Abilities - Buffs and Spells


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This tutorial was originally created as a list dedicated to morphing abilities. Its main focus quickly became a list of possible dummy spells. Now, it also contains brief sections on the Spellbook ability, and the Channel ability. There are also details on several random spells that may prove useful.

All of these sections hold to one common theme: help map makers find the spells they need.

Morphing Units

Morphing has problems, but here is what we have: A list of abilities you can base your morph abilities off.

Abilities for Self Morphing
- Metamorphosis - Demon Hunter
- Destroyer Form - Obsidian Statue
- To make this both ways, go to "Data - Morphing Flags" and uncheck "Permanent"​
- Strom Crow Form - Druid of the Talon
- Bear Form - Druid of the Claw
- Burrow - Crypt Fiend or Scarab
- Fiend and Scarab burrows, do not stack directly but act oddly the second time one is cast.​
- Robo-Goblin - Goblin Tinker
- Stone Form - Gargoyle
- This ability has some problems I have yet to find a solution to, it crashes at times and I have yet to identify the reason.​
- Only works for naval units​

Abilities for Morphing Others
- Polymorph - Sorceress
- Go to "Stats - Targets Allowed" to pick the "Others"​
- Call to Arms - Town Hall/Keep/Castle
- This ability has some problems I have yet to find a solution to, it crashes at times and I have yet to identify the reason.​
- Hex - The Troll Guy (sorry!)

As much a reference to me as to you, here are the quotes of what people have identified as problems or solutions with morph and I will attempt to use these to enhance this tutorial.

xPheRe said:
Base it off of Gargoyle stone form ability.
Remember, you need both units to be on the same classification.
So if grounded chopper is a unit, also the flying one.
If one is a hero, both must be heroes.
This could be the problem that's crashing your w3
- Thanks!


What is a Spellbook?

A Spellbook is used for storing up to 11 spells. This can be in conjunction with 6 or 7 more spells on the main UI box in the bottom right corner. Spellbook takes up 1 space, and, if the unit has no attack, you can uncheck "Combat - Show UI" to free up a 7th space.

What can i use it for?

You can give a hero a long list of abilities. Spellbooks, if used correctly with good spells, can add a whole new level to RPGs, AoSes and any game with heroes.

Leveling spells and using hero spells
To use a hero spell in Spellbook, first make it a unit spell. Add the spell to the spellbook, then make the spell a hero spell again. To level spells you will need to use triggers, I have set up a system based on dialog boxes in the demo map.

Inviable Abilities
A Spellbook can contain enabled abilities without the Spellbook itself being enabled. If you give every unit the Spellbook ability and disable it at the start of the game, you have an invisible place to dynamically add and remove spells. You can load your hidden Spellbook with buffs to your hearts content!


Spellbook is under "Special - Items".

"Art - Icon - Normal" - The icon depicting the Spellbook in the bottom right corner of the UI.

"Stats - Item Ability" - If you want a hero to use this, set it false.

"Stats - Race" - This allows the game to sort the place the Spellbook in the proper area of the tree-view

"Text - ..." - Describe your Spellbook to the user

"Data - Base Order ID" - Two or more Spellbooks can be added to the same unit with no negative effects if the Spellbooks all have different "Data - Base Order ID"s

"Data - Shared Spell Cooldown" - You can make all the spells in the book cooldown together if you want. However if you have more than one Spellbook on a unit and "Data - Shared Spell Cooldown" is true, when you use a spell you will not be able to open any of the Spellbooks until the cooldown is over.

"Data - Minimum Spells" and "Data - Maximum Spells" - The game will give each hero a random number of your spells. The number will be between "Data - Minimum Spells" and "Data - Maximum Spells". Set both of these fields to the number of spells in the book if you want them all to appear.

"Data - Spell List" - Add all the spells you want in the Spellbook to this field.

Similarly to the morph section, here are quotes from people I have received suggestions or ideas from.

Bartuc08 said:
well theres a way through triggers but it'll be hard to explain and u might not wanna take my advice think u;ll need a dialoug box, or some way of selecting which spell to upgrade
E - a hero gains a level
C - Unit equal to (Blurbadurp)
A - creat a dialouge box containg(not sure if u can do this) Spell1 Spell2 Spell3 etc.

