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exploiting 101: aoe and you

April 9, 2009

Hello class. Today we’ll be covering the basics of exploiting line of sight. Can you tell that I’m not wearing pants? No. Of course you can’t. I’m sitting behind my desk! There is no way that you can see me from over there. The advantages of breaking line of sight are limitless. You can make out behind the trash cans with your girlfriend. You can use your hand to hide cheat sheets without your professor seeing. You can even pretend to be looking in your messenger bag while you text your mommy. All the while being safe from harm.

So what can you do if someone is hiding? Well, you can put cameras under all your students desks. You can hide mirrors in the floor to make sure none of the girls are concealing anything. You can even get a sound-enhancing device so that you can spy on them through walls. All these things are wonderful for keeping tabs on people and increasing the viewership of your website, but what about if you want to do legitimate harm to others.

Well, you’re in luck! Who needs line of sight when you have AOE? These wonderful abilities completely ignore line of sight! If you think someone is secretly texting in class, don’t ask questions, summon a gigantic whirling pit of despair beneath them! Not to worry, you’ll be completely safe from harm. After all, your enemy can’t even see you!

Now for you students who have already taken Bright Wizard 99b: Remedial Burninating this won’t be anything new so feel free to move to the back of the class and fraternize. For the rest of you please take notes. The ‘Bright Wizard’ is a good place to start when learning to exploit AOE because their abilities are huge and shiny. Everyone loves huge balls of fire, right? Now you might be thinking, β€œBut, professor Cakez, if I can’t see something how can I light it on fire?” That’s simple! Take a look at these pictures.


Here we see a lone wizard hiding in a corner. As you can see this corner is made of rocks. It’s very thick and sturdy making it a wonderful hiding place.


Uh-oh. It’s a Griffin War Wizard! Now, this is our wizards friend, but he’s still learning so this target will do for now. He has no idea where our wizard is hiding.


Now here we see our wizard using his sixth sense (see also: third person camera) to target an area nearby the wizard. Now, be careful at this step or you could piss him off and he would most likely bug out and launch massive balls of fire at the wall destroying it and you!


Idiot! Oh, thank god there’s no friendly fire activated. That could have been messy. Still, we’d best get out of here and find somewhere else to practice. After all, we wouldn’t want those Witch Hunters to see us summoning a hail of flame on friendly targets, would we?


Oh god! We’ve made it to the camp, but a huge spider is attacking. The poor wizard can’t seem to target it, whatever will we do. Ah, I see you brighter students have already caught on!


That’s right, in this situation you simply cast an AOE through the wall! Good job class. Now let’s take a trip a bit further south, to Passwatch Castle.


Ah, welcome to Passwatch. As you can see this is the view from the battlements. After all, it would be a shame to stand on the dirt below in our lovely boots. Notice the large outcropping around the gate. This is meant to prevent exploitation and allow attackers a fair chance. That’s a horrible building design! Let’s take a closer look at this horrible oversight in strategic architecture.


Here you can see that despite being poorly designed we can still exploit our way into being an effective defender! Luckily there’s also a barricade to stop incoming attacks as well. Not only can you attack safely, but no one can attack you back. This is wonderful! Now, let’s take a look further inside. After all, with such a poorly designed gate, someone is bound to get in eventually.


Ah, Passwatch Keep’s top floor. Here you can find vendors and trainers for the defending forces. Sadly the floor is solid and you can’t get a good look at people who may be invading the keep.


Oh silly me. Of course we can attack the area beneath us. We can even target the stairs.


Then we can summon gigantic hails of flame and force our enemies to walk through them as they attempt to break our wonderful wall of tanks. All the while they’ll have no clue where we are! Brilliant! What’s that? Oh, no. Of course there are ways to keep them out of the keep lord’s room!


Here you can see that this door is much better designed. Here we can freely attack anyone near the door without having to avoid poorly designed walls.


We can even attack people supporting those not at the door from a wonderful distance. After all, the walls are lower so we can target much better. This is a wonderful place to defend.

