Join Date: Feb 2004
List of WC3 ability categories
Warcraft 3 has tons of abilities and many of them are useful when making custom spells. Sure, you can put them into a few basic categories (no target, single target, area target, point target) and knowing one or two abilities from each category is usualy enough, but that doesn't come close to the diversity of different options that's really available to you as a spell maker through different spells.
As if that wasn't enough, due to order id conflicts, you can't have multiple spells based on the same base spell on the same unit (channel and spellbook being rare exceptions), so knowing all the different spell categories isn't enough, if you really want to be able to do anything possible you also need to know as many spells as possible from each category so you can fit similar spells on the same hero if you want to.
If you want to be good at using the WC3 abilities you have to know them well, and getting to know them well takes time. A very useful resource for speeding up the learning is the Warcraft 3 Ability Guide
by PitzerMike, which lists the most interesting WC3 abilities. This list is intended to supplement that tutorial with a more general list of the types of abilities found in the game.
- no target (fan of knives,...)
- no target area buff (roar, howl of terror, thunder clap,...)
- no target self buff (berserk, wind walk(both do not interrupt move orders),...)
- no target autocast (spirit touch, essence of blight...)
- no target self buff autocast (frenzy)
- no target channeled (starfall, tranquility(I think this one adds a buff))
- no target summon (spirit of vengeance (the one cast by the warden), book of the dead(item), summon bear,...)
- no target non stackable summon (feral spirit)
- no target summon that plays death animation (owl scout, summon water elemental, lava spawn)
- no target autocast summon (spirit of vengeance (the one cast by the avatar, needs corpses))
- no target autocast summon that plays death animation (raise dead, carrion beetles(both need corpses))
- no target morph (metamorphosis, chemical rage,...)
- no target toggleable (defend, immolation, mana shield...)
- single target instant (finger of pain,...)
- single target with projectile (shadow strike(shows damage numbers), storm bolt, fire bolt,(both stun)...)
- single target channeled (siphon mana, life drain, aerial shackes(stuns target),...)
- single target instant buff (unholy frenzy, lightning shield, frost armour,...)
- single target instant autocast buff (inner fire, bloodlust, faerie fire,...)
- single target buff with projectile (acid bomb, drunken haze(both can also affect nearby units),...)
- single or point target spell (shockwave)
- area target instant buff (silence)
- area target channeled (cloud(adds a buff), earthquake(deforms ground), death and decay, monsoon,...)
- area target summon (inferno, healing ward)
- point target summon (sentry ward, pocket factory)
- point target channeled summon(tornado)
- point target destructible summon (volcano)
- point target building placement (tiny farm,...)
- attack based autocast (searing arrows, frost arrows, black arrow, orb of annihilation,... )
- attack based passive (slow poison, cold attack,...)
- aura (devotion, brilliance, unholy, endurance, vampiric, thorns, trueshot, command...)
There is no "multiple target points" spell, but there are ways to trigger that, if you're interested in that you should check out my Tripwire
I have most likely missed a category or two, and in no way are all spells from a single category the same (for example, autocast spells can have different hardcoded autocast behaviours). I tried to list spells where it's possible to get rid of their default effects so they can serve as a base for triggered spells (but not all categories have such spells), but sometimes when making a custom spell you might actualy want some specific effect that isn't easy to make through triggers but there already is a spell that does it, for example if you want a buff that grants vision of an enemy unit, you could try triggering dummy vision giving units to follow buffed units around or you could just use faerie fire.
Best spells are made by mixing triggered effects and effects of spells, the more spells you know the better you can do this. Nearly every spell is unique and has a property that similar spells don't have, some spells are more unique than others and some have more than one thing that makes them special, sometimes it's even bugs that we can exploit to get stuff done. The Warcraft 3 Ability Guide that is linked to in the introduction of this tutorial lists the most interesting abilities. It is a great resource, but in no way a complete list of all spells, I'm not sure there actualy is one in existance.