Blizzard Defends the Rune System Changes

A fan named Starbird posted an impassioned and detailed plea for changes to the newish DiabloWikirunestone system, and got a point by point reply from DiabloWikiBashiok. The start of his comments are below; click through for the whole long post.

1) “Forced” Experimentation while leveling. Basically, you are forced to play with runeskills you may or may not like until something better unlocks. Under the old system, via the AH and with a bit of luck you could play the build you wanted and refine it. Under the new one you have to play for (potentially) a long time to get the build you want.
I don’t see that as a negative. Previously you were held to either randomness, or left to your own to pick something with little incentive to jump around. Previously most people would determine what they believe is best and do very little experimentation. With the unlock system there is actually some incentive in the absence of complete choice to try something you otherwise may not have.

But anyway, it was really a symptom of solving worse problems with the item-based rune system. Both systems have their benefits, both have their downsides, but we know that this system has more ups than downs compared to the others.

2) The death of customization and specialization. Runes were initially introduced to offset the loss of ‘uniqueness’ in character builds due to the skill system. Runes allowed you to craft a build that was *yours* and finding ranks allowed to you continually refine and improve it. Under the new system, you are a few clicks and a cooldown away from being the same build as the guy next to you.
No they weren’t. Runes were a part of the Diablo III skill design because we thought it’d be bad [email protected]# to be able to customize skills.

Rune ranks were never customization, it was a gradual power increase dictated by drop chance. And don’t be fooled that there is customization with skill trees. I’ve yet to see any skill tree that offers anything but the illusion of customization.

If you mean skill choice permanence, well, we just fundamentally disagree that you need to be locked into something to make your character choices meaningful. There is still plenty to make your character build meaningful that doesn’t require re-rolling, and we believe we’ve achieved that.

Click through for points 3-6.

3) Hell is for Heroes, and Inferno is not a place I want to still be ‘trying out’ new skills. In Diablo 2 stuff would unlock at a reasonable rate, and by the end of normal you had your build and were just getting the extras. Under this system, it’s entirely possible that you will be waiting until you have finished Hell to unlock the skill effect you want. I don’t know about you, but by the time I hit Hell I really want to have my build down and be working on gear and technique.
It’s weird how on one hand we’re asked for limitations, add more limitations, we really want to be punished and forced to level new characters and just be beaten about the face and neck with punishing game mechanics… and then it almost feels like there’s a fear that you won’t have a perfect character to take on the challenging areas of the game.

You won’t. You’re going to die, a lot, and you’re going to have a horrible character for quite a while. You’re not going to hit 60 and finish the game on Inferno. You’re going to be smashing your face against Act 1 Inferno for weeks. Perfecting your build before then will not matter.

4) Not everyone is going to get to Inferno. I thought Blizzard said a while back that most players will quit after Normal? So…rather than letting everyone play around with rank 1 runes and at least see the various effects you aren’t going to let them see them at all?
Totally! Reward for more invested players, and very likely a way to entice players not to just stop at Normal.

To be honest the repetitive difficulty levels in Diablo games is not a very straightforward mechanic. Plenty of games have difficulty levels, but there are only a handful that use them as progression. If we can communicate the intent of the game to people by showing unlocks in future difficulty levels, maybe we can get more people to play beyond Normal.

5) It feels like a deliberate delay to extend Diablo 3’s lifespan for casual gamers (who may not have got to 60 otherwise). It’s a lot like those fighting games that lock half the roster until you’ve finished Arcade mode dozens of times. Basically a cheap trick to keep you playing.
I’m not sure why this is a separate point. Maybe this should be 4a. ?

I’d agree with you though if the game wasn’t a 1-time price to buy the box. We earn nothing by ‘tricking’ you into playing more. Is it so crazy that we just want to make a fun game you’ll enjoy? Maybe it is these days.

6) Leveling is a huge focus of D3. This isn’t WoW. Inferno will be nice, but getting there is going to take a long time and for most characters will be the majority of their lifespan. Not being able to do this as the build I want is rather lame.

However, there are two simple solutions.

1)Allow players, every 10 levels, to unlock a single runeskill of their choice, in addition to the existing system. This means that there is still something to look forward too, those of us with very specific builds in mind can enjoy them pre-Inferno and the newer players/Zarhym’s Grandmother won’t be affected at all.

2) Like Crafting, once a runeskill has been unlocked it is available at level 6, or when the base skill unlocks on any new characters of that class.

A third really good suggestion, made by InfernoBound is giving some free rune choices as quest rewards. I am a big fan of this idea too. Thoughts?
Ok, so here it is, we do not have any problem with some kind of ‘rune point’ system where you could maybe earn points and then spend them wherever you want. But, and everyone loves this answer I know, it’s not going to make or break an already well-functional system and thus is not worth delaying the game to design and build out one where this is possible. Contrary to popular belief “when it’s done” is not the same as “let’s work on it for 7 more years until we’ve accomplished absolutely everything we can dream of”. Our commitment to quality and polish very much is the intent of our design mantras, though.