Now, in the middle of taking these shots, our poor wizard was called to actual duty. Luckily, he was called to Black Fire Basin, where his team has a wonderful tactical advantage when playing defense. So much so that our wizard, tired from his earlier wanderings, decided to stand in one place the entire match. Well, not quite, but he only got up occasionally to step to the other side of the gate to get a better view of the trees.


Well, our times up. We’ll continue this next Wednesday, class! Have a great weekend. Remember to read pages six through twelve of your text, we’ll have a quiz.

Thanks professor Cakez!

Okay, seriously. If you didn’t know the above, it all works. This allows players with GTAoE to be many times more powerful than classes without them. It allows exploitation of the monster AI so that some hero mobs can be solo killed. It allows you to self AOE large groups without coming under fire. It allows you to stand in one place an entire scenario and post score sheets like this:


Yes, as mentioned above I stood in one place the entire match. I only moved when I got bored (followed a shaman while using DoTs) and when I switched sides to get a better angle. The Engineer was doing something similar, but not yet being 28 could only scale the wall, throw AOE, then retreat back to safety. You might also notice my low kill rate and the 3rd place Witch Hunter’s very high kill rate. I was treating him as a main assist for quite a while, making sure he had fire support (literally) while bursting down targets. The other reason I got such a low kill count? Easy. This is from the same match:


That’s right, they had 2 AOE healers in each group. Because of this composition I was mostly just nullifying their heals, allowing our team (mostly the aforementioned WH) to attack targets who were essentially not receiving heals. You might also notice that I virtually nullified three of their healers, while our Engineer took care of the third.

Oh and who cares, I could have really been just chain dotting, or something. That can’t all be rain of fire right. Sorry, I have to burst your bubble there:


150,000 of my damage came from Rain of Fire. Still, that’s just one scenario. There’s no way it happens all the time.


This is High Pass Cemetery at rank 25. I used the fences to nuke the objectives. What happened when people tried to go around the fence to kill me? Well, I have a special animation, just for you.


No, it doesn’t work out this well every time. Sometimes players use abilities to break the Fire Cage (red AOE). That’s fine, that’s when my morale 3 came out to stun them. Still, I managed to die 4 times.

Now, I’d like for you all to take another look at that scoresheet. Look at the second place. That is a Choppa using Git To Da Choppa. Keep going down the list. The Shadow Warrior was using the AOE tactic for Spiral Fletched. All those Choppas and Slayers were using AOE. The Bright Wizard doing 100,000 less damage? Immolation, using Withering Heat.

What about my favorite ‘exploiting’ scenario in tier-3 though, what about Doomfist Crater? Well. I wish I had more to post, but fact is scenario queues suck on my Bright Wizard’s server. Here’s the last Doomfist I got to play… 2 levels ago…


This was the same afternoon as the previous scoresheet. The second place damage was the same Choppa, doing the same thing. Notice the flood of people at the top of this list using AOE. Now, I know you probably are just thinking about how silly score sheets are and how they prove nothing. Well, I have other posts you can read to show you my opinion on that. Go read that.

If you want to know how I pulled this off, it’s easy. I stood under the platform the entire game while using Rain of Fire. My one death was when someone was knocked off the platform and noticed me beneath it. That’s right, while you were distracted by that 236k damage, you probably didn’t notice that I only died once.

You might also wonder why I’m blurring names. Well, because of this: The other BW in that scoresheet has no clue how to play his character. This is why I’m making this article. People are assuming that the situation isn’t bad because they’re not being exposed to the proper level of play. That BW produced less than a third of my damage, less than half of my kills and died five times as often as me. Compare to the Shadow Warrior above him. That Shadow Warrior did more damage, got more kills, diad less and is eight levels lower. Bolster helps, but let’s be fair. Do you think that Bright Wizard is better than that Shadow Warrior?

Okay, back to the second place, the Choppa. He died 14 times. Was he good, or was his class good? I can tell you exactly what he was doing because I saw him do it many, many times. He would run in and use Git To Da Choppa, then spam Lotsa Choppin’ until he died. He would then run back and do it again. Is that good strategy? No. He was exploiting AOE, just like me. The difference? While he had to run in to do it, I could do it with safety. If he’d have stuck with his team and played a support role, as I was, he’d have had a larger impact. As it stands he died more times than he killed people.

