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Balance Buff, in its simplest terms, describes improving mechanics within a game by improving how effective they are. This is most commonly seen with characters or weapons, but it can be any number of things from maps to animations. An example would be a weapon getting improved stats or a spell getting its casting time reduced. This is seen a lot in online competitive games and is often done to balance the game to keep a character from becoming a Low-Tier Letdown.

It's important to remember that, as a trope, it should only be mentioned when it has significantly changed the gaming experience in one way or another. If it's from one game to the sequel then it should be something that caused mechanics to suddenly stand out from previous games or removed major annoyances from the previous game relating to that mechanic. If it's still the same game but got upgraded with patches then it should only be mentioned if it significantly changed the way the game is played, such as a whole bunch of buffs got handed out that caused the meta game to shift significantly without those buffs being undone or fixed later or if characters or mechanics suddenly rise to prominence in such a way that it almost changes how the game is played. Please make sure to not list a bunch of small changes that didn't change the landscape of the game in some or buffs that later got reverted and thus the game lost the changes to the game in the first place. We don't need The Long List of technical information about what changed or how a character got buffed too far but later got changed. There are other tropes that can cover those kinds of changes and their impacts on the playerbase, this is just for listing buffs that have had lasting and notable impacts on their games or sequels.

For the inverse of this trope, see Nerf. For instances where a character becomes stronger in terms of storyline role, see Took a Level in Badass.


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    Action RPG 
  • Dragalia Lost: During the Version 1.15.1 patch a new level of the Mana Circle was added known as the Mana Spiral which granted stronger skills, significantly shaking up the rigged meta from before the update.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The PlayStation 2 of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories remake increases the effect of leveling up Riku's Attack Points, making him stronger than the original.
    • The animation for using items in Kingdom Hearts II — such as Potions — is a lot shorter than Kingdom Hearts, making them much easier to utilize in battle without getting interrupted. Potions also heal a fixed percentage of the target's HP, making them useful throughout the game.
    • The international version of II increased the damage of the Reflect spell from the original Japanese version, while the Final Mix version increased it even further.
    • Guarding in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II would only provide invincibility for a set time, making it less useful against large groups of attacking Mooks and bosses with long-lasting attacks. In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, the invincibility granted will now refresh if the player is hit while the blocking animation is still playing, making the ability much safer.

    Fighting Games 
  • Super Smash Bros. has given some characters Buffs in each game.note 
    • In Melee, Fox went from an unremarkable fighter to a speed demon, considered by many to be one of the best characters in the game thanks to his incredible combo ability, power, and speed.
    • In For 3DS and Wii U:
      • Bowser went from being one of the worst characters in the series to one of the best, thanks to a huge boost to his overall speed among other changes.
      • Link was often considered to be one of the worst characters in the series, but these games gave him some huge buffs by improving his speed and making his weapons much better in combos.
    • In Ultimate, most characters receive a number of buffs, to try and make them, for the most part, all pretty good. A few characters such as Bayonetta and Cloud have been largely nerfed, but overall the approach to balance appears to give most characters both stronger options and better speed than they had before.
  • The prequel to Dissidia Final Fantasy, Dissidia 012, gave many characters a quick, short-ranged attack to give them more reliable defenses, as their other attacks were slow to execute and left them vulnerable.
    • Firion was crippled with a very poor pool of aerial spell attacks, a ground attack pool that was mostly slow and easy to avoid, and slow and easy to avoid HP attacks. The prequel let him chaincast three spells at once, gave his ground attacks better tracking, added the ability to change their follow-ups for strategic versatility, and gave him Lord of Arms, an HP attack with high reach into the air around him. This took Firion from a ground-bound Mighty Glacier to a dangerous Anti-Air brawler.
    • Exdeath was built to be a Barrier Warrior who used Guard attacks to defend, then unleashed a counterattack. The problem was his four Guard attacks each outclassed the other, his counterattacks weren't very fast, and he was vulnerable when attacking. The prequel changed the properties of his Guards to give each of them distinct strategic value, his counterattacks execute much faster and have higher range, and he can cancel many of his attacks into Guards. He also got a new HP attack, Maelstrom, which can hit anywhere in the arena and can also cancel into a Guard. This makes him much better at defending himself and gave him ways to pressure an opponent better.
    • Shantotto was a Squishy Wizard who relied on spamming HP attacks that grew stronger as she gained Bravery. However, they executed slowly, had significant end lag, and ironically her Bravery game was terrible so she rarely got enough Bravery to level up her HP attacks. The prequel lowered the amount of Bravery needed to power them up, let them execute faster and reduced the end lag, gave them better range/tracking/absorption, and also improved the same on Shantotto's Bravery attacks, including letting her chain her Stun attack into HP attacks. This overall makes her much more aggressive and more difficult to punish on a whiff.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: The properties of Dante's Stinger are mixed from the best parts of its previous versions; it has the fast dashing thrust animation and long distance from Devil May Cry, combined with the heavy knockback from Devil May Cry 2. It's a huge step up over the slower and clunky version from the previous game.