I realize some people are going to really want to be able to get that rune and MAN! it doesn’t unlock until level 58! And honestly that’s something we sympathize with to a degree, but the current system works very well, the current limitations absolutely have their benefits, it’s actually fun to be forced to try other effects, and immediately giving you what you want is usually not a fun game mechanic in the long term.

In my own personal opinion, it’s Diablo. If you can’t find a workable build without having your own perfect choices being handed to you on a silver platter at the start of the game, good luck in Inferno. Actually, good luck in Nightmare. This game is hard.

I like the current system from beta testing it (except for the still-lame UI), but of course it’s awesome in the beta, since it gives us access to rune effects early on. Will it work as well in the full game? We’ll never really know, lacking the item-based rune system to compare with it.

It does feel odd that the game makes you wait until level 60 to get your final skills, though. That seems to contradict much of the dev logic for other game features, where things are made more accessible, players are given more choices and options as soon as possible, there’s no grinding required, etc. And now the whole defense of that system (which most of us think was implemented primarily to eliminate the 30-60 “deadzone” that Bashiok insisted was not a problem) is that we’ll need to grind Hell for weeks to develop our builds and strategies and build up equipment for the super challenge that they keep insisting we’ll face in Inferno.

I don’t really mind that system since I’m sure I’ll play at least one of each class to 60, and I imagine most of you guys share my goal. But don’t you figure that most of the casuals Bliz has been working so hard to entice into D3 will finish normal (if that much), start Nightmare and see that it’s just Normal +difficulty, see that like half of their skills aren’t even available yet and won’t be for dozens of hours of play time, and get pissed/bored and quit? (At least that’s the argument I’m sure Bashiok would make if the system allowed all rune effects immediately, and some fan argued that they should space them out every 6 levels all the way to 60.)

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Inferno, Skillrunes


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  1. I am so tired of idiots with an overblown sense of entitlement whining about the rune system. Like Stalin stepped into your game and “forced” you to play with something that wasn’t exactly what you wanted for a few levels and you just can’t handle that….because skill trees were flat, and you didn’t have to work up to the build you wanted then too. 

    The rhetoric these people use is wholly illogical, they should be happy they’re getting a game where each class has an unprecedented number of available skills that could be viable. 

    • I’m used to it by now, it’s not like there’s a lack of such whiners in this forum 😮

    • yeah, is it just me or did bash totally swallow this troll hook.  i’d rather he further his carpel tunnel by giving us other unknown nuggets of D3 stuff rather than try and convince people who obviously don’t want to be convinced.   😐

    • @Robotgravy.  I agree.  Its a new game people!  This is NOT Diablo 2!! I myself am looking forward to the change and the fact that throughout the whole game (all the way to Inferno) you never stop having something to look forward to.  Plus, with all the hype Bliz has given their item sys im even more psyched.  Think about it.. ok, so theres SOME skill you dont like who gives a shite… suck it up and be a damn Diablo player.  You have to work to get your skills and if you want to puss out and stop before you get your “fav” rune then ok. 
      Im just stoked to know that there will be massive amounts of items that change all the way to the end and we have diff skills to look forward to as well instead of it just dying off suddenly when you get your build.  on top of all that… lvl 60 Neph Valor.. sweet!

    • Yeah, the person asking the questions here has some really flawed points at times.

      He claims that in Diablo 2 you’d have a build “completed” by the time you finished normal.  By the end of normal you’d probably be around level 28, if I recall correctly* (it’s hard to remember, since most of the time you’ll just be rushed through normal online these days). How is a Frozen Orb sorceress “finished” her build at level 28? Even if she hit 30, or 35, a scant few points in your main skill isn’t what I’d call “finishing” a build.

      *Thinking further, I think 28 is what I was in my first playthrough of the game, but the expansion bumped up the level for finishing normal into the mid-30s. In any case, that’s not high enough to finish a FOrb build, or many other builds in the game.

      Also, they’re neglecting that most of what you unlock at higher levels are rune effects, not new skills, and many (if not most) rune effects aren’t huge departures from your main skills. “Oh no, I have to have extra damage and can’t have extra effect radius until I level up to 58, boo hoo!” There are a few exceptions, but by and large your change of a rune isn’t going to have such a drastic effect on your play that you’ll need to entirely re-learn how to play. 

  2. I don’t like grinding the endgame for items. I do like re-rolling chars to try beating the game with different builds. For me, this system sucks.

    • Just re-rollit yourself… no one stops you… this system just let’s people who don’t want to re-roll to be able to do so…

    • Really? You’re still saying this after your argument has been countered about a million times?

      • I don’t have a huge problem with the system as it is, but what is the counter argument here? 

