January 11, 2024
2 min read

RPG vs RTS: What are the Differences?

RPG vs RTS: What are the Differences?

RPG vs RTS: What are the Differences?

While exploring different mobile games, you will notice that there is a great variety of different genres. Our upcoming game Origins, The Fall of Azoria, that has brought you here, will be an open-world role-playing game. However, it is going to include elements of other game genres, such as puzzle games. Therefore, we would like to introduce you to a series of blogs that discuss different genres of games so that you can get yourself prepared for all of the exciting things that our gameplay will have to offer. So let's talk about RPG vs RTS and how they compare.   In this blog, we will introduce you to strategy games and contrast this genre with role-playing games. While Origins, The Fall of Azoria won’t have any real-time or turn-based strategy gameplay elements, playing real-time strategy games could help you hone your skills, such as strategic thinking and management of resources. These skills will, no doubt, come in handy when playing Origins where you would need to manage collectable Organic Matter for crafting, for example.

What Is a Role-playing Game?

Three distinct RPG games with unique worlds and mechanics.
Source: pushsquare.com

A role-playing game (RPG) is a genre of games that lets players assume the roles of customisable fictional characters. RPGs are story-driven and feature complex narratives with branching dialogues and detailed character development. Players’ choices impact the game's story often leading to several endings. There are many sub-genres when it comes to RPG, with each having a unique spin to it.

What Is a Strategy Game?

Strategy game is a genre of games that challenges you to use resources and locations to win against your opponent. A typical mission involves gathering resources while defending yourself against enemy onslaught, usually through construction of units and buildings. Each conflict has a victory condition, which varies depending on whether it is a story based campaign or a versus skirmish. Achieving victory through a particular set of mechanics is the main objective of strategy games. Some popular examples of mechanics are dice rolling, collecting resources, and constructing settlements.

Here’s a list of features that are common for the vast majority of strategy games:

  • A world map or strategic view of some sort that allows to choose the next target
  • Gathering of resources that allows players to create units and structures to support them
  • Building construction dependencies or a tech tree that creates necessity to upgrade players forces against the enemy forces
  • Mobile units that can be used as buildings
  • Different in-game factions, each of which has unique unit-types and super weapons
  • Units have different stats and effectiveness vs the opponents counterparts

There are two types of strategy games: real-time and turn-based. Let’s take a closer look at both of these sub-genres.

What Is a Real-time Strategy Game (RTS)?

The chaos of WW 2 in a RTS. Your decisions come at a cost...
Source: Company of Heroes 2 - Relic Entertainment

If you don’t need to wait for your turn to make a decision, you are playing a real-time strategy game (RTS). These types of games are usually intense and require making quick decisions. Some of the most common RTS mechanics are collecting resources, developing armies, and upgrading settlements and defences. They usually require a high degree of micromanagement of your units (micro control) and your unit production along with map control (macro management). Due to the existence of fog of war (basically a shroud that obscures vision and forces units/buildings/abilities to dispel), predicting/scouting enemy movements is crucial to victory.

What Is a Turn-based Strategy Game (TBS)?

A peaceful world with some friendly units hanging around your borders. Wait a second!
Source: Civilisation 5 - Firaxis Games

Turn-based strategy games are rather similar to board games where players take time to think through their moves. One of the common mechanics in a turn-based strategy game is dice rolling that determines how much damage you deal to your opponent or what distance you can cover during your turn. The difficulty usually comes from learning how to most effectively use the units you possess. Similar to RTS games, fog of war plays a big part in TBS games. As it allows players to perform sneak attacks/ambushes/distraction tactics, generally favouring outmanoeuvring opponents. Rather than purely amassing an overwhelming force.

How Is a RTS Different From an RPG?

As you might expect from the aforementioned definitions, strategy games differ from RPGs in what game elements they emphasise the most.

Storytelling vs. Strategy

RPGs focuses on telling a story through character development and following the main plot. RTS and TBS focus on tactical and strategical conflict against the opposing forces.   Yet, it doesn’t mean that RPGs and strategy games are mutually exclusive. For example, Warcraft III by Blizzard Entertainment, currently (Activision/Blizzard) a game from 2002, has elements of RPG. Each faction possesses a hero unit, which through gaining experience and acquiring items becomes much more powerful. Also, thanks to the map editor included into the game, the community contributed to the creation of actual "RPG" maps. These maps have quests, rewards, companions and storylines in them, but still play as a RTS. This is taken a step further in Starcraft 2 by the same company. The map editor is even more customisable, allowing the line between these two concepts blur even further. So is it really RTS vs RPG in the end?