  • Devil May Cry 4:
    • Compared to the previous three games, Dante's Devil Trigger form received significant improvements here. For example, buying Air Hike gives Dante another Air Hike (which equates to a triple jump) and some of his moves are given new mechanics and combos instead of simply increasing their damage (Stinger is now a multi-hitting, drilling stab that goes through enemies, Kick-13 has extra hits added and comes out faster).
    • This game introduced the "Trigger Heart" upgrade to the series, a passive ability that slows down the depletion of the Devil Trigger Gauge, effectively prolonging the character's Devil Trigger state compared to how it was in the prior games.
  • Devil May Cry 5:
    • Dante's Gunslinger Style receives a pretty solid buff in this game. Previous iterations of the style have been lacking in comparison to the other styles; Swordmaster gives access to numerous powerful and high-damaging moves, Trickster provides extremely safe mobility, and Royal Guard is an effective blocking tool. Meanwhile, Gunslinger just offers extended gun functions and crowd control. While this isn't necessarily bad, guns deal weak damage and don't tend to rack up a lot of style points, making it sub-optimal compared to the other styles' more overt uses. This was even worse in Devil May Cry 3, since using Gunslinger forced you to give up the three other styles. Devil May Cry 5 gives Gunslinger several high-damage skills and reworks many of Dante's guns to become more specialized. For example, Ebony & Ivory now automatically charge up if equipped while in Gunslinger Style and Coyote-A's "Gun Stinger" now allows multiple follow-up shots to duck and weave through foes while piling on the damage. Special note goes to the moves exclusive to Double Kalina Ann and Dr. Faust; the former can punch a hole through even the toughest Elite Mooks, and the latter can one shot bosses. As a result, players may now find themselves using Gunslinger to actually increase their damage potential rather than just extend their combos.
    • Compared to Devil May Cry 4, Nero's EX-Act and MAX-Act Exceed mechanics are much easier to execute in this game because the timing requirements are less strict. Some of his old moves for the Red Queen were improved as well, such as Red Queen Combo B having a faster attack animation that ties in to how fast you can Button Mash.
    • The health regeneration provided by Devil Trigger has been improved. Unlike in Devil May Cry 4 where there's a noticeable delay before the healing effect kicks in and the recovery is quite slow, the health regeneration in this game starts as soon as you transform and it recovers your health faster than before.

    Racing Games 
  • F-Zero 99:
    • The addition of the Boost mechanic from modern F-Zero games allowed the Golden Fox to receive the benefits of its stellar Boost stat seen in other games that it would not otherwise have in the original F-Zero, giving the craft a functional niche compared to its SNES appearance.
    • The Power Down state from the original game, in which your machine's top speed is crippled, has been adjusted from occurring at about 20% energy left to 0% when you're on your Last Chance Hit Point.

  • The Binding of Isaac: While the balance changes of items are too many to list, many of the characters received significant buffs or revamps throughout the game's release:
    • Eve has below average stats but starts with Whore of Babylon, which gives a huge stat boost while near death. However, it requires you to have 1/2 red heart or lower to activate, which is very tricky to maintain. Accidentally picking up any red hearts or healing cancelled it, and there are very limited ways to take away red hearts without sacrificing soul hearts. Maintaining Whore of Babylon was too much of a headache, so getting Eve to function properly was too difficult. In Rebirth, Eve specifically can activate Whore of Babylon at 1 red heart or lower, meaning at 1 red heart container you didn't need to dodge red hearts. Afterbirth also lets you unlock Razor Blade as a starting item, which lets her deal damage directly to red hearts so that she can maintain it even while holding soul hearts before she can lower her max health.
    • Samson is The Berserker, and his item, Bloody Lust, gave him a damage boost for each enemy he killed per room. This made Samson highly dependent on enemy spawns to be functional, where he'd be good in rooms with many enemies, but terrible in less dense rooms and bosses. Rebirth reworked Bloody Lust to give a damage buff for the rest of the room whenever he took damage, so Samson can benefit from his gimmick much more effectively.
    • The Lost is a Joke Character added to Rebirth, whose gimmick is he's a One-Hit-Point Wonder. He has flight and spectral tears and his unlocks are some of the best items in the game, but his lack of protection made him way too hard to play unless you had god luck and found an early Holy Mantle, which blocks one hit per room. Afterbirth added the Holy Mantle as an unlockable starting item for the Lost, which made him far less dependent on those god runs.
    • Keeper is the new Joke Character added in Afterbirth, and was made horrendously underpowered. He uses coins as hearts, which were capped at a maximum of two coin heart containers, meaning Devil Deals were incredibly risky or outright lethal for him, has below average speed and slow-firing triple tears, and required beating some of the hardest bosses in the game to unlock starting items to make him slightly more functional. In Repentance, his max coin heart container was increased to 3 (which he starts with after defeating Hush), his speed was slightly buffed, and he now pays money for Devil Deals instead of heart containers.
    • Magdeline is a Mighty Glacier who slowly lost favor among players because her gimmick of extra hearts for lower speed wasn't that advantageous due to the game's mechanics. In Afterbirth†, she can unlock a Speed Up pill as a starting item, cancelling out her weakness. Repentance changed it to a Full Health pill, which greatly increases her health pool instead.
