Recently I read Will Hindmarch & Jeff Tidball’s Things We Think About Games. In a nutshell, the book is a collection of gamer koans. One of the koans, in brief was “Ask a gamer what their favorite character is. Not who it was, but what it was.”
Asking who their favorite character was, you’ll get a whole lot of narrative crap. Stuff that will reek of “We’ll it was funny at the time.” or “You just had to be there.” But if you ask what their favorite character was, you’ll get information about the type of character they like to play, and ultimately an insight into who the gamer is.
My favorite character can be summed up in three words: Swiss Army Knife. I want to play a character that can engage in any challenge. This is why the Factotum from D&D 3.5 remains my favorite character class. Here is a class that is competent in combat, can fire off a spell or two, can heal a fallen comrade, and has a “coin trick” that can be called on to tip the scales in their favor.
In addition, I like the idea of having finite resources that I need to manage and best optimize. It is why I always gravitated towards the semi-spellcasters of Rolemaster (Gotta love the Mountebanc) and the wizards of older D&D editions.
Basically, I want a character that requires strategic decisions to ultimately bring a wide variety of tactical options to bear. Which can be incongruous to the idea of wanting less tactical combat. I suppose it simply highlights that I want to be challenged in the game I play, both tactically but also strategically and narratively. I want to both see where the story is going but push the story in a direction I want to see it go.