Fans debate most-nerfed character in history, from Star Wars Galaxies to Baldur’s Gate

Whether you like it or not, nerfing a character or weapon to intentionally make them weaker is a necessary evil in video games. A recent Reddit thread pondered who the most-nerfed character in history is, inspiring many kinds of answers from live service games to huge RPG sequels.

The original poster of this question argued that Spider-Man/Peter Parker was nerfed in the spin-off Spider-Man: Miles Morales due to how he was unable to defeat supervillain Rhino in the latter after having little trouble in the original Spider-Man game. Users responded with their own takes that involved a mixture of both narrative-based and gameplay nerfs. Some of these examples include Gale from Baldur’s Gate 3, Death Claws from Fallout, Brigitte from Overwatch, and Jedis in Star Wars Galaxies. Character-specific nerfs in games like these are usually made to remove overpowered mechanics and make playing against them less cumbersome.

Leroy Smith looking clean in Tekken 8.
Fighting games aren’t any strangers to nerfs. Screenshot via Bandai Namco

Fighting games are also notorious for nerfing characters in between installments or patches. Users cited examples such as Kirby’s transition from the original Super Smash Bros. to Super Smash Bros. Melee, Bayonetta’s move from Super Smash Bros. for WiiU/3DS to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Leroy Smith’s nerf from Tekken 7 to Tekken 8. Fighting game characters can get nerfed for a number of reasons, whether it’s due to them being deemed “broken” by the community thanks to easily exploitable moves, or additional mechanics and system changes causing unintentional nerfs.

Outside of the more character-specific responses, one of the most common answers to this question was that a main character will get nerfed when they go from having powerful weapons at the end of the previous game to having next to nothing in the sequel. Whether it’s Kratos from God of War or Link from The Legend of Zelda, no protagonist is safe from getting their stats and weapons taken away from them between installments. While this practice might not make sense within the narrative of the games they take place in, it is necessary from a gameplay standpoint. Starting off a new game with extremely high stats and weapons removes any real challenge or sense of discovery from the player.

And that’s what nerfing is really about. Providing a challenge for both the player and the opponents. Because if everything in a video game came easily, what would be the point of even playing it?

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