    • Tainted Jacob was deemed the hardest tainted character to play as because his gimmick was downright brutal. He turns into Joke Character + One-Hit-Point Wonder The Lost minus Single-Use Shield Holy Mantle for the rest of the floor if he gets hit by Dark Esau, whether from his constant assault or his on-death explosion, the latter which is extremely common late game, and just to rub salt on the wound, health up items were worthless while you were in your Lost form. A patch changed Dark Esau to be much less detrimental. He's now completely invincible, his attack pierces damage reduction, had his attack pattern cleaned up, and any health up you gain in your Lost form now carries over.
    • Lazarus' gimmick he starts off as a below average character, but can revive once with one heart container and gains increased stats in his risen form. Lazarus was one of the playerbase's least favorite characters for a very long time because his gimmick wasn't that strong and was effectively a Master of None without Isaac's versatility of the D6. A patch for Repentance gave him major buffs. His revive mechanic was reworked to reset on every floor instead of working once per game, made him lose just one heart container instead of setting it to 1 and gains a small permanent damage up on revival, and gave his risen form a higher damage multiplier.
    • ???, the original Joke Character, fell behind many of the other characters, as his only gimmick was that he couldn't collect red hearts and he start with a very crappy item with no real upsides in return. The same patch that buffed Lazarus gave ??? slightly cheaper Devil Deals and an innate Lil' Larva effect, spawning a blue fly for each poop destroyed, letting him catch up in power level a bit more.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • In Gen VI, many Pokémon got a Mega Evolution, a new Super Mode that gives them stat buffs, new abilities, and sometimes different typing. The overall developer intent with this was to take older Pokémon that had been subject to Power Creep, and give them a boost to be more useful.
    • The Poison-type was infamous for being one of the worst types offensively, due to only being effective against Grass, a type that already has a lot of weaknesses, while many other types resisted it. Then the Fairy-type was introduced, and Poison is the only type besides Steel that is super effective against it, giving Poison a much needed boost.
    • Several Pokémon with only a simple Normal type (which is strong against nothing) such as Jigglypuff and Clefairy were updated with the Fairy type and its corresponding attacks, which not only compensated or inverted their weakness against the Fighting type, but also made them good against Dragon and Dark types, two of the most powerful types in the game.
    • Magnemite received several buffs. In Gen II, it got a new second type (Steel) which gave it a lot of new defensive options. In Gen IV, it could learn a new move, Magnet Rise, which negates Ground attacks, one of its biggest weaknesses. It also got a second evolution, Magnezone.
    • The Azumarill family, initially just a bunch of bulky Water-types, has received more buffs each generation. Gen III gave them Huge Power, doubling their Attack. Gen IV's new move mechanics gave them physical Water-type moves to put that Attack to use. Then Gen VI gave them Fairy as a secondary typing, giving them all-around great type coverage and two powerful STAB moves with Aqua Tail and Play Rough.
    • The biggest one that completely upended the gameplay was the physical/special overhaul in Gen IV. In the first three generations, the type of an attack determined whether the attack ran off of Attack or Special Attack. This resulted in many 'mons who had movepools and typing that relied on the "wrong" stat. In Gen IV, this was overhauled such that the moves themselves were designated to either be physical (using Attack) or special (using Special attack), and every type had at least one attack of each type (though many types more strongly favored attacks of one type). Many Pokémon suddenly found their offensive capabilities dramatically improved. Zig-zagged in that this did end up being a Nerf to some Pokémon instead (Alakazam most famously).
    • Marowak was an infamously terrible Pokémon in Gen I, having worse stats than the other available Ground-types and a very shallow movepool. Gen II threw Marowak a bone in the form of the Thick Club, which doubles its Attack when held, turning it into a terrifying Glass Cannon if it’s used properly.
    • Gengar was no slouch in Gen I thanks to its movepool and high Special, but it got several needed buffs over the generations. Gen II gave it a worthwhile Ghost-type move in Shadow Ball (though at the time it ran off its weaker Attack instead), Gen III gave it Levitate, making it immune to its old Ground weakness, Gen IV's physical/special move split made Shadow Ball and several other moves more useful on it, and Gen VI gave it a Mega Evolution that also traps its opponent with Shadow Tag. It isn't until Gen VII that Gengar finally received an actual nerf by replacing Levitate with a different ability (Cursed Body).
    • Gen VI and Gen VII increased several past Pokémon's stats slightly. The Gen VI examples were mostly a miniscule ten point increase to one stat. The Gen VII examples were given more substantial boosts (e.g. Farfetch'd's Attack went from a paltry 65 to a passable 90).
    • Gen VII also added abilities to a few Pokémon, increasing their versatility. The most significant was Pelipper, Torkoal, Gigalith and Vanilluxe gaining weather summoning abilities.
    • Between games, certain moves also receive modifications to make them significantly more powerful.
      • Knock Off is a special case: not only was its power increased from 20 to 65 in Pokémon X and Y, but it also deals 50% more damage if its target is holding an item that can be lost.
