Much of AdventureQuest's game play revolves around fighting monsters. On the players turn they may attack, equip a weapon shield or armor, drink a potion, cast a spell, call a pet or equip a miscellaneous item. Changing armor, weapon or shield does not use up a turn but equipping certain items, changing pets or drinking a potion does. On an opponents's turn it may attack, though some monsters have special attacks such as healing. Pack monsters and a few other monsters can summon reinforcements, which doesn't take up a turn.
As players defeat monsters, they gain Experience Points (XP), gold, and possibly Z-tokens. The XP is used for leveling up your character for more Mana, Health, etc. The gold is used for buying stronger items. Z-Tokens, not always dropped by monsters, can be used to buy special weapons from Valencia or to buy a house.
Several things can affect the outcome of a battle. Both characters and monsters have a "defense modifier" for each of the eight elements; a higher defense modifier means an attack of that element does more damage. There is also a defense modifier for each of the three methods of attacks: melee, ranged and magic; a lower number means greater vulnerability to that element of attack. Players can change their character's weapon, shield and armor according to the monster's defense modifiers. Also, some of the stronger bosses have defence modifiers to the Void element. There are a few other "Hidden" elements that are not shown, but still exist (Confirmed by the KoO, the game's balancing team. Void is an example of such a hidden element.)
Six stats affect the amount of damage inflicted and taken, as well as the probability of an attack being resisted. In addition, pets and guests assist the character in doing extra damage. Strategic use of spells and items will give a character an advantage in combat. The combat system also uses luck as you attack a random number based on your weapon and stats.
When a battle begins, either the player or the monster goes first mostly depending on whoever has the more Luck. When it is the monsters turn, they do their own attack that can inflict different damage and sometimes effect the player's own defenses. The player's turn then would come if it hasn't already. The player could then equip the appropriate armor, shield, etc. The battle would then go on with consecutive Monster then Player turns. The player can have numerous types of attacks depending on what armor is used or if they decide to use their magic attacks. These Magic attacks cost a player MP (Mana Points which is the base of all magic in AQ). Sometimes, the attacks could also vary on what weapon is used. The weapon, depending on what one you are using, can sometimes release its Special attack that does not cost the player MP or HP. The battle would then continue until a monster's HP drops below zero or if the players drops to zero. If the monster dies, the character is awarded with experience and gold. Sometimes, they will also be rewarded with Z-Tokens. If a monster is a pack type (Junior Zard Pack, Orc Horde, Drakel War Party, etc.), sometimes they may summon reinforcements until they run out. Most pack monsters have a pre-determined amount of reinforcements, and will not die until all of them are killed. If a character's HP drops below zero, the character dies, and has to speak to Death to return to town without any penalties. The death is saved in the game's database.
Players may also inflict status effects on monsters such as Freezing and Paralysis using different weapons and other methods with a random chance of inflicting the effects.