'll be nerfed into the ground.

nerfing and rebalancing are good things though, even if they over nerf something, it still shows the developers are at least trying to give you the best possible playing experience possible.

#4 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: I'll admit in a lot of games I play I rarely ever main something and more or less try to be something of a jack of all trades. Like in Team Fortress 2 I'll play just about any class, or in League of Legends I like to experiment with and play a lot of the various characters on rotation.

#5 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19336 posts) -

@Atary77 said:

@FluxWaveZ: I'll admit in a lot of games I play I rarely ever main something and more or less try to be something of a jack of all trades. Like in Team Fortress 2 I'll play just about any class, or in League of Legends I like to experiment with and play a lot of the various characters on rotation.

And that's why it's hard to understand when people complain about nerfing for you (the term even has a Wikipedia page with the definition). People who are very competitive at a game can't be jack of all trades because, to play at a high level, focus needs to be centered on a specific style of play and not several. When that style of play is worsened, it's naturally frustrating for a player who has adapted it and has been very familiar with it until the point where the negative adjustments were made.

#6 Posted by cheapandtacky (128 posts) -

Balancing is when it happens to other players, nerfing is when it happens to you

#7 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: That's some very good food for thought since I hadn't really thought of it that way and it helps put things into a better perspective. Respect =)

#8 Posted by Aetheldod (3579 posts) -

@cheapandtacky: Amen duder

#9 Edited by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -

There's been some bad balancing/nerfs in games like Warcraft (and things that are so obviously overpowered that its mind boggling its still in there) but most of the time I accept what the dev's think is right.
They do that shit for a living and if its really that bad it'll end up being reverted, or not, but then you cope and move on as you would with a bad twist in a book or series.
 
When classes get defined by one ability however I think the devs are right to nerf the crap out of it.
People don't fear classes or certain specs, they fear that one overpowered move that every *insert class name here* is using right now because its giving them the advantage,
 
I just can't forget how in the release of The Burning Crusade expansion of World of Warcraft the newly redone Retribution Paladins jumped into battle, pressed one button and promptly took out their target and bringing their nearby allies down to like 50-70% of their HP.
Not to mention their heals, invinciblity bubbles and stuns....
 
Balance is a tricky thing.

#10 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

All nerfing means is taking something that is too powerful in terms of balance against other abilities, weapons, units, characters etc. and making them less powerful.

Nerfing is balacing, and I generally have no issue with it.

Unless nerfs are too heavy handed (Battlefield 3) and they're just experimenting with every balance patch to find what's right, but they cannot as they listen to the community instead of the dudes who made the game.

I like the way league of legends does its balance. Make every champion crazy op if you know what you're doing with them. It balances out because everyone is just as OP as you are.

@TaliciaDragonsong: I'll always be sad that Blizzard hate warlocks, and as such, they will never be any good at anything other than raid dps :(

#11 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4496 posts) -

@cheapandtacky said:

Balancing is when it happens to other players, nerfing is when it happens to you

LOL. Gotta admit, that made actually laugh out loud because it's soooooo effing true

#12 Edited by Tennmuerti (8100 posts) -

To me nerfing does not mean overdoing something, it is simply the reductive part of the balancing coin. The other positive/additive side being being buffing. Both are frequently needed. When something is nerfed, it's "effectiveness" is reduced, no more no less, such a change can be warranted - a necessary nerf, or overdone at which point it becomes a bad thing.

At least the communities i have been part of have used them as such. Nerfing isn't always a bad thing, it's part of balancing.

@TaliciaDragonsong:

Slightly off topic. Just throwing some thoughts around

IMO Blizzard are the evil genius masters of the balancing act, or to put it better the juggling act of keeping shit always slightly unbalanced. When everything is in perfect balance there is less to talk about and less things to bitch about or argue about. By constantly making balance changes that overnerf or overpower certain classes in certain gameplay areas the people are kept more interested and involved, more passionate, more looking forward to the next patch and next balance change. Or even keeps people cycling through classes looking for the next big thing, it is very effective. It's the perfect moving carrot on a stick. 4-6 years of WoW taught me that. While true the game and complexity were massive (hence hard to balance and sometime shit does indeed happen on it's own) Blizzard could have set an aproximate status quo of class balance if they wished to do so with some effort during that massive amount of time between expansions where the biggest unblancing changes occur. The thing is tho that it is not in their best interests to do so in the first place, keep things moving about and rocking the boat, to keep the interest up. At the very least the balance would have been already reached multiple times by pure chance if it was not being at least a little bit nudged on purpose to unbalance shit. I have always held a belief that Blizzard are a bunch of very very clever motherfuckers, they have prooved so time and time again every step of the way, therefore it is only logical to assume that the same extends to their ability to blance shit, or infact to subtly unbalance it to be able to keep rebalancing, rather then the alternative of being too dumb to be able to properly balance their mamonth.

