I’ve played most of the massively multiplayer games out there, yet my favorite class to play remains Everquest’s Enchanter. I wasn’t awed by solo play with it (though fear kiting was kind of fun it its own way), but in a group setting it was the greatest thing ever. Having a good Enchanter in your group in Everquest allowed you to survive things you never would have been able to do without one. My biggest disappointment with subsequent games is the lack of a dedicated crowd-control class, though I suppose it’s hard to balance encounters around whether you have one in the group or not, and it’s hard enough to find a tank and a healer.
My runner-up would probably be WoW’s Warrior class. It’s the first class I played that made tanking enjoyable. There’s something completely satisfying about the Charge ability, and I think the different stances are genius.
I’ve got two: my vanilla WoW mage (from 1-59, anyway, vanilla endgame sucked) and the dwarfy tanky class in WAR.
The mage captured the fantasy I wanted: a fragile caster that blew the absolute shit out of every damn thing. The mage was an utterly fantastic soloing class that a skilled player could pull off stupid things with through clever use of kiting, AOEs, and cooldowns. Battlegrounds, when they came around, were hilarious – I’d either make people explode or pop myself in three hits if I was let an axe get anywhere near my face.
The dwarf tank in WAR (I don’t even remember what that class is called any more, heh) was a satisfyingly immobile rock that combined solid thumpin’ with great CC abilities. Also, punting dudes into lava.
I loved the Necromancer in DAoC: The varieties of undead to summon, the pet class setup, the flavor nuances – it all made a great package and an enjoyable play. Unfortunately, its release was bundled with an abject failure of an expansion for that game.
EverQuest’s Enchanter, up until level 53 or so, when 50% of my spells no longer worked on anything that would give me experience and useful loot. I don’t know if this was addressed in later expansions, but this was a dick move, and killed my interest in the character because of my complete inability to keep duoing with my wife’s character the way we had been doing the whole time. This was back at a time when levelling was much, much slower.
Although I had the most fun as an Enchanter for that level frame, it isn’t the character class I put the most time into in EQ.
I also really enjoyed playing my Controllers (sorta like EQ enchanters) and Defenders (sorta like EQ clerics) in City of Heroes, when grouped. I hated clerics in EverQuest, but defenders kicked ass. I really had a lot of fun with several classes in this very flawed, but very fun game.
Absolute worst classes I’ve ever played: EverQuest Berzerker (what an absolutely worthless class addition to the franchise), and WoW Mage (BOOOOOOORING).
I’ve enjoyed the stealth classes. I love the assassin in DAoC – lots of fun to sneak up on clothies and one-shot them.
In WoW I think I’ve had the most fun with a rogue. If I wasn’t hunting alliance players out leveling, I was hunting the Asian gold farmers. That was a game in itself. There were two spots in EPL filled with human elites, both towns with castles. I can’t remember the names of those places – Hearthglen was one! Alliance gold farmers owned those spots, but as a rogue I could sneak in and try to pick them off one by one. That was a lot of fun.
In Shadowbane I played a nephelim eventually, a class that could fly for a minute or two at a time. I figured out how to exploit the rules and fly almost indefinitely. I would fly over player towns and try to kill players from the sky. Good times, there.
Pastamancer, in KoL. The Sauceror is incredibly fun. But the Pastamancer has a little more utility to it; an uber heal, an awesome entagle, some kick ass buffs (familiar weight, init), good combat spells, and Flavor of Magic, which ensures that you’ll spend over half the run of the run targeting monsters’ weaknesses. Also, I think the stainless steal item is underrated (if less useful than the Sauceror’s scarf). It’s really fun when you spend the first 7+ levels using a 1mp spell to do 50-60 damage a hit.
Ditto on the EQ1 Enchanter. It was really satisfying to take a pull of four even-level monsters, normally a recipe for certain death, and turn them into a nice quiet little queue, each patiently awaiting their turn at a beatdown. Early on you didn’t even have the luxury of a target rotation hotkey, so you had to develop your own techniques at separating out and targeting monsters, since they had a tendency to occupy the same space.
