Attack is the most basic form of interaction with an enemy, with intent to harm and usually do damage (it is debatable whether a debuff counts as an attack). Attacks have four main attributes: range, damage type, number of targets and duration.
A melee attack is your basic form of close-range combat, hitting the enemy over the head using either your fists or whatever is in your hand, such as a sword, an axe or a spanner. Only enemies within the reach of a swing, stab or thrust will be damaged. Most melee attacks are physical and can be blocked, parried or evaded.
A ranged attack is any attack that is performed from a range further away than a melee attack. Attacks using bows, guns or thrown weapons, as well as many spells fall into this category. All such attacks have a maximum range, and most of them also have a minimum range - often preventing them from being used in melee.
Damage type Edit
A magical attack is any attack which uses spells or some other magic component. These attacks usually ignore armor, but are subject to a separate system of resistances.Magical attacks can be cast from range, or can be used as melee attacks.
A physical attack is done with a tangible object, such as a fist, dagger, arrow or rock. Damage caused by physical attacks is countered by armor.
Number of targets Edit
The vast majority of attacks are only able to inflict damage on one enemy at a time. However some attacks, most of which are magical, can affect multiple targets with a single use. This concept is explained to great detail (including diagrams) in the Area of effect article.
Almost all physical attacks and many magical attacks are of the direct damage type (hence such magical attacks are called "DD spells"), meaning that all damage is taken at the same instant.
Other attacks, called "DoTs", do damage over a certain period of time. The total damage is divided up (not always evenly), and affects the target at even intervals, sometimes referred to as "ticks". Very few physical attacks work this way, but one example is "bleed" type attacks.