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Refreshing such a list would happen whenever their current top target dies, when they would move onto the next one. The distance should still be a factor, though, but the calculated priority could just be compared to the stored second best priority (even if it's outdated), reducing the amount of comparisons and distance calculation. The other factors could be whether the enemy is melee/ranged/magical and how much xp they are worth at level 1, and by tweaking them the AI could be much smarter than just blasting the nearest enemy.
Of course, if you already have a good implementation on looking up the distances and choosing the nearest target, I don't know if this would be worth it. It's probably not enough to make the game un-sluggish on busy screens alone, anyway. A smart AI doesn't really matter much in the hands of a smart player anyway, since you can already just unsummon a wizard and then reposition him - handpicking targets like that would be difficult with a less predictable targeting system.
Mostly I'm just interested in what the current system is, actually. :D
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