E- a player selects a dialouge box
C- dialouge box selected equal to spell1
A- Add 1 level to hera ability Spell1

lmao I hate not having an editor in front of me

now the problem is I'm not sure u can do this, I've seen a few so u might seek further help, thats all for me
ThE-eNiGmA said:
Well... one way is to NOT use a dialog box. Use a chat message instead. Basically, set up a few triggers that check for inquiries (like "help skills" will get information on available skills, etc) and then have a trigger detect what is typed in next. It's a lot of work, but probably wont lag nearly as much. And once done, its done.
phyrex1an said:
Second is alittle harder. Make a copy of the spell book ability. Add the passive ability that you dont want to have a icon to that spell book.

The use a trigger that at map Initilazion dissables the spell book ability for all players.
(Player - Dissable Ability For Player)

And when you want a unit to have the non icon ability just add the spell book. Either with a trigger or in the object editor.

Phoenix Fire

This is what is used in battleships to make the auto-attack weapons. The "Art" field controls the attack animation. The "Stats - Buffs" fields controls the applied buff, make this match the weapon. "Stats - Area of Effect" controls the range and "Stats - Cooldown" controls the cooldown for the weapon.


This ability allows a pair of structures to teleport units back and forth. After giving the unit this ability, you may set its destination in the editor by left-clicking a placed unit and hitting enter. You may also use the trigger action "Neutral Building- Set Waygate destination"

PB_and_J's Waygate Tutorial


Channel is classic dummy spell. By changing its "Data - Base Order ID" you can allow a unit to have multiple spells based off channel. Just like Spellbook.

Conan's Channel Tutorial


Barrage is used for making multi-shot abilities.

SD_Ryoko's Multi-Shot Tutorial

Crow Form

Crow Form is used for making jump abilities, it allows you to change ground unit height with triggers. Add the ability to the unit at the start of the jump trigger then remove it at the end. In conjunction with a loop applied to a parabolic equation, you can create extremely attractive jumps.

XXXconanXXX had a nice piece of jump code somewhere around the forums, but it seems to have disappeared.

Cluster Rockets

Can be used for bad jump spells just change the missile art to the model of the unit and use a trigger to move the unit. But when it hits the ground the unit plays its death animation.

Tiny Buildings

The ability used by Marble Towers, as well as the Tiny Town Halls you occasionally get. This ability allows the item to turn into a building.

Dummy Abilities

Lastly, here is a list of abilities that you can use as dummy spells. They are classified by Targeting (Insta-Cast / Manual), Effected Units (AoE / Self / Another Unit), and Buffing (Yes / No).

Insta-Cast Self Buff

- Berserk
- Change Damage, Change Attack Speed, Can Move​
- Defend
- Change Piercing Armor to Piercing Attacks, Change Move Speed, Can Move​
- Burrow
- Burrows, Change HP Regain, Make Invisable, Can't Move​
- Stone Form
- Change HP Regain, Can't Move​
- Locust Swarm
- Heal or Damage, Regain HP, Can Move​
- Mana Flare
- Mana-Burn, Can't Move,​
- Phase Shift
- Can't Be Hit, Short Time​
- Roar
- Effect Enemies / Allys Too, Can Move​
- Root
- Can / Can't Move​
- Shadow Meld
- Hide, Can Move But Cancels Buff​
- Metamorphosis
- Morph, Can Move​
- Avatar
- Size Change, Damage Change, Armor Change, HP Change, Can Move​
- Mana Shield
- Mana Change Over Time, Damage Reduction, Can Move​

Insta-Cast AoE Buff

- Change Damage, Can Move​
- Big Bad Voodoo
- Invulnerablity, Can't Move​
- Starfall
- Heal / Damage, Can't Move​
- Thunder Clap
- Hurt​
- War Stomp
- Hurt​
- Howl Of Terror
- Attack Damage Change​

