Hunt dragons and delve in the forgotten lore of a High Fantasy epic! Explore the galaxy and conquer alien planets in a science fiction universe! Balance your chi and master the martial arts in ancient China! An Adventurer Is You! You can do anything!
Well, anything that your Class allows you to do. Games with a class-based system — such as almost every MMORPG out there, many Tabletop Games, and some other games such as RTSes or TBSes with RPG Elements — will provide distinct Classes that usually fall somewhere along the lines of various archetypal class roles, such as the Tank, the Healer, the Damage Specialist, the Trickster, etc.
So then, who IS The Hero, I hear you ask? Everyone is! The point of this system is to provide everyone with an important role, and for developers to ensure that players will be able to grasp game mechanics and battle tactics faster. If any Player wants to be the leader, his own personal ability is much more important than his Class.
An Adventurer Is You is a set of the most basic and common such character classes that players can take for their characters.
(What'd you say? ...Oh, well, the Trope Namer is Kingdom of Loathing, which got the name from a certain bit of Engrish in the NES game Pro Wrestling.)
These classes are examples of Splats, and most Splats will reflect some of their attributes.
See also PVP Balanced. Compare and contrast Competitive Balance, where each character is designed to stand alone and compete with any of the others, rather than work together.
See also Fantasy Character Classes and Common Character Classes.
The Tank: Unless your party can kill everything in sight in one hit, you are going to need someone to soak up the damage those pesky monsters do. To make sure he's the target of all incoming pain, the Tank has the ability to "taunt" enemies into attacking him and ignoring the party members actually hurting them.
Before MMORPGs introduced the aggro system, the Tank was simply the class with the strongest armor and most Hit Points. These types usually stood at the front of the party in order to ensure they absorbed most of the damage, and often had high damage capability of their own, being more Mighty Glacier than pure Meat Shield. Nowadays, this archetype is often conflated with the "Melee DPS" class, and straddles the line between Tank and DPS.
The Meat Shield: The classic form of the tank, this guy has the highest amount of hitpoints and therefore can take hits that would kill a squishier character. Actual defensive abilities are optional.
The Mitigation Tank: Sometimes distinct from the previous option in that he has less health, but the enemy would not do as much damage to him. He is highly likely to wear plate armor, if the game is in the fantasy genre, and often substitutes defensive power for offense. Typically has abilities to bolster his defences further or retaliate against the enemy.
The Avoidance Tank: This tank specializes in avoiding damage altogether, rather than absorbing it, either through superior dodging and parrying skills, or sometimes through passing the damage on to a different character. These tanks are often borderline Fragile Speedsters.
The Regenerator: This version of tank is reliant on keeping himself alive through self-healing capability. However, this is typically insufficient against the most powerful foes and a healer is still required.
The Magic Tank: In some games, the characters with the best defense against physical attacks tend to have the worst defense against magic attacks. The Magic Tank is a tank type who's specifically designed to be able to "tank" magic damage. Magic Tanks are frequently closer to the Spellcaster archetype than the Fighter archetype.
The Healer: The guy who makes sure that the rest of the party doesn't die while they're trying to kill stuff. There tends to be a wide variety of healer forms with varying degrees of defensive and offensive capabilities. In older games they frequently overlapped with the Buffer as well (see below).
Healer Classic: This guy's style of healing is uncomplicated - when his allies take damage, he heals them and undoes said damage.
Preemptive Healer: Rather than try to heal damage that has already been caused, the Preemptive Healer aims to prevent the damage from happening in the first place via various protective spells often called 'shields' or 'wards.'
The Curer: Rather than specialize in healing damage, this particular healer specializes in curing detrimental effects such as poison and blind.
The DPS: Short for Damage Per Second, these classes are all about doing as much damage as quickly as possible. This role is traditionally separated into two broad categories: melee and ranged damage dealers. In many games they are counted such instead of simply damage dealers.
Ranged DPS are typically Squishy Wizards: frail in melee combat, but can rain down death from afar. They are also frequently hybridized with other classes and are frequently given secondary abilities to make them distinct — for example, druids are sometimes mediocre healers who can also do some good spell damage.
The Nuker: This guy is a spellcaster who specializes in "nuking" his targets with high-damage spells. If Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors is in effect, it is often the Nuker's job to exploit it.
The DoT Master: Gradual Grinder. Uses primarily abilities that pack little initial power, but deal heavy Damage over Time (DoT); frequently overlaps with Debuffer (see below).
The Archer: His ranged attacks come faster and typically don't have as many restrictions, but also pack less punch. Typically uses a ranged weapon instead of spells.
Melee DPS has their defensive capabilities vary somewhat, but they're rarely as squishy as a ranged or as durable as a tank.
Blademaster: A Mighty Glacier type with a single massive weapon, who deals damage via slow but extremely powerful hits. He usually has close to the durability of a tank, if not the actual defensive capabilities.
The Scrapper: Specializes in dishing out a sequence of attacks as quickly as possible. To this end, Scrappers are frequently Dual Wielding. A Bare-Fisted Monk typically also fits into this category.
Backstabber: This guy relies on being behind the enemy to be able to exploit their weak spots. To make this easier, he is frequently given an ability to become undetectable by enemies. Typically using knives or daggers. Frequently among the squishiest of the DPS classes.
The Status Effect Guy: These classes are more focused on status effects than pure damage or healing.
The Buffer: This guy's main job is to use various beneficial abilities on his allies to strengthen them - to buff them up, if you will, which is how he first got his name. Pure buffers are very rare - expect to see they hybridized with another class. In the case of buffers, that class is often a healer type.
The Debuffer: Just as the Buffer works to make his allies stronger, the Debuffer works to make the enemies weaker, typically using Standard Status Effects or similar mechanics. Debuffers too are usually hybridized with another class.
The Mezzer: A relatively new class type, the mezzer's specialty is "Crowd Control" - that is, to incapacitate the enemies and keep them from swarming out of control and slaughtering the rest of the party while the tank is busy. Mez is short for "mesmerize," which was an EverQuest spell that caused an enemy to stand around in a daze doing nothing. Both the Mezzer and the Debuffer are capable of reducing the amount of incoming damage, but one does it by weakening all enemies and the other by reducing how many enemies are attacking.
The Resource Master: These classes are based around working with whatever a particular game calls that stuff that players use to cast spells (MP, Mana, Spell Points, Power, etc...).
Power Re-generator: This player's job is to keep the rest of the party in good supply of spell points. Power Re-generators usually have a hybrid build with another class, frequently a healer.
Power Degenerator: These guys attack the enemy's spell points supply to try and keep them from using their stronger abilities. Pure Power Degenerators are rare, and they can be hybridized with almost any other class.
The Petmaster: Calls upon the assistance of powerful companion creatures. Exact proportion of master and pet power may vary, but typically a petmaster has a primary role and can function in some capacity should his minions be killed or disabled.
The Summoner: Most common in traditional RPGs and almost unheard of in MMORPGs, the Summoner calls up monstrous beasts from beyond for one immensely powerful attack. These summons can be Awesome, but Impractical based on magic points cost and/or casting time. Regularly overlaps with The Nuker.
The Beastmaster: This character fights with a pet companion. Sometimes he'll have a few different pet types, sometimes only one.
The Minion Master: This character summons hoards of weaker pets rather than a few stronger ones. It already has its own trope page.
Area Of Effect: Area Of Effect (AOE) is more a subtype that can be applied to any other class rather than a type of its own. An AOE class has abilities that apply to an entire area rather than to a specific target. An AOE nuker would cast spells with an explosive impact (e.g. fireball), an AOE tank might wade into the middle of the enemies and start using Spin Attacks, an AOE healer might use a spell that heals himself and anyone within a certain radius around him. Usually to balance their ability to hit many targets, the AOE-capable class has less raw power than the direct damage version.
The Jack of All Trades: The Jack can do a little bit of everything, but not as well as any of the character classes that specialize in it. Theoretically, their flexibility makes them ideal for adapting to an unexpected situation. In practice, it usually doesn't take players long to memorize situations and so the Jacks become Tier Induced Scrappies in favor of the more specialized classes. Games have tried various ways to work around this, such as giving the Jack multiple "specs" or "builds" to put them on par with the other classes at the expense of quick adaptability. Jacks may also become the embodiment of Difficult, But Awesome - players who can get the most out of their wide assortment of abilities can be lethal with them, but most players won't master enough different skills to reach this point with them.
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Dungeons & Dragons, an old and long-running Tabletop Game, has been slowly tending toward these roles over time, and as of 4th Edition, officially took them on. But in editions past:
One of the the most powerful roles is not any of the 8 archetypes, but a role called the Buffer, who improves the combat capabilities of his allies. Much math was done to show that a Haste spell on average, does several times more "damage" than a Fireball spell, thanks to Haste granting allies more attacks and a higher hit rate. (In MMOs, the ability to "buff" allies is normally assigned to the Healer, and sometimes the Mezzer, since strengthening an ally's armor and weakening an enemy's sword have the same practical effect.)
Furthermore, the Mezzer is split between two roles, the Controller (a role made possible by D&D's grid-based system), who controls where enemies are and can move, and the Disabler, which reduces enemy combat ability, or disables them entirely. Wizard/Sorcerer are the preferred class for both, but the builds for each are very different.
An entire family of melee builds focus on area denial using a combination of tricks to significantly extend the range of polearm or chain weapons and a variety of abilities to trip or stun targets. While much less common than wizard/sorcerer controllers, some groups may prefer them as they aren't limited by the friendly fire issues many casters face.
Fighters, Barbarians, and Paladins fill the Tank role quite admirably. Rangers and Monks can also tank, but aren't very good at it in 3rd edition.
The Knight class in the Player's Handbook 2 appears to have been specifically designed as a response to tank classes in MMORPGs, using the Challenge ability to draw enemies to him and away from other party members.
The Crusader from Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords is generally considered the best tank, as it channels damage taken into improved attack ability, can punish foes for attacking its allies, and can self-heal.
Instead of only being Tanks, the Fighter and Crusader also make decent Controllers with the right build.
The Bard is primarily the Buffer, and also serves as the Jack, having low-level Healer and decent Disabler potential. With use of splatbooks, the bard can even be a good DPSer
Outside of the core rulebooks, the Factotum is the Jack, with abilities that let it become second best at just about anything for a few rounds at a time, as well as full access to every skill. They tend to do best as Rangers or Scrappers, combining either Rapid Shot or the Iaijutsu Focus skill with the ability to take extra actions.
Clerics and Druids usually take on the Healer role. The Crusader can be an excellent Healer as well with the proper build. Bards and Paladins can be healers but are sub-par at the role. With the Shadow Sun Ninja Prestige Class, Monks can actually become very good healers.
The Cleric was also meant to be a tank; the class has decent HP totals, and is usually expected to wear heavy armor. It's not uncommon for the Cleric of a party to have the highest defense. They're not horrible at damage dealing, either. With a proper build (and self-buffing spells), Clerics and Druids can become a good DPSer, a good Healer, and an enormously resilient Tank, all in the same package, and probably have a couple spells left over for Mezzing. Thus, they're considered extremely strong, and are sometimes dubbed "CoDzillas" (ClericorDruidZilla).
Druids also make very good pet masters, starting play with an Animal Companion, and having the ability to summon more natural allies.
Rogues start out in the role of the Ninja DPSer with their deadly Sneak Attack, although most high-level monsters are immune to this ability. Most high-level DPSers are specialized melee builds centered on special attacks (Uber-Chargers) or Wizards.
