AFPI Character Typing

After mulling over the last few posts on character contributions, I think I can boil the whole things down to 4 points. This model is mainly intended for breaking down combat roles.

  • Appeal: Why should a player want to use this character? Alternately, what player needs, wants, or interests does playing the character satisfy?
  • Focus: What is most the player’s attention and effort centered on when playing this character? This can usually be summed up as an activity and a target, such as “eliminating enemies”, “supporting allies”, or “directing pets”.
  • Pacing: Does the character favor a fast, risky approach (offense) or a slower, more cautious approach (defense)?
  • Influence: How does the character affect the actions of others? This includes controlling enemies, guiding allies, and other changes in tactics caused by the character.

These list is also roughly order from most player oriented to most group oriented. For example, the role’s appeal is important to the controlling player, as it helps shape the user experience. However, why a player picked what they did doesn’t matter as much to the rest of the group. In contrast, pacing and influence both have a strong effect on the group dynamic.

AFPI and the MMO Holy Trinity

Now that we’ve got a model roughed out, let’s test it on the “Holy Trinity” of roles used in many MMOs.


Appeal: Hunter, Destroyer
Focus: Eliminating Enemies
Pacing: Offensive
Influence: Both control and guidance effects tend to be limited. This role is usually more about speeding combat up than directing it’s flow.


Appeal: Undying, Protector
Focus: Blocking Enemies
Pacing: Defensive
Influence: Tanks excel at controlling enemies to direct attacks at themselves.


Appeal: Supporter, Fixer, Lifeline
Focus: Healing Allies
Pacing: Defensive
Influence: As with DPS, this role defaults to relatively little control. Instead it’s mainly about slowing or undoing enemy progress.

Role Comparison

It’s interesting to note that each role has one factor that’s exclusive to it. For DPS, it’s being the lone offensive role. Both Tanks and Healers seem to share similar pacing effects as they both focus on keeping allies alive. Their focus might vary (tanks target enemies, healers target allies), but their goals are similar.

Tanks distinguish themselves by being the role with the strongest control. That control does have a fairly narrow scope, as it’s limited to affecting enemy targeting. However, do excel within that specialized field. Other roles might have some control or guidance effects, but those tend to be more limited and are less a key part of the role’s identity.

Healer’s special feature is being ally oriented. The focus for other roles center around doing things to enemies. Only the healer role favors targeting allies.

The interesting thing to consider is that DPS tends to be one of the more popular roles. This might suggest that pacing preference are a strong factor in picking a class. Even if players favor offense and defense in roughly even numbers, having two classes split defensive duties would mean half as many members in each defensive role.

Published in: on May 16, 2011 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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