Manual AoE Buff

- Flame Strike
- Hurt, After Damage, Short Can't Move Time​
- Blizzard
- Hurt, Comes in Waves, Can't Move​
- Death and Decay
- Hurt, Comes in Waves, Can't Move​
- Frost Nova
- Hurt, Spash AoE, Change Movement Speed, Can Move​
- Cluster Rockets
- Hurt, Waves, Short Can't Move Time​
- Acid Bomb
- Change Armor, Damage Over Time, Can Move​
- Monsoon
- Damage, Can't Move​
- Rain of Fire
- Damage, HP Change Over Time, Can't Move​
- Silence
- Spell Stop, Can Move​

Manual Another Unit Buff

- Storm Bolt
- Sleep
- Death Coil
- Mana Burn
- Holy Light
- Banish
- Entangling Roots
- Purge
- Lighting Shield
- Polymorph
- Cyclone
- Rejuvention
- Cripple
- Anti-Magic Shell
- Ensnare
- Soul Burn

The next sections are less organized.

Insta-Cast Attacked Unit Buff

- Poison Arrow
- Frost Arrow
- Searing Arrow
- Black Arrow
- Slow Posion

Manual AoE (Cone / Line / Bouncing) Buff

- Chain Lighting
- Useful for "Heal Ally / Hurt Enemy" spells, make it hit everything and have a trigger do the damage or healing depending on buffed units and ally status​
- Healing Wave
- Same as above​
- Healing Spray
- Carriow Swarm
- Crushing Wave
- Breath of Frost
- Breath of Fire
- Forked Lighting
- Impale

Auto-Cast Another Unit Buff

- Heal
- Inner Fire
- Slow
- Web
- Unholy Frenzy
- Curse
- Bloodlust
- Frost Armor
- Faerie Fire

And the last two sections are completely random.

Vision Revelers

- Flare
- Farsight
- Reveal

- Summon Water Elemental
- Allows for multiple summons without canceling earlier ones​
- Summon Lava Spawn
- Allows for splits (do a set amount of damage then summon breaks into 2)​
- Feral Spirit
- Summon Prawns
- Force of Nature
- Allows for multiple summons without canceling earlier ones, must be cast on trees​
- Carrion Beetles
- Allows for multiple summons without canceling earlier ones, allows for max amount of summons, auto-cast​
- Summon Hawk
- Summon Bear
- Summon Quilbeast
- Owl Scout
- Allows for multiple summons without canceling earlier ones​
- Clock-Work Goblin Factory

If you see any problems--no doubt I missed some abilities in my lists--please tell me, PM me or post in this thread. You will have to tell me what sections to put them under, since I no long have Warcraft3 installed.


June 01 2008: Somehow, almost 3 years after I posted this tutorial, I STILL find myself toying with it. Regardless, the spelling has been fixed, as has the grammar, and several inconsistencies. It should be nearly readable now XD.



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Nice Tut, UnknownVector! This would help lots to mappers looking for a ability to base off their custom spells.

I suggest you to format the spells part, because both name and description share the same format, something like

- Bear Form Druid of the Claw
- Burrow Crypt Fiend or Scarab
Fiend and Scarab burrows do not stack directly but act oddly the second time one is cast.
- Robo-Goblin...
Something to be able to differ at first sight between spells and comments.
UnknownVector said:
-Its better not to use self morphs between air and ground units, it just creates problems.
This is wrong, take a look at Gargoyle's Stone form ability. It lands when morphing, becoming a statue and gaining life regen. This new unit-type is classified as ground unit. Gargoyle, of course, is a flying one.
There's some data attached to Stone form like Altitude adjustment duration, Landing delay time and Inmediate Landing/Take off in Morphing flags to change behaviour when morphing between flying to ground units or ground to flying. Play with these.

Nice job! And thank you for quoting me in your tut! ;)


Lol, I didn't think I was that worthy of being quoted, but yeah, nice little list of spell buffs.


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ThE-eNiGmA said:
Lol, I didn't think I was that worthy of being quoted, but yeah, nice little list of spell buffs.
lmao me neither


I come from the net ... My format, Vector.
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Well you guys helped me, even if indirectily and not on purpose, so i feel i have to recognize you for that, besides its a record of the source material so i can always go back and say "Who on Earth said that? O yea it was Bartuc08!"