      • Leech Life is another special case. Before Gen VII, it had a rather weak 20 base power, which was then quadrupled to a much more respectable 80 base power. This, of course, also caused it to be taken away from many Pokémon's movesets until a much later level.
      • The formerly situational Defog gained the ability to remove entry hazards from both sides of the fieldnote , and it now shares a role with Rapid Spin. Unlike Rapid Spin, Defog doesn't get nullified against an enemy Ghost-Type, although it's vulnerable to being stopped by Taunt.
      • Rock Tomb had it's uses improve from 10 to 15, accuracy from 80 to 95, and damage from 50 to 60. The last greatly improved its viability for Technician users.
      • Sword and Shield not only powered up Rapid Spin from 20 to 50, but it also gives a one-stage boost in speed in addition to its previous utility in clearing hazards.
    • Newer generations also tend to be kinder towards pre-evolved Pokémon, with exclusive attacks and items such as the Eviolite so the players who prefer their cute baby Pokémon can still keep up with their evolved brethren. Even the likes of Magikarp and Caterpie have been thrown the odd bone so they can be halfway decent battlers.
    • The Bug-type was, for the longest time, something of a joke type despite supposedly being the weakness of the Psychic-type. This was largely due to a lack of powerful moves and Pokémon — many Bug-types were crutch characters with low stats and a secondary Poison- or Flying-type. Later generations gave the type these missing attributes, as well as more Bug-type Pokémon with high stats and diverse types like Volcarona, Genesect and Araquanid, thus Bug-types aren't as much of a joke anymore.
    • Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! has this for the starter Pikachu and Eevee to counteract them being unable to evolve and end up horribly outmatched by any Pokémon that can be caught later in the game like in Yellow. This includes moveset changes like in Yellow with Pikachu being able to learn the Fighting-type move Double Kick (perfect for the Pewter City Gym), and general stat buffs.
    • Pokémon Emerald tweaked the Pickup ability to work a bit smoother while still being overall more useful. In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, it was a famous Disc-One Nuke that, with little effort, could set a player up to run roughshod over the game via its cornucopia of excellent items. In Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, almost everything useful was removed from its list, making it nigh-useless without luck or grinding. Emerald finally tweaked it to be level-dependent - low-level Pickup users got basic items that made life a little easier, users about on par with the Elite Four got roughly the original list, and maxed-out users got even better items.
    • Several overly-specific abilities are buffed in latter generations, allowing them to deal with broader situations. For example, Inner Focus, Own Tempo and Oblivious specifically stop only flinching, confusion and infatuation respectively, but eventually all three of them are buffed to negate the more common Intimidate as well (with Oblivious receiving additional buffs such as preventing Taunt owing to how rare infatuation is). The most-improved ability is Sturdy, which originally only protected against the four Powerful, but Inaccurate One-Hit KO moves. Starting in Pokémon Black and White, Sturdy makes a Pokémon survive an attack that would make it faint with a Last Chance Hit Point whenever its HP is full.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • Heartseeker (the equivalent to Fire Emblem: Awakening's Hex skill) had its effectiveness increased. It now lowers enemy Avoid by 20 instead of 15.
    • Unpromoted mounted units now provide +1 to Move when they're supporting a unit in Pair Up, unlike in Awakening where they had to be promoted to do so.
    • The General class got a significant buff in Fates by way of the Wary Fighter skill, which prevents both the user and their enemies from attacking twice. Since Generals don't often double attack anyway, this ability greatly boosts their intended role as a Stone Wall without significant drawbacks.
    • Bow users, formerly seen as a Low-Tier Letdown for most of the series, got buffed in Fates by giving bows a huge increase in power along with some useful class skills. Fire Emblem: Three Houses would buff bow users even further by giving them the Close Counter skill (removing their biggest weakness: the inability to counter melee attacks) and the "Bowrange +X" skills allowing them to attack enemies from beyond two ranges without the need for certain bow weapons.
  • Powers in Mass Effect 3 largely removed the requirement from 2 that enemies be stripped of shields or armor to be effective and have more bonus effects available. The new power combo mechanic lets them prime enemies with an effect that can be detonated, letting them now do reliable damage against even targets immune or resistant to their effects. Multiplayer would also buff some powers and weapons from single-player to make them more viable.
    • Biotics didn't cause their effects on shielded or armored targets (except for Warp and Reave). Most biotics now prime targets for biotic combos which do extra damage against armor and barriers.
    • Overload and Energy Drain was only effective on shields, doing average damage against barriers and synthetics but none on organics. They're now effective against both shields and barriers and damage organics, the former could even be upgraded for extra.
    • Cryo was the least useful elemental effect since it only froze unshielded, unarmored targets, which were more efficiently dispatched by any other methods. Cryo abilities now inflict chilled on shielded and armored targets, slowing their movement, and has extra defense debuff against armor.
    • AI Hacking was only useful on synthetics, which made up a minority of opponents, after their shields and armor were depleted. It's replaced with Sabotage, which works through shields and armor and when used on organics overheats their weapons, inflicting damage and rendering them briefly inoperable.
    • Multiplayer Singularity primes all targets for biotic combos while in single-player it only primes lifted targets.
