Here’s a list of entries relevant to this one:

“Offense, Defense, and Support” October 14, 2011
“The Role of Offense” October 15, 2011
“Role Confusion” October 19, 2011

I’ve been working on changing my initial roles of Offense, Defense, and Support, to a more ambiguous, more diverse bunch that enables players to “play what they want to play” rather than being pigeonholed to the point of “put your best numbers in your best stats or you lose.” The numbers are intended to streamline gameplay, not take over and replace it. It isn’t supposed to be a “numbers” game.

So, I’ve split up “offense,” “defense,” and “support” into five play-styles that aren’t really any of those types. They have inherent advantages and disadvantages, in the same way that certain moves in a fighting game assigns priority to some attacks over others. The first two entries I linked at the top discuss the powers associated with the roles. What I’ve done is spread those powers over five roles.

Here’s a table to look at (each role includes the nickname for its tactical style in quotes, the types of maneuvers it employs, and several familiar archetypes):

Harriers use “hit and fade” tactics, including decoys, kites, and debuffs (rogues, scouts, mesmers, illusionists).

Chargers use “shock and awe” tactics, breaking or overrunning enemy lines (barbarians, dragoons, warmages).

Keepers use “advance and hold” tactics, employing sentries and command auras (marshals, warlords, fighters, paladins).

Trappers use “divide and conquer” tactics, utilizing wards, traps, and minions (summoners, beast tamers, trapsmiths).

Seekers use “seek and destroy” tactics, employing buffs and field effects (rangers, assassins, enchanters, spymasters).

Each style has two approaches (possibly represented by “skill trees”) that are prioritized over another two tactical styles in a big, abstract game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.” The point it more that they take priority when “breaking” or “countering” each other, rather than having vulnerabilities, resistances, immunities, or weaknesses, or special bonuses to damage, or automatically defeating them.

For example, my keeper places a sentry to guard an area and repel enemies, but your harrier uses a decoy to occupy the sentry so he can slip by, unnoticed.

The main thing is, each one of these little tactical approaches is intended to function independently, first and foremost, and its secondary function is to cancel, counter, or otherwise nullify an appropriate enemy tactic. Most deal damage … perhaps all of them, at that. (Even decoys.) Because “damage is a progress bar toward success.”