Sneak Attack/Backstab have become rather secondary for Rogues. The central function of the Rogue (and sometimes the Bard) is having lots of "skills" that can be used outside of combat, to do things like negotiate with NPCs, disable traps, and search for clues.
Monks don't seem to serve any of the roles, being only mediocre tanks and DPSers and are generally considered the weakest class. They are, however, perhaps the best dip class in the game, weakened only by the fact that you cannot dip both barbarian and monk.
Wizards and Sorcerers can be the Nuker, Buffer, Controller or Debuffer, depending on spell selection. Or all of the above, while also being a back-up healer if the player Munchkins enough.
Nuking has gotten much less popular in 3rd edition, as it has been mathematically demonstrated to be the weakest build for a spellcaster of any type. Excepting spellcasters with even a basic arcane thesis or divine metamagic build.
For that matter, the general rule in D&D is that beyond 4th level, A Spellcaster Does it Better, as Wizards are the best at every role except Tank and DPSer, which go to the Cleric and the Druid respectively.
The Player's Handbook II, which also brought us the Knight class (see Tank), introduced the Beguiler, a wizard-like class dedicated to being a pure Disabler with high "skills" like the Rogue and Bard.
There are a zillion custom base classes and prestige classes, providing all kinds of variants, specialists and hybrids.
And now, the present of Dungeons & Dragons. While previous editions just pointed out the concept of overall party balance, 4th Edition has established four archetypes, and strongly suggests that a party use each of them: Defender (Tank), Striker (DPSer), Leader (Healer/Buffer), and Controller (Nuker/Mezzer). Of the classes released in the three Player's Handbooks and various campaign-specific player's guides, the available classes are as follows:
Furthermore, each class has separate builds (which eventually branch into their own classes) that can shift it into another archetype entirely. The list from the Player's Handbook is as follows:
Tank: Guardian Fighter, Protecting Paladin (has some healing capacity)
Healer: Devoted Cleric, Inspiring Warlord
Nuker: War Wizard, Scourge Warlock
DPS (scrapper): Battle Cleric, Great Weapon Fighter, Avenging Paladin, Tactical Warlord (also buffs allies to increase their DPS potential.)
DPS (ninja): Two-Blade Ranger, Trickster Rogue
DPS (ranger): Archer Ranger, Scourge Warlock
Mezzer: Control Wizard, Deceptive Warlock, Brawny Rogue (focuses on powers that disorient or knock down opponents, is also a capable DP Ser, though not quite a scrapper or a ninja.)
The classes from the Player's Handbook 2 are mainly hybrids:
The Avenger is a Ninja DPS class with a dash of Mezzer; Isolating Avengers lean a bit more towards the later than Pursuing Avengers.
The Barbarian is a Scrapper DPS class; Rageblood Barbarians throw in a bit of Tank, while Thaneblood Barbarians throw in a bit of Mezzer.
The Bard is a Mezzer/Healer; Cunning Bards focus on this, while Valorous Bards throw in a bit of ninja/scrapper DPS and become more of a Jack.
Druids are Mezzers with both Ranger DPS (spells) and Ninja DPS (wild shape) ability; Guardian Druids focus on ranged attacks and throw in a dash of Healer, while Primal Druids focus on melee attacks.
Invokers are Nuker/Mezzers; Preserving Invokers focus on the latter, while Wrathful Invokers focus on the former.
Shamans are Healer/Petmasters who channel healing powers through their spirit companion as they send it into battle. Bear Shamans focus on defense (Tank), while Panther Shamans focus on offense (DPS)
Sorcerors are Ranger DPS/Mezzers; Dragon Sorcerors focus a bit more on doing damage, while Chaos Sorcerors focus a bit more on disabling their enemies.
Wardens are almost pure Tanks; Earth Wardens throw in a bit of Mezzer, while Wild Wardens throw in a bit of Scrapper DPS.
As well, most classes have some self-healing ability, meaning leaders are freed from some of the tedium of putting fellow party members back together and spend a bit of time beating (warlords) or blasting (clerics) seven colours of crap out of the nearest umber hulk.
Pathfinder, essentially a retooling of Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition, finds its core classes filling the same roles. Like D&D, later books added in hybrid classes which blurred roles. For example, the Advanced Player's Guide introduced a true "Mezzer" class (the Witch) and a Petmaster (the Summoner).
In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, your role is heavily dependent on your (randomly rolled) statistics and (randomly rolled) career, as well as your (mostly randomly aquired) equipment, which most classes wield equally well at the beginning, leading to a complete breakdown in defined party roles: Most characters start up playing some kind of jack (such as a peasant, a dung collector or a charcoal burner) with all their stats around the 25-35 range. As you start entering the advanced careers things start looking more defined, however: Classes like the knight and veteran require heavy armour and allow characters to fulfill a tank role, while magic-possessing priests of Sigmar and Shallaya (not that you'll ever get a PC to play the latter) are fairly defined healers or buffers. Wizards with a school of magic may (depending on their school) be either nukers, mezzers, or buffers.
Rogue Trader and Deathwatch follow similar lines, though with classes appropriate to the premise of those two games.
Exalted, having a point-buy system, allows you to build your characters any way you want, so it subverts this slightly. However, each Caste/Aspect has certain abilities they're inherently better at.
DPS: Dawn Solars and Dusk Abyssals tend to do well as Scrapper or Ranger DPS (have all combat abilities favored). Night Solars and Day Abyssals are usually stereotyped as either Ranger DPS or Ninja DPS, favoring many movement and evasion abilities. Many view Full Moon Lunars as most useful as Scrapper DPS or Tanks, as they favor physical attributes. Changing Moon Lunars and Endings Sidereals can be Ninja DPS if they decide to go with the ninja/assassin aspect of their Caste.
Tanks: Zenith Solars and Midnight Abyssals, who favor the Resistance and Integrity abilities, although their official role is to be priests. Full Moon Lunars, with their potential for ridiculous amounts of health and regeneration. Day Abyssals, Night Solars, and Serenity Sidereals favor the Dodge ability, giving them the potential to evade tank. Battle Sidereals have an inherent ability that makes them and their allies resistant to damage, plus they favor Resistance. Surprisingly enough, Twilight Solars and Daybreak Abyssals have a caste-inherent power that makes them negate damage, subverting the Squishy Wizard stereotype, and can use that to be a Tank if they emphasize more out-of caste abilities. Earth Aspect Dragon-Blooded are often viewed to be very tough and resilient, and Fire Aspects have an ability that hurts people that touch them. Dawn and Dusk castes also have an inherent power that makes them more difficult to hit (and weak-willed enemies will be unable to attack them at all.)
Nukers: Any Caste/Aspect that favors Occult and uses sorcery, which includes Twilight Solars, Daybreak Abyssals, No Moon Lunars, Air Dragon-Blooded, and Secrets Sidereals. While Sorcery effects are extremely various and capable of many things, many spells are nuking taken to the extreme; one of the weakest spells creates a swarm of sharp objects with the area of a football field; one of the strongest levels entire cities.
Healers: Twilight Solars, Daybreak Abyssals, Wood Dragon-Blooded, and Serenity Sidereals all favor the medicine ability.
Jacks: While supposedly emphasizing on diplomacy and business, Eclipse Solars and Moonshadow Abyssals have the unique ability to learn the powers of other types of Exalted and Spirits, giving them versatility no other Exalt has. Most Dragon-Blooded Aspects and Sidereal Castes are Jacks to some degree; almost all of them emphasize at least one combat ability, their specializations are more thematic than functional. Changing Moon Lunars are jacks to a more limited degree; while they favor social attributes, their job description is Assassin/Trickster/Scout/Ninja/Courtesan/Spy, and they have the tools to succeed at more than one of those jobs simultaneously as well as many others.
In Magic: The Gathering, the whole color wheel (the 5 kinds of resources available) are based on this trope.
Red [Mountains]: pure DPS: pure red decks focus on direct damage, sacrificing long term damage over cheap, immediate solutions, like cheap creatures and direct damage spells.
Green [Forests]: Beastmaster class, summoning a few powerful monsters and buffing them for direct minion-to-enemy-forehead fights. Dislikes flyers, ironically
White [Plains]: much like green, with a focus on an army of more numerous but smaller soldiers. also includes a heavy attitude of disabling enemies rather than outright killing them.
Blue [Islands]: Mezzer/crowd control. focuses on making enemies's choices irrelevant, through the use of counterspells and the forcing of opponents to cast the same spell over and over just to make it stick.
Black [Swamps]: the "Warlock" color. kills just as many allies as enemies. frustrates opponents. wins at all costs.
Champions, being a Point Buy System, allows the player the choice to take on any role he wants without the restrictions of Class. A single character could, with the right combination of powers, take on the DPS, tank, mezzer, and buffer roles simultaneously.
Ammo gives free choice of skills, and a random background specialization (often not random if the Director is friendly). Most of these are aimed either to inflict lot of damage in a short time, or to research clues and resources. The game lacks a true Tank as mostly you either can suck lot of damage or you die first round.
Air Rivals, though it only has four crafts, generally follows this:
The B-Gear is The Jack, with balanced all-around performance and the ability to drop bombs. Of note is the fact that it pretty much matches the Idle Sniper for speed and turning.
The A-Gear is The Tank, literally. Heavy firepower, thick shields and massive defenses. Also somewhat of a Nuker.
The I-Gear is The DPSer. Heavy firepower but a very light frame.
Anarchy Online is an interesting entry both because of how skills are handled in the game (anyone can train any skill, with limits set by what profession you choose and how you spend your skill points), as well as the blending of each professions' toolsets. Using the above list, however, you'll find the following professions in these roles:
Tanker: Enforcer, Soldier, Martial Artist.
Healer: Doctor, naturally, with Adventurer and Meta-Physicist bringing up the rear for pure healing capacity, though other professions have healing capacity of some sort.
Nuker: Nano-Technician's strong point, but the Bureaucrat and Meta-Physicist also qualify. Adventurer, if you really wanted to try to shoehorn 'em in.
DPSer: Hard to say, one of the most famous DPSers in the game at this writing is actually an Engineer, not exactly noted for insane damage, which goes to show that focus on DPS is based on effort to a large degree, but the professions that are based around pouring on DPS are: Shade, Soldier, Agent, and Martial Artist.
Mezzer: Simply calms the enemies, which is the bailiwick of the Bureaucrat, Nano-Tech, and Trader, with the Meta-Physicist and Adventurer having some capacity in this area,
Debuffer : Doctor, Bureaucrat, Metaphysicist, Trader, Nano-Technician, and Fixer, with Agents bringing up the rear for debuffs.
Petmasters: Oddly enough in Anarchy Online most pet professions have the capacity for having multiple pets at any given time, the Meta-Physicist makes the most of this with a DPS pet, a mezzer pet, and a Healer pet, while the Engineer has 2 combat pets that they can heal, while the Bureaucrat can either charm 2 hapless enemies into fighting for him, providing impressive DPS, OR they can summon the mightiest lawyer in the entire universe to 'litigate' for him. Either way, they can also command an assistant that's usually the weaker of the 3 profession's pets. Traders can charm an enemy (forcing the Trader immobile, not a good thing to be) or summon a rather weak 'litigation force' at endgame.
Jack: The 2 definitive Jacks in the game are the Adventurer and Meta-Physicist. Not great in every role but able to fill holes when they pop up.