        Let’s say I’m one of “those people” that wants to reroll another Wizard, this time seeing if I can level thematically as frost spells only. The frost rune for Meteor isn’t available until much higher.  So I can’t use it until I’m done leveling.  I don’t want to use fire meteor for this characters at lower levels because, again, I’m challenging myself by leveling with self-imposed restrictions. 

        Like I said, personally, I don’t care so much.  Once I read about the new system, I gave up on the idea of leveling an alt.  I’ll make a wizard, level her, and not look back.  The only time I am rerolling is on death–HC only for me.  I’m OK with that.  But I can see why some don’t like the rigid system that will go live.

    • You can still do that too…. With a different class duh

    • -“I don’t like grinding the endgame for items.”
      Then Diablo is obviously not for you…
      …after normal difficulty.

    • frickin’ seriously??

      just stick to you rbuild with no respecs until hell or smth because the game will. not. let. you. progress with a single build after that. jesus, I can almost feel the game and I see some whiners rambling about shit they don’t like. cool, don’t buy it, I dare you, I double dare you.

    • ^
      Troll Successful!

    • What counts as “beating the game” to you?

      A completion of normal? Hell? Inferno?

      I’d say finishing Inferno is the closest thing to “beating the game” Diablo3 has to offer, and you’ll have all the tools to make your build by then. Just treat “the game” as Inferno difficulty and you can re-roll with different builds all you like.

  3. He is correct when he says that talent and skill trees only give you the illusion of choice. Same with stat points. Only unexperienced players don’t know the optimal strategy and by eliminating the rune drops, stat points and talent trees, they actually give the player the choice back in building their character, even though to some it seems that the removal of content does the oposite. Some skills will be better than others, but at least now the focus lies more on playstyle, rather than spreadsheet (I hope).

    • no guides, no builds. Only my own experiments. No illusion for the blind and deviant
      You are missing a lot by reading all about everything before 1st try…

    • Bashioks “skill trees are illusion of choice”-argument is  crap tbh.
      There is nothing which makes skills trees by default have less meaningful choices than the current skill system. Nothing which makes it have more meaningful choice either of course. The two systems are identical in that regard.
      Both systems have equal likelihood of having optimal strategies – as in both systems will have them.

      P.S. I don’t miss skill trees at all. Just pointing out a silly claim.

      • If the two systems are in fact “identical in that regard,” then Bashiok’s argument is perfect. People were claiming that elements of choice had been lost – he’s saying that apparent loss is an illusion, and you seem to be saying the exact same thing.

        • He isn’t talk about loss of customization, but claiming he hasn’t ever seen a skill tree which offered more than the illusion of customization.

          • Well there are games with skill trees where you have to make choices see ME3 each skill has 6 rank and at ranks 4, 5, & 6 you need to make a choice between 2 different upgrades. This is the kind of tree with a choices that matter (if the options are balanced you get 8 difference possible combos of the skill).

          • That’s just plain wrong.

            I don’t even understand what the phrase illusion of customization means. If I feel like there is customization, THEN THERE IS CUSTOMIZATION. I don’t need you to tell me there is or isn’t. 😕  

            Once again, consistent to Blizzard’s policy of telling you how to play your game.

            Just look at the path WoW is going down in the next expansion. I’m sure the talent trees were presumed to only offer an illusion of customization as well. 

          • @Ocajavati: If the world “feels” flat when I walk around on it, does that mean the world is flat? If I “feel” like it’s legal for me to set my neighbor’s house on fire, does that mean I won’t go to jail?

            WoW talent trees never did offer any meaningful customization. I don’t play WoW anymore, but from what I’ve seen the MoP talent changes actually look really good.

  4. Well i for one agree with the perfect your character until inferno. At least in diablo III (in theory) the game won’t reduce itself to diaruns, baalruns and ubers… Since we will be doing inferno from act I to Act V to get some gear i think it’s nice that you only perfect your char when you start playin there (again in Theory). I look forward to this new system..

  5. I always thought that many people had my build in D2, but it was how I played my characters that made my character unique. Considering how many people played D2, why would you think you are unique. Furthermore, I believe it is common practice for many players to “copy” other builds that are supposedly the most effective. I have see no problem with the new rune system.

    • Your character was probably less unique than you think. Choices were very limited. You pick 2 or 3 skills and just pump them up with your saved statpoints once you hit the correct level. Apart from the barb which scaled based on weapon damage, most characters only had a few skills that were worthwhile in the endgame.

  6. I think the new system is better , after playing WoW for so many years I can tell that Talent trees are NEVER a choice , you either pick the correct talents and get the best build for whatever you want to do or you gimped yourself , few talents were a choice and they weren’t enough to make you feel unique in your build.

    I am also in love with the idea of super hard Hell and Inferno and I hope it doesn’t get nerfed just for the sake of casuals , I have seen my share of nerfed content in WoW and it is not fun when something becomes so easy that people don’t even try to avoid things or play carefully and then they blame their own deaths on the healer for not keeping them up.
    All In all , things are shaping up pretty good , I can’t wait to get my hands on the game.

