Blizzard on Recent Runestone Changes

diablo 3 runestonesAs we reported a couple of days ago, Blizzard updated their Runestone page and this evening there is a Blue post on the subject. Interestingly (and disappointingly), it states that Runestones still need a lot of design work and they appear to be really fine-tuning this system and probably will do for as long as they can.

Now it appears ranks 5, 6 and 7 would be Inferno-only and not in some post-inferno state as was speculated.

It was changed to better match what (we currently plan) will be most readily available to players. We’re still obviously working on runestones to a fair degree. In fact it’s really the only game system that still has a lot of design work surrounding it. Runestones are an extremely crucial system. We’re spending a lot of time on them to get them right.

Ranks 5, 6 and 7 could still drop, but they would be Inferno-only, and there’s still a potential for some ranks to be crafted-only.

Jay may be able to speak a bit more about Runestones at BlizzCon, but we’re not expecting to have any details finalized this week.

Looks like we’ll have to wait until later than this week until we find out more but this is another important area of the game the dev team appear to be reworking.

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45 thoughts on “Blizzard on Recent Runestone Changes

  1. Surely when he says “game system” in this context, he means mechanic applicable to the game world, and not other systems like the auction house. Because from what I understand that also needs a lot of work, and they definitely have a lot of incentive (read: lot of money) to get that 100% perfectly correct day one.

  2. Beta is a product phase where all features gave been implemented, but may need bug fixing and small updates. This game is not on beta, they are still designing “crucial systems”.
    What a shame, we all want to play. 😉

    • I agree completely. For a short time, it seemed like Blizzard was finally making some firm decisions on the game development. Even though a release this year was unlikely, at least it seemed like they were making an honest effort to get the game finished. Now, though, they’ve reverted back to their “take as much time as we want” mode an it is a discouraging sign to see.
      Runestones still need work…the auction house (as noted in above post) is a WIP of sorts…even the character classes haven’t been finished yet! I wonder just how much value Blizzard has gained from its company wide testing when key elements of the game are unfinished.

    • Very few betas have all features implemented. A beta is also just a stage a game is in before going told (after alpha and pre-alpha stages). So it is a beta, both in the sense that the game is in the “beta stage” and that they are testing the servers. You could more accurately argue that it is not a “beta test”, but I would still disagree, seeing as how a test is for testing whatever the developer feels needs to be tested by the public.

  3. I understand the necessity–and even the strong desire–to release information like this, but I can’t help but feel that this can’t contribute in any positive way to the coming sales of the game.

    When I read this, I read: “Runestones aren’t ready yet.  After all this time, we still don’t have a system that we like, and the option that we go with at release is likely going to be either very new (and not that thoroughly tested) or a mish-mash of the parts of the systems we have tested thusfar.”

    As someone who’s been very much in favor of Blizzard’s decisions thusfar, this is still worrysome to me. 

    If I were someone who was on the fence or even critical of Blizzard’s decision, I’d point to this sort of thing as one of the continual flaws that’s kept D3 off of shelves for so long.   For a system so integral to the game to be unfinished, even as the game is in beta….that’s the sort of news that makes me worried, and it makes me wonder what they have to gain by putting this information out there.

    Hopefully, they’ll get this hashed out quickly, and be able to provide the sort of experience we’ve all come to expect from a Blizzard game.  I’m just tired of waiting for it…

    • You know what? Torchlight 2 is coming in one month or so and destiny wanted I discovered Titan Quest (+Immortal Throne). I was extremely excited about D3, of course, but right now I don’t really care at all. The game is indeed FAR from being ready. I don’t know what happened but Blizzard completely messed up everything.

      • Ofcourse the game is not done yet. Hence it has not been released yet. They still got months to go before it even goes gold. Blizzard hasn’t messed up anything yet… pretty dumb statement to make with a game you haven’t even (fully with all features) played.

    • The runestone skills themselves seem finished to me.  It’s just the itemization of runestones, which blizzard has always said they keep for last, that is in flux.

      • That’s exactly how I understood this. The skills and what the runestones do to the skills is (long) finished as you can see by the information released on the official Diablo 3 website. Ranks are simple spreadsheet stuff as we could see by the recent change (rank 7 down to 4). So, all that remains is itemization: where do the high ranks (5 to 7) drop, should they be craftable and so on. This should not be in the way of an early 2012 release at all, because itemization is ALWAYS a work in progress (see WoW).