That’s right, I think that Bright Wizard and Choppa were poorly played. The difference? The Choppa knew how to exploit AOE, but didn’t know how to play safely. The Bright Wizard simply didn’t know how to exploit AOE and failed.

This isn’t just AOE damage either. Remember that Black Fire Basin thing? Yeah, well, none of their healers ever came inside the wall. Nor should they have as it would have exposed them to my friend the low-rank Witch Hunter as well as my AOE. The few times they placed themselves poorly I threw an AOE on them and our team killed them. That’s all it was though, poor placement. Their team came too deep into our base and they had to hug the wall, allowing me to attack them. Bad move.

Doomfist Crater? Yep, as long as there is a healer in the other party I climb under the platform and spam my AOE heal. That’s all there is to it. I don’t die while racking up tons of healing. Why would I come up top? That would make me as bad as that other Bright Wizard. Why expose yourself to damage if all your going to do is AOE heal? That’s all most healers do, so why do they insist on standing within sight?

How do I feel about it all? It’s stupid. This is insanely easy to do. It requires no skill. If you could zoom your camera out more you could exploit this even more, but you can’t. WAR right now can be absolutely dominated by characters who have a couple of abilities hot keyed. For reference I only have the following buttons on my bar in PVP: Rain of Fire, Annihilate, Fire Cage, Flame Breath, Scorched Earth. I also have Flames of Rhuin and Fire Shield, but those hardly count… So, I use four attacks. Wait, I listed five! Nope, I only use Scorched Earth to top off Combustion while out of combat. Nothing more, nothing less. Using Rain of Fire right on top of yourself is safer than Scorched Earth and Annihilate does a metric ton more damage than anything else I have.

Oh yeah, want to know something else fun? Rain of Fire doesn’t hit 5 times. It hits 6 times. Annihilate doesn’t hit 3 times either, it hits 4 times. Who cares! Right? Well, me. The first tick comes as soon as you press it, as if it was an instant attack. What’s that mean? Well a few things. How much burst damage can AOE cause? Well, you have to understand how these channels work first. My Rain of Fire can crit for over 1,000 damage. This means that upon the last tick, when I immediately recast there is a possibility of everyone in range taking 2,000 damage instantly. If I was in the fray it would also mean I could wait for the last tick of Rain of Fire before hitting Annihilate, which crits for about 700 per second, then right after the last tick hit Rain of Fire again. The result is up to about 5,000 damage in 3 seconds.

That’s also 6 hits in 3 seconds. Not important? Flame of Rhuin hits for about 100 on most targets. 25% means throw on another, oh… 150 damage. Nah, not a big deal. What about Funnel Power? Well, Funnel Power works on every individual hit of an AOE. Hits for about 90 at this level. Yup, that’s 540 more damage per target. I’m not a Funnel Power spec right now, but only because I’m pugging so much and I don’t really feel like taking that much damage. Think about that though… at this level that’s an increase in AOE damage of more than 10%. Tsk, tsk.

What else does the first instant tick mean? You can use these while running. You won’t get the full duration, but you’ll get the first tick. It also means Rain of Fire is the most efficient instant nuke in the game. Crits for over a thousand, instant cast, costs 13 AP. Annihilate can be used in place of Scorched Earth as well while doing the idiotic ‘running away while spamming AOE in a desperate attempt to kill people’ maneuver that’s been around ever since Arcane Blast was invented. The difference? Lower AP and better damage. You can even stutter-step with Annihilate to do double damage.