  7. I don’t see why having to grind hell to perfect your build is a problem.  Diablo is all about grinding anyway.

    • Atleast someone understands.

    • item hunting is great part of the game. They’re cutting off candies =(

    • I also think it’s laughable for the person who Bashiok is responding to to have claimed that characters would have “finished” their build by the end of normal difficulty, when many builds had skills that didn’t even unlock at rank 1 until level 30.

  8. “You’re going to die, a lot, and you’re going to have a horrible character for quite a while. You’re not going to hit 60 and finish the game on Inferno. You’re going to be smashing your face against Act 1 Inferno for weeks.”
    I really, really hope this is true. Not only for slow americans, but true for all the world’s population 😉

  9. In my humble opinion:
    1) I agree with everything bashiok has said in answer to these specific questions
    2) I hope that casuals get through normal and think “wow, ok so i see now that I couldnt get this epic rune effect… but this game is so much fun, im going to try nightmare and see if i can get further” or something along those lines. Maybe they will just move on and not play anymore, but I’m betting this game will be addictive enough that a majority of the players will at least TRY nightmare, seeing as its not JUST a difficulty ramp up (more rune effects, more items & item modifiers, more affixes, better gems, more fun! etc). Even if a bunch of casuals play a bit of nightmare and die, there is still a chance that they will keep trying and playing, which is not a bad thing! Maybe having the 3 difficulties of “progression” with one difficulty of actual “end game” will help slowly turn casuals into hardcore players, like blizzard have been saying all along! We will just have to wait and see…
    In the long run, yes it is slightly annoying that we cannot decide what build we want to test and play straight away at lvl 30… But I am hoping that the normal–>nightmare–>hell difficulty progression will be doable with the runeskills currently available at any given time and then once we have gotten to lvl60 we can experiment around with specific builds with all available skills and passives available whilst collecting hell-gear for our first foray into inferno ^^.

  10. mmmmm i don’t really see a problem with the current system in the beta (although i don’t have a beta access) but i think what really should concern more is their online only policy which affects more than one issue such as the hardcore c/cs and the server maintanance or the worse case travelling or staying outdoors where wifi will be hard to get!!!!!!?????

  11. Ah, PR answers. Must suck that they can never be able to say their true opinion.

    • Agreed.

      Their true opinion is probably something more like “We think you’ll get bored quicker having all of your rune skill variants early on even though you might like your play-style earlier than you will by having to play variants you don’t want to in order to get to the ones you do want and liking your play-style earlier on less.  After all, the longer you play, the more money we might get on that RMAH!!! CHA-CHING!!!”

  12. This is not Blizzard defending the changes, this is Bashiok.
    Bashiok’s job title isn’t “Game Designer”, it’s “Customer Service Rep”.
    It is unlikely that he sits in on big design meetings to offer design insights to the development team.
    Like a lawyer, his job doesn’t entail having opinions, he isn’t supposed to care whether something is the right way or not. His job is just to come up with the most convincing argument to convince players that the way it is now is the right way.
    If the argument has to be flipped around two weeks later, he has shown masterful skills at doing just that.
    In the weeks and months following Diablo’s release, Blizzard will be closely examining all the data they are collecting on player habits.
    If that data revels they fracked up the rune system big time, they will change it (as long as their egos don’t get in the way).
    At that time, I’m sure Bashiok will have a very convincing reason why the current system sucks and the new one is “so much better” 🙂

    • Exactly.  See the name Bashiok, expect to be spoon fed BS.  It’s just the reality of the situation.

      • I don’t think it’s necessarily “BS” just because it’s not coming straight from the heart. Sentiment doesn’t make something any more or less true.

        I don’t always agree with what Bashiok has to say, but I think he does a generally good job in preventing points of view to support Blizzard’s design decisions. Even if you disagree with what he has to say, he tends to offer pretty good reasoning, and that at least gives me the opportunity to see the other side of the debate and judge for myself.

    • “This is not Blizzard defending the changes, this is Bashiok.”

      Did you write that backwards? Because other than the first sentence, I thought your comment was spot on. It’s Blizzard defending, not Bashiok, for all the reasons you said. Bashiok attends meetings and gets his cues and talking points from the devs and others, and then elaborates them on the forums. So his words don’t tell us anything about what he thinks, but they’re a good window into the (current) theories of the devs. Or at least their explanations/rationalizations for the current game.

    • Bashiok works for Blizzard. So how is Bashiok defending the changes NOT Blizzard defending them?  Do you think that if a game designer was giving an explanation that it would be different?  It might not be as well crafted in terms of preventing a counter-argument, but it would otherwise be very similar aside from the exponentially greater possibility for honesty.  A game designer might actually state that “we made this design choice because it’s best for maximizing RMAH profitability”.  You won’t get that from Bashiok on anything, but you can bet it factors in all the time.  I suppose you also won’t get as much belittling from a game designer as you do from Bashiok.  Stuff like “this is Diablo” from him never ceases to amaze me.

