Global Chat: The best action RPGs ever

Grim Dawn, baby!

Have you found yourself with some extra time this holiday season and not enough things to click, loot, and wear? Sounds like you need a strong dose of vitamin ARPG, stat!

Fortunately, Altar of Gaming has a rundown of the five best action role-playing games of all time, including Path of Exile, Torchlight II, and one of our favorite underdogs, Grim Dawn: “Combat is slow, hard and strategic — without losing any of the fun — and you will encounter quite a lot of elites & bosses to offer you a real challenge, both to your wits and reactions. The main campaign contains a perfectly written (and most of the times voice-overed) scenario, where many of your choices will shape the world around you.”

Read on for more MMO blog essays from the past week that touch on Dark Age of Camelot, Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft, and more!

Nerdy Bookahs: My top MMOs in 2019

“After so many years of not playing it, the legendary server made me want to come back and experience LOTRO again, even without the classic experience. I still really dislike the way they changed the talent trees. Actually, they turned them into talent trees, but I still prefer the original setting.”

Yeebo Fernbottom: Dark Age of Camelot’s Endless Conquest

“Endless Conquest for Dark Age of Camelot, a new system that lets you play the game for free (with some restrictions), went live a little over a month ago. A lot of other big changes came down the pipe with it.  My impression so far is that it’s a bit of a mixed bag, both in terms of execution and in terms of the impact on player populations.”

Priest With a Cause: There’s something about Alterac Valley

“Fortunately, AV is too big for the fun police to enforce anything efficiently. While there may be general moaning that ‘people’ should be doing this or that, nobody really cares about any particular individual going off to do their own thing, unless you go AFK in a blatantly obvious spot, so I’ve spent a lot of time simply trying to get various quests done.”

24 Hours In: Death by degrees

“I’ve died once so far in DDO, around 10 hours into the game. In hindsight this was an avoidable death, and was in part due to my not entirely thinking through the way certain mechanics in this game differ from other MMOs I have played.”

Inventory Full: We chose to go to the moon in EverQuest II

“I was always pre-disposed to love this expansion. I’ve been waiting for a return to the shattered moon for fifteen years, pretty much since EQII launched in 2004. Looking up at the scar of Luclin’s ruin night after night, I always believed we’d make it back there one day.”

Mailvatar: ArchePass returns to ArcheAge Unchained… again

“So… are we happy now? Yeah, much to my surprise I think we actually are. Everyone in our little family is having fun doing the things we’d be doing anyway, while the additional rewards are very nice and enable us to do and buy stuff we couldn’t before.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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Alexander Android

Grim Dawn is great and probably the best for single player.
But ever since Diablo 2’s “Closed Battle.Net” (as opposed to the “Open Battle.Net” gameplay with locally saved data) I really require an ARPG to have a cheat-free environment with everything saved server-side centrally.
Knowing that everyone can legally cheat any type of gear kills the whole multiplayer and trade/economy aspect which has become very important to me in ARPGs.

So Grim Dawn takes the SSF cake for me, but overall I have to give it to PoE – especially with what I have seen of 4.0.
PoE wouldn’t exist without D2 though (which was their source of inspiration according to Chris), so that one probably gets my vote as best ARPG of all time. I wouldn’t want to play it today, but for its time it was the greatest wonder my young self has ever experienced. And along with D1 it has influenced many great games, including Grim Dawn and PoE. In fact, it influenced many games outside of the ARPG genre to adopt “RPG” mechanics, from shooters to sports games.
There’s a very interesting article titled “20 years after Diablo, every game is Diablo” which discusses this in detail.

So my personal top 5 would probably be:
1. Diablo 2
2. Path of Exile
3. Diablo 1
4. Grim Dawn
5. … Diablo 3 RoS?

Although I strongly assume PoE will be regarded as the undisputed all-time #1 ARPG 10 years from now.

Oleg Chebeneev

Diablo 2 was awesome. I remember playing it nonstop for days when it launched.

Danny Smith

The combat is monumentally barebones but everything else about Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has always made me love it more than more mainstream stuff like Diablo. You don’t have a set linear campaign. You have to leave your home town with up to 3 friends, local back on the gamecube but next year online on switch, ps4 and no doubt pc eventually, to take your caravan carrying a chalice to collect drops of magic dew from crystal trees that drop a single drop per year. The more you play and the stronger you get the further you can go and naturally you have more options in later years on where to go to get these drops. You go through the dungeon be it a goblin mine, a town that never had its caravan return and is infested with rot and undead, a monster mansion, a swamp filled with fishmen and so on. If you wish you can do this forever. Keep doing it till the soft-rng has extinguished and you have every item.

The twist however is the more you do and the more people you meet the more you very quickly learn that the nature of the world is a lie. You think towns are built around crystals that stop a poison in the air killing people, early on you learn it doesn’t kill people. It steals their memories. You can continue for a long time keeping your town alive but eventually people you met years ago don’t remember you anymore. Its almost a 1:1 of the mental aspect of Hollowing from Dark Souls but about 7 or 8 years earlier. Then if you want you can risk your home dying by plunging further afield while taking notes of certain hints and dialogue to find secret areas and ultimately discover the real story of the game, big bad and all. But this is totally optional. Imagine if Diablo was called something more generic and only meeting certain criteria revealed he existed let alone that he was the cause of all tristrams problems!

The big hook though which i wish more action rpgs with a multiplayer focus used was its attention paid to the party. You can start channeling a spell and move the casting icon around to a place and let it go to cast said spell. Or two people can do the same thing at the same spot to turn Thunder into Thundara for example. But the real neat part is when you can have different spell rings of different spells to cast a totally new spell neither person can cast. This leads to a round the world tour to cast specific spells on specific things only on certain years based entirely on a riddle that pregamefaqs was a nightmare as a kid to unlock the OP grand daddy of all spells.

Its a really neat world that takes the art style of FFIX and takes it into this ‘its not the end of the world, but you can see it from here’ setting and injects a lot of Irish fantasy and folklore as a basis. Its one of the few games nowadays i consider a cult classic: most people dont know about it, most that do dont give a shit since final fantasy spin offs are usually mediocre but its fans are absolutely die hard fans. I know i lost my shit when a HD remaster was announced for current gen hardware, shame its got delayed but if you want something thats slower and less move spammy and screen full of enemies, kind of closer to monster hunter in some respects, i cannot recommend it enough as the action rpg the mainstream forgot.

Now real talk: how has Games Workshop licensed out its IPs to so much shovelware but we never got a 40k diablo clone?!?

Jeremy Barnes

I think PoE is the obvious choice, but I’ve loved the Crate Entertainment team back to when they working on Titan Quest and pre-ordered Grim Dawn as soon as they were able to offer it (due to high demand from those of us following it way back then).


Not only is Grim Dawn a great ARPG but Crate Entertainment is an amazing publisher that still supports the game. They just released a huge FREE content update and just announced yet more coming for the game.

By far, they have learned the lessons of many of the APRGs over the years and build an excellent game that is hard to stop playing.

Oleg Chebeneev

Played them all, Grim Dawn is my personal favourite.
Lost Ark deserves to be mentioned too. Similar in gameplay, way better than those 5 aRPGs in some aspects (particularly graphics and combat).

blah blazh

I’m a big fan of Grim Dawn as well. Is it my favorite ARPG ever? I’d probably have to give that honor to Diablo since it is the game that introduced me to the genre.