This list shows the ranking of the best pure Role-Playing Games, Action-RPG hybrids and MMORPG's of all time, as voted on by the Ranker Community. The popularity of role-playing games far predates video game technology entirely, and many of the genre's standards, settings and concepts continue to draw strong influence from the pen-and-paper games of the past (particularly the granddaddy of them all, Dungeons & Dragons, or D&D.)
In traditional Role-Playing Games, the player controls a character in a fictional world or setting, and takes a strong hand in determining how that character chooses to progress through the environment. This can involve determining the character's nature and outlook, his or her development through quests and missions and potentially joining up with other characters, either NPC or representing other human players. They tend to be more character and plot-driven games in many ways, as opposed to games that put more emphasis on stealth, puzzle-solving or combat. In some ways, new technology has simply made RPG's easier to organize and faster to play through, removing the need for a "gamemaster" and reliance on dice or other physical means of determining game outcomes.
Many of the most popular RPGs are part of a larger franchise, set in a familiar world that has been established over the course of numerous games (and sometimes tie-in novels, short films or other media.) The "Final Fantasy" RPG franchise is perhaps the most significant and long-standing in video game history, and in fact at this point has branched out beyond traditional role-playing games to include entires focused on tactical role-playing, action role-playing, MMORPG's, racing games, third person shooters and even rhythm and fighting games. It has also inspired numerous animated films, tie in novels and comic books.
(Unlike many other RPG series that are all based in a single setting or universe - such as the Elder Scrolls series Tamriel or Azeroth from Blizzard's Warcraft games - Final Fantasy entries tend to take place in different settings and have sharply distinguished plotlines.)