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Diablo III: The Art of Distance

Posted 30 Apr 2012 by

Distance has been a topic of discussion for DiabloWikiDiablo III communities, as there is no real determinable metric that can be gleaned from the interface, nor any specific relative distance to compare with. Generally, players have estimated distance by the use of skills. While that is a very effective way to judge what a skill actually does, it still left many wanting more.

One community member in particular, mwille, took this information into his own hands. By creating an overlay image to match the game, he was able to map the distances of skills to give meaning to the numbers that are pertinent for nearly every skill that has a range. I won’t elaborate, as he provides a very thorough explanation and clear distance guide for everybody to view.

He poses a question at the end of his analysis as well, so if anybody has a definitive answer, please comment.

Update: I’ve updated this article with all of the respective tool tips for skills to aid the distance metric. Hover over the skill names to get the tool tips.

Update 2:  Mwille has been kind enough to provide the images he used and a link to download the program that allows you to have an always-on-top overlay so you can test out your skill distances. As a note, these images cannot be uploaded to the IncGamers galleries because they are PNG, and uploaded files have all transparent areas blocked in with black. These images are hosted on my personal photobucket and are very light on the background. Rest assured that it’s there, just very faint.

You can download the program: here.

Update 3: Below the fold you will see the rest of the article. The following is from mwille to explain some of the problems people might experience with the images and the program:

It wasn’t until I downloaded the overlays you posted & tried them on a Win7 machine instead of XP that I noticed a problem. For some reason it would use a double image (even with only one image in a folder) using the center option. However, I found that it worked using the “Display at Location Offset” option, but had to then change the offset to get it to line up right. Speaking of which, I tweaked the images again so that it outlines the UI at the bottom & added a “pointer” to line up with the center decoration. It should make it easier lining it up. Also, I realized it would be better to have the images with a vertical resolution of 1000 dpi to make it a lot easier to figure out the scale. I uploaded the new images to the hosting account at where I work in case there is a maximum size allowed on photobucket. You can post these links or whatever you think works best.

You can download the proper images:
Image 1
Image 2

Click through to see his general calculations and explanations for available skills and a huge thank you to Mwille for making this available to the community.

I’ve read several forum posts about estimating just how big a yard is in the game. Since there really hasn’t been a definitive answer (due to the camera angle), I decided to do a little more research myself. I looked up a little about drawing in perspective to see if that would help in measuring things. One of the pictures I saw got me to thinking about using a grid of squares & trying to match the game perspective. So that’s what I set out to do. Then it was just a matter of getting the right scale, which I accomplished by using the Vault skill. Of course it’s still just a guessing game, but I think I got it pretty darn close.

Overlay 2Overlay Image

Diablo 3 Distance Map

So what I came up with is what I think of as a “distance map” by adding reference lines to a screen shot. It uses a checkerboard style grid with each square being 10×10 yards. It also has circles centered on the character, each with a radius in 10 yard increments and with minor lines every 2 yards. Then thinking about how several skills have an area effect at the cursor position (or point of impact), every 20 yards out I placed circles serving as “target zones” (each one has a 10 yard radius marked in 2 yard increments). My thought was that it might help give an idea of sizes at a distance (and it’s kind of interesting to see the different shapes of the circles all at once). To finish it off, I added dotted yellow lines showing the visible area for the different resolution aspect ratios. The image is attached.

Note: The lines of potions are from using skills originating at the same spot (the corner on the floor). From the center out, I used Vault, Leap, & then a double Vault.
FYI: While getting the reference lines using Vault I found that its distance isn’t always consistent & posted about it on the official bug forum (link).

After making the “distance map” above, I thought it would be cool to be able to actually use it while playing the game. So, I downloaded a freeware program that keeps an image “always on top” & used just the lines to create an overlay. I then started playing using that overlay which allowed me to estimate distances a lot better, as well as making accurate positioning possible. My curiosity and OCD personality led to the list of ranges & distances below.

Misc. Distances of Interest
2 – stone rings on waypoints (can be used as a reference for +gold/globe pickup radius)
4 – default gold/globe pickup radius
8 – approximate stride while running
10 – radius of town waypoint
20-22 – the radii of the outermost ring on the large circular designs found throughout the cathedral levels

Maximum Distance/Range for Skills
A range of values is listed for a few skills due to them being random. Also, distances for skills that don’t touch the ground (& go past the left/right edge of the screen) have their perspective affected by their casting elevation. I’m not sure how to adjust the perceived distance to compensate, so their actual range will be less than the observed distance listed. The skills that are affected are marked with an “*”. Also, some skills were harder than others to judge so there’s no guarantee it’s error free.

8 – Cleave (12 area effect)
10 – Bash
10 – Frenzy
11 – Revenge
12 – Rend
16 – Hammer of the Ancients (6 radius centered 10 yards in front of the barb)
50 – Seismic Slam (possibly random)
50 – Leap
70* – Ancient Spear

DiabloWikiDemon Hunter
80* – Chakram (with a 3 radius)
80-90* – Rapid Fire (average due to being random)
85* – Bola Shot
86* – Impale
90* – Entangling Shot
100* – plain arrow
120-130* – Hungering Arrow (kind of guessed here since it goes off screen)

9 – Fists of Thunder (no rune, first 2 hits): third hit is 14 yards
10 – Crippling Wave
10 – Lashing Tail Kick
16 – Deadly Reach
27 – Wave of Light (initial area effect has radius of 16 centered 11 yards out from the monk)
28 – Fists of Thunder (with Thunderclap rune, teleport range); only 14 if not targeting
50 – Dashing Strike (only when cursor is close to a target, otherwise 10)

DiabloWikiWitch Doctor
30-50 – Plague of Toads (average due to being random)
30 – Firebats (no rune)
50 – Corpse Spiders (with random radius somewhere around 15 max)
60 – Grasp of the Dead (with 14 radius)
70* – Firebats (Direbats rune) : not the listed 40 (It’s been posted on the official bug forum already.)
78* – Haunt (but when cursor is close to a target, it reaches all the way to the top corners)
100* – Poison Dart

14 – Spectral Blades (only 10 if not targeting)
20 – Frost Nova
20-30 – Shock Pulse (average due to being random)
26 – Wave of Force
50 – Arcane Torrent (with random radius about 8 yards, radius of 4 individually)
50 – Energy Twister (average due to being random) (with 8-10 radius)
55 – Ray of Frost
86* – Magic Missile
88* – plain wand missile
94* – Arcane Orb

Does anyone know if weapons still have ranges like they did in D2? From what I can tell, it doesn’t seem to make a difference when I switch weapons. I tested mainly with Bash, comparing a simple dagger & a flamberge (two-handed sword). I suppose it’s possible that the difference was too small for me to notice.

As far as I understand, the answer to this question is that weapons do not work as they do in Diablo 2. Weapons themselves have an increased range that can offset what is actually seen on screen. In a previous article, Bashiok explained that it was intended, and the range affects enemies as well. If my memory serves me well, they did this because they didn’t want players to feel like it was easy to bypass content and never get hit.

Was there anything I missed, or perhaps the community can elaborate?

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo III Classes, Fan Stuff, Game Features, Skills