  • When classes make returns across different games in the Etrian Odyssey series, several of their skills may get mechanical revisions or have their numbers tweaked for the better. In a few cases, a class may get an enormous overhaul and become greatly improved in the process.
    • Etrian Odyssey: The Ronin's Stance System alternates between buffs and nerfs a lot between games. From the first to the second, the stances became pure passive effects and let them not waste turns setting up. This had Gone Horribly Right and made the Ronin the strongest physical DPS, so The Millennium Girl reverted the Stance mechanic but also gave them an attack skill that temporary enables all stance-specific ones for the next turn. The Fafnir Knight spliced the above two features and had the Ronin assume stances using damage skills so they don't lose out on damage output, on top of allowing a Ronin to occasionally begin the fight in a Stance. Nexus refines the system even further, letting the Ronin always begin the fight in their best Stance on top of improving the less-used Stances, along with a Critical Hit factor for their Stance-related skills.
    • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard:
      • War Magi in the second game were a Master of None due to their Situational Sword attacks and their healing and support not quite matching up to those of the specialists. On top of that, their inability to inflict ailments themselves made them very team-dependent. The Fafnir Knight greatly revamped their skill set, making their War Edge skills trigger off any ailment and giving an Action Initiative factor to their healing skills to set them apart from the Medic. Their new Force Boost also allows them to maintain function in case ailments are unavailable or impractical.
      • Beasts are built around Taking the Bullet for the party, but there were a few pitfalls in the programming: First, their Loyalty made them tank hits automatically, and second, they would take the damage the defended member would have taken, without taking into account the Beast's own defense. This meant that sometimes they would take several amounts non-lethal damage that the rest of the party would take and die, and any instance of protecting a Glass Cannon or Squishy Wizard would be very dangerous to the Beast. The Fafnir Knight reworked the Loyalty skill tree, and now any tanking skills are player-controlled, and Loyalty Mastery now gives the Beast a chance to reduce any incoming damage, making tanking a lot more effective.
    • The elemental imbue skills have been recurring throughout the games, and they get tweaked each time. The first two games had them only affect a single ally's weapon, but this made them only useful when you're using normal attacks and they petered off in effectiveness at a point where you'd be using the characters' attack skills more often. The third game added an elemental resistance factor to them. The remakes of the first two games took a page off this, and made the imbue skills a unique damage buff that contributed to Troubadours being a Game-Breaker. Etrian Odyssey Nexus quells the skills' strength but expands their utility: First it introduces several skills that utilize the equipped weapon and thus will be affected by the imbues, next it makes the Sovereign's elemental Arms skill affect an entire line, and finally the Arms skill also provides a damage boost to other skills that attack with the matching element.
  • In Temtem, both of Ganki's traits were detrimental; Botanophobia increased damage taken from Nature-type techniques, while Cold-Natured caused it to be frozen straight away by techniques that would normally make it cold first. In the 0.8 update, these were changed to the far more beneficial Resistantnote  and Inductornote .
  • Monster units in the first Disgaea game were meant to be Mooks for the player to fight moreso than viable player units, Galactic Demons maybe being the only exception. Between their limited move pool and inability to Lift/Throw, there was no real reason to use them over humanoid units early or late game. Every following game has given them something extra to give them more equal footing.
    • Disgaea 2 added INT-based monster weapons, something which the first game lacked and gimped magic-using monsters. They also got a bit more potent equipment aptitudes and stronger passive skills compared to human units. However, their inability to Lift/Throw meant grinding Felonies is harder for them than with humanoid units, making leveling with more than one of them more time-consuming.
    • Disgaea 3 introduced Magichange, which lets humanoid units equip a monster as a weapon and gain a portion of their stats and their abilities for a few turns. This made monster units more important for maxing out combat potential, and also made high-level monsters important for grinding because they share XP gains. However, the system favored Fist or Staff Magichange monsters more because those two weapons are the only generic source of 3x3 attack skills. Monster units also gained the ability to Receive throws, bouncing a unit further if another unit throws something directly at them.
    • Disgaea 4 has Fusion, which lets two monsters combine into one bigger unit. Like Magichange, the two fused monsters share XP gains, so non-Fist/Staff Magichange monsters can leveled as easily as humanoids. Fusion monsters could also be Magichanged, and you can fused two Fusion monsters, and Magichange with that, and then you can dual-wield them to equip eight monster units.
    • Disgaea D2 uses Mounting instead of Magichange, which is similar to Magichange but isn't a temporary one-way action. While a bit more versatile, its power ceiling is much lower.
    • Disgaea 5 finally lets monster units do some throwing of their own. While they can't lift things, Mon-Toss lets them throw their allies to cover more ground. Fusion is gone, but you can Dual Magichange two monsters into one weapon, which you can then Dual Magichange two more monsters into the sub-weapon slot.
  • In RPGs based on Dungeons & Dragons, the Vancian Magic system gives spellcasters a limited number of spell slots per day, and in a tabletop setting, some of those spell slots are probably going to need to be reserved for various Utility Magic spells. Most of these spells cannot be readily simulated in a video game due to needing DM intervention and so are left off, which means that classes that have to prepare their spells each daynote  are significantly less flexible than spontaneous casting classesnote  (which can cast spells a fixed number of times per spell level per day but cannot change which spells are available to them without a respec) relative to their tabletop incarnations. Affected games include Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter Nights 2, Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous.
