The offense role was the most difficult, and I had to wonder why. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though characters who specialize in causing damage have some of the worst conceptual development and balance of all character types, perhaps because they’re directly “plugged in” to the game’s mechanics. Strikers cause damage and damage causes character death. What more do you need?

I drew heavily from the others to determine the role of offense. For the time being, I’ve settled on “disables,” “distracts,” and “field effects.” It seemed important that offense have a sizable toolbox of ways to (temporarily) nullify enemy powers. This is less effective against other offense-type characters, ’cause they tend to have fewer ongoing effects. This is in addition to the normal “hurt you” effect of attack powers.

The point of “disable” effects isn’t to permanently shut-down an opponent because that would be lame. It’s intended to provide an ally with an opening. Let’s say you’re able to bring down the force field just long enough to slip your demolitions guy through — that’s what we’re talking about. It’s intended for pulling up the bottom of the fence so someone else can wriggle underneath and to freedom.

“Distract” effects are for your paratrooper-style powers. You slip past the defenses so you can take out the guard. It’s specifically about evasion, not about taking out anything along the way. If you’re going over the wall as part of the advance force, you’re on your own behind enemy lines, but the same powers enable you to extract yourself when cornered by the enemy.

“Field effects” were honestly one of the first things I thought of for the role of offense, but one of the last ones to really make sense. I thought that while the support role felt mobile and the defense role felt stationary, the only way the offense role could be different would be to have a “ubiquitous” feel. Field effects are the mission briefing, the cavalry, the voice with an Internet connection, or the timely explosion.