The Jack you never see is the Agent, who can literally change their profession to another, (barring the two Shadowlands professions of Keeper and Shade) and can thusly use the bulk of the game's available toolset...and yes, this means they have access to the Doctor's toolset, and can almost heal as well as a Doctor at endgame. They're not mentioned much through the early list simply because in the game, it's simply assumed that agents can do most everything that would be available (To a certain extent, agents can't use expansion based nanos and some initial nanos and equipment) and are usually either off killing other players (Agents are built for the sort of burst DPS preferred in the game's pvp.) or off in the hardest areas of the game killing pvm content. Naturally you don't see them because they're stealthy on top of it all.
Asheron's Call uses a Point Build System, where characters spend points to buy skills of their choice. Skills have 3 rankings — untrained, trained, and specialized, which correspond to how many skillpoints are used — an untrained skill costs 0 points (and may be outright unusable), a trained skill costs anywhere from 2-12 skill points, and specializing a skill costs more still. Characters start with 50 points and gain more as they approach the game's max level of 255. However, the game's community has created its share of "templates" which are considered optimum character builds:
Tank - Any character with Melee Defense and high Endurance
Healer - Any character with Life Magic
Nuker - Any character with War Magic, although ranged weaponry may also count
DPSer - Any character with any weapon skill (Spear, Dagger, Sword, etc) or War Magic
Mezzer, Petmaster, Trapper - Do not exist, although there are debuff spells in Creature, Item, and Life Magic which can seriously affect the outcome of a battle.
Jack - Combination classes are common, including "3 School Melees" — a mage that takes a weapon skill instead of War Magic, allowing them to buff themselves up to extreme levels.
Note: Unless they changed things significantly, almost all characters require a good knowledge of item and creature magic in order to function at a minimal level, regardless of role.
Defender - The Healer, but don't call them that. Many All Defender powersets are more focused on preventing damage or giving buffs than actual restoration of Hit Points. In fact, characters of any Archetype can invest in the Medicine powerpool, getting HP-Recovery and Life-Restoration abilities. If you claim to be a 'healer', you'll be considered a Noob. The Defender's second hat is Ranged DPSing, with Defenders that focus on DPS gaining the colloquial nickname "Offender."
Controller - A Mezzer/Healer Hybrid, and nearly every Controller powerset ends up with a Pet-summoning ability. For their secondary powerset, Controllers can choose from the same HP-Recovery/damage prevention focused sets available to Defenders.
Kheldian (Peacebringer or Warshade) - The Jack of the shapeshifting kind, though each has a different focus.
...And note also that the Archetypes in City of Villains were intentionally designed not to fit nicely into those categories.
The Brute, for example, is midway between a Tank and a Scrapper-type DPSer. Or rather, he's a Scrapper with more emphasis on slow, powerful offenses and tougher, less agile defenses. Many Brutes choose to skip their Taunt ability entirely to choose another attack, and the others mainly use it to ensure they don't run out of enemies to pummel.
Corrupter is a Nuker or Ranger-type DPSer combined with the Healer or Mezzer (and as with Defenders, if you call them a 'healer' you'll be laughed at). One powerset allows them to be a Trapper as well.
Dominators are Mezzer/Ranger-type DPSers. Their general strategy is to lock down foes and finish them off at their leisure—or, as the players love to joke, "tie enemies up and whip them."
Masterminds are pretty clearly Petmasters, and one of the few entries who operate with a horde. Secondarily, they choose from a suit of buff/debuff/heal options that parallel the Defender's primary. Interestingly, they were originally designed to be Tanks, using minions as disposable HP.
Stalkers are also pretty clearly Ninja-type DPSers, with invisibility-type stealth, though they also have the Scrapper's defensive powers.
Arachnos Spiders are DPSers/Nukers with a different focus depending on which sub-class you take. Crabs are an AoE-focused DPSer with an AoE nuke, while Banes are a stealth-based Meleer, similar to a Stalker in play style. Wolf Spiders are primarily a single target Ranger-type, but you lose this once you switch to one of the above.
Arachnos Widows start as scrapper-like DPSers, but can choose between Fortunata, a Mezzer/Nuker/buffer, or add on stealth to become a Night Widow, which combines Stalker-like gameplay with Mezzing.
Both Arachnos Soldiers can also provide decent team buffs, and they dostack.
Protectors (the Behemoth, the Glacier, the Mountain and the Master) are Tanks (with the Master being a Dodge Tank)
Brawlers (the Blade, the Devastator, the Disciple, the Fist and the Unleashed) are Melee DPS
Avengers (the Inferno, the Marksman, the Tempest, the Soldier, the Squall and the Scourge/Cursed) are Ranged DPS
Sentinels (the Mind and the Inventor) lean towards support and crowd control
Guardians (the Void, the Grimoire, the Impulse, the Specialist, and the Savage) are a mixed bag of hybrid classes (the Grimoire does ranged DPS/support, while the Specialist does a mix of ranged and melee DPS).
Dark Age Of Camelot has a lot of overlap, mainly due to some radical differences in the three realms of Albion, Hibernia, and Midgard and quite a bit of leeway in how different classes can be specced.
All powers could fill the DPS role, although Light, Fire and Ice seems most popular. It depends more on weapons than powers when it comes to different types of DPS.
The Nuker: All powers has an attack that takes several seconds to perform, such as "Final Ruin" for Sorcery, that deals double damage when target is below 35% health. For a player whose normal attacks deal about 70 damage (not counting combos), this could hit over 2000.
The Tank: Ice, Fire, and Earth.
The Regenerator: Fire.
The Mitigation Tank: Ice.
The Avoidance Tank: Earth.
The Healer: Sorcery, Electricity and Nature.
Preemptive Healer: Sorcery.
The Status Effect Guy: Called "controller", and is a combination of all three subtypes. Also a Power Re-generator: Grants power points to other players, which is essential for DPS to deal good damage and healers to heal. Again, whether they lean on any side depends on the weapon and the playing style more than the power.
The Petmaster: Sorcery. Although Ice, Earth, Gadgets and Mental gets one or two.
EVE Online uses a skill point system. Special bonus? You can continue training a skill while logged out or at one time, even while your account is actually cancelled and otherwise unplayable ("ghost training" was taken out as of 2008). However, the ship types form what one might consider traditional classes, though the lines blur easily.
Battleship - Tank/Nuker depending on setup
Logistics - Healer
Recon, Electronic Attack Ship - Mezzer
Assault Ships, Battlecruisers, some Cruiser setups - DPSer
Fast frigates and interceptors, interdictors, heavy interdictors - The Trapper, in a limited sense; prevent opponents warping away and escaping.
Mezzer - Enchanter, Bard, Necromancer (versus undead, only, which is rare)
Petmaster - Necromancer, Magician, Beastlord
Jack - Bard (though thanks to the years of mudflation their role switched from being the jack to being a mezzer / buffer as the rest of their roles fell by the wayside.)
Note that Everquest also have some other roles, such as Manamaker (bard, magician, enchanter, beastlord), Slower (shaman, bard, enchanter) and Puller (Bards, monks, and possibly well-played Shadowknights, necromancers, enchanters, or rangers. Though in the right circumstances, any class could do it).
EverQuest II has 26 classes. So classes can get pretty specialized.
Assassin: Backstabber DPS
Berserker: AoE Tank
Bruiser: DPS/Avoidance Tank
Channeler: AoE Healer/Petmaster hybrid
Coercer: Crowd Control/Magic Healer hybrid
Conjuror: Petmaster/Nuker hybrid
Defiler: Preemptive Healer/Curer
Fury: Curer/Nuker hybrid
Guardian: Mitigation tank
Illusionist: Magic Healer
Inquisitor: Preemptive Healer/DPS
Monk: Healing Avoidance Tank
Mystic: Preemptive Healer/DPSnote The difference between Inquisitors and Mystics is that Inquisitors use "reactives" to heal damage as it's caused and Mystics use "wards" that prevent the damage in the first place
Necromancer: Nuker/Petmaster/Jack of All Trades
Paladin: Healing Tank
Ranger: Archer DPS
Shadowknight: DPS Tank
Templar: Classic Healer/anti-AoE Healer
Warden: Classic Healer/Curer
Warlock: AoE Nuker
Free Realms — This trope is avoided in Free Realms, where you can switch to any class at any time.
Final Fantasy XI — Due to a unique combination of not completely understanding the MMORPG, the "support job" capability which lets characters use a secondary, half-leveled job, and a strong focus on encouraging party play, FFXI is a strange case, with a lot of theory vs. practice roles.
Tank - Theory: Warrior (tough/blood). However, in practice, the most useful things the Warrior brings to this table are Provoke and Defender, both of which are at low enough levels that anyone can use them. Warriors are more useful for melee damage.
Practice: Paladin (tough) and Ninja (evasion). Ninja can create illusions of themselves guaranteed to be targeted instead of the ninja as long as the ninja has the monster's attention (and they can dodge just as well as the ninja can!). Both of these jobs can use a Warrior subjob for Provoke, or a Dancer subjob for a weaker Provoke-alike, as well as healing that doesn't use MP.
Many specialized builds, such as Paladin/Ninja and Ninja/Dark Knight — and theoretical builds, such as Red Mage/Ninja, Paladin/Red Mage, and Warrior/Dancer — also exist, but the above builds are the most typical.
Healer - Theory: White Mage, Dancer, Scholar.
Practice: White Mage still performs well, but Red Mage is frequently seen as a "healer" as well. Due to Summoner not fitting neatly and efficiently into any obviously useful role on its own, but being a sufficient healer at certain levels when its massive MP pool is combined with a White Mage subjob, it gets pigeonholed here as well. The jury is still out on Dancer's capability to main heal effectively at high levels. Scholar gets its heals as slowly as a Paladin, so until high levels it's rarely invited for the express purpose of healing unless the group needs frequent area-of-effect status heals; at the top, however, it's a very efficient "healer" via area-of-effect prevention of damage.
Nuker - Theory: Black Mage.
Practice: Black Mage, Scholar. While Scholar was originally intended to be equally considered a healer and an Elemental Powers-flavored DPSer, people treated it as a party-friendlier version of Black Mage and Square Enix quickly tweaked the job to accomodate.
DPSer - Theory: Ranger (ranger); Monk, Dark Knight, Dragoon, Samurai (scrapper); Ninja and arguably Thief (ninja); Scholar (other).
Practice: Ranger (ranged); Monk, Blue Mage, Dark Knight, Dragoon, Samurai, Warrior (scrapper); arguably Thief (ninja). Blue Mages' most useful spells are their quick-casting physical damage spells. Ninjas became a tank, in part because their primary way of dealing damage was financially impractical. Scholars were intended in part as a magical DPSer (complete with Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors), but only has high-level spells of this sort and was treated more like a straight Nuker. Warriors lack the degree of damage mitigation that Paladins and Ninjas are capable of, so this "balanced" class now favors its damage-dealing aspect. As for Thief, the job is less about dealing damage over time and more akin to a melee analogue to the Nuker without the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors aspect and with a specific Mezzer ability (hate control), though a good Thief tries to balance all these aspects. Finally, for perhaps the two or three characters in the entire game that have the gear to pull this off, Puppetmasters are perhaps the most powerful DPSer class in the game.
Mezzer — Theory: Bard, Corsair.
Practice: Mezzers are actually far more vital to an FFXI party than in the typical MMORPG, particularly at higher levels when they can create Mana regeneration effects. Red Mage was quickly turned into a Mezzer/Jack hybrid once it was clear that the game had no place for Jacks. Bard and Corsair also perform the Mezzer role admirably, and are far less likely than the Red Mage to be thrown into the healer pigeonhole instead.
