Whether it's a mage in World of Warcraft raining fire on unsuspecting ogres, or a Dungeons and Dragons Online bard giving strength to allies while weakening foes, each class in an MMORPG has a primary purpose or goal. There are classes that primarily deal damage, classes that specialize in deflecting damage from party members, and classes that lend support to their friends.
Sometimes these roles are more important than others, and sometimes classes can defy tradition and go on to become more than what was initially expected of them (properly built, for example, some Defenders in City of Heroes could out-damage some Blasters, the more traditional damage-dealing class). MMORPG classes usually have specific tools unique to their role to help them fulfill their duties to their team. Let's take a look at each of the major types of roles found in various MMORPGs.