The @Diablo twitter feed exchanged a number of messages today about the skills and runestones in the game, and included an interesting tidbit amidst the recitation of known facts. Here are the tweets, in order, with the fan comments in white and official posts in blue.
How many skills per character though?—cmptvir
Around 25-30 x 5 classes x 5 runestones. About 700 skill variants.—Diablo
Correct, active skills. We don’t have passives in our skill trees.—Diablo
none at all? i thought there were passives but only the actives would get runes attached.—FingolfinGR
I’m not sure I can explain too much without announcing things I shouldn’t be. You’ll find out soon enough.—Diablo
so each class has approximately 28 skills that can have runestones socketed into them…—dtantsikian
Yeah that’s nice, how much was it in D2? And consider skill point / talent point permutations—rvbreukelen
Diablo 2 was 30 per class, 5 classes, so 150. Diablo 3’s 700 are unique variations, including unique visual effects for each.—Diablo
You can view the full 2009 Blizzcon skill trees, with 30+ skills for the Barbarian, Witch Doctor, and Wizard (and 8 for the Monk!) in the wiki, and you’ll find plenty of passives mixed in with the actives. Just counting the WD’s, I see 34 skills, 11 of which are passive. You can tell them easily by the skill tree images on the page; passive skills didn’t have rune sockets.
So where have the passive skills gone? Note the wording of the tweet, “We don’t have passives in our skill trees” That’s not the same thing as no passive skills at all; so are they accessed via something other than the skill tree? Are they something like inherent properties; auto-assigned, like stats are in D3? Are they built into the active skills, making each point you place in them that much more impactful? Dunno.
This just make me more curious to see how the new, tree-less skill trees are arranged, when they’re finally revealed at next month’s BlizzCon.