        • Totally agree with you, they could sit there all day and fine tune this game through 2012 if they wanted. I seriously hope they won’t. It just depends on what is launch acceptable. They also have to realize testers haven’t even used the runes yet. They should let us use them maybe they’ll learn more, it’s like trying to tune a guitar and not letting it’s owner play it.

          • I bet they would let us test runes, but they can’t because the beta is just too easy for it. A true test would require a higher act or difficulty which they don’t want to show at this point for obvious reasons.

  4. Newsflash to gamers – a year after release, they’ll still be working on how runes work. And for years after that. Wasn’t it nearly 10 years before D2 introduced skill synergies? IOW – relax, this is totally normal.

  5. As long as they don’t go with the unattuned runes becoming one rune effect of a specific skill and not being able to be switched to another style of the system, I’m ok with them needing a little extra time… Hopefully they can talk about them some at Blizzcon, but it’s not looking good…

    • i would actually prefer they do it this way.   If they made them lock once used on the skill type, and if they have random attributes for how much +dmg or whatever they do. (or even + to stat points)…then it makes finding new runestones always interesting.  We will always want to see how it rolls and runes will never become this thing that drops and we just run by them.

      • Well wanting to keep hunting for them is solved by the random affixes… The slot machine thing just makes it frustrating and goes against the mechanic of easily swapping out skills… And if you have multiple builds you like to use, you will end up with your stash clogged by several different runes for several different skills for each class…

  6. Pre-order canceled.
    Game Over Blizzard
    Im tired of being a clown. Keep prioritizing wow and alt tabing facebook/twiter whatever shit you guys spend your time on, im putting my money on tl2 and other good shit like skyrim and bf3 that is coming

    • ^^ Yeah, so you canceled your pre-order? You’ll be back around in 2012 🙂
      Totally off-topic, but the titles you mentioned: TL2, Skyrim and BF3, are EXACTLY what I’m dying to get my hands on too!

  7. Blizzard is full of shit. Release the game first and finetune later, you morons, that’s what patches are for. Just another lame ass excuse for them to delay the game much further into 2012 and probably even 2013…..if we’re all still alive past December 2012 that is.

    • Release first and fine-tune later?  It’s funny you say that.  Not only would the internet explode from all the QQ of the game being pushed out with little to no fine-tuning, but I guarantee that you would be one of the first to complain that they DIDN’T fine-tune it enough before releasing it.  Patches are for fixing stuff they didn’t find before, or adding in new stuff.  The game SHOULD be fine-tuned BEFORE it’s released, just as any other game should.

      • In Blizzard’s own words “runewords are the only game system” in need of so-called fine-tuning. Personally I couldn’t really find anything wrong with the way it was last time. So no QQ coming from me on that front. Everything else is good to go, once again in their own words. So don’t presume to guess what I’d be doing, you don’t know me at all, so you’ll never get it right.

        • Also in their own words:

          “Runestones are an extremely crucial system. We’re spending a lot of time on them to get them right.”

          Obviously they felt that it wasn’t quite right the way it was before and that it is such an important system that it deserves to be ridiculously iterated upon and be as polished as it can get…

  8. I’d love to get over it, but this language:
    “…will be most readily available to players.”
    Still pisses me off, in all of its many forms.

    • …and why does it piss you off?  I don’t see anything wrong with it.  I take it to mean they just changed where/when the different rune ranks dropped to match what ranks they had in mind for being the ones players will commonly see.

      • Translation: geared towards casual gamers.  And that’s not even getting into the idea that, if playing the first three difficulties is viable with fewer runes, than it’s very likely quite easy.

        • So having less powerful runes dropping than before makes the game easier how? 😐

          By the way you took that part of the statement way out of context, I’m guessing… He was saying that they changed the skill calculator to show the rank 4 rune effects because that will be the highest ones that are readily available to players… meaning ranks 5-7 will be harder to get than they originally had them…

  9. If such system still not in stone, then “2011 release” was just a joke, also as January-February release. It seems more like summer.

  10. Hmm, it seems like untwinked characters once again will have hard time farmimg for good gear (enough to enter inferno) in pre-inferno difficulties. I see no reason for that – why not make rank 5 and 6 runestones extremely hard to find pre-inferno and rank 7 inferno only?

    • I think it’s because in Inferno, since you’re already level 60, there will be no way to express your growth in power (besides gear) so they moved most of the runestones to “substitute” for levels.

  11. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up scrapping or tabling runestones (they’ll come in the expansion perhaps?). Either that, or maybe we’ll see an extra 6 months added to the development.

    • I don’t see how they could do that.  That would kill all but the most basic semblance of skill progression.  The skill system would be like a toothless tiger.

