I've just tested it.
You can try too if you want.
It's like an aura, the area of effect is the area in which a unit recieves the aura.
A targeted spell which isn't passive. The area of effect is the area around the target point.
passive and targeted are different
You can test it out if you don't believe me
Area of effect is the radius of a circle in which the spell or attack might affect targets.
In the context of each spell, the effect might be different.
- For example, for War Stomp, all units in the area of effect will be damaged. Same for Rain of Fire.
- For Phoenix Fire, the area of effect defines the area in which a unit can be targeted automatically by Phoenix Fire - for this ability, that means pretty much the same thing as "range". Barrage is also like Phoenix Fire.
- For Chain Lightning, area of effect determines the area from which a unit will be picked to be targeted by a bounce of the lightning - pretty much the same thing as the range of the lightning bounce.