An update from the conversation happening over on LinkedIn: I am including the brainstorming down below, but an important preamble: The distance a class can impose effect (e.g. self, within melee reach, at range) is inconsequential to the archetypes proposed here. We dive into what can take hits, make hits, and augment the context hits happen in.
Post years of study, there are only three: a trinity of RPG classes that fall into any game.
The fighter class. Physicality, brawling, hitting, crowd management.
This class is the heavy assault battleship in games. Hit hard and gets hit hard. Strength and endurance are the key attributes.
The fantasy ranger and modern assassin. The class is always much more intimate and delicate at getting to the right places and pressing just the right points. A key is focus: effect the right spot (e.g. sniping headshots) or the right individual (e.g. dump effects on a single target).
Gunslingers, drone operators (perhaps a Support overlap?), pilots, marksmen, and fast. Speed and precision are the key attributes.
As it says: Wizards, magicians, and those that do things through powers seemingly unknown. Whether through the arcane or advanced technology, these be a game’s healers, specialists, manipulators, and status controllers, a.k.a.:
Medics, sweet talkers, glass cannons (arguably a DPS overlap), hackers, and buffers. The smart and seemingly cunning or wise.
Take hits, make hits, affect hits.
That is all, folks! Every character, every role, every class in every RPG out there fits in these overarching categories.
Sure, there are combinations of the Tank, DPS, and Support (e.g. a sniper carrying a shotgun, heavy melee Darth Vader using Force magic), yet these are merely mixing the basic ingredients to everything a player might play as.
This trinity equally corresponds with the every-occasion Body/Strength, Mind/Speed, and Soul/Will set of game attributes seen in titles like Soulbound. In all, I view this clarifying of themes as an evolution of game design, but that is another post 🙂
Keep this in mind when designing your next game or selecting your next character to play! Cheers to it all!