What what? It's like this -- in games like World of Warcraft, you and a team of other heroes are fighting monsters. There are certain kinds of things different heroes on your team are good at. Those hero archetypes apply to a lot of online games -- and funny enough, they apply to volunteers as well.
In GamesA tank is a front-line hero who protects the rest of the team. Their job is to get the monsters to attack them -- because they're the best equipped to deal with it. They have heavy armor or special abilities that reduce damage and make them towering bastions of defense.
Your VolunteerThis is the volunteer who asks, "can I help for another couple hours?" -- and actually wants to! A tanky hero can handle problems all day, and are happy doing it. If one of your other teammates is getting overwhelmed, your tank can step in and keep things moving.
- Support: The best tank is the one that has an awesome support to back them up! A tank can handle a lot more when they have a support hero keeping them fed and watered, and helping them with the things they need to do their job.
- Damager: Sometimes a single problem can become too much for a tank to handle; that's when you call in your Damager hero to deal with it.
- Controller: Your tanks can handle a lot, but there's always the possibility of "too much". That's where your Controller heroes help, by making sure your tank doesn't have too many problems to handle.
In GamesA support hero keeps the rest of your team alive and effective! This can be through healing damage done by monsters, or making your teammates more powerful with "buffs".
Your VolunteerYour support hero is the one who is making sure everyone else is going strong. They're the ones that grab water and snacks for everyone, even when nobody asks for it. But the support that they provide isn't just physical; they're also the ones who always have an encouraging word and a friendly smile.
- Tank: Obviously, your Support heroes are needed to keep your tanks hale and hearty.
- Damager: They can solve problems, but they're notoriously "squishy". They won't need assistance as frequently as your Tanks, but when a Damager needs help, they need help!
- Controller: Supports work with Controllers to help figure out who is going to need help the most, and when.
In GamesThis is the hero who takes down monsters the fastest. Whether it's a sneaky assassin who jumps in and stabby-stabs, or a an arcane magic user who drops a fireball on the big baddy's head, your Damager heroes do the job.
Your Damager hero is the volunteer who can focus on big problems and handle them quickly. But they're fragile -- take care of them!
- Tank: Your Damager can deal with big problems, but are susceptible to "death by papercut" -- a continuous stream of little problems that they don't have the endurance to withstand. Call upon one of your tank heroes for a bailout!
- Support: Sometimes a problem is so big that even a Damager can't handle it -- but your Support heroes can give them the little bit of extra oomph that they need.
- Controller: Coordinating your Damager with your Controller will make sure their problem-solving skills are in the right place at the right time.
In GamesHeroes that do Control are key to making sure your team isn't overwhelmed by monsters. Their powers corral enemies, slow them down, or otherwise keep them from all overwhelming your team.
Your VolunteerSometimes this is literally dealing with crowds; sometimes it's dealing with other problems. Your Crowd Control volunteer will be the one that says "Hey, I can run a second line for the people who already have tickets", or the one who points out that the next shift can handle some administrative task so the current shift can focus on registrations.
- Tank: Your Tank heroes can handle a lot, but the Controller is there to make sure they don't handle too much.
- Support: These heroes are most effective when they're kept away from problems and are able to work their magic on the rest of the team; Controllers help with that.
- Damager: Controllers make sure that your Damagers can focus their skills by deflecting distractions.
Who Are Your Heroes?
Now, nobody fits into a single bucket -- but can you think of volunteers you've had who were exceptional heroes? Who is your sturdiest Tank? Who is your most helpful Support? Who is your deadliest Damager? Who is your most insightful Controller?