One of the most common complaints about skill runes, since we learned just how varied and powerful they are going to be, is that all rune effects are so much better than the base skill. It’s a odd that fans who have never actually used the base skills are growing proactively nostalgic for them, but as often as this issue comes up, it’s clearly a concern for some. (We’ve seen suggestions for a sixth rune type that would simply boost the base skill’s damage without making any other changes.)

    Bashiok took the time to reply to a fan voicing the general “why must all runes change all skills?” complaint in the forums on Friday.

    Every DiabloWikiskill has at least one DiabloWikirune that doesn’t change the core mechanic of the skill. Usually two. We definitely think the base skills are viable and will be used, but it’s going to be a base skill with a cost reduction rune or basic damage increase rune.

    It’s tough to really argue some of the concerns being made because it comes down to balance and making sure that a skill isn’t worthless in its base form with a cost reduction rune, as compared to the same skill with a rune that changes the mechanic entirely. Ideally they’d be balanced in such a way that both could be options for different builds and play styles and one wouldn’t become the ‘only’ way to rune a skill.

    Those are the sometimes eternally elusive goals of game balance. Assuming highest rank runes that’s ~550 skills, so I don’t think anyone is fooling themselves by thinking the game will ever truly hit a perfect balance in every situation (and in some cases it’s maybe better it doesn’t), but it’s something we’re going to strive for.

    550 / 5 runes / 5 classes = 22. So there is an average of 22 skills per class? Can you explain 550?

    Your math is sound. It’s my best guess of an average, I didn’t go count.

    I thought there was supposed to be 30 per class.

    I think you’re thinking of the trees before passives were moved to the trait system.

    I did go count, since the DiabloWiki class skill page navigation makes that very easy. As of Blizzcon 2010, here are the tallies: Barbarian 23, Demon Hunter 10, Monk 20, Witch Doctor 23, Wizard 24. And yes, like the poster it was my impression, from past comments by Bashiok, that there were going to be 25+ per class.

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