Petmaster — Theory: Beastmaster, Summoner, Puppetmaster, and the idea that they'd be desired in parties. Dragoon also has a pet, but not really enough emphasis, control, or variety to really call it a true Petmaster as opposed to a DPSer with a pet.
Practice: Beastmaster is the purest of the Petmaster jobs and good at what it does, but overwhelming amounts of misinformation and misunderstanding of the job caused it to be regarded purely as a solo job. (Fortunately, it's great at that.) Summoner was intended to use their summons as DPSers while also using a Blood Pact (part pet command, part spell) once per minute, but the return on investment in summon auto-attacking is far too low compared to other magical ways of dealing damage and the Blood Pact timer is too long to give a summoner enough to do in a party, so they tend to be forced to play primarily as Healers (as explained above). Puppetmaster's pet is a mode-shifting Jack, but this idea seems to be impossible for players to grasp, so Puppetmasters also solo — very well, in fact. They do get invited more than beastmasters do (which isn't saying much), but good luck getting someone to tell you what you're being invited for...
Jack — Theory: Red Mage (everything at once), Puppetmaster (mode-shifting), Blue Mage (somewhere in between).
Practice: While all of these jobs can be played in this way, FFXI's world revolves around specialists... unless, perhaps, you're talking about Dancer, which seems to be becoming respected as a part-Healer, part-DPSer, part-Mezzer.
Avoidance Tanks (Ania + Block, Lisa + Evasion) - plus points that these Avoidance Tanks specialize so well in being one, they get rewarded for blocking/evading by becoming even more tankier, or exchanging that for a sudden burst in damage.
Anyone who has a summoning stance (Catherine the Summoner, Viki)
Or a summon as their personal skill (Claire, Kurt, Edward)
Cherlyn (Whose stance makes her summon an extension of her)
Soho (DPS (Dagger) + Healer/Buffer. Paid version has him also using martial arts)
Scouts (Healer/Buffer + Trapper + Debuffer/DPS)
Guild Wars. The multiclassing system allows its characters to straddle two classes at once, fully embracing their role, or dabbling in multiple ones, and changing secondary roles in between adventuring. For example, a Warrior could use secondary Elementalist earth magic to make himself even more tank-like, or could use secondary Assassin skills to make himself more of a Tank/DPSer hybrid, able to murder bosses without dying too quickly amongst its minions. Many professions have the ability to dabble in a variety of roles depending on builds, and a build of a specific character may prove to fit into a different role than those below - for instance, a Ritualist can build specifically for healing and compete well with a Monk, and air elementalists are commonly employed, especially in Pv P, to blind their opponents and have few traditional nuking skills, making them more of a mezzer.
Tank - Warriors and Dervishes. Warriors have great defense and health and focus on a wide vareity of melee techniques, while Dervishes specialize in enchanting themselves and hitting whole mobs with their scythes. (Some players claim that tanking is bad in the game and that all melee classes should be DPS, but if a party is to have a tank, these are the professions to use).
Healer - Monk. All classes have some self-healing, and a few can offer some roundabout means of healing others, but only a Monk (and Ritualists - see below) have skill sets dedicated to healing.
Nuker - Elementalist. Particularly fire elementalists, who are the game's hardcore artillery. Other elements mix in defensive and hindering powers, but in the end are still about blasting things.
Interestingly, because of the way elemental damage work, elementalists become progressively less efficient as one progresses in the game. While they are can clear the game, armor-ignoring-damage-dealers are chosen above elementalist against very high-level opponent and in optimal parties. Who can deal AL-ignoring damage? Pretty much everyone accept elementalist (and half the ritualist damage abilities).
DPSer - Assassin. Most of their powers focus on dealing whopping damage to single enemies, usually in melee. Because they're terribly fragile and dead meat if surrounded, they also have powers to get them in and out of the fight instantaneously.
Mezzer - Mesmer. A difficult class for beginners to play, because they're all about quickly shutting down the worst your opponents can offer, which means being able to recognize the same. Necromancers not acting as Petmasters also usually fit within this role.
Petmaster - Necromancer. Rangers and Ritualists can summon stationary spirits, and Rangers can get a pet to raise and coordinate attacks with, but only Necromancers will have a small army of their own following them about.
Jack - Ranger and Ritualist. Rangers are part petmaster, part mezzer, part DPSer, and part trapper. Ritualists are part healer, part petmaster and trapper (with their spirits), can enchant allies' weapons, and have a wide variety of grab-bag powers on top of all that.
Guild Wars 2 turns some of the typical roles on their ear by making almost everyone at least basically competent at almost everything, while retaining some areas of specialization. GW2 lacks the typical EverQuest-style aggro system, so tanking in the traditional, meat-shield sense mostly doesn't exist, and everyone can self-heal to a point. Builds based around healing others are possible, but the resulting party role is more of the "make people not die guy" (via a combination of healing, prevention and killing the enemy faster) than the traditional healer.
Warrior - DPS/Tank, though often built as glass cannon. Warriors wear heavy armor, have high HP, have two different skills to allow near-continuous HP regeneration, and they can dish out stupid-large amounts of single-target damage as well as nearly as much against tightly clustered enemies. They also have skills that allow them to impede enemy motion, control enemy positions on the battlefield and to improve allies' capabilities. A properly configured warrior can heal their allies too, though not well enough to qualify as a true healer.
Guardian - Tank/Support/DPS-over-time. Guardians get heavy armor and a lot of tricks to avoid being hit and to regenerate HP, and can inflict a lot of annoying status conditions on enemies. They're probably the most support-oriented class overall - nearly all their skills include some kind of heal, buff, debuff to enemies or debuff-removal for allies as a side effect. This makes them excellent blink-tanks, buffers and debuffers. They also take on elements of the proactive healer, using shields and wards to prevent damage to themselves and allies.
Thief - Scrapper/DPS. Thieves are the archetypal Glass Cannon. They have a fair bit of battlefield control and other utility, and even some proactive and direct healing in the form of resurrecting downed allies and blinding foes to cut their damage output, but the thief's main role is to pump out loads of damage and bedevil a foe with conditions. They can do this either from afar, with bows and pistols, or up close with swords and daggers.
Mesmer - Ranger/Controller. Mesmers excel at buffing, debuffing and ranged damage. They also have a ton of utility, ranging from clearing conditions to moving the group around a crowded battlefield. Against single, focused opponents they're amazingly good at avoiding hits while steadily wearing the foe down. However, when these abilities can't be used, they're among the squishiest of squishy wizards.
Necromancer - Condition Damage/Ranged DPS with a suprising side of tanking. Necros are cloth-wearing squishies at first blush, but they have the highest HP total in the game, the ability to seriously cut down on enemies' outgoing damage while simultaneously boosting received damage, and the incredibly useful Death Shroud, which is essentially temporary invincibility. They can also heal and regenerate allies, or take harmful conditions from allies and catapult them onto enemies instead. Necromancers are best when fighting battles of attrition: They excel at taking the most damage while wearing the enemy down with ranged and condition damage.
Ranger - Jack/Ranged DPS/Beastmaster. Controlling a pet is the Ranger's hat, allowing them to both do damage and control the battlefield. That said, rangers are capable scrappers and archers in their own right, even without the pet, and they have an array of traps that provide damage, debuffing and crowd control. They also often fit in as a jack; they can do everything from tanking to burst damage to condition damage and everything in between, depending on how they're built.
Elementalist - Nuker/Healer/Jack. The most obvious role of the cloth-wearing, Squishy Wizard elementalist is that of heavy artillery, bringing both nukes and DoTs to the fight. However, with the right build, the elementalist becomes one of the most effective direct healers in the game. They can also come surprisingly close to tanking by using their evasive and protective cantrips and careful use of debuffs and regeneration.
Engineer - Jack. Engineers are slightly squishy, but their skill with guns, their incredibly flexible kits and utility belts allow them to do nearly anything competently. They also have the unique advantage of being able to dole out healing in a way that lets the other players determine who gets healed. A well-played engineer fits into any party, either filling in its weaknesses or further bolstering its strengths.
It should be noted that none of these examples are set in stone. While some classes can do certain roles better than others, any class can play most roles perfectly well. While playing Guild Wars 2, you'll see extreme glass cannon Warriors and Guardians, tanky Rangers and Elementalists, Necromancers acting as healers, etc.
Perfect World has eight classes (soon to be ten), most of which embrace these roles, with one or two exceptions. The Debuffer/Mezzer roles, for example, are shared, as just about every class has some sort of debuff/mez skill, be it a Blademaster's stun, a Cleric's sleep, or a Venomancer's increased damage ability.
Barbarian: Tank, specifically Tough, and anyone who tries to build one otherwise will be summarily kicked out of squad.
Cleric: The unquestioned Healer. Again, anyone who tries a more creative build will be kicked out of squad (which is a pity, since Clerics tend to do decent damage when they're built right).
Blademaster: DPS, usually. However, they can be built into effective tanks, both Tough and Evasion... 5-attack-per-second Fist Blademasters, who tank by sheer damage aggro, are one of the most contested builds in the game, because of how sheerly overpowered they are.
Wizard: Nuker, complete with slow, massive attacks and elemental rock-paper-scissors. This class has some minor Healer capabilities, but they are as slow as the attacks, so it is not recommended to be a primary healer.
Archer: The equivilant of the Ranger DPS, but with next to no melee abilities. They do have a knockback ability to help, but it has a long cooldown. Can serve as an Evasion Tank for long-ranged bosses.
Venomancer: Petmaster to the letter. However, they also have the unique ability to lure enemies for better crowd control, and have the best debuffs of any class.
Assassin: Intended as a Ninja DPSer, but this can translate into Evasion Tank builds, since their damage aggro is so high. However, tanking with this class is VERY easy to do poorly, particularly with a less-than-top-notch cleric.
Psychic: Too fast to be a Nuker, this straddles the line between Ranger DPSer (despite being magical in nature), a Nuker, and a Healer. The healing abilities are mild and not really strong enough to handle a tank that doesn't have their own potions, and the DPS, while fast, is not the top of the heap. It's a bit of a Jack in that way, except that it fails at anything melee or physical.
Phantasy Star Online—While every job had a pre-determined use, Phantasy Star Online allowed players to tinker around with their characters, if they so choosed, thanks to the bonus stats from MAGs, stat-boosting Materials, and the variety of weapons characters could equip. If you wanted to survive on the higher difficulty levels, however, you would have to specialize. The following are the preferred setups:
Tank - HUcasts, HUcaseals, RAcasts and RAcaseals all had the highest defense of any class , the highest going to RAcasts (despite being long-range specialists).
Hunters and Rangers also count, due to their job as Kiters in that they would keep the enemies off of the Forces in the area.
Healer - FOnewearls were both the best healers and buffers, incidentally, as they had innate bonuses to those types of techniques, and could learn said techniques at the highest levels.
Nuker - The FOnewm in the original Phantasy Star Online was this, although the FOnewearl bumped him to second place in Phantasy Star Zero.
Also the FOmar, which makes up for its abysmally low defense with a boost in the ultimate techniques Megid and Grants.
DPSer - Hunters, in general, particularly of the Scrapper type. Special mention goes to the HUcasts, who boasted the highest attack stat.
Any Ranger with a good pair of mech-guns was a Scrapper to be reckoned with.
Additionally, a Ranger with a good Rifle or Pistol was a decent, er...Ranger. They were particularly vital against enemies with high Evasion.
HUnewearls and HUcaseals were Ninja, through and through, boasting heightened Evasion stats and quicker combos, particularly with Daggers.
