Blizzard Spills All the Beans on Diablo III's Runestones

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Blizzard Spills All the Beans on Diablo III's Runestones

If you want to change your skills and spells in Diablo III, all you have to do is use a very shiny stone.

Last year at BlizzCon, we caught our first glimpse at Diablo III's Runestone system - a way to further customize your character's abilities beyond simply putting points into them as you level up. Attaching a different rune to an ability will change how the ability functions, such as the witch doctor's "Plague of Toads" spell, which with the proper rune will instead summon a single Giant Toad that devours enemies and vomits up loot.

The Irvine-based developer has released a series of videos that further elaborates on the runestone system by taking one ability from each of the game's five classes and showing how it changes when attached to the five types of runestones: Crimson, Indigo, Obsidian, Golden, and Alabaster. (Come on, guys, you couldn't think of a cooler word than "Golden"?)

Barbarian's Whirlwind

Whirlwind is an iconic Diablo 2 skill, wherein the barbarian spins furiously and damages any enemies in his path.

*Crimson - Shoots bits of rock and gravel in every direction, dealing area effect damage.
*Indigo - Barbarian spawns smaller whirlwinds which deal direct damage.
*Obsidian - Provides the barbarian with immunity to immobilizing effects.
*Golden - Reduced Fury cost.
*Alabaster - Critical strikes confuse enemies, forcing them to attack their allies for a short time.

Monk's Sweeping Wind

Sweeping Wind is a combo skill that lashes out against all enemies surrounding the monk, creating a vortex of damaging wind that increases in damage and radius across three stages.

*Crimson - A flurry of blades increases Sweeping Wind's damage.
*Indigo - Expands the area of effect and strikes enemies with additional fire-based attacks.
*Obsidian - A persistent whirlwind surrounds the monk, dealing damage to any foes that come into contact.
*Golden - Increases Spirit regeneration.
*Alabaster - A powerful sandstorm billows with the monk's attacks, damaging enemies and knocking them back.

Wizard's Ray of Frost

Ray of Frost is a wizard spell that damages and freezes enemies caught in the beam, slowing their movement and attack speed.

*Crimson - Beam increases in damage the longer it remains in use, to a cap.
*Indigo - Wizard is surrounded by a swirling vortex of sleet, damaging any foes that come into contact.
*Obsidian - Decreases beam damage, but increases reduction in target movement and attack speed.
*Golden - Arcane Power cost reduced.
*Alabaster - Enemies slain by Ray of Frost have a chance to leave an area of ice on the ground where they die, damaging other enemies if they move through it.

Demon Hunter's Cluster Arrow

Cluster Arrow is a powerful demon hunter tool, as it fires a cluster bomb which explodes on impact, releasing smaller bombs which explode shortly thereafter.

*Crimson - Increases the damage of the explosion at the point of impact.
*Indigo - Fires enemy-seeking missiles instead of grenades.
*Obsidian - The Cluster Arrow is launched high into the air and rains down grenades.
*Golden - Instead of grenades, the skill spawns shadow creatures that attack nearby enemies and leech life to the demon hunter.
*Alabaster - Adds a stun effect to the grenade explosions.

Witch Doctor's Acid Cloud

Acid Cloud is a witch doctor skill that summons an acid-spewing spirit, raining caustic, skin-dissolving death on the unfortunate enemies below.

*Crimson - Causes immediate damage instead of a damage over time effect.
*Indigo - Increases area-of-effect radius.
*Obsidian - Spawns slimes that attack nearby enemies.
*Golden - Afflicts enemies with a disease effect that deals damage over time.
*Alabaster - The witch doctor belches forth a directional pool of acid.

Though this isn't displayed in the trailer, we also know that the runestones themselves have levels which may further effect the spell. For instance, attaching a level 1 Indigo rune to the Wizard's basic Magic Missile spell will make it shoot one extra missile per cast, but attaching a level 7 Indigo rune will make each cast of the spell shoot a whopping 8 projectiles.

With the runestone system - not to mention the different skills, traits, enhancement, charms and the like - it's no wonder that Diablo III has a whopping 97 billion different class builds. And that's before you even get into armor, weaponry, gems, and the like.

This game will consume lives, people. I'm not even joking.

For more on the runestone system (and others), check out our Blizzcon 2010 interview: The Art and Design of Diablo III.

(Via G4TV)

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I couldn't get myself to finish Diablo 2, mainly because I played it last year and it didn't really age that well. But the concept still stood to me, and Diablo 3...oh boy, that game will get me in biiiig trouble indeed together with Skyrim.