Focus On Character vs. Base Management

In RPGs, players develop and customise their characters, while in strategy games, players focus on building and managing a base or army. Another popular example of blending the elements of both genres is again StarCraft 2 by Blizzard. It features a between-mission hub where you can talk to NPCs, learn their backstories, and build relationships with them.  Another hybrid game that’s worth checking out is Battle Brothers by Overhype Studios. A mix of TBS with RPG elements that allows you to create a mercenary company. And of course all the troubles that comes with such high risk job.

What Are Some Examples of Strategy Games?

Space is home to many different species in Endless Legend. It's up to you to bring yours to the top!
Source: Endless Legend - Amplitude Studios

There are many different strategy games that you should definitely consider playing. Some of these include:

  • Stormfall: Age of War by Plarium
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II by Electronic Arts
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 5 by Ubisoft
  • Endless Legend by Amplitude Studios

Which Is Better: RPG or RTS?

A curious mix of strategy/management/role playing. Keep your Bros alive for, if you can!
Source: Battle Brothers - Overhype Studios

RPGs typically involves playing as a character or multiple characters within a fictional world, where players take on quests, complete missions, and engage in combat. These games often have strong narratives and character development, allowing players to immerse themselves in a fictional world.   On the other hand, strategy games are more focused on a tactics-based approach to achieving a specific objective. These games often involve resource management, base building, and combat, allowing players to think strategically to outmanoeuvre their opponents.   There’s no single answer to the question which genre of games is better as it boils down to your personal preferences. If you enjoy engaging with other NPCs in a game, reading dialogues, and collecting stories, then RPGs are the best way for you to relax during evenings. If you enjoy strategic thinking, you should definitely choose strategy games. Don’t worry if you love both genres at the same time! Some games like StarCraft 2 and Battle Brothers blend both genres offering a unique gaming experience.   As you get ready for the release of Origins The Fall of Azoria, why not give some RTS games a try? They can help you learn how to strategically manage your resources, which will definitely come in handy when playing our RPG game.


Is the genre of strategy games dying?

The genre of strategy games is not dying, but it has certainly faced challenges in recent years. One of the main challenges is competition from other genres, such as first-person shooters, battle royale games, and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games. Another challenge is the complexity of strategy games. They often require a significant amount of planning and critical thinking, which can be daunting if you’re just looking for a way to relax in the evening after a hard day at work.

What are the top three most popular RTS games?

Some of the most successful and popular RTS games include:

A legendary series with massive following. Perfect for entry level and seasoned RTS players.
Source: Starcraft 2 - Blizzard Entertainment
  1. Starcraft II - Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Starcraft II is one of the most successful RTS games of all time. It was released in 2010 and has sold millions of copies worldwide. It has an active e-sports scene and a dedicated fan base.
  2. Age of Empires II - Developed by Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires II was released in 1999 and is still popular today. It has sold millions of copies and has been remastered and re-released several times over the years.
  3. Warcraft III - Also developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Warcraft III was released in 2002 and is considered a classic in the RTS genre. It has sold millions of copies and has had a significant impact on the gaming industry.

What is the oldest RTS game?

The forefather of all RTS games. Its mechanics are still playing massive role even in today's titles.
Source: Dune 2 - Westwood Studios

Developed by Westwood Studios in 1992, Dune II is often credited with popularising and defining the RTS genre. It features real-time gameplay, base-building, and unit control, and has introduced many of the features that would become standard in later RTS games.


RTS games allow you to learn very useful skills. Management of your base and resources, while controlling your units to ensure their security. RPGs allow you to enjoy a well crafted story and focus on interactions within it. Both can offer unique worlds, whether full of magic, highly advanced civilisations or both.

Both offer plenty of fun to test your own mettle and depending on the game itself, immerse you in the universe it created for you. As you may be aware, plenty of games in the same genre offer many different things.

These are all yours to explore and allow yourself to enjoy, as we recommend both genres for everyone to try for themselves!

About Dreams Quest

Dreams Quest is a diversified entertainment company building fantasy and dream-like content that is both breathtaking and adventurous, driving the soul to learn and explore even more. Through mythology and lore, we tap into your aspirational dreams to build a thriving ecosystem, community and world which is shared through game, film, tv, books and music. We help you see the world differently, or as it really is…

Origins, The Fall of Azoria

You find yourself falling and land into a world that has been torn asunder. What has caused this disruption to take place? And what role will you play in determining the future of Azoria?

Origins is an open-world RPG mobile game full of quests, exploration, challenges and secrets which lay ahead of you. Collect and earn valuable organic matter, crystals, and artefacts in your inventory while seeking the knowledge necessary to unlock hidden secrets long since forgotten. Discover how to wield and master Weka, the life force energy that both influences and sustains the world.

Origins, The Fall of Azoria, is the first experiential fantasy and action-based open-world mobile RPG game where your dreams and subconscious intertwine into an immersive experience.

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