Mezzer - FOnewearls, again.
Trapper - Any CAST, regardless of their job, was partially a Trapper, which made up for the fact that they couldn't learn techniques. Their traps came in various flavors: Fire-damage traps, Healing traps, and Stun traps. Phantasy Star Zero introduced Light traps, which confused the enemy. While it was never a good idea for a CAST to depend entirely on traps, they are useful in a pinch. casts also had the innate ability to see any traps set in the environment, without the use of items.
Jack - Hunters, in general, as they could equip most anything, save staves (except for Phantasy Star Zero). The HUmar was this, in particular, as they boasted the largest list of available weaponry, a moderate list of available spells, and overall-balanced stats. This made them particularly newbie-friendly.
What FOmars lack in defense they make up for with higher attack power and decent melee animations.
Phantasy Star Online 2 offers more room to customize character classes to one's liking with the addition of a Skill Tree system and sub-classes, in conjunction with the tried-and-true MA Gs.
Tank - Hunters can be these, either of the Bulletproof Human Shield variety with their large HP pools, or of the classic variety with their higher-than-average defensive stats. Their Skill Tree also has a skill that lets them draw aggro from all surrounding mobs.
Healer - Who else but the Forces? Techers also have access to healing abilities, but tend to play more offensively compared to the supportive Forces.
DPS - Any class can do well at DPS with the right setup, with Hunters as Blademasters, Fighters as Scrappers and Backstabbers, Rangers as Nukers, Gunners as Archers, and Forces and Techers as Nukers in addition to support.
Status Effect Guys: Again, any class can pull this off, thanks to weapons capable of having abilities that inflict status ailments. For the most part, though, Forces and Techers are the go-to guys for status effects, since all spells are capable of inflicting a status ailment correlating to their elements.
Area Of Effect: This is where Techers truly shine, as their abilities amplify the AoE of their spells. Rangers can also play this role, since their Launcher weapons create explosions that can affect multiple foes at onces.
Tank - Swordsman/Crusader/Knight, Rogue/Assassin (Dodge builds/'Blink Tanks' - although few realise Assassins also make a very effective 'Tough Tank'), Acolyte/Priest (an unlikely, but unbelievably effective tank when toughness and healing are combined), Merchant (the other role this class can meander into), Soul Linker (with Kaahi, a self-buff that autoheals up to 1400 hp every time they are hit in exchange for an amount of sp out of one of the largest sp pools in the game)
Healer - Acolyte/Priest (can play the Nuker against Dark and undead monsters), Alchemist (turned Petmaster)
Nuker - Mage/Wizard, Monk, (Bard and Dancer had the most powerful nuke skill in the game at one point,'Ragnarok', but it was removed after test-implementation for being too great a Gamebreaker and harassment tool)
DPSer - Hunter (ranged), Assassin (melee), Swordsman/Knight (melee), Sage (fast magic or magic cast from melee strikes), Monk, Blacksmith (when they're not making stuff), Gunslinger (ranged, most pointedly when a Gatling gun is involved), Taekwon Kids(Rankers), Star Gladiators (especially if they have Union on), Soul Linkers (one of the highest possible modifiers for single target magic along with fast cast)
Mezzer - Bard, Dancer, Sage, Rogue
Transcendental versions of normal classes sport enhanced skill sets and greater overall stats, opening up builds that may branch into other fields - High Priests and Lord Knights for example gained builds with a solid single-target nuke, High Priest's new buff halves any damage received and can make anybody into a half-decent tank.
Petmaster - Alchemist (this was arguably the class' primary function, but due to programming issues, the highly developed pet system (the 'pet' AI is openly customisable on a code level, for instance, and requires complete stat dedication to use effectively) went unimplemented for a very long time, leaving Alchemists with half a skill tree and the impression that pet-mastery was only a side-option)
The Jack - Rogue (which can operate almost any melee build effectively, and with good intelligence and appropriate use of their Plagiarism ability can double as a passable nuker)
Crusaders/Paladins, who fulfill the Healer, Tank, DPSer roles and have some ranged attacks, buffs, debuffs, and nukes. The other Jack would be the Super Novice, who can use all the skills available to the early character classes (Except the ones who require the use of a bow) but have really low Hit Points and Mana.
Rohan Online has six primary classes based on races (with a seventh and possible eighth coming soon), who are mainly split into several categories depending on what their general "job" is and what they become later on:
Tanker: Human Defenders and Dekan Dragon Sages and some Dragon Knights, with the occasional Agility-based Dhan assassin filling out the Blink Tank role in addition to Ninja DPS. Giants can also tank as well.
DPSer: Human Guardian (scrapper), Half-Elven Scout and Ranger (ranger), Dhans in general but Avengers in particular (ninja), and Dekan Dragon Knights (scrapper). Giants who focus on two swords are usually DPSers.
Nuker: Dark Elf Warlocks and Wizards, with the occasional Elven Templar as a side to the Healer role. Both Dekans and Humans can get a melee-based AoE as well, but it's mainly used for tanking and aggro management.
Mezzer: Just about every class has a skill capable of stunning enemies, which is crucial in both PVE and PVP, but the primary debuffs belong to Dark Elves of both the Warlock and Wizard categories, with Dhans and Dekans also getting some nice melee debuffs.
Trapper: Dhan Predators and Half-Elven Rangers.
Healer: Elves in general, but the Elven Priest in particular. Dekans can also heal using the Health Funnel skill.
The Jack: Dekans, full stop.
Warhammer Online has six racial armies — Dwarf, Empire (good humans), High Elf, Greenskin (Orc and Goblin), Chaos (bad humans), and Dark Elf — divided among two factions (Order and Destruction). Each army has four unique "Careers" that fall under four basic categories. Though explicitly designed to include PVE content, the game is very much PVP Balanced.
Tank - The High Elf Swordmaster and Black Orc use "proto-Jedi" sword-fu and cunning brawler tricks, respectively. The Dwarf Ironbreaker grows more dangerous as you hurt his allies, and the Dark Elf Black Guard thrives on growing hatred for his enemies. The Imperial Knight of the Blazing Sun fortifies his allies with battlefield commands, but the Chaos Chosen radiates debilitating fear. All have the ability to taunt NPC Mooks and even other Player Characters (forcing a temporary half-damage reduction to any target but the taunting Tank). All also overlap with the Scrapper DPS archetype enough for solo-play viability.
Melee DPSer - The Imperial Witch Hunter and Dark Elf Witch Elf promise to be ninjabadasses all the same, with offenses that grow steadily more dangerous. Likewise, the Dwarf Slayer and Orc Choppa build up and unleash fury as berserker-flavored Scrapper DPSers. The Chaos Marauder is also a Scrapper, but he prepares for a fight by mutating his body. The High Elf Career for this category, the White Lion, combines this with Petmaster and a dash of Tank: White Lion hunters wade into battle alongside their fierce feline companions.
Ranged DPSer - The High Elf Shadow Warrior and Chaos Magus are Badass Normal and Squishy Wizard forms of the ranged DPSer, with each showing varying shades of the Mezzer. The Dwarf Engineer is The Gunslinger with bombs, who stands between being a ranged DPSer and, unusually, a melee Nuker. Similarly, the puny Goblin Squig Herder stays at range, relying on his melee-range pets to cause major pain — a Petmaster. The Imperial Bright Wizard and Dark Elf Sorceress are traditional Nukers, with the complication that overusing their most devastating powers will explosively backfire on themselves.
Support — The healing Careers... but the only remotely traditional Healers are the Dwarf Runepriest and Chaos Zealot. And much less so the latter. The High Elf Archmagus and Goblin Shaman are general purpose casters who can zap as well as heal. The Imperial Warrior Priest and Dark Elf Disciple of Khaine are unusual "melee" healers — they actually need to be in the front lines hitting things to build up the energy they need to cast anything. They'll all probably be Mezzers to greater or lesser extents.
World of Warcraft: Most of WoW's Classes are hybrids of the archetypes listed above, and the Talent system and benefits of higher-end equipment only make this more complicated. Some Classes have two or more "forms," each one with different strengths and weaknesses. Most players just lump the myriad of types into three categories: Tank, Heal, DPS. Buffing, Debuffing, and CC (Mezzing) roles are distributed throughout the various classes.
Death Knight — Tank, Scrapper-type DPSer or Blademaster-type DPSer, with a few elements of Damage Over Time or Petmaster thrown in, again depending on Talents. (Tank, DPS)
Druid — A mode-shifting Jack. With Talents, they can become a better Nuker, a better Healer, a better Tank, or a better Backstabber/Scrapper-type DPSer. They are the only class in the game to have four separate specialization trees instead of three, due to their versatility. (Heal, Tank, melee DPS, ranged DPS)
Hunter — Archer-type DPSer, Petmaster, Trapper who uses Traps. (DPS)
Mage — Nuker, Mezzer. Frost mages have elements of Pet Master by the virtue of a permanent elemental pet. (DPS)
Monk — A Jack that depends on Talents to become either an Avoidance Tank, a Healer, or a Scrapper-type DPSer. (Heal, Tank, DPS).
Paladin — A "Jack of all, master of one" that depends on Talents to become an effective Mitigation Tank with some Regeneration elements from powerful self-healing, Healer, or Blademaster DPSer. Healer has some elements of Preemptive Healers, though not as many as a priest. (Tank, Heal, DPS)
Priest — Healer and weak Nuker, but can become a ranged DPS with damage split between Nuker and DoT Master archetypes. Only class with two Healing trees, one for Classic Healer and one for Preemptive Healer (Though both have bits of the other). (Heal, DPS)
Rogue — Two talent specs for Scrapper-type DPS, and one for Backstabber. All three also heavily incorporate the ability to be a Mezzer. (DPS)
Shaman — Can become a Nuker, Scrapper, or Healer. Trapper who uses Devices called Totems. (DPS, Heal)
Warlock — Nuker, DoT Master, or Petmaster. All three specialites are using summoned Demons, each with a specific purpose, rather than the more generalized beasts a Hunter tames. Warlocks could also be said to be Debuffers due to their ability of weakening their enemy. Also, a minor specialization glyph allows warlocks access to an ersatz tanking form. (DPS)
Warrior — Tank, Scrapper-type DPSer or Blademaster-type DPSer. With the right talents and equipment, may also dual wield two-handed weapons, which technically has elements of both melee damage classifications. (Tank, DPS)
Tank - Seraph (highest maximum health, good armor, damaging defensive aura), Infernal Behemoth (strong regeneration skills, an even better aura, and the ability to ignore certain damage types), Divine Champion (can obtain absurd levels of armor and ignore several damage types), and Nexus Champion (can become very dodgy with proper balance and spells).
Healer - Any class can learn medical skills as a mortal, but the best at it are the Advocate (aura that heals over time, self-sacrifice skill to instantly heal everybody nearby) and Lightspeaker (summons pets that heal good-aligned characters). Both classes are also excellent at removing debuffs.
Nuker: any caster class can learn area-effect spells, but Wizards do more spell damage for less mana than any other class. The Void Walker and Advocate classes can also throw out a lot of hurt.
DPSer: A balanced Nexus Champion has the highest theoretical damage, but inflicting any damage will cause them to move away from True Neutral. The Revenant has excellent accuracy at night and good damage, the Infernal Behemoth is very powerful under the effect of Bloodlust, the Divine Champion can do a lot of damage with Cloak of Steel forms, and the Seraph can hit quite hard but has rubbish accuracy.
