buff (in games)

SuperXW

Senior Member
Hi!
I know that in many computer games, beneficial effects are referred to as "buffs", but why?
I find many definitions of the word "buff" in dictionaries, but none of them seems to mean "beneficial effect".
Any origin?
 
  • dadane

    Senior Member
    English-London
    There is this in UrbanDictionary

    Buff 4. (In MMORPGs)To improve the stats of another player by casting spells, as is typical of Acolyte and Cleric classes.
    .
    (Apparently, an MMORPG is a 'Massively multi-player online role-playing game').

    Would this fit your with knowledge of the usage?
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I can think of two ways that this could have arisen. Both are only guesses, of course.

    Firstly, "buff" can mean to polish, clean, or burnish something. "Spells" that improve a character's statistics improve its abilities -- I would guess that in some games, the improved characters might even shine or glow or be highlighted to show the effect of the "buff," like polishing an object would add a sheen.

    My second guess: as an adjective, "buff" can colloquially be used to describe someone who appears fit and well muscled. A "spell" that increases a character's strength, for example, would make said character more "buff."
     

    SuperXW

    Senior Member
    I can think of two ways that this could have arisen. Both are only guesses, of course.

    Firstly, "buff" can mean to polish, clean, or burnish something. "Spells" that improve a character's statistics improve its abilities -- I would guess that in some games, the improved characters might even shine or glow or be highlighted to show the effect of the "buff," like polishing an object would add a sheen.

    My second guess: as an adjective, "buff" can colloquially be used to describe someone who appears fit and well muscled. A "spell" that increases a character's strength, for example, would make said character more "buff."
    Ah they are very good for my connecting and memorizing the ideas, although just guesses. Thank you!
     
    I agree with biblio's first guess, based on this later entry in UD.
    [buff] 12.
    Opposite of nerf.

    For example making something in a computer game stronger.

    Undead are too weak! Please buff them!

    ---
    I see a transition from 'make it shiny and nice' [as in buff the car], to 'make it stronger.' This in the OP's terms is 'beneficial effect."
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I can think of two ways that this could have arisen. Both are only guesses, of course.

    Firstly, "buff" can mean to polish, clean, or burnish something. "Spells" that improve a character's statistics improve its abilities -- I would guess that in some games, the improved characters might even shine or glow or be highlighted to show the effect of the "buff," like polishing an object would add a sheen.

    My second guess: as an adjective, "buff" can colloquially be used to describe someone who appears fit and well muscled. A "spell" that increases a character's strength, for example, would make said character more "buff."
    I agree with biblio's first guess, based on this later entry in UD.
    [buff] 12.
    Opposite of nerf.

    For example making something in a computer game stronger.

    Undead are too weak! Please buff them!

    ---
    I see a transition from 'make it shiny and nice' [as in buff the car], to 'make it stronger.' This in the OP's terms is 'beneficial effect."
    It looks to me like you're agreeing with biblio's second guess, not his first. That's certainly the way I've always understood it.
     
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