It's commonly held that there are three or four main segments of the game: Ranged/Melee DPS, Tanking and Healing. What does that mean to you and what defines each role in your mind? If you had to break down each class, and section it into its most appropriate area, where would you place them? After hashing that out, which segment do you fall into and why do you enjoy playing in that segment?
I think it should be broken down even more and isn't even complete yet.
DPS is a combination of dichotomous: melee-ranged and physical-magical. Classes may do more than one of these, though usually with some focus. For example magi are magical ranged while hunters are physical ranged, though with a little bit of magic. Rogues are pure physical melee while shamans are a mix of physical and magical melee, though definitely based around physical.
Tanking is a subset of an overall group role of damage mitigation. Mitigation, aggro, interrupts, and CC are distinct roles.
- Personal mitigation (armor, avoidance, cooldowns)
- Group mitigation (bubbles, armor multipliers)
- Crowd Control, this is the ultimate mitigation because it is often a total damage elimination, at least from one mob.
- Aggro control, keep aggro off the rogue (low mitigation) and on the tank (high mitigation)
Healing is pretty straightforward: undo damage. In comes in two types: magical ranged and physical melee (bandages).
Buffing some of these overlap due to how stats affect multiple aspects
- Damage increases: more AP or crit or whatever
- Healing increases: SP, crit, healing multipliers...
- Stat increases: Prayer of Fortitude, Arcane Intellect, Blessing of Kings
Did I miss anything?
If I had to pick my favorite role, I'd say mitigation and aggro control. I've argued in the past that healing is the last thing to fail. Healing is the final action, it's the backup plan. Tanking? That's the first thing you do. If no one can survive the hit, you're done. There's nothing to heal and the DPS won't live.