    • It’s interesting to see how a few don’t understand this comment.  But let me spell it out somewhat.
      Bashiok is PR..he’s a frontline, try to smooth things over and make sure the customers arn’t angry.  He isn’t there to tell you the truth..he’s there to make it up or twist it in such a way it sounds enjoyable and makes you happy.  If he needs to he will tell you a right out lie…if it makes you happy.
      What this means is that, more than likely, his response is BS..he might be guessing at reasons..but mostly he’s trying to convince you why the change is a good thing…not why the change itself was made.
      To that end, looking over the development of this game..past things this team has done…etc.  I can probably say the reason the rune system was changed is much simpler..and much sadder.  Correctly balancing the runes so that no one rune is more useful than another rune of the same level is hard.  Each effect on the skill dosn’t just give a different way of working..they also improve the skill in one way or another.  More than likely the later runes you recieve?  They are probably more powerful..because its just easier to make it so the runes increase the power of the skill instead of making it so each rune gives a unique but equal in power change to a skill.
      The skill tree is probably also taken out for a similar reason.  It’s just too hard for them to balance, to make here just have each new skill in succession, you’ll know which one is best as its the latest one you get.

  13. I’m really tired of this argument. It’s dumb the system works perfectly. that’s all that needs to be said.

  14. I’m going to be plenty silly when playing Diablo 3 – I’ve pre-designed chars on the website out from what sounds cool and may work. My intention is to only use the skill/rune combo I’ve pre-chosen, so some skills will be rather tame until level 50+ 😛
    Concerning the runesystem itself, I think it works as it is now. The arguement about having to wait ages until the char is perfected seems silly, as with a drop system as random as Diablo’s, it might take just as long finding the actual runes you really want… The way it is at the moment, at least you know you will get them at some point.

    I know the AH exists, but I don’t consider that an option as I want to find my loot 🙂   

  15. I love the skill system. 
    It makes the tree/tier skill system of TL2 and GrimDawn seem so laborious and antiquated.
    The skill system for D3 just seems to make so much more sense; no skill points, all skill damage based on weapon damage.

    However, I do wish runes were still “loot” (items that dropped or could be found in breakables).
    I can certainly see the ease of just having the runes available and the fun of being able to so quickly try out new skills, but there was just something special about finding runes (and hopefully trading or selling them in the AH)

    • Runes as loot would have been a nightmare. There might have been a way to implement them so that bag space wouldn’t have been a problem but it’s likely it would diminish their value as items anyways.

      The current system is all about choice and nothing about luck / laborious trading.     

    • Absolutely agree that this is the way skill systems should be going. It’s interesting reading what Blizzard have been saying for a while, that traditional skill trees often give the illusion of choice rather than actual choice. Look at WoW for example. The talent trees are extensive, lots of options, but if you look at the endgame – there is hardly any variety, even after years of trying to stop cookie-cutter builds existing. They’re doing the same for Mists of Pandaria – and it’s going to be a big (but initially painful) step forward. 

  16. I don’t mind the new unlock system (other than it seems very clumsy), but I do dislike that there’s no depth in the customization department of those skills.  The game seems very shallow in that respect.  The lack of player choices, even if they are “the illusion of choice” means that we have less of a vested interest in our characters, as well as it will feel less like “our fault” when we die and more “the games’ fault”

     This was why Demon Souls and Dark Souls worked perfectly, despite being difficult games.  When you died, you felt it was your fault and were encouraged to get better.  When it’s the games’ fault, you feel cheated and are less inclined to continue.  Without those player driven choices, you have to rely on luck (drops) in order to continue, and luck can be a bitch.

    It makes more sense from a “business” perspective, in that all character growth is controlled by the market however, and just like those “grind forever” free to play MMOs, you won’t be able to progress until you have a decent setup, which of course can be made easier by just purchasing these fancy pantaloons from the RMAH for a few dollars.  Or this axe.  Or that belt.  Etc. etc.  It’s just too bad this game is driven by marketing and business mentality rather than a game for gamers mentality.

