What does a role-playing game (RPG) mean?
A role-playing game (RPG) is a video game genre in which the player controls a fictional character (or characters) who go in search of an imaginary world.
Defining role-playing games is quite challenging due to the variety of hybrid genres with role-playing game elements.
Traditional role-playing video games shared five basic elements:
The ability to upgrade your character during the game by increasing their stats or levels.
A menu-driven combat system with various options for active skills, spells and powers, as well as an active inventory system with wearable gear such as armor and weapons.
A core mission that unfolds throughout the game as a story and additional (and usually optional) side missions.
The ability to interact with elements of the environment or story through additional abilities (e.g., opening locks, disarming traps, communication skills, etc.)
The existence of certain character classes that define a character's attributes, skills, abilities, and spells (e.g. mage, thief, warrior, etc.)
Modern and hybrid RPGs don't necessarily have all of these elements, but usually include one or two combined with elements from another genre.
Techopedia explains the role-playing game (RPG)
Role-playing games stem from pen-and-paper or tabletop role-playing games such as Rolemaster or Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), a type of game in which players mimic their characters by actively describing their actions and thoughts.
In video game role-playing games, the “gamemaster” part (as narrator and referee) is automated, with the actions of the various non-player characters (NPCs) being determined by the computer's artificial intelligence (AI) and enemies. .
Developing a core story used to be a core part of old-school role-playing games, but it's no longer a requirement in more modern games like massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).
Most RPGs are set in a fictional world with traditional fantasy or science fiction elements incorporated into the game mechanics. For example, choosing a race such as a dwarf or elf can influence the character's choices in the game or alter their attributes or abilities to cast spells.
In classic tabletop RPGs, a clear set of rules defined how characters could interact with the environment. Characters usually had to roll a die to determine if their attempt to perform a particular action (such as hitting an enemy or climbing a wall) was successful.
Video game role-playing started a lot like pen-and-paper games, but the dice were replaced by automated behind-the-screen reels. Battles were handled with interactive menus and could take place in turn or in real time.
However, modern games introduced many hybrid variants that significantly expanded the genre.
The main subcategories of the RPG genre are:
The games focused mainly on the combat aspects rather than the narrative. Battles generally take place in real time, and the player often controls a single character rather than a group.
Examples are: the Diablo, Zelda and Dark Souls franchises.
Games where battles take place on a map and character units are deployed against opponents.
Character and party development is more important than combat options, as stronger, higher level enemies tend to overwhelm underdeveloped parties.
Examples include: the Neverwinter and Final Fantasy franchises; and include major subgenres such as: Rogue-style RPG (e.g., Vocal Band or The Dungeons of Moria); and tactical RPGs (X-COM, Jagged Alliance, etc.)
adventurous role-playing games
Games where the emphasis is not on the story but on the action elements that are usually lighter.
The player has to progress through the story by collecting certain items and special weapons, meeting important NPCs or completing important tasks.
Adventure RPGs generally fall into other categories as well, such as the Fable franchise (which is also an action RPG), or the Divinity series which falls into the adventure RPG niche (Divine Divinity, Beyond Divinity); or in the strategy RPG (Divinity: Original Sin).
Some Metroidvania RPGs (such as Metroid or Castlevania II: Simon's Quest), are also often adventure RPGs with platform elements.
These are multiplayer games in which a large number of real players interact