What Features Are Most Important in Role Playing Games?

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What Features Are Most Important in Role Playing Games?

Like most video games, role playing games are an entertaining way to pass the time. Not only does it give the user a glimpse into fictional alternate universes, it also offers an escape from boring, ordinary reality. Still, despite all the fun of an role playing game, not all are created equal and some are simply better than others. For every role playing game that becomes an instant cult classic the moment it arrives on the scene, there are countless others that have fallen flat and failed to live up to user expectations. The truth is there is a certain formula when it comes to success, and games require certain key features to guarantee it. RPG enthusiasts should know these features as this can help them understand why they love the games that they do. Whether one is a true fan or new to the world of role playing games, it is additionally important to get an idea of the various types along with a brief history.

Overview of Role Playing Games

Role playing games, otherwise known as RPGs, allow the gamer to experience a fictional universe through the eyes of various characters. From the name itself, RPGs let gamers play roles that they have created for themselves or assume ones that have been created for them by the game. While children have been playing "make believe" for centuries, RPGs take this a step higher by introducing game rules and mechanics. It is said that role playing video games got their start from the wildly popular tabletop game called "Dungeons and Dragons", which is considered one of the first mainstream games of its kind. The advent of computers has made it possible for role playing games to remove the traditional role of the gamemaster, increase the speed of combat resolution, and create a rich graphic-based world.

Types of Role Playing Games

For the avid gamer, there is a wide range of RPGs available for his or her enjoyment. Below is a table with a brief description of the different types.

Role Playing Game Type


Popular Titles

Action RPG (ARPG)

Has action-adventure storyline; real-time action; allows direct control over character actions; more commonly found on consoles; typically hack and slash; may be multiplayer in nature; character explores a world with different quests

Mana; Witcher, Dragon Age; Phantasy Star Online; Kingdom Hearts

Tactical RPG (TRPG)

Relies on strategy; also referred to as simulation RPGs; typically not multiplayer; players increase the experience points of their characters; game has specific winning requirements; some are turn-based

Shining Force; Stella Deus; Vandal Hearts; Fire Emblem; Final Fantasy Tactics; Valkyria Chronicles

Massively Multiplayer Online RPG (MMORPG)

Known for having a large number of gamers playing inside a single virtual environment; game world develops and changes even if the player is not there; character development is crucial to game; players often form informal groups and complete quests together

Warhammer; Aion; Dungeons and Dragons; DC Universe; Lord of the Rings; Guild Wars; World of Warcraft

Role playing games do not have to be one type or the other. While it is tempting to categorise them in neat categories, many of these games are hybrids. Because game manufacturers strive to bring something new to the customers, they often mix and match the different types to come up with a compelling game.

Important Features for Role Playing Games

Role playing games have different kinds of features that make it enjoyable for the player. It is a combination of these features that make for a great game.


No matter how stunning the graphics, RPGs require variety to keep gamers playing all the way to the end. The storyline must not only be interesting, but it should also not be repetitious to avoid boredom. If the game makes the player do the same actions over and over again without increasing the difficulty, he or she may give up on the game. The best RPGs captures attention and sustains it until the ending credits.


Because many RPGs are played in real-time, it is in the best interest of the RPG to give the users the feeling that their characters are developing. Characters must acquire new skills, tools, and money, among others to get ahead in the game. As the player progresses through the levels, the corresponding difficulty must increase as well. While players must satisfy minimum conditions to advance, it should not be too difficult that it becomes too stressful or time-consuming to play.

Game World

Having an engaging game world is a crucial feature of RPGs. While beautiful graphics and audio help in creating this type of setting, the ability to properly interact with its many locations is also an advantage. Ideally, the setting should be interesting enough that players cannot wait to explore their surroundings.


Pay-off, in its simplest form, is what the person gets for doing certain actions and meeting the game's requirements for winning. For starters, people who mine all day and all night need the proper pay-off for it. One way is to make it difficult to get certain metals, coins, weapons, tools, and artefacts, among others. People who put in the time and effort to procure these items should be commensurately rewarded.


Role playing games are nothing without interesting and compelling characters. This means the RPG should feature a fascinating protagonist, villain, sidekick, among others. Should a character die during the middle of gameplay, the player must feel a twinge of emotion towards the character. Having a great narrative is an important feature of any RPG.


The mark of a great game is its replayability. Not only should the game be compelling, but it also must possess different forks in the road with differing outcomes as well. RPGs that ask players to choose their character class should provide the corresponding consequences that come with that selection. Because there are many different outcomes, the replayability of the game subsequently increases.


Another important feature is addictiveness, which is a blend of a compelling game world, challenging game play, and an engaging narrative. Games with this quality have players that are eager to play it over and over again. While many companies aspire to make their games more "sticky", it is often difficult to get it right.

Battle System

The battle system, otherwise referred to as the combat system, generally refers to the gaming mechanism used by players to score points or experience in order to level up their character. For example, some games allow the character to keep coming back over and over again, while others only let the player do that for a couple of times before resetting his or her statistics.

Role Playing Game Manufacturers

Because the demand for RPGs is so huge in the global market, there are many companies that offer this as part of their repertoire. These companies are Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Playdom, Square Enix, ZeniMax Media, and Microsoft Game Studios, among others. While some gamers choose to deal only with traditional brick and mortar shops, others have found that there are many great deals and bargains to be found online.

How to Shop for Role Playing Games on eBay

People who wish to purchase role playing games should begin their search on eBay. Simply visit the eBay home page or any page on the site and look for the search field. Type in "role playing games" or "rpg" as a jump-off point. If you have something more specific in mind, you can also type it in, like "World of Warcraft" or "Final Fantasy". You should find hundreds or more of product listings that have these search terms on their product title. To narrow down the search results, you can filter using the selections like condition, location, category, and shipping, among others.

While some people only need to stick with the simple search function, others may want to utilise the eBay Advanced Search function instead. Here, you pick your parameters even before you run the search. This is helpful for those who wish to isolate listings with P&P or those being sold only by people located in the UK. This is also helpful for buyers who want to save on shipping fees and collect the game from the seller. In fact, it is as easy as typing in your postcode and specifying the distance you are able to travel before running the search.


Role playing games are generally enjoyable software programs designed to keep a person entertained for hours or days to come. There are a wide range of RPGs such as action, tactical, and massive multiplayer online, among others. Due to constant market innovation, many RPGs today are hybrids of the general classifications. When it comes to identifying the important features of role playing games, variety, advancement, game world, pay off, narrative, replayability, addictiveness, and the game's battle system get top marks.

Most of the popular games like Final Fantasy, World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons, Aion, and Guild Wars utilise a combination of these elements for a game that people enjoy playing for many years to come. For many shoppers who used to patronise speciality shops for gamers, it has been more common to purchase games from eBay instead. Not only does it boast a wide selection and fantastic prices, eBay makes it possible for the buyer to own used copies of the game that they have always wanted to play.

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