This was the beginning of Dungeons & Dragons, a game that truly gave birth to the entire RPG industry. No other such game would be around without D&D and to claim such would be a gross deviation from truth and reality.
The fighting-man, magic-user, and cleric were the original classes of the game and are in all actuality where the modern classes evolved from. In effect, roles of those classes were adapted over time and always fit into their various niches. It was well known that the fighting-man went forward and engaged foul monsters toe-to-toe with their martial prowess while a magic-user usually stood behind, raining spells that augmented allies and pelted a foes. The cleric’s role was quite obvious as well. They were to provide healing to those suffering from wounds or ailments and served as a cornerstone of any adventuring party. Later on, the thief class came along and provided the last piece needed to round out the party: someone who could pick locks, disable traps, and backstab an enemy with deadly proficiency.
My point? I’m glad you asked. These roles have been in D&D since the early 1970′s, long before Ultima, Everquest, and World of Warcraft. The only thing that has changed is the terminology used. The latest generation has cast off the ramblings of their fathers and has now given colorful updated titles such as defender/tank (fighting-man), controller/nuker (magic-user), leader/healer (cleric), and striker/DPS (thief).
Sure, many other classes have been developed over time, but it all started with those roots. So please, as much as I am sure people love to hate a game that otherwise brings enjoyment to so many people, I think that energy could be focused on more enterprising, productive, and positive ventures. I’m not asking for you to like a particular game or to endorse something you dislike. I am just asking for you to dig a little deeper and try to figure out where the hatred really comes from.
It doesn’t much matter to this author what the MMO companies produce (I play several of them!) or what games people play. The desire to create immersive and enjoyable stories is why we role-play. So, let’s drop the edition wars and attempts to discredit those who are playing or developing the current edition of D&D and go back to enjoying the banter around the table and lopping off vile heads of foul creatures.