  17. I am fine with the rune system as is, I actually like it. the only thing I would say is I wish all runes/skills would unlock by end of nightmare so our journey through hell would be with our so called “complete” character. I guess that’s the intent of inferno now though. Really though I like this more than rune drops

  18. actually is not that different to d2 let me explain in d2 even having the chance to find things or decide what skills you wanted, some things were still locked on runes: they required socketed items, but most of them where just the somehow the levels you were in, so, even if you could build a working gear for act 1, you always had to replace it when a better one appeared, so the runes, and their effects where lost, and even with enough runes, still needed a socketed item, even rares are in need to be replaced, so you never had a working gear for real skills: you could decide what skills to improve, thats right, but you could only chose ONE at the time, aside from your gear, and modifiers, the characters where almost the same as everyone else but now you can use at least 6 skills to mix, while leveling up, you change the gear the same way as in d2, and you can upgrade tour items with gems and so, and for the skills, you have to level to get them, and to upgrade them(runes) so its not that different to d2 in terms of limitations, and still with all those, they managed to give us enough customization to be unique that is only my opinion, an always will be people who will disagree with the new rune system 

  19. It might have been said, but you’ll probably have to play through nightmare a couple of times to get ready for hell, especially if you’ve been skimping on crafting, or at least to give yourself a gear-related edge.

    Let alone hell->inferno.

  20. Hi Flux, all skills are actually unlocked by level 30 for all classes. It’s only the rune effects that keep unlocking until level 60. So at the end of normal, you can have the build you want, just not with all the special runes you want in it. The Starbird guy’s whining that he can’t get a rune for a skill he already has at the end of the easiest difficulty, so he can’t make his perfect build; this shouldn’t have deserved a blue response in my opinion.  

  21. If I had to vote, I personally liked the Itemized version of runes better.  I know it’s been said that the rune items would be too much of a inventory burden, but there was a simple solution for that.  Really the maximum amount of possible runes should only be 35 (5 Runes * 7 Levels)s.  So make a secondary inventory “Rune Pouch” that’s clickable off your character screen with 35 inventory slots (Assuming the runes of the same level could stack).

    There is just something odd feeling about not being able to invest more directly into one skill versus another when it comes to this type of RPG.

    But I’m not saying I don’t think the game is fun.  I played beta for a weekend and had a blast with each character I played.  There is just something missing.

    • This is what progress feels like! 😉

    • Creating an extra pouch does not solve the main problem: Runestones just arent useful nor fun. Like they said: it comes down to luck or the auction house for players, and that means that your progress is severly limited by your main damage skills instead of gear.

    • “There is just something odd feeling about not being able to invest more directly into one skill versus another when it comes to this type of RPG”

      Never fear, they added +skill affixes back into the game.  So yes, it is indirect, but it makes finding armor/weapons all the more awesome, and will keep me playing for a LONG time trying to obtain the perfect build.  It will make me keep some gear sets in the stash for off builds.

      BTW, your “I don’t math…” comment the other day was classic. 

  22. Like. The more they say that it’s gonna take alot of time to even reach max level while playing Inferno, the more I know I will enjoy this game.

  23. Theres no downside to letting players have a choice in which runestone unlocks,  these players like myself will run through the game MANY if not hundreds of times.  Its obvious that saying this will make us not experiment is a stupidly shallow answer seeing as how we WANT to play the game as a certain build we are already experimenting to see if our preplanned build will make it fine or to give us a challenge with a certain special setup.
     Just because you guys like the endgame more and are fine with being restricted while leveling doesn’t mean everyone is.

    edit: If we only run through the game ONCE with a preplanned build bashioks bullshit reply of “less experimentation” would make the tiniest bit of sense but it doesn’t because the people who choose certain leveling builds like leveling and will do it over and over again experimenting differently each time kinda the same thing he said we won’t do.

    • Indeed.
      The skills-on-rails greatly limits customization when leveling multiple characters of the same class.
      Bashiok is right that forced unlocks requires us to use some abilities we otherwise would not (mostly at the early levels), but it forces us into the exact same early skills every single time we level. Which is beyond ridiculous – when they have made a skill system which allow all this freedom. Why keep it locked away.

  24. I hope inferno will be damn hard. I dont want to be uber on the first 3 months. 

    • I’d be interested in them slowly raising the mlvl in Inferno above 61 over time.  A year from now it would be nice to see the occasional mlvl 63 champion roaming around.

      Too keep it from being too crazy for alts just reaching Inferno, they could limit the mlvl 62 and 63s to a specific act(s). 

  25. If someone was going to get bored and pissed off it would happen before they got to Nightmare.  A lot of  people don’t even finish the games they buy.  Only 58.2% of the people that bought Portal 2 on steam beat the story.  It stands to reason that the same can be said for just about any game.

  26. I had serious qualms about the “runes as items” method, but I have to say I am not crazy about not having everything unlocked till 60 either.
    My preference would be to keep an unlock system like we currently have, but let the player choose what order to unlock the runes in for each skill.

  27. Hard game is hard.  MAN, I can’t believe we still have to wait 45 days!

  28. Man i SOOOOOOOO look forward to beating this game on inferno (in hardcore that is!)
    ill have all classes lvl 60 hc, and i hope it takes me several years to achieve.
    And god it will be so freakin fun to playt it on hc before sc, not to know what to expect, i havent even watched a youtube beta playthrough. Well back to d2 lod and some nice hc play 🙂

  29. “In my own personal opinion, it’s Diablo. If you can’t find a workable build without having your own perfect choices being handed to you on a silver platter at the start of the game, good luck in Inferno. Actually, good luck in Nightmare. This game is hard.”