Most of this pertains to WoW only however. Starcraft is a bit of a different beast that does not rely on constant interest of the (majority) playerbase as it is a one time purchase without subscription, actual balance is preferable to keep the e-sport scene going.

At least that's how i have viewed things on that end for a while. WoW's constant rebalances were quite on purpose. It is a bit evil looked at one way but at the same time kind of clever.

I might be completely off base for sure, but it's a theory i like as it is consistent with the rest of the pattern.

@Canteu: Eh, there were several times/patches when warlocks were the most cursed and hated OP bullshit class on the battlefield. Fun times.

#13 Posted by laserbolts (5321 posts) -

Nerfing and balancing can be the same thing sometimes. Seems some people here do not understand the concept.

#14 Edited by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -
@Tennmuerti:  
Large offtopic reply:
#15 Posted by ajamafalous (11992 posts) -
@Tennmuerti said:

To me nerfing does not mean overdoing something, it is simply the reductive part of the balancing coin. The other positive/additive side being being buffing. Both are frequently needed. When something is nerfed, it's "effectiveness" is reduced, no more no less, such a change can be warranted - a necessary nerf, or overdone at which point it becomes a bad thing.

At least the communities i have been part of have used them as such. Nerfing isn't always a bad thing, it's part of balancing.

Yeah, this. Anything that is made worse is being nerfed, whether or not it nerfs something into uselessness. Consequently, anything that is made better is buffed, whether or not it is buffed to the point of being overpowered.
#16 Posted by Dixavd (1358 posts) -

Personally I think that there isn't a difference. All of it is just PR depending on if the person in question wants to describe a change as a good or a bad thing. The divisions between the two is born out of the biases of the people involved rather than the practicality of the changes.

This post did remind me of something though, a quite recent Extra Creditz video on "Perfect Imbalance" which I found interesting. It seems to me that to designers who follow this model might actually differentiate Balancing and Nerfing by saying that Balancing is when they tweak things to change public focus and get people to try new things, while nerfing occurs when they think they have broken the game and have broken the "Perfect Imbalance". Not sure I totally believe it, but it is interesting.

#17 Posted by BrainSonata (105 posts) -
@cheapandtacky

Balancing is when it happens to other players, nerfing is when it happens to you

QF-MOTHERFUCKING-T
#18 Edited by Tennmuerti (8100 posts) -

@Dixavd: Goddamn extra credits stealing my ideas, hacks!

JK

I would say great minds think alike, if i did not have a certain subtle distaste for EC.

#19 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

I don't think you understand what nerfing means. It basically just means a certain skill, strategy, unit, or whatever has become worse. So, nerfing is a way to balance the game, in the same way making something better is also a way to balance the game.

#20 Posted by MikkaQ (10288 posts) -

Nerfing is when you balance a game by reducing the capabilities of one faction/group/class/weapon/anything to make the game even. So nerfing is often the consequence of balancing. It's kinda hard to balance a game by making everyone more powerful, so they nerf.

#21 Posted by EXTomar (4723 posts) -

Often times it is just connotation. One is a euphemism while the other is a loaded term.

#22 Posted by pandorasbox (303 posts) -

Nerfing is just an effect of balancing. It's that simple.

For example, in order to balance _____, they nerfed the _____ gun.

#23 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

In conclusion, Nerfing is a part of balancing. I guess the confusion for me was hearing so many folks I know complain when such a thing happened. But in essence nerfing is a part of the endless balancing act of keeping things fair in online multiplayer. Thanks for the clarification folks.

#24 Posted by innacces14 (735 posts) -

Playing as an Infiltrator in the ME3 co-op I was okay with them balancing tactical cloak so that it doesn't last through an entire point on a map that you have to turn back on. They've cut it down to half so it just means that if I don't manage to secure the point then it is on my team members for not backing me up.

Contrary to that I spent a good three months using the N7 Valiant as my go-to sniper rifle cause the packs didn't give me what I wanted (Widow, Black Widow, Javelin). Every fucker with a Widow would want to do a fuckin' head count with me so I was happy to give them a run for their money. Unfortunately it got nerfed since people caught on to the fact that if you manage to shoot all three rounds before you uncloak you would destroy the Widow's damage with the Valiant's DPS.

I guess what I'm saying is that there is a subjective angle to balancing vs. nerfing. While I am okay with balance I get extremely bummed with nerfing cause it usually means the thing I am using became popular. Anyone remember how fuckin' vicious the FAL was with the shotgun attachment in MW2 when you played hardcore? They nerfed that shit hard by the time Black Ops rolled by. =/