Mezzer: The Dark Oppressor, as the name suggests. More (and more painful) negative status effects than any other class. It's also one of the few classes that can inflict unsoakable damage.
Petmaster: The Lightspeaker, Wyrm Master, and Elementalist classes. All can summon a limited number of powerful pets. The Revenant also has several pet skills, but it is not the main focus of the class.
Trapper: The Lich can summon an unlimited number of relatively weak undead pets. Since moving around depletes the pets, they mainly take the role of stronghold defense. However, the ability to bring more than a hundred ghouls along with them makes them powerful offensive petmasters as well.
Jack: The Eternal Soldier. Not as great a tank or DPSer as the listed classes, he also is not restricted by morality or daylight as other classes are, and focuses primarily on passive skills that enhance his basic abilites.
A free MMORPG run by Nexon NA, Mabinogi completely averts this trope with its non-exclusive, unlimited skill-based system. Although there are some minor racial limitations on skills and equipment, there are no character classes, and thus no class limitations on either. And unlike most skill-based MMORPGs, there is no max limit on the skill building points available, nor any exclusive skill paths (except the transformation skills listed below). It is fully possible to max out every skill path in the game, becoming a Jack who is god-like at everything. Few players choose to do so, however, given the sheer time and effort required; and the majority opt to build their characters as a low-level Jack, while developing higher-level skills along more traditional hybrid lines. Pretty much every common, and a few less common, standard and hybrid tropes are available through particular skills or skill combinations. Pure Healer and Squishy Wizard builds are very rare, however.
Pets are universally available (as a paid premium), and include fairly powerful user-editable AIs, allowing them to function as lesser forms of any of the usual tropes, including Tanks, Healers, DPSers, etc. Solo players typically use them to fill in their own areas of weakness.
Along with this, there's a type of Mode-shifting Jack. There are several race-specific "transformation" abilities available; which give skill and stat boosts for a limited time. If used on the Jack, they become more typical trope type. If used on a hybrid, the transformation either enhances the main skillset, or produces a hybrid of various sorts.
Humans have two, Paladin and Dark Knight. Paladin stat boots focus on creating a Tank/DPS melee juggernaut. Dark Knight offers an odd, random boost; so depending on the particular instance (and existing skills), can result in a Tank, Nuker, DPSer, or pure Jack. The Dark Knight transformation also offers a strong Mezzer skill.
Elves have the Falcon transformation. Due to their racial stats, Elves tend to focus on Ranger DPS or various Healer hybrid tropes; and Falcon emphasizes these abilities, while providing enhanced survivability.
Giants have the Savage Beast transformation. Giants are effectively designed for the Tank/Scrapper DPS melee role; and Savage Beast ratchets this up several levels.
The five main classes fit into there initial roles quite well, but the Prestige Classes allow each class to branch off into just about every other direction, with some prestige classes actually sharing roles and changing there abilities drastically.
Slayers are the Jack, with aspects of a Debuffer.
Fighters are Scrapper-type DPS
Gunners are Ranger-type DPS
Mages are Nukers
Priests are the Tank, with aspects of a Healer.
Vindictus: There are sixclasses (canonically single characters), which can be customized a little based on which skills you level and whether you switch to the second weapon set.
Lann is a Fragile SpeedsterDual Wield DPS character who gives the impression of a tornado of blades. Upgrading his swords to twin spears ratchets up his DPS to the highest in the game. Has a AoE-ish spinning attack.
Evie is a Master-of-One Jack. She can be a Nuker who uses a staff, or a scythe-wielding DPS character, and either way she has at least one Mezzer, Trapper and Petmaster skill available. Recent updates have pushed her more into a Nuker vs. DPSer. Originally also a strong Healer, later updates substantiall7 nerfed her healing abilities.
Kai is a standard Ranger type, with some minor melee abilities, and one short-range AoE skill.
Karok starts out midway between Scrapper DPS and Tank. He's huge and able to wear the heaviest armor, and his attacks are slow but devastatingly powerful. He also has a Grapple ability far beyond any other character's. Skill build will eventually push him farther toward either Tank or Scrapper.
Vella is a dual-wielding DPSer; but is less of a Glass Cannon. After building her counter attack and dodge skills, she moves into Avoidance Tank territory. Her upgrade weapon is a pair of blades attached to long chains, give her an unusal AoE/ranged melee capability.
Along with character classes, there are also two mutually-exclusive transformation skills available: Paladin, which emphasizes defense, and is taken more often by Tank characters; and Dark Knight, which emphasizes damage, and is taken more often by DPS-oriented players. Both forms are used to compensate for a character's weaker aspects; especially to round out a Jack.
Rift plays with this. There are four base classes (warrior, mage, rogue, and cleric) with nine (counting PvP souls) possible specializations each. And while there's likely to be a base class that's the best fit for a given role, no class is necessarily pigeonholed. The only two real restrictions are that warriors can't heal and mages can't tank.
''Star Wars: The Old Republic is all over the place on this one. There are four character classes, each class has two Advanced Jobs, and each of those jobs has three skill trees to build from, leading to all kinds of combinations. Though There is a general trend.
Jedi Knight/Sith Warrior: DPS/Tank or pure DPS
Jedi Counsuler/Sith Inquisitor: Ninja DPS/Tank or Nuker/Healer
Republic Trooper/Bounty Hunter: Ranged DPS/Healer or Ranged DPS/Tank
Smuggler/Imperial Agent: Ranged DPS or Ninja DPS/Healer
Ice: Starts out as Meat Shield as well as Preemptive Healer, but also becomes the Mitigation Tank on top of that at higher levels.
Storm: The Nuker
Myth: Starts as the Beastmaster but later on they develop several features of the Debuffer and the Mezzer
Life: The Healer
Death: Doesn't really fall into any of the normal classes the closest being the Debuffer. They are based around the principles of give and take. They have several attacks with a Life Drain effect as well as several abilities that are Cast From Hitpoints
Balance: A Jack but slightly specialized to be the Buffer
Pirate101 all classes can perform some buffing but class specializations:
Buccaneer: Blademaster and Tank
Pirvateer: Healer, and Meatshield
Swashbukler: Backstabber, Scrapper, and hints of Avoidance Tank
Musketeer: The archer with some Mezzer abilites
Witchdoctor: Nuker, all the status effects classes, and Minion Master
The original Diablo emphasized solo-play more than group play. The warrior was not a tank, but just a Mighty Glacier, the sorcerer was a Squishy Wizard, and it was a Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards situation. The rogue was an archer and Jack of All Stats between the other two. The second game (Diablo II) was still geared for soloing, but was better PVP Balanced, and classes edged closer to traditional MMO archetypes, while having absolutely nothing to do with normal party roles:
Barbarian - Scrapper-type DPSer, Tank
Amazon - DPSer of any of the three types, depending on what skills you choose
Fighter: Tank/DPSer - Because he had the best armor AND weapons, the Fighter would often do a heavy amount of single-target damage in addition to shrugging off physical hits.
Black Belt: DPSer - Fairly weak at low levels, but this Bare-Fisted Monk could rival and even surpass the Fighter late in the game. He was also a lot cheaper to maintain: Twenty-Four-Hour Armor is expensive.
Thief: DPSer - with a side of Magikarp Power. He was significantly weaker than the Fighter and Black Belt until his class change to Ninja, which gave him enough damage output and spells to compete.
White Mage: Healer - Pretty much speaks for itself.
Black Mage: Nuker/Mezzer - In addition to spells that blasted multiple enemies, the Black Mage could also use a few status effect spells like Sleep.
Red Mage: Jack - Useful early on for his average attack power and spellcasting ability, the Red Mage's usefulness would start to fade late in the game as more specialized characters began to dominate.
Bloodline Champions uses Tank, Ranged Damage, Melee Damage and Healer archetypes to divide the individual bloodlines inside it. Tanks will generally win in a one-on-one manner due to high survivability and reasonable DPS, while Ranged Damage tends to depend on hitting their opponents while staying out of range from opposition, Melee Damage trade range for some extra damage, survivability, speed and more ways to get in range. Healers tend to lose one-on-one, but their healing is very valuable when other ways to regain health are much more cumbersome or much lesser powerful, as well as being able to gain energy from healing easily.
Final Fantasy III expanded on the job system of the first game with the following classes (especially in the DS remake):
Freelancer/Onion Knight: Jack - The initial class. Balanced, but generally useless once you got real classes. Onion Knights, however, approach Game Breaker once you find the Onion equipment (especially in the DS remake, where they can actually use magic).
Warrior/Knight: Tank/DPS - Knights also minor in Healer since they get white magic.
Monk/Black Belt: DPS(Scrapper) - A powerful Bare-Fisted Monk with high HP and damage.
White Mage/Devout: Healer
Black Mage/Magus: Nuker
Red Mage: Jack
Thief: DPS(Ninja) - Can also steal some good equipment.
Ranger: DPS(Ranger) - Deals damage from the back row.
Scholar: Healer/Nuker - Sort of an oddball class focusing on item usage.
Geomancer: Nuker - A more random and terrain-based nuker than the BM.
Viking: Tank - A more tanking-oriented class, with the Provoke ability.
Dragoon: Tank/DPS - More DPS-focused, with some damage-avoiding skills (Jump).
Dark Knight: Tank/DPS - Also has a minor nuking ability with the Souleater skill.
Evoker - Jack - Summons have random effects.
Summoner - Nuker - His summons are more focused on heavy nuking.
Bard - Healer/Mezzer - Harps can boost or even heal allies.
Sage - Healer/Nuker/Mezzer - Can use white, black, and summon magic.
Ninja - DPS(Scrapper) - Can throw shurikens for massive damage.
Final Fantasy IV has fixed classes for characters, but some are cleanly defined enough to be archetypes:
Cecil (Paladin) is a Tank. Even more so in the DS remake, which allows abilities like "Draw Attacks" and "Counter." note And for some more resilience, throw in "Range" and put him in the back row
Rosa (White mage) is a Healer
Rydia (Caller) is definitely a Nuker
Edge (Ninja) is mostly a DPS.
Final Fantasy V, with its Job system, allows any of the four party members to be any role (or a hybrid of any role, really), but the jobs themselves have specific roles.
Knight: Tank/DPSer - 2-handed grip ability doubles damage, and the Knight gets the best armor/weapons in the game. High HP, too.
Monk: Tank/DPSer - Only in the beginning, though. Inherent unarmed double-attack gets outclassed as weapons get stronger, and while the Monk has the highest HP, his armor is sorely lacking. Possibly a Scrapper.
Dragoon: Tank - Partially due to good armor, partially due to the Jump ability (Evasion).
Ninja: DPSer - Innate ability to use two weapons when attacking (hits twice). Also a Fragile Speedster.
Samurai: Tank - Just like the Dragoon, the Samurai gets good armor but can also evade (through the Blade Grip ability).
Hunter/Ranger: DPSer - 4x attack!
Sorcerer/Mystic Knight: Jack - Good weapon selection with the ability to graft any spell onto his attacks, but poor armor.
White Mage: Healer - Gets spells like Protect for proactive preservation.
Black Mage: Nuker - Duh.
Time Mage: Mezzer - Haste, Slow, Stop, etc.
Summoner: Nuker - Starts out with slow, high-offense spells, but gains damage prevention and healing later on with the addition of spells like Golem, Carbuncle, and Phoenix.
Blue Mage: Jack - Some healing (White Wind), Nuker-style damage (Aqua Rake, for example), decent attack/defense.
Red Mage: Jack - The same as Blue Mage, but with traditional Black/White spells.
Trainer/Beastmaster: Petmaster - Of course.