I feel like repeating myself, just to make sure this isn’t posted on random forums saying ‘omg nerf bright wizard’: Bright Wizard is not alone. Sorceress can do this too. So can Magus. So can Engineer. So can anyone with a GTAoE. Don’t have a GTAoE, that’s okay, PBAoE is just as bad. Look at the one-button wonder job that healing has become. Don’t have that? Oh, don’t worry, all AOE can be used and exploited. People can’t get out of them before the damage is done. The spread required is outrageous and ‘staying out of the fire’ does not work. Here’s a little list:

Are you within 30 feet of any melee class? You can be AOE’d.
Are you within 134 feet of an Engineer? You can be AOE’d.
Are you within 110 feet of a Bright Wizard? You can be AOE’d.

Not good enough? Okay.

Are you within 60 feet of a friendly player? A Bright Wizard can AOE you both.
Within 40 feet? So can Engineer, Magus and Sorceress.
Within 35 feet? An Engineer can AOE you without GTAoE.
Within 30 feet? Engineer, Magus, Bright Wizard and Sorceress can all AOE you however they want.
Within 20 feet? Add Squig Herder and Shadow Warrior and Choppa and Slayer and Witch Hunter and Witch Elf… I’m sure I’m missing someone.

Point is, you can’t avoid being AOE’d. The only way is to leave the battle entirely. That’s your only option. Run. If you try to hide, you’ll be hit. Why? Well, I guess you haven’t been reading.

That’s okay though, GTAoE won’t stack in 1.2.1. That means all these AOE problems are a thing of the past. Wait… I never once mentioned AOE stacking until just now. Huh. Imagine that, Mythic’s highest priority had nothing to do with the persistent problems of AOE in WAR. Here’s to hope for 1.2.2.


20 Comments leave one →
  1. Omelettez permalink*
    April 9, 2009 7:14 pm

    I love sitting behind the trashcan!

  2. Anromir permalink
    April 9, 2009 11:17 pm

    Wall o’ text that is, yet utterly engaging. Great use of hard data to bring this stuff out of the shadows. I gotta say, I really don’t like the idea of playing Order, but I feel like rolling a BW right now (only because Sorcs don’t have a mirror for Fan the Flames). I also feel like and idiot for the way I played my DoK through T3. (Of course, I wanted to play the DoK the way it was described, not the way the game funnels you, call me stubborn.) Great work on this.

    I hope Mythic pays attention. However, now that I’ve seen some of the comments they’ve put online about the data they have available to them, I have to kind of think this is the way they want things to be. Or, they don’t want to put up with losing the subs of all the whinging BWs out there that only rolled that class because they knew it was imba in the first place.

    Now, I gotta see about using this knowledge for my T2 Choppa…

  3. Zensun permalink
    April 10, 2009 3:22 am

    Given that I’ve seen official posts from Mythic (or was it GOA?) saying this is legitimate, it shouldn’t be called an exploit. Unless this has changed?

    What they’ve said *isn’t* allowed is firing the spell, then moving to a place where you can no longer even get LOS with the camera and taking advantage of the fact that the spell remembers where it was last cast. That IS an exploit, for those spells where you can carry it out.

  4. Enkhil permalink
    April 10, 2009 5:38 am

    Great post Pancakez, excellently illustrated how all the “good” players play at this moment.

    Just because they said it is working as intended doesn’t mean it’s not retarded. Besides this is a blog and you can call it whatever you want. I agree with Pancakez that this is an exploit of mega proportions. Any situation where you can hit someone who has absolutely no way of hitting you back is an exploit in my book, period. No discussion possible.

    I’m currectly hardly playing the game because my DoK (and the game) is so not fun at this point. I can either sit back, spam 1(!) button and be stupidly overpowered or I can be annihilated in 3 seconds doing just about anything else. Heck, why even take keep doors down in the first place? Put a couple melee dps in my grp and I can easily heal them while they go through the backdoor of a keep and kill the lord. It’s much faster than actually opening the door.

    To illustrate: I’m an officer in Moonlapse, a guild well known on the Karak Eight Peaks server for it’s rvr activity. Pre-1.2 we had loads of fun often wiping numbers greater than our own with a variety of different strategies and tactics. Now? Our one and only strategy is: Make sure you come up from the rear, everyone target a BW and CC them. If we manage to kill/CC all the BW, we win.

