Area of effect
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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. This term is not limited to just role-playing games, however; in most tactical strategy games artillery weapons have an area of effect that will damage anyone within a radius of the strike zone.
Area of effect can also refer to spells and abilities that are non-damaging and non-explosive. 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). Many games also have what are sometimes 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 strategy 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 (abbreviated PBAoE) is a subset of AoE in which the affected region is centered around the character that is performing the ability, rather than a location of the player's choosing. That term, however, is rarely used by players because of its relatively higher complexity to spell out. Thus AoE is more favorably used, especially in MMO games.
See also 
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