  • For a long time, Dendro in Genshin Impact was something of a joke among the seven elements. It had one elemental reaction—Burning, which is more a Pyro reaction than anything—and zero characters, likely due to the aforementioned lack of reactions. Then, Sumeru came out, and Dendro was given two new reactions—Quicken and Bloom—to be useful, as well as two new characters.
  • In Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Freelancer, Detective and Barmaid, the default jobs for Ichiban, Adachi and Saeko respectively, were among the worst in the game, and all three were buffed in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
    • Freelancer focuses on unarmed combat but does not give any stats to compensate for not wielding a weapon, making it by default much weaker than anything else Ichiban has access to — the only perk it has is the ability to use Release German Suplex in other jobs once it's unlocked. In Infinite Wealth, Freelancer now gives Ichiban a significant boost to Attack to make up for being unarmed, making it least worth considering.
    • Detective was a strictly worse version of the Enforcer job, with its only unique trait the fact that it gives Adachi a Last Chance Hit Point in True Grit — unfortunately, though, it's not one of the skills that can transfer over to other jobs. In Infinite Wealth, it has better stats and skills that put it on par with the aforementioned Enforcer job (which did not return for this game), as well as buffing the success rate of Arrest.
    • Barmaid inexplicably had a largely physical skill set for a job that focuses on Magic and MP as its primary stats, making it basically useless as the only magic attacks it had access to were skills it could inherit from the Night Queen and Hostess jobs (and only one skill from each). In Infinite Wealth, several Barmaid skills were replaced with skills from the Hostess job (which also did not return) while other skills were given elemental properties, making Saeko fit into more of a Red Mage role.

  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Pyro was widely derided by competitive players for being a Skill Gate Character, until they gained the compression blast. This allowed the Pyro to push enemies away and reflect every non-bullet projectile in the game, giving the Pyro a huge advantage against Soldiers and Demomen (two consistently powerful classes due to high AOE damage and health), and Medics, since the compression blast allowed them to do things like reflect rockets and grenades back, or separate an ÜberCharging Medic from his patient. This same update also gave the Pyro a sidegrade to their shotgun in the Flare Gun - a projectile-based fire application weapon, which allows them to harass Snipers that are otherwise completely unimpeded by them, and deal burst damage, as the projectiles crit enemies already on fire.
      • expanded in the Jungle Inferno update, which reworked the flamethrower's fire mechanics. While initially questionable and requiring multiple nerfs, the reworked changed it from a relatively weak firestream into one of the highest DPS sources in the game - but you have to track enemies ahead of where they'll be. The fire particles also actively obscure much better (which could be considered a good or bad thing, depending), meaning classes like the Heavy and Demoman aren't fully able to shred the Pyro before they get jn range.
    • The Medic was considered one of the worst classes in Mann Vs. Machine, since his focus on healing wasn't very useful in a mode where inflicting damage is extremely important and everyone can earn upgrades to heal from getting kills. He later got several buffs, including a large projected forcefield (separate from his core Ubercharge) that blocks all bullets and projectiles while damaging enemies, and the ability to instantly revive his allies, making him almost mandatory, especially on higher difficulty missions.
  • When Resident Evil 4 was released in PAL territories, it lowered things like ammo crops, but upgraded a number of weapons. These changes were applied to all further re-releases.
    • The fully upgraded bolt-action rifle does 30 damage instead of 18.
    • The fully upgraded Red9 does 6.5 damage instead of 5.
    • The fully upgraded Blacktail does 4.5 damage instead of 3.4
  • A few weeks after Star Wars Battlefront (2015) released Hero Lando Calrissan, he saw an increase in accuracy, damage output and his critical hit multipliers, alongside a homing feature for his Power Shot and a instant kill to anyone stuck in his Shock Trap for too long.
  • Splatoon 2: In the first game, a charge of a charger class weapon would be immediately cancelled upon entering squid form. Splatoon 2 changes it so that charger weapons save their charge for a limited amount of time, allowing players to fully charge a shot, quickly change position, then reemerge with a fully charged shot. Scope models do not have this functionality, however.
  • Rainbow Six Siege
    • Tachanka, almost universally considered the worst operator in the game, received a shield on his mounted LMG. It didn't help too much though. He eventually received a major rework, now wielding an LMG as his primary weapon and an incendiary grenade launcher replacing his turret.
    • Kapkan's doorway traps, at launch, had a large orange spike poke out the other side of the door or window, making it laughably obvious to the enemy. The spike was eventually removed.
    • Castle's Kevlar barricades were made much more resilient to melee hits (making holes in the barrier was no longer possible) and Glaz's sniper rifle (while the bullets can still penetrate, they can't destroy the barricade in a few shots anymore).
    • Mute's Jammer had a buff to its area of effect.