It was also nice having a large library of utility spells that made travel, deep exploration, and escape a lot easier. You want me to join you and you’re already deep down in the dungeon? No problem, I’ll be there in five minutes…
I never really did a lot of charming though, unless with a reliable group in a relatively safe area. I didn’t like hassling clerics for buffs and rezzes, so I didn’t even bother with charm soloing until they introduced the cleric mercs. And root-n-nuke/DoT got boring fast, so yeah, I pretty much needed a group.
Tough call, really. I’ve rarely played MMOs long enough to get terribly invested in a class. By default this kind of limits me to the handful I have played that much, mostly WoW. But while all the classes in WoW are well designed and have some interesting maneuvers, they feel kind of tame to me, with relatively limited ability sets and little unique functionality. I suspect I’m more likely to run with something like WAR’s aesthetically awesome melee healer, the Warrior Priest of Sigmar, capable of some ridiculous feats at lower levels and not actually using mana to heal. Or Anarchy Online’s metaphysicist, which is a pet class that summons manifested clouds of emotion - still, I think, the only pet class I’ve ever played that can run three separate pets (dps, healing, cc) at once indefinitely. Or perhaps my fire/storm controller in City of Heroes, who I specifically tuned to group play where I locked down and massively debuffed entire hordes of enemies while the other folks murdered them… up until Cryptic decided controllers needed more soloability and buffed their damage in exchange for heavily nerfing the stuff I actually wanted to do.
PS: EQ2 still has enchanters - probably less cc oriented than the original game but it’s still a focus.
Knockbacks had to be the best part of that game. I still distinctly remember the lower level battlegrounds on my dorf tank (Ironbreaker maybe?), when the two groups of ten would hit a standoff and I’d go sortying into the enemies midst to punt out a squishy to the clump of our guys waiting around. They always looked so surprised!
My favorite would probably be my range in EQ (back for the first 2-4 expansions) when they could tank some and pull quite awesomely.
EQ had all sorts of imbalances and the like, but I still miss the asymmetry they had at the beginning when different classes felt difference and a truly well played member of some classes could surprise the hell out of people in terms of what the classes were actually capable of. I remember driving the ranger all over zones, tracking rare, named mobs and pulling them through a tremendous amount of shit, using my spells and ability to only bring back to my group the phat loot carrying mobs we actually wanted.
I haven’t felt that degree of skill in the actual gameplay in an MMO since. The difference between a good and bad player in WoW is a number on a DPS meter. The difference between a good/bad enchanter or druid/ranger or bard or necromancer in EQ was being able to pull off insane kills vs. being dead.
Another vote for City of Heroes Controllers. I had a Mind/Empathy controller that was pretty boring to solo, but fantastic in a large group that bit off more than they can chew. A class that rewards intense concentration and rapid-fire planning. Managing a battle by juggling powerful crowd control, heals and buffs and all their associated timers and endurance costs was a rewarding challenge.
Neocron: I played the class that flew drones and pew pewed people from the skies. It was a really fun class that I’ve never seen repeated in any fashion anywhere else. You would park your sad fleshy body in some corner, hidden away, and then fly a drone up into the skies. There were 3 or 4 types - ranging from a laser pew pew, to a missile shooty one, to a crowd control one to a kamikaze drone. They were really fun to use as scouts for a base takedown (PVP) and scouting with a kamikaze before power-diving into a clothy and one-shotting them was awesome.
Anarchy Online: I played the big mule guys and played one who… shot guns… and stuff. Early on in AO you could earn these pearls by grinding certain quests. At about 200 you got a big buff to your health and other stuff. I ground hard and ended up with maybe 50% more HP than anyone else my level (due to my race and my beads) and this resulted in fun PVP arena fights (something that was a fun distraction in AO, very social too).
Yeah i liked the necromancer in Daoc too. it was a unique take on pet classes and also one of the very few pet classes in any mmorpg i’ve played that was actually worth a damn in pvp (most pet classes put too much focus on the pet while at the same time allowing the pet to be easily mitigated).