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Why A League Of Legends April Fool's Joke Has Fans Freaking Out

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Over the past few days, diehard League of Legends players have been in a bit of tizzy over something called “NURF.”

On the game’s hugely popular subreddit, people are wondering when exactly it’s coming out:


...and already speculating about what it’ll be like:


Or just conveying how frenzied they feel over at the League of Legends boards:

...while also gently teasing others for their reactions:


What is NURF, exactly, other than a comic misspelling of “nerf?” Keep in mind that tomorrow is the first of April. I guess when you’re the biggest video game in the world, making a successful joke can be serious business.

NURF is short for “New Ultra Rapid Fire.” It’s a gameplay mode that Riot officially announced yesterday with a very tongue-in-cheek post on its website that claimed it was “unveiling the future of League of Legends.” The developer explained that it was hoping to make a follow-up to last year’s April Fool’s day stunt, which introduced a temporary gameplay mode called URF, or “Ultra Rapid Fire.”

As the name implied, URF changed up League of Legends’ methodical and tactically-driven gameplay by making everything in the game a bajillion times faster. Champions’ attack speed, movement speed, critical strike damage, and the rate at which they farmed gold were all bumped way, way up. Cooldown times and mana costs were spiked in turn.


The delicate balance it had taken Riot years to achieve in making League of Legends such a ridiculously popular game was thrown out the window. That was the whole point. Their reputation might make you think otherwise, but even League players are happy to indulge in silly fun from time to time. So what happened once URF was set loose in the wild?

Intended to be a one-off joke meant to exist for a single day, URF became a runaway success. Riot ended up extending its run in League twice before finally putting it out to pasture. And since it disappeared, many fans have been wondering when, if ever, they’re gonna bring it back.


Riot finally responded to these fans demands with NURF, but...not in the way all of them were expecting.

Rather than speeding the game up, the NURF announcement promised “a slow, sophisticated, and stoic strategic showcase that tests teams’ abilities in new and dynamic ways while not restricting the highest tier of play to those with sub-millisecond response times.”


Wait, what? Here’s how they broke down how the in-game numbers would be crunched:

  • +100% mana and energy cost on all abilities
  • +200% cooldown inflation on abilities, items and summoner spells
  • +225 movement speed reduction
  • +200% delay between basic attacks
  • Critical strikes deal 50% of base AD
  • Units critically strike on 150% of attacks

In other words, NURF is literally the opposite of URF. Riot didn’t just stop there, though. They teased a trailer for the thing similar to the way they unveiled its predecessor:

...and promised that it would indeed go live in the game sometime tonight.

League developers, meanwhile, have continued to have fun with it on Twitter:


Most vocal fans have had a good time with NURF’s imminent arrival as well. But still: the expectation is that this is all an excruciatingly long and drawn out buildup to the triumphant return of the original URF—the real URF.


So what happens if Riot doesn’t follow up with some more URF goodness? There have been crueler April Fool’s Day gaming jokes made before (cough cough Half Life 3). And Riot has a habit of releasing temporary game modes that players love, only to take them away, never to be seen again.

If that happens, some people would probably end up feeling a little less amused:


All we can do for now is sit back and continue to wait with bated breath.