Role-playing games are often the most time consuming games to make significant progress in because of their endless amount of items to collect, quests to complete, and levels to achieve. World of Warcraft seems to have sent the genre mainstream with millions of users logging in each day to get their fix. Here are my five favorites of all time.

This series will pick apart the five games from each gaming genre that helped define my gaming persona. You, too, have your own.

#5 Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)

One of the best RPGs to hit the Game Boy Advance, FFTA built on the Final Fantasy turn based combat and job system and introduced a laws system for battles that demanded you alter your combat strategy from battle to battle. My first taste of the Final Fantasy series, FFTA set the scene for a long affair with the franchise. If portable gaming and RPGs are your thing, the Final Fantasy franchise rarely disappoints.

Final Fantasy Tactics

#4 Gauntlet Legends (Sega Dreamcast)

One of the first ever RPGs I got my hands on, Gauntlet Legends made for some argumentative coop quests in the simplest form of an RPG I’ve seen. Choosing between the four classes (Wizard, , , ) we set out to find who knows what but we laid the smack down on tons of mummies, skeletons, and ghosts along the way. Through Gauntlet Legends I had my first level up experience: the addiction grew from there.

gauntlet legends

#3 Phantasy Star Online Episodes 1 & 2 (Gamecube)

Phantasy Star Online was originally released on the Dreamcast years before it made it to Nintendo’s Gamecube. Phantasy Star Online managed to get me to fork over the extra $30 for the Gamecube’s broadband adapter so I could take my lvl. 100+ character online, show off a bit, and get access to exclusive weapons I couldn’t find offline. Phantasy Star Online was the first RPG I ever played online…and sunk hundreds of hours into.

Phantasy Star Online

The hours and hours (or days and days) of work all ended in tears as a result of a corrupted memory card due to an online bug.

#2Diablo II(PC)

After picking up StarCraft up over ten years ago, my fellow gamers and I picked up Diablo II in hopes of even more hours of online coop play. The Diablo universe was huge with item customization beyond belief and a tech tree to make any character different than the rest. I’d never seen anything like the Necromancer so naturally I dumped hours into making mine top notch.

Blizzard never disappoints.

Diablo II

#1 Final Fantasy XI (PC)

Final Fantasy XI is probably the game that I’ve put more hours into than any other and will likely remain that way forever. My first, and likely last, MMORPG began as something causal and grew into something much larger. FFXI is strikingly similar to WoW where you’d form friendships with people you hardly knew at all. The always-expanding world of quests, missions, gear, and experience points made the game impossible to ever complete. Multi-hour battles took organization, communication, and skill all for the chance at a single item most would never benefit from. It’s hard to explain but only those who have experienced an MMO firsthand can truly understand.

Final Fantasy XI

Role-playing games aren’t for everyone. The time necessary to complete offline RPGs is already significant and when you throw in an online aspect, you’re bound to increase it exponentially. What are your favorite RPGs? Let us know in the comments!