Chemist: Mezzer/Buffer - The Drink ability.
Gladiator: DPSer - Heavy damage output, but relatively frail.
Cannoneer: Mezzer/Nuker - Combine is a more offensive version of Drink/Mix
Oracle: Nuker - at least in theory anyway.
Necromancer: Nuker - as a darker version of the Summoner.
Final Fantasy X: Each of the seven party members are a mix of traditional jobs from previous games, their default progression paths on the Sphere Grid resulting in the following:
Tidus: Melee DPS, Scrapper type; high natural speed and accuracy statistics, and a decent strength output from the beginning. Learns Haste, Slow and Delay magic to get in even more turns against those pesky enemies with high HP. His Provoke ability can make him a useful Mitigation Tank later.
Yuna: The Healer, Beastmaster (this is an innate ability unique to her) and Magic Tank, due to her white magic, aforementioned (and storyline-important) powers as a summoner and high magic defense.
Auron: Meat Shield and The Blademaster, with the highest Defence and HP (as well as his Guard and Sentinel, which allow him to take a hit for another party member) and his incredible physical attack power, contrasted by underwhelming speed.
Wakka: The Archer (with a ball), Debuffer and (later) Meat Shield, due to his status-attacks and slow but very impressive strength and defense statistics.
Lulu: The Nuker, Debuffer, Evasion Tank and Magic Tank; due to her high-damage black magic (at the start of the game, absolutely absurd amounts of level-grinding excused, she'll no doubt be dealing the highest damage), and godly Evasion and Magic Defence statistics.
Rikku: The Scrapper minus the attack power, whose use boils down to stealing and being the Item Caddy.
Kimahri: A Blue Mage, his Sphere Grid path is very short and centralised, meaning he can cross into any character's path. Jack of all Trades, with low starting stats and the ability to learn fiends' abilities.
Any character, once they've finished a second path on the Grid becomes a Jack of all Trades, only with incredible stats.
Geomancer: ...Good question. This is a weird class that uses Tank weapons, Nuker armor and long-range magic attacks for Cherry Tapping damage and a chance for Mezzer-type debuffing. So, a Jack, since "Kitchen Sink" doesn't really belong anywhere else.
Dragoon/Lancer: Tank (half blood, half Eva%, as with its Final Fantasy V cousin).
Summoner: "All-purpose magic" (mostly Nuking, but with a splash of Healer, Buff and Debuff.)
...And of course there's a bunch of unique classes which only one character in the game gets, but we're not going to get into that. Most of them are DPS (Agrias, Meliadoul, TG Cid), Debuffers/Mezzers (Mustadio, Meliadoul, Beowulf; Balthier in the remake) or Spoony Bards (Rafa and Malak).
While there are no actual Jobs in Final Fantasy XIII, the Paradigm system allows the party to set up in a manner similar to Jobs. Being able to switch between them on command is the crux of the battle system.
Attacker/Commando: DPS. Used to inflict damage quickly and keep the Stagger gauge from dropping too quickly.
Blaster/Ravager: Nuker. Plays ERPS based on Libra information, elevates Stagger gauge quickly in addition to damage.
Defender/Sentinel: Pure Tank. Abilities are geared towards minimizing damage to self and drawing attention away from the party. Late battles will require intelligent use of this Paradigm to keep the party from being wiped.
Jammer/Saboteur: Dabbles in debuffs. Can inflict damage, but nothing compared to COM or RAV. The debuffs are the draw, however, and clever use of them will make any fight easier - in fact, some may be unwinnable without a SAB around.
Enhancer/Synergist: Deals in buffs. You will need one in many late battles, so don't neglect it.
Hellgate: London splits their classes among three factions: the Templar, who primarily wield swords and the like and walk around in medieval-looking armor, the Hunters, who use guns and various bits of technology, and the Cabalists, who are the wizardy types. Each faction has two classes, which could roughly be surmised as one offensive and one defensive.
Tanker: Templar Guardian
DPSer: Templar Bladesmaster (scrapper), Hunter Marksman (ranger, but with some nuking elements in the form of grenades and physical strikes)
Nuker: Cabalist Evoker, and to a lesser extent the Hunter Engineer, and certain Marksman builds.
Petmaster: Cabalist Summoner, who can have one Demon pet out a time, and any number of smaller elementals. To a lesser extent, the Hunter Engineer.
Trapper: Hunter Engineer, with elements of Nuker and Petmaster thrown in. They do have one "real" pet, which can be upgraded and given equipment, but they have several other "Bots" that follow them around and function more as mobile traps.
Healer: Templar Guardian. One of the skill is surprisingly effective at healing.
Soldier — The Scrapper and Tank, being able to use all armour and weaponry effectively. Is somewhat of a Jack due to also having access to First Aid (healing).
Engineer — The Debuffer and Mezzer. There's no Ninja DPSer, so this guy has the larcenous skills. Emphasis on crippling enemies via debuffs, in a technology-based manner. Can only use a pistol and light armour.
Adept — Combination Mezzer and Nuker. Focuses on manipulating physics to defeat your enemies. Can only use a pistol and light armour.
Vanguard, Infiltrator, and Sentinel are all hybrids of the preceding three classes:
Vanguard (Soldier/Adept) — The Scrapper and Mezzer. Has the Adept's offensive abilities, can wear medium armor, and has shotgun training.
Infiltrator (Soldier/Engineer) — The Ranger DPSer. Has the Engineer's offensive abilities as well as being able to wear medium armour and having sniper rifle training.
Sentinel (Adept/Engineer) — The Mezzer and Debuffer, with a bit of the Healer thrown in for good measure. Has both biotic and tech abilities, but has no real weapons training and can only wear light armour. Makes up for this with the Medicine skill, which increases squad healing.
Soldier — A full-on Scrapper, with some shades of an Evasion Tank. A variety of strong weapons and ammo types, the Soldier can also use the time-slowing effect of Adrenaline Rush to avoid attacks and take reduced damage.
Engineer — Now a bit of a Jack, with shades of a Petmaster, Nuker and Mezzer; the Engineer can summon a Combat Drone to assist him/her, hack robotic enemies, throw fire for ranged damage and freeze enemies with Cryo.
Adept — Still a Nuker/Mezzer, but now with some extra damage-dealing capabilties to compensate for their lack of weapon choices.
Infiltrator — A DPSer with elements of both Ninja and Ranger. Can use sniper rifles and Incinerate to eliminate enemies from a distance, but can also use Tactical Cloak to sneak up on enemies and tear them up with melee strikes and an SMG. Also has some minor Mezzer elements with their ammo types.
Vanguard — A Ninja/Scrapper with some Mezzer thrown in for good measure. Their Mezzing biotics are mainly used to throw enemies off balance from a distance right before zooming in with a Biotic Charge and inflicting heavy damage with a shotgun to the face.
Sentinel — A full Debuffer now; a hybrid with a mix of tech and biotics, but they're mostly centered around crippling an enemy or removing defenses than doing outright damage. Has shades of a Tank with a powerful defensive buff, but this is more for survival than protection.
Fall-From-Grace is a Healer/Mezzer, as she uses the Cleric spell list (She's also the only character to do so).
Nordom is a ranged Glass Cannon DPSer, as well as the only character capable of non-magical ranged attacks.
Ignus, being a pure wizard, is a Nuker.
Vhailor is a Scrapper/Tank.
Older, competitive Pokémon players usually groom their Pokemon along the lines of this trope. Tanks ("walls") usually have large HP and moves like Rest, Healers have status-correcting moves like Heal Bell, DPSers and Nukers are combined into one archetype (since Pokemon has no range) based around attacking (called "Physical/Special Sweepers"), and Mezzers have stalling and annoyance moves like Thunderwave or Wil-O-Wisp that inflict status afflictions. There are rarer builds which completely fall into the Mezzer archetype ("BP builds," after the Baton Pass move universally held by them) and DPS categories (so-called "hax" builds), plus Pokemon meant for two-on-two battles which more cleanly fall into this trope. There are even Petmasters involved, if one counts the players themselves.
Sonic Chronicles, a Bioware-developed RPG featuring the Sonic The Hedgehog cast, adapts them into these roles. The characters are classified into 'Power', 'Support' and 'Shifter' classes, but the characters are very varied even within those categories. Note that for this entry, 'DPS' refers to single target attacks, and 'Nuke' is mainly multiple-target ones, since range isn't an issue.
Sonic (Power) is mainly DPS, but gains Nuking capabilities later in the game.
Tails (Support) is a Healer/Mezzer with a useful variety of buffs and debuffs as well.
Knuckles (Power) is DPS with Tanking potential.
Amy (Shifter) has Jack traits, with buffs and debuffs, but can out-DPS many Power characters!
Rouge (Shifter) is the Jack... and something of a weirdo as apart from stealing items (which becomes very unnecessary) she doesn't bring anything special to the team other than snarky remarks.
Shadow, (Power) like Sonic, is DPS with Nuking potential, though also with some specialised abilities.
Big (Support) is a truly textbook Tank, with self-healing and Taunt special attacks, though he can dish out damage when he wants.
Shade (Power) is a fairly plain DPSer with a few powerful combo attacks.
The classes of the later Wizardry games, though characters can switch professions repeatedly, and thus most tend to become jacks of all trades, master of all.
Fighter - Equal parts Tank and Scrapper, depending on how they're equipped.
Thief: Ninja dps'er.
Priest: Healer, but later develops capable offensive magic.
Alchemist: Highly offensive mezzer, focusing on poison and acid to inflict ongoing damage effects. Also a capable healer.
Psionic: Nuker with mezzer elements and limited healer capacity.
Ranger: As per the usual Ranger variety of dps, but also develops into a potent mezzer/healer/buffer as they develop alchemy magic.
Bard: Ninja with a side of nuker when they develop mage spells.
Lord/Valkyrie: Fighter/Priest hybrids. Depending on build, they can be a Tank, Scrapper, or Healer-or all three.
Samurai: Scrapper par excellence, developing into a Tank and Nuker later in the game.
Monk: Ninja mostly, developing some nuking, mezzing, and healing when they learn spells.
Ninja: Ninja, obviously, and can potentially develop mezzing and healing abilities late in the game.
Bishop: The true magical jack-can heal, nuke, mezz, and buff with equal ease.
The characters and default classes of the original Golden Sun fall all too neatly into class archetypes, though shuffling Djinn can cause class changes. The characters of The Lost Age, namely Piers and Jenna, are a little trickier to pin down, and class-changing items are introduced as well as more djinn-based classes.
Medic: Healer, surprisingly with a couple of heavy damaging moves
Also, the Royalty-classes and the Monk
Dark Hunter, Wildling, Hexer: Debuffer/Mezzer
Alchemist, Zodiac: Nuker
A Revenge-based Hexer was also a reliable Nuker
Survivalist, Arbalist, Ninja, Gunner, Ronin, and Shogun: DPSer
Troubadour, Royalty (Princes and Princesses): Buffer
War Magus, Beast, Buccaneer: The Jack
Farmer: Although they're horrible in battle, their exploration skills make them vital Trappers.
Non-RPG Video Games with RPG Elements
Advance Wars. In terms of the cheapo units that everyone uses:
Tank - Infantry
Nuker - Artillery, Anti-Air
Jack - Tank
DPSer - B-Copter, Mech
Mezzer - APC, T-Copter, Recon, the Flare and Bike in Days of Ruin.
The role of the Healer is taken up by cities, although the Black Boat from Dual Strike also counts.
