Where do these famous gaming terms come from? smurf – nerf – buff


Many unusual terms have crept into the everyday language of players during the development of the gamer scene. But where do names like “Smurf”, “Nerf” or “Buff” actually come from?

As the gaming scene evolves every year, some terms have been used for very long. Many have their roots in the “Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game” (MMORPG) games before the turn of the millennium. Complex facts are thus summarized in a short formula.

Too good for the others – smurf

The smurf, or smurf account, has its origins in the Warcraft II scene and was first mentioned in 1996 in the community forums. Back then, the two players Geoff “Shlonglor” Fraizer and his colleague Greg “Warp” Boyko were so good that nobody wanted to play against them voluntarily. The game was accordingly boring for the two gamers, which is why they decided to create new accounts. The two randomly chose “PapaSmurf” and “Smurfette” as their names and were able to play anonymously, finally have fun again and defeat worse players. Shlonglor has been with Blizzard Entertainment for over twenty years now.

Today smurf accounts are used by many people although they aren’t welcome for everyone. They are used in many games like for example unranked LoL smurf accounts in League of Legends, or in Fortnite, CoD, and …

Bad weapons = Nerf weapons – nerf

The term “nerf” is also very well known when it comes to items or characters in the game being made worse by an update. The term originally comes from the MMORPG game “Ultimate Online”, in which players complained after a patch about weapons that are now too weak and called them “nerf swords”. The term is therefore based on the foam weapons of the same name from the US manufacturer Hasbro.

As a counterpart to the “nerf”, the term “buff” is often used when weak game content becomes better and therefore more competitive after an update. Unlike the nerf, however, there is no special story behind the term, it is simply the English word for “polish”. The properties of the game object are therefore optimized with the update.