The role playing game, most commonly known as the RPG, has been a staple of the gaming community since its inception. Over time, this addictive gaming genre has allowed players to indulge in their plot-based obsessions even more accurately. With detailed customization and high-end graphics provided on consoles such as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the role playing realm has certainly evolved. And with the Diablo 3 release date finally announced, now is a better time than ever to recap some of the most popular RPG franchises.

Diablo- This adventure-based RPG, more accurately described as an action game to some, was originally released in 1996. The PC franchise, challenging players to power through dark dungeons for a final showdown in hell against Diablo himself, has been hailed as one of the top PC games of all time. The third installment in this action role-playing series is rumored to come to consoles, but no official release date has been announced for a non-PC edition. In preparation for the upcoming continuation of the story, why not catch up on the first two?

Mass Effect- Although this franchise is recognized as a space shooter, the intergalactic quest-based game has become a significant piece of science fiction in American pop culture. Taking on the role of Commander Shepherd, players travel through space to conquer the Reapers, a deadly power-hungry alien race. The most recent and final addition to the series has sparked controversy due to an unsatisfactory ending and issues with the game's downloadable content.

Final Fantasy- One of the most influential and widely popular Japanese role-playing endeavors, the Final Fantasy series is one of the founding members of the genre. More than 20 years old, the franchise has spawned movies and spin-off games based on the intricate plot. But perhaps the more appropriate question is which Final Fantasy game is the best? Some top competitors in the Square Enix saga include Final Fantasy VI, VII and the recent XIV.

World of Warcraft- This long-running RPG franchise is known for its addictive allure. From Blizzard, the developers also responsible for the Diablo franchise, the online multiplayer game allows players to develop their character's skills through extended gameplay. Fans of the real-time strategy RPG are awaiting the next expansion of the series, titled Mists of Pandaria. World of Warcraft has become synonymous with gaming culture, with TV shows such as South Park poking fun at the franchise, commercials featuring celebrities such as Mr. T and Chuck Norris, and a college media culture class featuring the game as part of the curriculum at SUNY Purchase.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim-  After an eight-year span of releases, the most recent addition to the Elder Scrolls franchise was released this past November. Carrying on the action adventure based theme, players are given the quest of determining the future of Skyrim empire. Battling evil dragons, roaming across thick forests and powering through dangerous dungeons, gamers have plenty of missions to keep them occupied after the main quest. And let's not neglect Skyrim's sensational predecessor, Oblivion.