    • Both Pulse and IQ's scanners were made much more readable in later revisions. Not only is the scanner's distortion lowered, but IQ can now see the outline of electronics, and Pulse can see little circles around heartbeats.
    • Glaz's sniper rifle received a heat sensor to distinguish targets at long range.
    • Blitz was made faster and could run with his shield in front of his face.
    • Doc's Stim Pistol heals received a major buff, from 40HP to a hefty 200HP, which turned a quick fix into a return to full health and overheal for any injured character.
    • Rook's Rhino Armor got the Withstand mechanic added to it, granting any user one free self-revive from a downed state.

    Strategy Games 
  • Age of Empires II still gets official support even after twenty years, and adjustments are even made to civilizations based upon competitive shortcomings.
    • The Franks have dramatically changed ever since the HD Edition got its first expansion on Steam. Their trump card when the game was first released was the beefy Paladins, but the release of The Conquerers dulled their impact with the introduction of Bloodlines and the Hussar upgrade for Light Cavalry, neither of which the Franks got. Because archery is poor, infantry can't catch enemy archers and siege is nothing special beyond access to Bombard Cannons, they had been commonly regarded as one of the worst 1v1 Civs. The HD expansions threw in Squires, and on top of free farm bonuses aided foraging speed to boost the Dark Age, eventually applying the HP bonus to all cavalry units. As of 2019, they've statistically shown to be the best-performing civilization in the same category they were once seen as among the worst.
    • Civilizations in HD's The Forgotten were underwhelming on release, but over time have received a boost:
      • The Incas, for being an infantry civilization, didn't have much special for their infantry, the Couriers Unique Technology was considered underwhelming compared to that of the Aztecs' and Mayans' Eagle Warriorsnote , and there were not many options to keep them viable in the late game. Some techs were eventually added, with Couriers changed to an armor boost to the Eagles and unique units. These days, Incas are firmly placed as one of the top five civilizationsnote .
      • The Indians (prior to being reworked into the Hindustanis) have an excellent boom, and they are capable of producing a good deathball with beefy Elephant Archers, long-ranged Hand Cannoneers and access to Bombard Cannons. On release, the severe crutch had come in two forms: their archers were squishy without Ring Archer Armor, and more importantly there's no knight line, instead opting for an Imperial Camel upgrade to Heavy Camels. So what made the latter a problem? The game gave Camels a ship armor class, and with buildings having a bonus against ships (which only gets worse with Heated Shot), an all-out attack with an army of camels is impractical. A few changes for African Kingdoms gave Camels a unique armor class, where while they are still affected by building fire it is not as much, and Indians got Ring Archer. It worked to the extent that developers had to nerf Indian Arbalests to Crossbowmen since the archer rush proved to work too well.
      • Italians suffered tremendously on land maps since options outside of the Archery Range were effectively limited, and the Pavise Unique Technology only affected the Genoese Crossbowmen which see a situational use, seeing as they're too expensive to be cost-effective on anyone else but Cavalry. Pavise was then changed to affect all archers, and there were a few techs thrown in to slightly sweeten the viability of non-Archer units, particularly cavalry and Condotierri. They still struggle on open maps like Arabia, but they were at least a more viable option.
      • The Magyars held a lot of initial promise when the expansion had a Dark Age tech to aid hunting speed, which the civilization got for free, and their versatile Imperial Age tech tree was at least a good idea on paper. The technology quickly being patched out altogether exposed the lacking economic bonuses, which did not help their lacking defenses and mediocre siege line, and their discounted Scout line bonus was overshadowed by the Berbers' discount of their entire stable. They were seldom even bothered in competitive play, which saw the necessity of throwing in small buffs while still maintaining the Magikarp Power nature. Aiding the Scout discount, including Siege Engineers and enhancing Recurve Bow to foster perhaps the best Cavalry Archers have all made them a formidable force when used properly.
      • The Slavs have discounted siege, a powerful cavalry unique unit and a late-game incentive for infantry spam. So what's been holding them back? They have a boost to farming gathering speed, but it didn't work properly since most of the time farming was spent by villagers walking from one place to the next. Slight tweaks to the bonus have come a long way, putting them consistently in the top five.
  • Dawn of War In Soulstorm, Khornate Berserkers were given the Mark of Khorne ability, which scares enemies away when used. The Necron Lord was given the ability to channel the C'tan Deceiver in addition to the Nightbringer (the Nightbringer is invincible Grim Reaper, the Deceiver can temporarily Mind Control an enemy and summon a fake Monolith).
  • StarCraft,
    • Ultralisks get better every game. In the Brood War expansion, they got upgrades for their movement rate and armor to make them more cost effective. In the sequel, they got to deal splash damage and got immunity to enemy stuns, letting them tear up clumps of weak enemies. Then in Legacy of the Void, their armor upgrade was doubled to give them +4 armor instead of +2, making them very dangerous meatshields.
    • Goliaths. From the base game to Brood War, they got a damage buff to their anti-air attack and an optional range upgrade to let them function as powerful ground-to-air attackers. The sequel gave them upgrade to the range of both their air and ground attacks, and an upgrade to let them attack air and ground enemies at once, emphasizing their Jack of All Stats nature.
