Point and click (WIKI)
See also: History of Western role-playing video games and Tactical role-playing game
Action RPGs were far more common on consoles rather than computers, due to gamepads being better suited to real-time action than the keyboard and mouse. Though there have been attempts at creating action-oriented computer RPGs during the late 1980s and early 1990s, often in the vein of Zelda, very few saw any success, with Times of Lore (1988) and Ultima VII (1992) being some of the more successful attempts in the American computer market. An early attempt at incorporating a point-and-click interface in a real-time overhead action RPG was Silver Ghost, a 1988 NEC PC-8801 game by Kure Software Koubou. It was a tactical action RPG where characters could be controlled using a cursor. A similar game released by Kure Software Koubou that same year was First Queen, a unique hybrid between a real-time strategy, action RPG, and strategy RPG. Like an RPG, the player can explore the world, purchase items, and level up, and like a strategy video game, it focuses on recruiting soldiers and fighting against large armies rather than small parties. The game's "Gochyakyara" ("Multiple Characters") system let the player control one character at a time while the others are controlled by computer AI that follow the leader, and where battles are large-scale with characters sometimes filling an entire screen. Another early overhead action RPG to use mouse controls was Nihon Falcom's 1991 game Brandish, where the player could move forward, backward, turn, strafe and attack by clicking on boxes surrounding the player character.
Diablo (1996) laid the foundations for point & click action RPGs.
The 1994 game Ultima VIII also used mouse controls as well as attempting to add precision jumping sequences reminiscent of a Mario platform game, though reactions to the game's mouse-based combat were mixed. It was not until 1996 that a stagnant PC RPG market was revitalized by Blizzard's Diablo, an action RPG that used a point-and-click interface and offered gamers a free online service to play with others that maintained the same rules and gameplay. However, there is some debate regarding whether or not real-time point-and-click games such as Diablo qualify as action RPGs due to their lack of direct control over the character, which is considered a defining element of action RPGs.
Diablo's effect on the market was significant; it had many imitators and its style of combat went on to be used by many MMORPGs that came after. For many years afterwards, games that closely mimicked the Diablo formula were referred to as "Diablo clones." The definition of a Diablo clone is even vaguer than that of an action RPG, but typically such games have each player controlling a single character and have a strong focus on combat with plot and character interaction kept to a minimum. Non-player characters are often limited in scope. For example, an NPC could be either a merchant who buys and sells items or a service provider who upgrades the player's skills, resources, or abilities. Diablo clones are also considered to have few or no puzzles to solve because many problems instead have an action-based solution (such as breaking a wooden door open with an axe rather than having to find its key).
Blizzard later released a sequel, Diablo II in 2000, and it became an international sensation in America, Europe, and Asia. Diablo II's effect on the gaming industry led to an even larger number of "clones" than its predecessor, inspiring games for almost a decade. Diablo III was released on May 15th, 2012. Some of the aforementioned Diablo clones are: the Sacred series, Titan Quest, Dungeon Siege series, Loki: Heroes of Mythology, Legend: Hand of God, Fate, Torchlight, and Path of Exile.
Edited by MrPresident#1381 on 2/26/2013 7:15 AM PST