    Hell Yeah 😈 Inferno HC here i come (failing maybe 500 chars before getting there ) BUT Hell Yeah 😈  

  30. I just had my chance to play the beta for the first time for 2 days. I have read alot of doom and gloom statements from people expressing their opinion about how much they dislike a certain aspect of the game and I was kinda worried about how good the game was going to be. Although I had some lag/ISP/computer/etc. issues, I absolutely loved it! Having only 4 of the 6 possible skill slots to use, and no way near all of them active, I still had a hard time choosing which ones I wanted to use. I am sure that having 6 viable skills and 3 passives after level 30 is going to be a blast. 

    It is absurd to think that not having a paticular rune effect until later in the game is going to ruin a build. Now, if this was D2, and you had only 2 viable skills, waiting for a rune to unlock at level 85 would be a pain in the ass. I have played around with the skill calc many times, and it seems to me, the most powerful rune effect is not always the highest level effect. It really comes down to playstyle and which effect is going to make the most difference in helping your character survive. Starbird must be an elite gamer that is so full of entitlement that there is no chance he might find a rune effect for a paticular skill earlier in the game that he might like better than the effect that is unlocked at level 59. The beautiful thing about the ability to respec is that he might be able to use another skill in place of the one that requires the level 59 rune to meet his lofty expectations, and he might like that skill as well. He might have fun.

    I realize there are many rune effects that drastically change the base skill and are not just adding damage to the base skill. By the time you reach level 59 to get that last rune effect to perfect the build, I am sure you are going to be pretty good at using the other 4 or 5 skills you were using to hack your way through Hell level. If Inferno is going to be as hard as advertised, I am sure you will have to spend time in Hell using that newly aquired rune effect, and will be very well versed in what its capable of and how much it will help you. I keep forgetting though, that Starbird is an elitest full of entitlement, and he should have the game built around his playstyle.

    • “have played around with the skill calc many times, and it seems to me, the most powerful rune effect is not always the highest level effect.”

      EXACTLY, there is no reason to have us wait for not even a more powerful rune its just a different one,  thanks for proving our point by explaining that letting us have choice wouldn’t matter since they are balanced anyway.

      “Starbird must be an elite gamer that is so full of entitlement that there is no chance he might find a rune effect for a paticular skill earlier in the game that he might like better than the effect that is unlocked at level 59.”

      Blind hate toward someone you have no idea about because they logically spoke about a certain point of view on a slight adjustment to a current system that literally WOULD NOT EFFECT YOU AT ALL  is depressing to say the least,  get over yourself man.

  31. Rune ranks were never customization, it was a gradual power increase dictated by drop chance. And don’t be fooled that there is customization with skill trees. I’ve yet to see any skill tree that offers anything but the illusion of customization.

    It really comes down to playstyle and which effect is going to make the most difference in helping your character survive.

    This to me is what is missing with the new Rune skill system. Play-style!  Imo it’s not about lack of customization its that you have to be at the higher levels of your characters to experience a certain build. Many of the runes that I have been looking at through the calculator as builds are not available till well past 40 most likely in nightmare or hell.  It is absurd that you have to be at level 40 + to experience the build that you have theorized.
    With the old rune system you supposedly can experience your build with level 1 and 2 skill rune sets before reaching nightmare. It may not be the uber build but finding these runes along with set armour/weapon pieces is what most Diablo players enjoy about the game.
    It is nice that you can change up you skills and see how other theoretical builds can be. I’m in the group that is disappointed that some of the rune effects for my builds aren’t available till 40+ I would like to experience the build well before I hit mid nightmare or hell difficulties. I think that is where the differences in approval and disapproval of the new rune skill system lies.

    • I think you’re right.  The game’s longevity will be greatly affected by whether or not the player is willing to grind out levels playing in a way they’d rather not play for quite so many levels before the player becomes disinterested.  Blizzard is betting that you’ll play to get to the build you want before you lose interest.  If you do play until you get to that build, they’re happy because you will be likely to use the RMAH more often the longer you play even if you’re not happy with having to grind out levels that way rather than how you’d like to if things were different.

      It seems that Blizzard decided that the only way to avoid a dead zone was to ration out skill choice customization through just about the entire leveling progression of the characters.  If you think that there has to be a better way, you’re not alone.