    • From the first game to the sequel, Protoss Zealots got the Charge ability, letting them rapidly dash towards nearby enemies to engage them quicker and making them able to chase down fleeing enemies. This overall helps alleviate their main weakness that is their melee attack.
    • Between games, the Terran Dropship became the Medivac, allowing it to heal organic allies and thus being a more versatile and effective support unit. Then in Heart of the Swarm it got a speed boost ability to more quickly make troop drops and escape defenders
    • Hellions in Heart of the Swarm became Transforming Mecha, letting them become Hellbats. While Hellions are Fragile Speedster units meant for base raiding, Hellbats are Mighty Glacier units better for prolonged combat, giving the Terrans an answer to Zergling and Zealot hordes.
  • Warcraft III:
    • The Steam Tank in the original game was, for all intents and purposes, a battering ram, a mobile building that could only attack buildings at short range. In the expansion, it was replaced by the Siege Engine, which serves the same purpose but has a multitarget anti-air attack.
    • Archers in the first game could permanently mount a Hippogryph, which combined a ground ranged unit and a melee air unit into a flying ranged unit. The expansion made it reversible, allowing the archer to dismount and suddenly deal more than twice the damage against flyers.
    • Catapults were replaced by Demolishers, which set the ground on fire with every attack.
    • The Undead make heavy use of corpses for theirs units: Abominations (heavy melee units) gained the ability to regenerate health by eating corpses, while Meat Wagons (plague-spreading catapults and corpse carriers) gained the ability to generate corpses, making Meat Wagon / Necromancer combos self-sustaining.
    • Each race's Worker Unit was given the ability to defend itself against attack: Peasants can become Militia (a slightly weaker version of a Footman), Peons can bunker down in Burrows, Ghouls are the Undead's lumber harvesters and basic melee unit, and Wisps can self-destruct to cause damage to summoned units and remove magic buffs in an area.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Living Forest: In the base game, the Sacred Flowers win condition has the unique issue of being all or nothing — if you don't have enough of them to reach the win condition, they're worthless outside of tiebreaks. And they're underpowered as a win condition. The Kodama Expansion Pack helps out the Sacred Flowers by using them as currency you can spend on the new Kodama cards, which means it's often worthwhile to pick up a few. The fact that emptying a Kodama pile slows down its associated win condition also helps a Flower player fight back against someone going for Trees or Fires, as more Flowers makes it easier to empty a pile.
  • Pathfinder added a ton of extra class features to most classes in an effort to reduce the incidence of Empty Levels from Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition and make martial classes in particular more useful at higher levels. For example, Paladins had their Smite Evil feature gained a new effect in the form of a defensive boost against an attack from a particular target. This had the consequence of making Prestige Classes significantly less useful, since shifting from a base class to a prestige class meant missing out on many more features.
  • Res Arcana:
    • Both creatures and dragons suffered from being underwhelming in the base game, leading to the expansions making efforts to make them more usable. (In contrast, the Demon type introduced in Lux et Tenebrae did well and received next to no additional support in Perlae Imperii.):
      • For creatures, Lux et Tenebrae added the Beastmaster, which can turn itself and a creature to generate two essences, which is helpful because creatures' turning powers tend to be situational, underwhelming or nonexistent. Also, the Gate of Hell lets you sacrifice creatures for Victory Points, which gives them another use (trying to repeatedly sacrifice cheap ones), or just creating an additional payoff at the end of the game. Perlae Imperii adds an additional creature-centric Place of Power with the Mystical Menagerie.
      • To mitigate the dragons' status as Awesome, but Impractical outside of Dragon's Lair strategies, both expansions bring in new game pieces to help them: Lux et Tenebrae gives them a new Place of Power with the Dragon Aerie. Perlae Imperii adds the Dragon Tamer, a mage tailored for them with one power that makes them cheaper and one power that straightens them.
    • The attack mechanic is underwhelming in the base game. With the exception of the Elvish Bow, each attack power is tied to an Awesome, but Impractical expensive dragon that has no additional ability as a fallback in case your target has a protection effect, or is just capable of exploiting the "ignore" clauses on the Dragon attacks. In contrast, the attacking Lux et Tenebrae demons have decent fallback abilities and no "ignore" clauses.
  • Wingspan: The Oceania Expansion features a redesigned board that makes the Forest and Wetlands more efficient at providing food and cards respectively. This was done because these two habitats (especially the former) tended to be neglected in favour of the Grasslands, which got hit with a Nerf.
  • X-Wing Miniatures prefers to release new cards to upgrade weak ships, rather than directly errata specific cards and vessels — X-Wings were improved by the Integrated Astromech card, for example.
    • Starting with the 2nd edition in 2018, the game's approach to balancing was streamlined by omitting point values from the card. That means that the developers can rebalance the entire game or change a single problematic card without replacing any of the physical products—listbuilding is done using values published online. Not only did this allow the game to keep classic ships like the X-wing and classic pilots like Darth Vader relevant indefinitely, without requiring the purchase of upgrades in future products, but it enabled the even more significant change to "2.5" edition in 2022 (where, among other things, squads went from being built with 200 points to 20 points).