I'm pretty new to WC3 map making, but I think I have a way to check for levels, with a little tweaking. It may be possible to set a variable initially set to 1. When you level up a skill, set that variable to +1. Only add the 'level up skill' dialogue to the box if that variable is not 3. You can upgrade it on 1, 2, but not past 3.

I hope this helps. You may need to change it around a little to make it work.

I was thinking something along the lines of setting a variable, checking to see if it was less than 3, then displaying the dialog box. However, I have found something that will make this not work that I cannot seem to get around. When wanting to do the (variable < 3) check, you have to use a boolean variable in the boolean check. You cannot use a non-boolean variable to get a boolean response from the function. I have to start thinking again, and will contact you when I think of something else.


wasup, i have a few questions about spellbook:

i made one with 3 morph spells in it, called bow , spear, axe

i set min max spells to 3, and added all 3 spells to the book. when i tested the map only axe showed up in the book, and when i cast axe it turned into a spear dude instead of an axe. also, the spear guy didnt have the spells i gave him. (alot of problems lol)

also, where is the data-base order id that u mentioned?




Just 2 quick questions,

what if we want to have spells with multiple effects?

I am trying to make a spell like Tranquility (heals all nearby allies), and also has the damaging effects of monsoon.

how can somthing like this be done?

and also, how do you make it so that a unit with the permanant invisibility ability can do backstab damage, such as when u break windwalk.

any help would be greatly appreciated.


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In both of your questions, you have to trigger it, first case with a dummy unit and other case with angle comparisons.


I added a model to my ability and it works but how would i make it so it strikes three times in a row?


In both of your questions, you have to trigger it, first case with a dummy unit and other cast with angle comparisons.
I see... well, do u think u could give me some good examples for those two?

I was thinking that for the Tranquility monsoon one something this would work:

add the monsoon effect to tranquility then when its cast use code to do damage to any unit that is hit by the effect of monsoon.. but I'm not exactly sure how to express that in world-editor code

and I was wondering if somthing like this would work for a special effect:

unit- a unit is attacked
unit comparison - attacking unit is equal to _________
special effect - create one special effect of the type manaflare located on attacked unit

would that work correctly?


About tooltips and autocast on Spells

Well.. i made a spell book with a spell called "sprint" . This spell autocast function can be turned on (i want to disable this option but dunno how) and also the tooltips seems to be buged because weird words appear insted of what i wrote on the editor (happens most of the time on the empty tooltip texts). How can i solve this problems? Thanks.



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I was reading the excellent tutorial of the abilities. I'm impressed.

One thing I would suggest for the spellbook (and I have not tried this yet, but I'm going to now) is instead of a text trigger (kind of annoying with many players) or the more confusing dialog box, why not just have some upgrade/research somewhere (buildings or units are good) or a dummy item (bought and then removed by the trigger) which activates the trigger that levels the spell (removes the item, changes the level of the upgrade/research back to 0, etc.). Seems less work to me, but I guess it depends on how your thing is set up anyway.



Hello ,there! Very helpful tutorial. I was just wondering if you can combine two buffs at the same time. Can that be coded?? Thanks!!!



how did you make Thunder Clap an AoE Buff? I really need to know for a TD I'm making and it's driving me crazy!:banghead:


More spellbooks

A hero or unit can only have 1 spellbook... major let-down Blizzard. Can't complain though, they did make the game.
Correction: A unit, hero or not, CAN have more than 1 spellbook by changing Data - Base Order ID to other than "spellbook" (NONE). This however prevents the unit from using the ability you described in Base Order ID, but since there are a few more abilities (and IDs) than you can give to a single unit, this should not be a problem.

Edit: I noticed it's said in the tut later on, but one should delete that claim.


Single target spells

I just wanted to mention that there are more single target spells; such as cripple, invisibility, curse, slow and so on.


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ok so i have a morph spell based off of robo-goblin that will NOT work!!!!!:banghead: i changed both the alternate and normal unit forms, and when i use the skill it just casts it and nothing happens... HELP:eek:
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