A lot of gamers, especially new gamers, stick with what they’re familiar with when selecting a character type. They, as players, have a mentality and a way of solving problems that lends to that certain aspect of role-playing, and breaking from that mold can be extremely difficult. Not only that, but the sudden switch in playing styles from one character type to another can be extremely jarring for some players, and it can lead to disasters at the gaming table.
For example take two players and their characters. Bill is used to playing the barbarian types, the type of character who wades into combat like he was born into it. Sarah is used to playing the timid mage who needs to be as far away from danger as possible to keep from getting killed. If these two players switch roles at the next game and Bill plays the typically fragile sorcerer, and Sarah plays the distinctly unfragile barbarian, then there is likely to be an adjustment period while the two players acclimate to their characters.
Even for experienced gamers, switching to a new class can be difficult, especially if it’s something they haven’t done in a while. There’s an expression that goes something like, “It’s like riding a bike; you never forget.” Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes you do forget how to play some of these other character classes, and just like when you forget how to keep your balance on a bike, you relearn quickly, but there is some pain involved.
That pain is part of being a good role player though. We all still have fun gaming, even when we make mistakes, sometimes it’s those mistakes that really make an adventure into something very memorable. You can’t be afraid to make those errors or to try something new. There are hundreds of roles in games that can be filled and some games and systems have more roles (or at least different roles) than others. Get out there and try them! Who knows, you might find a new role that you really enjoy that is vastly different from one you’re comfortable with!