      • They could safely table the unattuned system and tweak it/add it in later. Yeah, runestones are “too big to fail” but they don’t need all this endless iteration on side stuff that doesn’t alter the core fundamentals of runes.

      • The devs should really come to their senses by now and make a cut if they can’t get this completely sorted by the end of the year. I strongly suspect that the emergency brake is already in place: the first 4 ranks will 100% drop in the 4 game difficulties, no matter how rank 5 to 7 are accessed later. There is no reason why the last 3 ranks couldn’t be patched into the base game, or even the first expansion, at a later point.

        I can tell you this: This is no more just a question of “when it’s done”, but a question of reputation in the industry. After all the announcements Blizzard has made (quote: “”Soon” Was Too Soon — Diablo III to Arrive in Early 2012“), everyone expects a Q1/2012 release. If the devs don’t stand by their word this time and push back the release date even further, everyone will consider them just NUTS. ^^

        • So if DIII is not released until June 2012 and then sells a zillion copies, Blizzard’s reputation will change from “a company that never hits dates but produces huge hits” to … ?

          • I understand.  I’m just not sure they can lose too much more credibility than they already have in terms of meeting dates.  Plus the Starcraft:Ghost has fallen into the vaporware category.

  12. I don’t understand why Blizzard decided to make Runestones so important and powerful.  It seems like every two months they change the system.  Maybe it is just a bad, unsalvagable design from a balance perspective and they should move forward with an alternative.

    • Um… if they scrapped runes and started from scratch on something else now, then we wouldn’t see it til sometime in 2013… not going to happen…

  13. The point of runestones 5-7 dropping in Inferno is because they are forcing you to play through all of Inferno. You have to think that they are trying to get rid of everything that was bad from Diablo II, and that included the large number of farmers and places that you could run over and over to receive the best loot in the game. By scaling the Runestones with difficulty and/or Act, they are forcing players to do a complete playthrough to progress runestones for their characters. Sure, once you get a level 60 with all lvl 7 runes, the game will be easier to play. But what if a mechanic is implemented where you must ‘progress’ your runes on each character? By that I mean, you must put a Lvl 1 in a skill, then Lvl 2, then Lvl 3, and so on and so forth. If a system like that is used then Blizzard will have successfully given players of the game a reason to ACTUALLY play-through the game as opposed to farming.

  14. Could this be more a reflection on their lack of successful end game ideas?  It seems this change beefs up the inferno content… could be because they are concerned with people blowing through all the content too quickly before they can add in the post launch end game content they talked about.

    Also, I thought the skills (and the rune effects for those skills) were NOT done. The Wizard has more active skills than any of the classes currently and the others have 2-3 less.

    Anyway, this just means we will all have to be patient, again.  I guessed April in the what month in 2012 poll… but at this point, who knows.  I think they have at least a soft deadline with the SCII expansion coming out mid year, so they’ll want to get it out a few months before then. 

    • Lack of successful end game ideas? Huh? Last time I checked, they hadn’t shared any of their plans, let alone implemented any of them… Not sure what your criteria is for successful ideas, but apparently you include ideas that haven’t even been revealed yet… How can you judge something on how successful it is without it being put into the game to be tried out by the players?

      They stated a while ago that they do have some ideas about content to be put in after release for people that have farmed out inferno but that they won’t fully go ahead with developing end game content until after they have been able to see how the general public plays their game and what aspects of it are most enjoyed as well as what aspects need more fleshing out…

      We don’t know yet how ranks 5-7 will be obtained, but I don’t think finding a few extra ranks of runes along side the top level legendaries that were already being put into inferno constitutes a real replacement for end game content, and I’m not sure where you got that idea from because I doubt the devs think it does either… They probably just want the progression of runes to take a little more effort than having them drop all over the place and quickly changing out ranks as you level…

  15. This is pathetic, I know there would be issues but now i’m to the point where I don’t even care about D3. Sadly i’ll buy the CE because i’m a fan of DIABLO, but I’ll never do RMAH and I will never pay for any of there crap thankfully bnet is free, otherwise I would scrap this all together. What sucks is i’m not much of a gamer but liked this game enough to get a decent video card to play…. But my hopes are lost…… Where is Blizzard North when you need them! Atleast we would have had a Diablo-MMO by now!!! Oh wait Blizzard hated that idea and went w/ WoW. Oh well TorchLigh-MMO here I come baby!!!!

    • You mean Bilzzard North who did the same exact thing when producing D2? Holding off as long as they could till they got it right? I was around for early days of D2 and tust me this statement applies: the more things change, the more it stays the same.

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