    I’m having hard time believing that Mythic is not perfectly aware of this. Still, for some reason, they seem to not want to take action on this issue. Perhaps if more people were aware of how to do this, the cries will become so eardeafening that mythic will realize there are still loads of people playing this game who actually like a challange. Who don’t consider owning people who have no chance of fighting back even remotely fun. Or that getting owned by people while having no chance to fight back is even less fun. I see lots of good and skilled players taking breaks since 1.2 because they are bored and if they don’t fix this, said breaks will quickly turn into leaving alltogether. Then the this game will trully turn into a game where the only thing that matters is the numbers you have, which is a death-sentence for a 2-faction based game, because numbers wil never be equall no matter what you do.

    I love this game, I love RvR, but specificly this subject is driving me nuts and rapidly sucking all the fun out of the game.

    Either way, sorry for ranting here on your blog, but take it as a compliment, because you really touched the heart of the matter here. πŸ˜‰

  5. ghaz permalink
    April 10, 2009 8:03 am

    great post pancakez and completely agree but how could be bothered to level a BW to lv27, man alive its dull, i tried a BW just to see how good they really are and i got to lv5 i think before i got so bored i gave up and went back to a SH for a bit of a challenge lol.

    Unfortunatly most of the BW’s on my server (burlok) know exactly how to ‘exploit’ ROF and so its kinda got to the point where its killed the server off due to destro leaving. We got such a hugh imbalance favouring order in the RVR lakes thats its getting to the point that they take all the lands unimpeeded mostly, then get to a fort and fail because of POS (exclusivily) and then start all over again. /sigh

  6. April 10, 2009 8:27 am

    Hilarious and frightening. Now I’m too scared to fight.

    Great post.

  7. April 10, 2009 8:55 am

    Great post Prof. Cakez.

    Playing a KotBS as my main I don’t get to exploit AOE quite like the other classes. My value at, at this point in my career (R33) is mainly protection detail and group buffage. Most of the time I’m twisting ‘Stay Focused’, ‘On Your Guard!’, and either ‘Gather Your Resolve!’ or ‘All Out Assault!’. Seeing as I’m at the bottom of the Tier range anyway I tend to stick in the backfield and attempt to mitigate aggro on my healers/rDPS (BTW Mythic – Taunt sucks in PvP). I find myself doing decently on the boards and it’s kinda funny that, even in pure defensive mode, I can out damage mDPS/rDPS classes that are levels higher than me.

    BTW Pancakez – Transformers underoos? Thundercats FTW!

  8. April 10, 2009 8:58 am

    Geez, this is exactly why I rolled a BW post 1.2, in the dire hopes that I can call a CSR and do these tactics with them watching. Maybe even make a video every time I can do these things and send them to the dev team, or post them on WHA. BW would be a lot of fun if they weren’t crazy OP, for now I’m climbing the Immolation path, but when RoF comes up, I aint gonna be silly about it.

    Great post, I’ll have to bookmark this one πŸ™‚

  9. Boris permalink
    April 10, 2009 9:02 am

    Very well written, and really depressing.

  10. Omelettez permalink*
    April 10, 2009 10:09 am

    And now for a serious post.

    I truly can’t believe the Mythic has let crap like this slide. Whether it’s a true exploit or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s freaking retard. Hurhur, let’s have people with no skill kick this much ass. And the sad part is that some people still don’t get the amount of damage and pressure BW can dish out, like that one BW Pancakez pointed out.


  11. pancakez permalink*
    April 10, 2009 10:38 am

    @Zensun: The problem is that Mythic indeed doesn’t think this is a problem. I openly encourage anyone with a Bright Wizard to do this, because it’s not cheating in any way. Exploiting can mean many different things. I would never encourage people to take advantage of a legitimate bug. If every player using these classes was competent Mythic would be forced into public scrutiny for allowing this type of gameplay. Right now there are a lot of players who don’t even understand their own class and don’t know how to do this, which is allowing them to brush it off as being acceptable. It isn’t.

