Many of us have one or two broad types we return to when we play RPGs, whether because we’re trying to emulate someone specific (gotta be a sneaky thief so I can pretend to be Garrett again), or we have a preferred playstyle (gotta be a wizard so I can mess around with a tasty, overcomplicated spell system). Whether it’s in Diablo or Baldur’s Gate or The Elder Scrolls, what’s yours?
Which character class is your default choice?
Here are our answers, plus a few from our forum.
Andy Kelly: Always a ranger, and if the game in question has subclasses, an archer. I’ve never been one for wading into the thick of a battle. I like dancing around the edges, pinging arrows at the enemy. And if the game has a pet system, sending a wolf or whatever in to nip at their heels. I’m a coward basically, but that’s how I like it. Projectile weapons in RPGs have always been my favourite, although I’m playing Icewind Dale at the moment as an archer, and as much fun as I’m having bullseyeing skeletons from a safe distance, constantly managing my arrow supply can get kinda tedious. But I can live with it, because rangers rule.
Tyler Wilde: I always pretend I’m going to pick something simple: a basic brawler, a guy with a big hammer, some kind of sword fighter. I want to be the kind of person who is satisfied with uncomplicated physical aggression. Instead, the real me always comes out and chooses whatever convoluted magic class seems to have the most potential for subverting the rules, either by dealing damage in novel ways or by skipping fights with illusion and trickery. In Dungeons & Dragons terms, the Rogue’s Arcane Trickster subclass best defines what I’m after. I’m usually disappointed, because it’s much easier for a game to model blows from a big hammer than scheming in alleyways.
Christopher Livingston: I’m sorta the opposite of Tyler. I start off as some magic class thinking I’ll get really into it but usually wind up feeling it’s too complicated and decide to start over as some meathead with a big axe who just smashes everything and has shiny armor instead of defensive spells. But then that gets boring and I wind up using stealth as a rogue type, because I like sneak attacks and poison arrows and killing things before they even know I’m there.
Wes Fenlon: For a long time in RPGs and action games, I went for the most obvious route: I played the character with the sword, the knight or fighter or whoever. Many games seem built around that playstyle first and foremost, and it was comforting and familiar, so I’d almost always make the same pick. But in the last few years, I’ve tried to push myself to make more interesting choices when I pick up new games with class systems. In Divinity: Original Sin 2 I played a metamorph, and man, turning enemies into chicken never got old. I try to play a mage in games where casting spells adds strategy or complexity you don’t get in a straightforward fighter. I’ve been replaying the original Dark Souls recently, and enjoying playing a sorcerer this time. Being able to deal huge damage to enemies from afar is almost like playing on easy mode—but I’m super squishy and can run out of spells, and then I’m in big trouble. Since I already know the game fairly well, it’s fun to play with those stakes.
I also really enjoy playing stealthy, high damage thief/assassin characters. I try to pick whatever seems most exciting in a particular game… or just what suits my mood in the moment.
James Davenport: Whatever let’s me raise the dead, I’m that. Dark magicks, baby. Necromancers, dark wizards, whatever class practices the stuff that would look cool on a black band t-shirt, I’m that.
Andy Chalk: I like sneaky assassin types. For years I was a straight-up sword goon, but Morrowind introduced me to the glories of bows, daggers, and professionalism, and it’s stuck. I think it also gives me a sense of sophistication, without requiring that I invest too much mental energy into actually developing a sophisticated understanding of whatever it is I’m playing. And there’s something undeniably cool about the whole death from the shadows thing, too.
Jody Macgregor: In games where talking your way out of problems is an option I’ll go with the most diplomatic choice. In Baldur’s Gate 3 I’m trying a Warlock with high Charisma, and acing all those Persuasion rolls feels great. If I have to be the face of the party I may as well be a damn good-looking face.
Morgan Park: If I’m a party of one, I’m all-in on the stealthy type. I love the fantasy of the lone infiltrator that chooses whether to sneak by enemies or stick a dagger in a few necks. Unfortunately, the thrill of stealth is somewhat lost in a party-based RPGs. Baldur’s Gate 3’s Astarion is great in a fight, but stealthing through a bandit camp isn’t as fun when the other three party members get easily spotted. For group situations, I’d much rather be a standard fighter or wizard.
Zloth: If it’s party based then whatever class needs charisma so I can crank up diplomacy. If it’s got an archery system where I have to actually arch my shots (like the old Thief games) then I’ll go for that. Otherwise, I’ll pick a mage.
McStabStab: Thief / Assassin for RPGs. I like that if I can’t get what I want through merchants, quests, or coercion, I can always lockpick a back door in the dead of the night and take what I want… maybe leave a poisoned food item in its place for the trouble.
Sarafan: I haven’t played BG3 yet, but usually I pick caster classes, especially Sorcerers when it comes to D&D based games. I find melee classes quite boring. Casters need to choose not only what spells to learn on level up, but also which of them use during combat. Fighters, Paladins, Rangers etc. don’t have enough special skills to compensate the missing spells. Of course two of these classes have limited access to spells in D&D, but that’s simply not enough for me. I usually pick Sorcerers because they’re more powerful than standard Wizards, but you have to be very careful when selecting spells on level up, because they can’t learn them from scrolls.
Pifanjr: I usually pick a rogue or ranger class. Stealing can be a nice extra income and shooting things from afar is usually a lot safer than getting into melee.
I do like playing casters as well, but a lot of games have wonky magic systems. I really hate running out of mana points or its equivalent and being forced to run away or take potshots that do almost no damage.
Rensje: Do you guys ever do the thing where you go like: ‘I think I’ll play as a mage this time‘ and then 20 hours in you’re a sneaky archer or the dual-wielding barbarian? I am particularly bad with Dark Souls in that regard. Whenever I fancy a new playthrough I usually tell myself I’ll play something new this time, something I haven’t tried before, but I always end up playing the thing I know and love.
Which is usually a Lightning Spear-chucking miracle build in full Paladin armor.
drunkpunk: It depends on the game and the systems used. In most RPGs, I’ll go the healer class, especially if there’s a MP component. If there is no healing focused class, I’ll go a magic focused class.
BG3 my first run was with a wizard. Magic classes are usually my go-to in DND, I like the utility that comes with it and the damage can also be pretty good. I’m usually stuck between wizard/sorc, cleric, and bard, but I’ve been doing a lot of cleric and bard runs in my recent games so I decided to go with wizard.
Frindis: A Wizard, since you can often choose from different schools of magic and in that way be quite versatile.
DXCHASE: 2 handed melee. I like swinging swords and axes and the like with light armor, a close second is Wizard or some sort, it really depends on the game.
Ryzengang: I always play Wizard/Mage. Though generally not for any practical in-game reasons; from a fantasy POV I’ve always thought magic was very cool.