Bashiok popped into the forums to share some details about the ongoing changes to how skill runes will work in Diablo 3. These items have changed a lot during development, and will likely evolve further, but it’s good to get an update.
Also, personally, the newest names (which I won’t disclose in case they don’t stick) are very much in the theme of the world and Diablo. Lethality/multistrike/power were very game-mechanic in approach, and even when they moved to viper/hydra/force they had an odd mysticism attached with them. Now they’re very plainly named by interesting sounding materials. Great, very matter of fact and real in their theme, IMO.
Runes still have a general theme though, you’ll know that this rune usually increases damage in some way, and this other one usually decreases cost in some way, and this one is a wild-card and usually changes how the skill works in some crazy way. But we have enough freedom now that multi-strike/hydra whatever you know it as, doesn’t have this defined perception that it’s always going to “multi-strike”. Whatever that means to each player.
It’s not entirely transparent to the player what each rune will do with each skill, but it couldn’t have been before either. And having them be curious about the effect and learning what it is, instead of having a predetermined idea of what it’s going to do, is the better path.