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Area Of Effect

A term used in many role-playing and strategy games to describe attacks or other effects that affect multiple targets within a specified area. For example, in the role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, a fireball spell will deal damage to anyone within a certain radius of where it strikes. In most tactical strategy games artillery weapons have an area of effect that will damage anyone within a radius of the strike zone. Often the effect is stronger on the target than on anything else hit. See also: Splash damage. Area of effect can also refer to spells and abilities that are non-damaging. For example, a powerful healing spell may affect anyone within a certain range of the caster (often only if they are a member of the caster’s party). Some games also have what are referred to as ‘aura’ abilities that will affect anyone in the area around the person with the ability. For example, many strategy games have hero or officer units that can improve the morale and combat performance of friendly units around them. The inclusion of AoE elements in game mechanics can increase the role of strategy, especially in turn-based games. The player has to place units wisely to mitigate the possibly devastating effects of a hostile area of effect attack; however, placing units in a dense formation could result in gains that outweigh the increased AoE damage received. Point-blank area of effect (PBAoE) is a less-used term for when the affected region is centered on the character performing the ability, rather than at a location of the player’s choosing.