  32. What we should all be able to have an opinion on and agree on is that Bashiok trying to explain Blizzard’s design choices to anyone who disagrees with them is as much an exercise in futility as is anyone in the community complaining about them in the first place.  It goes something like this:

    Blizzarrd makes a design choice.  An argument can be made for it.  An argument can be made against it.  No matter how much merit the argument against the choice has, Blizzard will do what it wants to do because they make the game.  This is never more obvious than when Bashiok says belittling things like “this is Diablo”.  “this is Diablo” because Blizzard says it is not because it is the best thing for Diablo as a brand.  Even when Blizzard makes a bad choice, they’ll never admit it even if they correct themselves down the line.  They’ll work on a design aspect for as long as they see fit (read: YEARS) with no firm timetable for release and then (once they’ve made a final decision on something) will use the lame excuse of not delaying release in order to justify not making the game better.  The reason for many of their choices at the core is the one they never use – money.  I’m not saying it’s a bad reason – it’s what their in business to do.  I’m not saying they’re greedy or anything else.  What am saying is just sac up once in a while and use profits as a reason for a design choice instead of not using and acting like we’re not smart enough to know better.

  33. First off, I love the new rune system. It is different and it offers customization. I don’t have any problem with grinding in order to become stronger. In fact, isn’t that the whole point of almost all games ever made? The longer you play, the stronger you get? I think that the noobs are getting scared now….

    But, regarding the rune system, it is nice but it could be a little nicer, Why not up the ante and give us a total of 7 runes to select from, instead of six? I know, I know, it will be a developer’s nightmare but, just think what it could accomplish. The number of skill+runes+build have gone exponentially enormous. More choices means more costumization.

  34. Anyway, here is my opinion on the problem of not getting to use a skill variant until very late in the progression of a character to max level. 

    Bashiok seems to think that experimentation is good.  I don’t disagree in premise, but I also think that players being forced to use skills (or, at minimum, skill variants) that they’d rather not use until skills they’d rather use come along is a flaw.  Unfortunately, that’s precisely the end result of this skill system.  Not only will this happen because the skill system might force it, but it also might happen due to the equipment available to the character.  If a character’s best equipment buffs skills that aren’t the ones they’d like to use, they might use less desirable skills just in order to best play their character in terms of accomplishment even if it’s not how they enjoy playing.  I suppose you could say that all equipment concerns could be solved to a degree by the RMAH, but forcing a player to use the RMAH (read: spend more money on the game) or play the game in a way that they don’t enjoy as much is not much of a choice for many players.  Experimentation is best if a player can experiment and then be left to decide for themselves what they like and don’t like and not be forced into a less enjoyable play style (or failed experiment) by game limitations.  When experiments fail, people aren’t typically forced to continue failed experiments.  True experimentation would all us to experiment with ALL skill variants – not have our experimenting options rationed out. I think that about all you can give Blizzard credit for is that they seem to know that any choice they settled on for this topic would be in some way flawed.  Maybe they are right about that and maybe they aren’t.  They don’t seem to think that their is a perfect choice, so they’ve gone with the best choice of an imperfect bunch.  And when I say “best”, I mean the one that suits their agenda for the game not your agenda for playing it.

  35. All I’m seeing is Blizzard did the rune system this way to avoid complexity. It isn’t the worst system but it isn’t exactly the best either.

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  37. Hmm Skill trees have no customization huh? Well it depends on the skill trees, see ME3 that game got a skill tree that has customization due to higher ranks of the skills being take upgrade A or upgrade B (for ranks 4,5&6). If these choices are balanced then you get 2^N different builds of the same skill in a skill tree.

    The D2 style Skill tree on the other hand is a piece of junk with no choice what forever (due to balance being non-existence, IE you want to max your damage skills and lvl 26/30 skills are 100*better than anything else)

  38. I remember a times some years back when we were getting all these demos of the skill rune feature and all the devs were saying how bad ass it was going to be and they got upset when comments were made about just keeping and improving upon what D2 brought us and saying this is NOT Diablo 2.5 it is D3 and that they wanted to bring these new systems in because it is a new game, not bring us a revised D2 and make it D2.5.  Is it me or have they basically dumbed down the game to the point where we are going to be playing Diablo 2.5 just like they said we were not going to be? I don’t have a problem with that per say, but what I do have a problem with is their arrogance up to this point. They have spent a lot of time telling us what we will like instead of listening to us tell them what we like. Which you’d think is counter-productive. The delay in the game is obviously due to them having to change game mechanics  that screwed up. Instead of admitting they bit off more than they could chew, they just change it or cut it and tell us it is for our own good and that we’ll love whatever they finally release. That may be true, but I will be the judge of what I love about the game, them telling me isn’t going to change my mind. I think there are a LOT of questions and this may be a very rocky release myself. I’m not near as enthused as I was a year ago before they started going crazy with the changes. Bioware has release both STOR and Mass Effect 3 and they simply listen to their customer base and build on great ideas that they have. I couldn’t be happier with those games and was never in doubt during their development. D2 was one of my favorite games all-time and yet I shrug my shoulders when I think about D3 because, between the RMAH and all these last minute cuts and changes… I don’t have any idea what to expect. I’ll still be buying D3, but I don’t see myself standing in line for a midnight release of the game. 

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