Also extends to the basic strategies of the C.O.s:
Tank: Sturm (in Multiplayer), Javier (his units had increased defense from artillery)
To a lesser extent, Kanbei—his units were of a "higher quality," so they could take a little more abuse. They were much more expensive, however...
The Jack: Andy, Nel, Rachel, Jake, Hawke, Olaf, Drake, Sonja, Eagle—their units had no statistical advantages, but they had no statistical disadvantages, either. Their CO Powers differentiated them.
Mezzer: Von Bolt's Super CO Power could stun enemy units.
Trapper: one of Kindle's CO Powers damaged any enemy units placed on a City...which, is normally what you want to do.
Scrapper: Grimm, Flak, Jugger, Max
Petmaster: The Super CO Powers of Hachi and Sensei allowed them to summon units most anywhere. Colin had this to a lesser degree: he could get quite a discount price on them, allowing for a Zerg Rush.
Addler, Koal, Lash and Sonja are harder to classify: the first two revolve around being able to move farther. Lash could muck with environmental bonuses, and Sonja's units have better visibility in the Fog of War levels, at the cost of being 'unlucky'.
Battlefield 2142: A non-RPG example, along with the rest of the Battlefield series. Its class-based FPS action lends itself well to the archetypes. The specialized roles of the vehicles also apply:
Tank: Tanks, obviously, along with most every vehicle. With the exception of Anti-Tank Engineers and Recon with RDX, they're untouchable by infantry and light armor. The Goliath IFV in particular can only be eradicated by carefully placed mines, an unchallenged anti-vehicle turret, or a large number of attackers.
Healer: Assault can equip the Magical Defibrillator along with their standard Medical Hubs, and the Commander can drop supplies.
Nuker: Engineers, Recon with RDX, Tanks, APCs, and Gunships, as well as machine-gun wielding Support, so long as they are given the chance to set themselves up.
Ranger: Assault, Recon Snipers, and Tanks.
Ninja: Recon with Active Camouflage, Fast Attack Vehicles, and Hachimoto speeders.
Scrapper: Support (esp. with shotgun) and Battlewalkers.
Mezzer: EMP devices available to Engineers (mines), Support (grenades), APCs (mortar), and Commander (strikes).
Petmaster: Commander, probably, who can call in strikes. (Does not exist prior to Battlefield 2, though players can personally man artillery equipment.)
Trapper: Recon can lay explosives, Engineers have mines, and Support has sentry gun and infantry detectors.
Jack: Anyone, especially those near unused kits. Battlewalkers also count, as the only heavy armor that can unconditionally take on all other vehicles.
The Lord of the Rings: Conqest is a perfect example of this.
Tank- Mages at a range, or Warriors at close combate
Soldier: Has an average amount of speed and hitpoints, and goes for the Jack archetype, but includes some abilities which fall outside of the scale of heavy to light classes (such as an ability to see enemies through solid objects which is very much out of the scale), including some which will be directly helpful to allies, as well as healing them, making it the closest thing the game has to the Healer (all classes may heal themselves for self-sufficiency).
Defense Of The Ancients and it's official remake DOTA 2 use this for their various roles, As all major sources of damage are player-controlled, most heroes need to give people an actual reason to target them.
Initiators are a combination of Tank and either Area of Effect Mezzer or Nuker to give people a reason to hit them.
Carries are DPSers of different types.
Supports ran the gamut but most are either a Mezzer, Nuker, Healer, or Buffer/Debuffer.
Gankers tend to be Ninja-type DPSers with various other mechanics based on the hero.
Pushers tend to be Minion Masters, aura-based Buffer/Debuffer or Area of Effect to kill mooks quickly and tear down towers.
The Nuker: Priestess, Solarus(more in the expansion), Wizard(and how)
The DPSer: Barbarian, Monk, Warrior of Discord
The Mezzer: None(some monsters though)
The Petmaster: Cultist, Priestess...although Healers, Rangers and Wizards(especially Healers) use other heroes(Healers even henchmen) as their "pets"
The Trapper: None, although the Dwarves' building FIRES BALLISTA BOLTS.(Plus they give you the technology to build even more Ballista Towers.)
The Jack: Solarus. Offensive spells(with decent Int), good melee damage and H 2 H, good parry/dodge, good armor, good MGR...heck, they even DO EVERYTHING; from destroying lairs without you offering any reward to manning guardhouses to protect your henchmen. Also somewhat Dwarf, which is a great tank both physically and magically, always goes for your rewards, does decent damage...and helps build your buildings. And obviously the Petmasters can serve several purposes.
Some of the classes don't fit anything while others fit several, because the game does not ever intend to have any balance. The heroes are meant to be used for different things in a parody kingdom, simply being cheap is a good thing. On the online RPG based on the game, Heroes Of Ardania, the power difference is much more noticable...but as there's no Pv P it's still not a huge deal.
Fire Emblem loves this, to an extent. Owing to the large variation in classes and the large number of characters, there are sure to be deviations from the archetypes, but they can usually be labeled as one of the archetypes:
The Tank: Generals, Wyvern Lords, and tankier Heroes like Gerik (usually) handle this from the physical side, while Druids and Bishops are magical tanks. Swordsmasters and Valkyries are the dodgy tanks. Berserkers serve as Meat Shields with their huge HP.
The Healer: anyone with a staff, though the Priests/Clerics/Bishops and the Troubadours/Valkyries fit this to a T.
The Nuker: Usually the Druids, though some of the Sages and deliberately overpowered magic units qualify.
The DPSer: Swordsmasters, Falcon Knights, and anyone else whose Strength or Magic is too low to reliably kill in one or two rounds, but whose speed lets them dodge enough attacks to stay in the fray for a while. Berserkers fall into this category too, but as an inversion of the Swordmaster and Falcon Knight. Berserkers have high strength but relatively low skill, meaning they are more prone to missing. When they hit, however, they dish out large amounts of damage. It should also be noted that both Swordmasters and Berserkers have an inherent heightened chance of scoring a critical hit, cranking up their damage potential even more.
The Mezzer: Oddly, it's the staff users. Enemies get access to poison weapons, but usually only your staff users can cascade debuffs (Sleep, Silence, Berserk) for your own side onto the opposition. note The exceptions are the two Tellius games, where unequipped enemy weapons can be stolen by your thieves. No enemies with poison weapons have any other weapons in Radiant Dawn, so you'll have to get lucky with the Disarm skill, but Path of Radiance has a couple of opportunities to pick up some poison weapons. There's also a poison spellbook that a late-game boss in Radiant Dawn drops when defeated.
The Jack: Once per game, you're likely to get someone with good, though not great, stats across the board. Some of the really durable magic users (like Hugh in FE:SoS) especially fit this. On the physical side, Heroes are considered the Jack. They don't have the top strength, top skill, top speed, or top defense/res, but they have good enough speed to double most enemies, good enough evasion to survive a mob, good enough HP and defense to take a few hits that they may not evade, and good enough strength to slaughter any enemy who dares to attack them. Heroes tend to be some of the best units in their respective games owing to their reliability/low maintenance.
Borderlands and its sequel has four "classes" but there is a lot of variation and hybridization that can occur (each character has three skill trees and gets plenty of points after all). Bear in mind that all 4 have powerful DPS and ranged combat is pretty standard for all of them (although the Brick and Siren are both capable of really shining in melee). The four characters fill most all of the archetypal roles between them (some of their trees being rather obvious analogues, some being more of a stretch):
The Tank: Good ol' Brick. Though the game lacks a defined "aggro" system, enemies can still focus on one character, and that's where Brick comes in. The sequel has Salvador, who actually has the ability to draw aggro.
The Healer: Roland, whose turret regenerates ammo and health, can Raise Dead on being deployed, has class mods that also regenerate ammo, and a classic Healing Shiv power. In the sequel, Maya takes this role with her "Harmony" tree.
The Nuker: Brick with maxed out launcher skills. Gaige with her "Little Big Trouble" tree. Krieg with his "Hellborn" tree.
The DPSer: Mordecai and Zer0 as the Ranger, Lilith is the Ninja, and Brick and Krieg are the Scrapper.
The Debuffer/Mezzer: Lilith, with her affinity for the Daze effect and elemental weapons.
The Pet Master: Roland with his Scorpio Turret (Not Mordecai, who has a pet, but it's more of a Limit Break than anything). Axton with his Sabre Turret. Gaige and her Death-Trap.
The Jack: Roland, who has the most Team-Centric abilities, and possibly the most varied set. Maya fits this role in the sequel while Axton is more of a combat-focused variation.
The Tank: Any suffiently large unit prevents targeting through them, which will typically force enemies to engage them first. While actual armoured vehicles don't fullfill this trope as you might expect (as they have the same number of hit points as anything else, just a different armour set), there are units designed for tanking. The Allied ARV is a regenerating Metal Shield, the Soviet Scrapper uses an unusual armour type to essentially be an avoidance tank (so long as you are attacking the front...) and swarms of Syndicate Auxiliaries draw aggro for their squishy masters; though each Auxiliary is weak, as a mass they take a lot of time to chew through, when you can shoot them. The Japanese, otherwise a very flighty faction, can use their Tedate Projector to turn another unit into a tank by making it invincible.
The Healer: While repairing damage is nothing new in RTS, there are units designed to do so while the fighting is still happening. Confederate Ambulances, Chinese War Throne and Allied Pavlov Handlers are designed to run right up into the fight alongside their patients with an AoE healing radius, the Syndicate Dryad follows a single battlesuit around with a healing beam, and the Soviet Vampire converts points of damage done by its magnetic beam directly into a repair radius.
The Status Effect Guy: This is one of the Syndicate's hats, with units that can shut off their primary weapons in order to buff the speed, defense, and offense of their fellows. They also have large numbers of crowd control units, such as Helios Security and Atlas battlesuits, who are dedicated to forcing enemies away from their low-armour units. Mezzing and debuffing are among the most common support unit functions and secondary abilities; particularly notable examples are the speed leeching ARV and Myeche, the massive, slowly stacking damage reduction radius of the Alkonost, and the armour reducing area of effect on the Protectorate Screamer Jet.
The Order of the Talon's revisions are aiming to make the entire faction work in this faction, with the player making interconnected groups of units built more around tank/dps/nuke characteristics than Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors.
Instead of player characters being these, the various invaders in the Deception series fall into any number of these roles, each game having its own set of classes that fit into the various archetypes. Who you face in a chapter dictates what sorts of traps you should set up.
The RPG parody webcomic Gold Coin Comics features The Tank, The Healer, and The Nuker.
Despite being has nothing to do with video games, Chaos Fighters is rife with these, ranging from generic knights and gunners to unique ones such as miners.
The "Mythological Roles" in Homestuck are the classes for the players in SBURB/SGRUB. Some have been explained in detail. They consist of a Class and Aspect (element) that the Class controls or taps into in some way. The exact role a given Class would fill can vary quite a bit depending on Aspect. A Thief of Light is more or less a enemy-Debuffer / self-Buffer of luck, while a Thief of Life is more or less DPS. A Rogue would be like a Thief who can steal stuff and give it to allies, making a Rogue of Life part DPS, part Healer. And so on.
The characters in Phantalleum - Dual Crossage are identified with job classes. The author had gone as far as creating an entire list of classes intended for use for the entire Phantalleum series.
The MMORPG-set Noob franchise has everyone in well-established classes and roles. The Never My Fault tendencies of two of the members makes them blame incompetent healer for everything that goes wrong. Two of the media also deal with the group needing a new tank due to the player behind the current one being sent to Boarding School.