Area of Effect

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AoE stands for Area of Effect. Most of the effects that have AoE are attacks and will be explained further below. There are, however, some skills and effects that are not attacks whilst still being AoE. A good example of this is the Healing Aura skill which applies a single effect to every Good aligned character on that location. A full list of all items and skills that use the AoE to apply either damage or other effects, can be found below.

AoE Attack Mechanics

Area of Effect (AoE) attacks are attacks that strike against the occupants of a location. They are not targeted against any one character, but rather against all characters in the location. The character using an AoE attack does not need to be able to see the occupants in order to hit them, so even if target characters are hidden or invisible they can still be struck by the attack.

In general, the character (and their pets, if any) making the AoE attack is immune from its effect. Factionmates present in the location are not protected from the attack unless the attack specifically states that it does not harm factionmates.

Some character skills such as Explosive Murder can be used to create an AoE attack. Some weapons, such as the Sub-Machine Gun and Flamethrower or any of the various Grenades, can also be used to inflict an AoE attack on an area.

Characters do not earn Experience Points for AoE attacks. There is no Morality shift for attacking with AoE, however any kills made with AoE will shift the attacker's Morality as if the attacker had killed the target in single combat. In other words, if a Good character attacked 8 Neutral characters with an AoE ability the attacker's Morality would not change. If, on the other hand, 5 of those targets had died in the attack, the Good character would lose 15 points of Morality.

Every offensive use of an Area of Effect skill, spell, weapon, or ability has two important damage maximums. The per target value is the maximum amount of damage that can be inflicted on any one target. The maximum total damage value is the maximum amount of damage the attack can inflict in a location per usage of the ability.

In addition, when an AoE attack begins, the potential target list and the damage inflicted value are generated. The potential target list is comprised of every occupant of the location the AoE attack is launched in. This includes all pets, but does not include the attacker or the attacker's pets.

The damage inflicted value keeps track of how much damage the attack has caused so far. It is an internal mechanic and starts with a value of zero.

The mechanics of an Area of Effect attack are thus:

1. The potential target list is generated and randomized.
2. The AoE ability makes an attack against the first target on the potential target list.
3. If the attack hits it deals a random amount of damage from 1 to the per target value of the attack. This amount of damage is added to the damage inflicted value.
4. If the target has soak against the damage type of the AoE, it is applied.
5. If the damage inflicted value is less than the maximum total damage value for the AoE attack, the next target is selected from the potential target list and an attack roll is made.
6. Steps 3 through 5 will be repeated until either all the targets on the potential target list have had one attack roll made against them or the damage inflicted value equals or exceeds the maximum total damage value.
7. All characters in the location will be notified on how many targets were attacked, affected, and killed (if any). The message will vary slightly depending on whether the character was attacked and hit, attacked but missed, or not attacked because the maximum total damage value was met or exceeded earlier in the attack.

Please note that the attacker's Damage Dealt statistic may not increase by the amount expected. This is due to how the soak mechanic works. For example, a target is hit with 15 points of Fire damage from an AoE attack. That target has a soak of 4 against Fire, so they take 11 points of damage. The attacking character is credited with 11 points of damage towards their Damage Dealt statistic, however 15 points of damage is applied towards the damage inflicted value.

This means that for AoE attacks against targets that soak the damage well, the attacker will be credited with less points of Damage Dealt than points of damage they inflict with the attack. Consider this: 10 targets are hit for 15 points of Cold damage each, and each target soaks 5 points of that damage. The attacker will be credited with [10 * (15 - 5)] 100 points towards their Damage Dealt statistic. However, that attack used up (10 * 15) 150 points of damage inflicted value.

AoE Example

The AoE Damage Mechanic graphic.

Here is a more illustrative example of how an Area of Effect attack works. A 10th level Pariah with Explosive Murder walks into a bar. There are nine characters and seven pets in the bar.

The Pariah uses their Explosive Murder skill, which is an Area of Attack ability. The attack (at this Pariah's level) deals a maximum of 10 points of per target damage and 100 points of maximum total damage value.

As soon as the attack starts all the occupants of the bar (excepting the Pariah) are put into the potential target list and that list is randomized. An attack is made against the first target on the list, which in this case is Pet 1, which takes 9 points of damage (the Damage Type is not important for this example). The damage inflicted value is increased by the damage the attack dealt, which here sets it to 9.

Since the damage inflicted value does not exceed the maximum total damage value the next target on the potential target list is selected and an attack is made. Character 1 is hit for 7 points of damage, and the damage inflicted value is increased to 16 (9 from the previous total plus 7 for this attack).

Attack rolls are made against successive targets on the potential target list. Notice that when Pet 7 is hit, the damage inflicted value is 96. Pet 7 is hit for 7 points of damage which increases the damage inflicted value to 103 -- this is 3 points more than the ability's maximum total damage value, however these 3 "extra" points are not discarded, they are used. Pet 7 takes the full 7 points of damage, the damage inflicted value is increased to 103, and the attack ends because the damage inflicted value exceeds the maximum total damage value.

Character 9 is not attacked. Even though they are in the location, because there are no points left to use from the damage inflicted value, they cannot be harmed by the effect.

Items with AoE capabilities

Skills with AoE capability

Obsolete Sources