NERFBAT (nûrf’bat): A term used when something in a game is weakened noticeably. The term came about in gaming because the Nerf company creates harmless versions of harmful devices. Thus, when a dev hits something with the “nerf bat,” its relative effectiveness is reduced to preserve game balance (or, as players like to claim, because developers are evil).

What is Nerfbat?

Nerfbat is a blog about game development that started in January 2004. Specifically, it is a blog about online game development, with its main focus on MMOs (also known as MMORPGs, or Massively Multiplayer Online Games). It is written by Ryan Shwayder, a Game Designer at Blizzard Entertainment on World of Warcraft. I often discuss my theories about game development, write up short lessons about game design, and other times comment or rant about whatever I feel like.

If you are interested in the wonderful world of online gaming, you might find something interesting on this blog. If you are interested in the wonderful world of game development, you might find something interesting on this blog. If you are interested in pirates, ninjas, vikings, samurai, robots, monkeys, swords, lasers, or most anything else that is totally awesome, you might find something interesting on this blog. If you are interested in things that suck, you probably won’t find anything worth your while.

About the Author

Ryan Shwayder, also known as Blackguard or Luckbad, is a Game Designer at Blizzard Entertainment. His focus in the world of online gaming is all about design and community. He has a blog at Nerfbat.com in which he primarily discusses design, aspects of game development, and the industry in general. He also runs a forum for the discussion of game design and development called the Nerfbat Forums.

Ryan got his start in the game industry in 2001 as an intern for the little-known MMORTS Fighting Legends by Maximum Charisma Studios. After that, he moved on to write for the online gaming media until early 2004, when he joined Sony Online Entertainment as a Quality Assurance Analyst. He moved on to become a Community Relations Representative before the launch of EQII, an Apprentice Designer, and then the Community Relations Manager for EverQuest II in mid 2005.

In late 2006, Shwayder joined 38 Studios (then Green Monster Games) to work alongside Curt Schilling, R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane, and MMO industry veterans. After the untimely demise of 38 Studios, he joined Blizzard Entertainment to work on World of Warcraft as a Game Designer.


  • Fighting Legends
  • EverQuest II
  • EverQuest II: The Bloodline Chronicles (Adventure Pack)
  • EverQuest II: The Splitpaw Saga (Adventure Pack)
  • EverQuest II: Desert of Flames (Expansion Pack)
  • EverQuest II: Kingdom of Sky (Expansion Pack)
  • EverQuest II: The Fallen Dynasty (Adventure Pack)
  • EverQuest II: Echoes of Faydwer (Expansion Pack)
  • Kingdoms of Amalur (Project Copernicus)
  • Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
  • World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria
  • World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
  • World of Warcraft: Legion
  • World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth


For those of you who have always wondered what all of my random slogans at the top are, here’s the (not really) fabled list:

  • “A beta is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is it early. It arrives precisely when it means to.”
  • “The root of all evil on the Internet”
  • “Do not take with alcohol.”
  • “Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.”
  • “Video games, like sex, are better when they’re multiplayer.”
  • “Free Alcohol: The Ultimate NDA”
  • “If you are reading this, it means you can read.”
  • “The Nerfbat loves you.”
  • “And on the eighth day, God created the Nerfbat.”
  • “Game design, development, and industry commentary”
  • “Is Nerfbat gonna have to choke a b*tch?”
  • “Nerfbat is Jack Bauer in blog form.”
  • “I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, I want to change it from wood to rubber.”
  • “Pie belongs on the table, not in the sky.”
  • “Not Responsible for Broken Monitors.”
  • “Righting is a write, not a privilege.”
  • “Batteries not included.”


The content of this website is mine alone, and it has not been reviewed or approved by my employer. Posts and comments on this website do not necessarily express the views of my employer or other employees of the company. If you are offended by anything on this website, I apologize, as that is not the goal of anything I post here.


You can contact me via email at rshwayder [ at ] nerfbat [ dot ] com.

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