Created By: billybobfred on August 25, 2012 Last Edited By: billybobfred on October 30, 2016

Nerf Axed

A sequel/remake/whatnot nerfs something, sort of, by not having it at all.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
  1. Is this even common enough to be split off from regular old Nerf?
  2. The description still needs work.
  3. Title: Acceptable? (Initially submitted as "Nerf By Removal".)

An overpowered ability, tactic, or item is not available in the sequel/remake/whathaveyou. Most often occurs after a Bag of Spilling incident; while you eventually recover the things the devteam deemed balanced, the Game Breaker is mysteriously nowhere to be found.

A sure sign that this has happened is a "new" ability which is suspiciously similar to the old one, but much less powerful. But sometimes, you don't even get that.

Subtrope of Nerf.

Examples (may contain Rolling Updates)

  • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance does not have the Magnet spell series, which trivialized battles against enemies not immune. Zero Graviza has a similar effect, but has notable weaknesses in comparison.
  • Towards the end of Infamous, you gain the ability to summon lightning storms to devastating effect. Come the second game, this power is replaced with Ionic Storm, which is noticably less satisfying.
  • In Ultima VII, as in quite a few games in that series, you can find the Armageddon spell, which kills nearly every NPC in the game, leaving it Unwinnable by Design. In Ultima VII Part II, it's replaced with Imbalance, which is rather less hilariously overpowered.
  • The original Super Famicom version of Shiren the Wanderer had an infinite power loop involving a Jar of Duplication and a Scroll of Expansion. The Nintendo DS remake contains neither of those items.
  • Nu-13 was killed off at the end of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, replaced with the weaker Lambda-11 in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, and both of them are entirely absent from Blaz Blue Chrono Phantasma pre-release material.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has had to nerf items a lot, usually because of unanticipated interactions with other items. But only one item has ever been completely removed from the game because of its game-breaking power: the sober pill. That's right, the ability to not be drunk anymore was a game-breaker (it made powerleveling far too easy, and that was before years of Power Creep).
  • Sid Meier's Civilization II introduced the "Fundamentalist" form of government, which halved research efficiency on the one hand, but allowed a civ to support a huge number of military units at no charge on the other. A few AI civs would adopt it as soon as they could, but almost invariably, once an AI had reached the end of the tech tree, they'd immediately adopt Fundamentalism, since what gameplay drawback there was to this government was no longer an issue. Plus, with tech trading (especially with the ease it's done between AI civs), the research drawback could effectively be nullified anyway before the tech tree ran out. Fans of the game saw this as creating too much game imbalance, and so this government form didn't reappear in Civilization III.
  • The Elder Scrolls series removed the teleportation and levitation spells from Oblivion and onwards as they were too effective at letting players break the game.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • August 25, 2012
    HonestGent
    You could mention how this might come about if the description needs work. Say, the sequel rolls around and Bag Of Spilling is in full effect, but once you've collected all your old gear the overpowered item just... isn't regained. Or is replaced by more balanced weapons. I also think Nerfed By Omission has a better ring to it.
    • Example in the Infamous series, where towards the end of the first game you gain the abilty to summon lightening storms to devastating effect. Cone the second game, this power is replaced with Ionic Storm, which is noticably less satifying.

    If someone could check over that though, I'd be grateful, as it's been a while since I've played either game.
  • August 25, 2012
    NimmerStill
    Never mind.
  • August 25, 2012
    billybobfred
    ... A sub-par replacement isn't meant to be vital to the trope, by the way, though it's a sure sign that it was removed as a nerf, rather than some other reason.
  • August 25, 2012
    MorganWick
    It's not really a nerf if it's removed entirely, is it? Dropping The Game Breaker?
  • August 26, 2012
    billybobfred
    Not quite the same, I suppose, but the same spirit. Thing too powerful, make thing less powerful. Being completely unavailable is certainly a drop in power.
  • August 26, 2012
    TrollBrutal
    The dropping the game breaker thing is done with the sequels of Tie Fighter re Missile Boat and Tie Defender IIRC and the work page is correct there.
  • September 9, 2012
    Arutema
  • January 3, 2013
    Ryusui
    I also prefer Dropping The Game Breaker - "it was too powerful, so the creators left it out (or took it out)." On that note, I think it should also apply to cases where something is removed via a patch or other means as opposed to restricting this to sequels.

    • The Yu Gi Oh Trading Card Game has the Forbidden/Limited List, which can restrict or ban entirely the use of certain cards for tournament use. Some famous examples on the Forbidden List include Yata-Garasu, which could be used to prevent the opponent from drawing at all for the rest of the game, and Butterfly Dagger - Elma, an Equip Spell Card whose self-recycling effect could be used in tandem with Gearfried the Iron Knight (which instantly destroys any Equip Spell Card attached to it) to abuse effects that trigger when a Spell Card is activated.
  • January 3, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Almost too bad we can't call it a Nerf Axe (as in "it got the axe").
  • January 3, 2013
    elwoz
    Kingdom Of Loathing has had to nerf items a lot, usually because of unanticipated interactions with other items. But only one item has ever been completely removed from the game because of its game-breaking power: the sober pill. That's right, the ability to not be drunk anymore was a game-breaker (it made powerleveling far too easy).
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump for additional examples -- right now I'm thinking this should just be an internal subtrope of Nerf.
  • January 18, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Sid Meier's Civilization II introduced the "Fundamentalist" form of government, which halved research efficiency on the one hand, but allowed a civ to support a huge number of military units at no charge on the other. A few AI civs would adopt it as soon as they could, but almost invariably, as soon as all workable techs were researched by an AI civ (i.e. their next available tech was "Future Tech 1"), they'd go from Democracy or whatever to Fundamentalism, since what gameplay drawback there was to this government was no longer an issue. Plus, with tech trading (especially with the ease it's done between AI civs), the research drawback could effectively be nullified anyway before the tech tree ran out. Fans of the game [and I think even Meier himself, IIRC] saw this as creating too much game imbalance, and so this government form didn't reappear in Civilization III.
  • April 20, 2013
    Noah1
  • April 20, 2013
    Bisected8
    • The Elder Scrolls series removed the teleportation and levitation spells from Oblivion and onwards (mods notwithstanding, of course) as they were too effective at letting players break the game.
  • April 20, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    I like the suggestion of Nerf By Omission, but Dropping The Game Breaker works too.
  • April 20, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    The last sentence of the description sounds dangerously close to just a plain old Nerf. The idea is that the player recognizes the feature as something that didn't exist before in order to make the replacement obvious, correct?
  • October 30, 2016
    billybobfred
    For some reason after three and a half years I suddenly remembered that this exists.

    I'm not clear on what the problem would be with calling it "Nerf Axe" so I'm changing it anyway (though I chose "Nerf Axed" because the obvious verb form seemed to make the idea clearer). I'll switch it back if "Nerf By Removal" or something else gets more approval, though.
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