This page aims to aggregate and explain the various mechanics relating to Casting (In this context, Casting refers to the use of both Spells and Abilities). It will also contain and explain the various abbreviations and terms which relate to these mechanics, where possible.
For simplicity, this article will use the term Abilities rather than Spells or Abilities/Spells.
An ability is either an Action or a Utility. This determines a few things about how an ability works:
- Action abilities innately generate hate by their very use, regardless of whether or not the goal of the ability is to generate agro. For example, the Shaman's Hand of Kyas healing spell is an Action and innately generates agro.
- Action abilities can only be slotted to the Action Hot Bar (see accompanying image)
- Utility abilities do not innately generate agro
- Utility abilities can only be slotted to the Utility Hot Bar (see accompanying image)
The Hot Bar. The bottom is the Action bar with 8 slots, and the top is the Utility bar with 6 slots. Please see User Interface for more detailed information.
A common point of confusion is with Passive abilities. Though they are passive, as their name implies, they must be slotted to provide their effects. Most Passives are Utilities, but note that some, such as the Monk's Elbow Strike, are treated as an Action and must therefore be slotted to the Action Hot Bar.
Activated or Passive
Abilities are either an Activated or a Passive.
- Activated abilities provide no effect until you choose to activate them. They have a number of qualifiers: Cast Time, Cooldown, Cost, Duration, Level, Modifying Stats and Range.
- Passive abilities provide their benefit so long as they equipped to an appropriate hot bar. The only qualifiers that Passives share with Activate abilities is Level and Modifying Stats.
Abilities can have varying casting types: Channeled, Charged, Combo, Standard, Toggled.
Channeled abilities can be maintained, usually up to a set duration, and will continually provide their effects so long as you Channel them. The Monk's Rock Stance is an example of a Channeled ability.
Charged abilities can be "held" or Charged until a set duration. By Charging an ability, you can improve its effects or potentially unlock an additional effect. These abilities can be used at any point during the Charging process, even immediately without any Charging at all. If a Charged ability is used after any amount of Charging, it will receive the benefits of having charged to the point at which it was released. The Monk's Blazing Hand Punch is an example of a Charged ability.
Unofficial Term Limited Use abilities have a certain amount of Uses per combat before the caster must completely exit combat to recharge them. No Limited Use abilities currently exist in-game, but this was an example given by VR on how they might balance the Monk's Backflip
Unofficial Term Standard abilities have no special qualities and tend to only be restricted by cast times and resources. The majority of abilities accessible to a class are Standard.
Toggled abilities have an initial casting cost, and then can be freely maintained until either you toggle them back off or you fail to meet the conditions for maintaining the ability. Examples of such conditions could be staying out of combat, not using abilities, not being hit, staying away from environmental light, etc. The Rogue's Shadow Walk is an example of a Toggled Utility.
Abilities have different methods of functioning which can drastically impact their use cases.
The simplest and most common form of ability function. Direct abilities apply their effects immediately to their target(s).
Over Time abilities, such as damage over time (DoT) or heal over time (HoT), apply an effect at set intervals. These intervals are commonly referred to a "ticks". An example of a DoT is a druid's File:DRU angry hornet icon.png Angry Hornets, while an example of a HoT is a shaman's Mantle of Mist
Fragile effects end preemptively if certain conditions are met. The most common end condition of a fragile effect is taking damage, as is the case for the summoner's File:SUM updraft icon.png Updraft, but there are many other potential conditions depending on the ability. Invisibility is inherently fragile and has numerous end conditions including but not limited to taking damage, attacking/casting, interacting with NPCs (merchants, banks) and interacting with environmental props (chests, corpses).
Recourse effects have certain conditions that must be fulfilled before they apply their effect. The most common recourse effect is a Damage Shield, so we'll use that as the example:
The recourse requirement of a damage shield is that the bearer of the damage shield effect takes damage. When that condition is fulfilled, the target that caused its fulfillment becomes the recipient of the recourse effect. In this case, that recourse effect is to deal damage.
Abilities have varying target types: Area of Effect (AE), Ground Target Area of Effect (GTAE), Point Blank Area of Effect (PBAE), Self, Single and Targeted Area of Effect (TAE).
- Area of Effect
- Linear Area of Effect
- Also occasionally known as a "Beam". This refers to Area of Effect abilities that work in a line straight out from either the caster or a specified target.
- Self Target
- These abilities only effect the user.
- Single Target
- These abilities apply their effects to a single target. Rarely a Single target ability will have additional effects that act as an AoE. The majority of abilities accessible to players are Single target.
- Target Area of Effect
- This refers to Area of Effect abilities that center on a specific target.