Area of effect

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Area of effect refers to skills or other gameplay mechanics that affect creatures in an area at a specific proximity to the target.

An area of effect skill may only affect a maximum of 5 targets, determined by proximity: Only the 5 closest enemies to the centerpoint of the area of effect will be affected. Similarly, when affecting allies, closest party members are affected first, followed by closest non-party member allies.

Area effect mechanics have multiple possible types. For example, most melee attacks made with a sword (or larger weapons) will also hit up to 2 other (3 in total) foes if they are close enough to actual target of attack. A Fireball hits foes within certain radius from its initial target. Winds of Chaos will bounce from the target enemy to any target within its set range.

  • Point blank on target (alternatively, PBT): Skills that are targeted on an enemy and cause an effect on those within a specific area around the target, like Splinter Shot.
  • Point blank (alternatively, PB): Skills that cause an effect around the caster, like Cyclone Axe or Swirling Winds.
  • Bouncing: Skills that bounce from initial enemy target to either other enemies or enemies and allies alike, creating various effects, such as Chain Lightning or Siren's Call.
  • Cone (alternatively, Frontal): Skills that hit targets in a specific angle and direction in front of the caster, such as Drake's Breath.
  • Spread: Skills that fire multiple projectiles at once at a certain angle with the projectiles equally spaced, like Frost Fan or Poison Volley.
  • Round (alternatively, Circle): Simple, round area of effect which is targeted on a location instead of enemy position, identical to function of point blank on target, like Lava Font or Muddy Terrain.
  • Line: Skills that cause a long, line-shaped effect on the ground, such as Line of Warding. Often ground-targeted.
  • Vertical: Underwater-exclusive vertically-aligned effect to affect those above and below its position, such as Symbol of Light.[1]

When using a skill with most "fixed" types of area of affect, such as cone or line, the skill is aimed automatically based on which direction your character is facing and if there are enemies within close proximity. If an enemy target is required to activate the skill, the enemy nearest to your character will be automatically targeted and the skill activated. Certain skills which specifically target a foe cannot be activated if no targetable enemy is in range.

Certain AoE skills can be targeted on ground, like Shatterstone or Shadowstep. These skills are indicated with a red crosshair over their skill key number below the skill bar.

Most area of effect skills holds a combo behavior (either blast finishers or various combo fields).

See also[edit]

Gwwlogo.png The Guild Wars Wiki has an article on Area of effect.


  1. ^ OnRPG Interview with Jonathan Sharp OnRPG Interview, 5:20