  12. April 10, 2009 11:57 am

    BTW Pancakez – what add on are you using that gives a target readout like in your 5th pic. I saw the exact same information readout in the Karl Franz pwned picks and would love to get my hands on that add-on.


  13. pancakez permalink*
    April 10, 2009 1:02 pm

    That’s Pure, it’s a unit frame mod. I use that overhead so that I can see where people are standing through walls, since it shows up anyway. Plus it’s pretty and the standard overhead health bars look like crap.

  14. Alex permalink
    April 10, 2009 2:47 pm

    Excellently written post, you are completely correct and have a way of writing that illustrates your points beautifully.

  15. Upgrayedd permalink
    April 11, 2009 12:35 pm

    Hmmm, you describe gtaoe targeting how it has worked since launch and throughout daoc and declare it an exploit but don’t say anything about the actual bug/exploit that lets people drop RoF on top of keep walls, siege engines and hit the lord room floor from the floor below.

  16. pancakez permalink*
    April 11, 2009 12:47 pm

    Uhm. There is a bug, but you can do those things without bugs. Just so you know. As far as it working from launch and throughout DAOC; You’re right. It was one of the biggest failings of DAOC and it has been a persistent problem in WAR since launch.

    No, I’m not going to tell anyone how to do anything illegal on my blog. Exploitation does not necessarily mean that you are breaking any rules. I’d like as many people as possible to know how to exploit the system Mythic has in place. If enough people learn how to play, perhaps Mythic will finally realize their error. Though years of DAOC didn’t seem to get it through their heads, perhaps the fear of losing their largest commercial success will.

  17. Upgrayedd permalink
    April 11, 2009 1:37 pm

    If you can RoF the oil without a bug please explain how. If no bug is involved it’s not illegal which puts it in the exact same category as camera los and should be outed for the exact same reasons you have for showing how camera los works.

  18. pancakez permalink*
    April 11, 2009 3:04 pm

    To put GTAoE on the oil in most castles here’s what you do: Walk into range of the oil, click the button, move your mouse around the oil until it turns yellow (rather than grey), then click the button. With 80 foot GTAoE (most are), you’ll be about 10 feet outside the range of the oil’s splash. In some castles, particularly outside gates, you need to find something nearby to stand on. This mostly occurs in Elf areas, where there is almost always a rock nearby to stand on.

    If you didn’t realize, you can cast GTAoE on just about anything. That includes the middle of walls. You can place AOE anywhere you can see with your camera within the spells max range. Don’t know how to nuke the lord room from the bottom floor without the bug? Target the wall at about ground level, it takes some practice, but it works. Bug? Nope. Poor design? Hell yes.

  19. Upgrayedd permalink
    April 11, 2009 5:39 pm

    Absolutely a bug and I think the change to the gtaoe cursor is what did it. This is far worse for the game that camera los. If they would just fix this bug half the problems with rof would disappear. And if you didn’t realize, you can target the corner of the ramp where it joins the lord room floor. Much better than the wall, it lets you stand back further. πŸ˜‰

    Really, why post about camera los which is no secret instead of posting about this bug that changed some game surfaces to become valid targets for gtaoe. This bug is far more damaging. There is a reason tank walls vanished after 1.2 and this bug is it.

  20. pancakez permalink*
    April 11, 2009 6:21 pm

    Just so you’re aware, because you seem convinced of some things which aren’t accurate: Targetting the oil in that manner is not a bug. Not only is it not a bug, but it’s not even violating line of sight rules in most cases. You can use Firey Blast in the same way, but Rain of Fire is preferred because the damage is higher. Targeting the corner in that way also isn’t superior: It doesn’t hit as large a portion of the lord’s room.

    This isn’t something that changed in 1.2 either. The ‘vanishing of tank walls’ is due to persistent keep exploits to pull the lord to the bottom floor and the massive nerf to resistances. You’ve always been able to target the oil in that manner and you’ve always been able to target walls in that way. Sorry to break the news, but your so called ‘bug’ isn’t the big bug which can be done with AOE. It’s simply a carry-over of GTAoE ignoring line of sight.

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