Err, so its a 'Golden' rune, not orange? That IS a cooler-thought-up name than 'orange'. ^_^

John Funk:

(Come on, guys, you couldn't think of a cooler word than "Orange"?)

I sir am offended by your anti-orangist attitude.

That... was pretty damn cool! If all the runestones can be used with all the skills, then this game just got waaaay more awesome. Also, I hope that they put in a reasonable respec system, because it would be a crime to offer this number of customization options and then preclude the player from trying them all out.

It will consume lives, theres no question about it.

And I'll be damn if i don't enjoy every second of it.

This will be so awesome that I think I just pissed myself!

Panzervaughn:
Err, so its a 'Golden' rune, not orange? That IS a cooler-thought-up name than 'orange'. ^_^

Eric the Orange:

John Funk:

(Come on, guys, you couldn't think of a cooler word than "Orange"?)

I sir am offended by your anti-orangist attitude.

Whoops. I don't know where "Orange" came from.

Jandau:
That... was pretty damn cool! If all the runestones can be used with all the skills, then this game just got waaaay more awesome. Also, I hope that they put in a reasonable respec system, because it would be a crime to offer this number of customization options and then preclude the player from trying them all out.

There will be a respec option, I believe.

I'm excited about being consumed by this...DDO is getting old

These attack animations are simply spellbinding.

Just when my life and career are going quite well for me, the universe just has to throw out a sequel to the ONE game I became obsessive over.

Im just going to be glad i'll finally have a context in which to yell "HAVE A GIANT TOAD, F**KER!!"
I don't know where i picked it up from, or why i desperately need to say it, but there it is. It's comming.

Last year at BlizzCon, we caught our first glimpse at Diablo III's Runestone system

The rune stone system was announced in 2008.
During 2009 Blizzcon it was not in the demo, it returned in 2010 demo.

Jandau:
That... was pretty damn cool! If all the runestones can be used with all the skills, then this game just got waaaay more awesome. Also, I hope that they put in a reasonable respec system, because it would be a crime to offer this number of customization options and then preclude the player from trying them all out.

They confirm the rune stone will be really easy to swap outside of combat.
They also stated there is going to be respec, but they didn't like the idea of a complete respec.

Exort:

Last year at BlizzCon, we caught our first glimpse at Diablo III's Runestone system

The rune stone system was announced in 2008.
During 2009 Blizzcon it was not in the demo, it returned in 2010 demo.

It was announced at 2008, but it wasn't actually active in the demo. 2010 was our first glimpse at how the actual system is going to work.

Exort:

Last year at BlizzCon, we caught our first glimpse at Diablo III's Runestone system

The rune stone system was announced in 2008.
During 2009 Blizzcon it was not in the demo, it returned in 2010 demo.

But were they GLIMPSED in 2008, or was it merely hushed whispers in smokey backrooms?

(Fights persnicketyness with additional persnicketyness)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! The next news item I read about this game better be a "Diablo III: we decided to ship it early" story! Do want! :'(

Is it just me or did anyone else expect james lipton to walk on stage when you heard the first 3 notes of the music? (well the 2nd is to long obviously but make it shorter and higher and it fits) ;P

John Funk:
such as the witch doctor's "Rain of Toads" spell, which with the proper rune will instead summon a single Giant Toad that devours enemies and vomits up loot.

The skill is called Plague of Toads.
The Indigo rune turned it into "rain of toads" and obsidian rune is the one with a large toad.
6:24.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=andaxt5UkEY&feature=related

Exort:

John Funk:
such as the witch doctor's "Rain of Toads" spell, which with the proper rune will instead summon a single Giant Toad that devours enemies and vomits up loot.

The skill is called Plague of Toads.
The Indigo rune turned it into "rain of toads" and obsidian rune is the one with a large toad.
6:24.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=andaxt5UkEY&feature=related

You should refresh :P I caught that one already.

Why not... Amber rune?

Anyways, I'm so going with Indigo runes on all my skills/characters. Thanks for posting this!

This is quite cool. It looks like you can choose to either buff the skill or actually change its mechanic in some way. Nice.

Yeah, they're essentially the equivalent to Glyphs in WoW (+5% critchance, -knockback but +damage, polymorph->penguin) but with much MUCH more variety.

I just mailed my friend the link and he wrote back:
"Didn't you hear they changed this game's name to Diablo: Forever?"

Seriously, I want this SOOOOOOOOOOO bad! :')

ChildofGallifrey:
Just when my life and career are going quite well for me, the universe just has to throw out a sequel to the ONE game I became obsessive over.

hahahaha i feel u son. We used to play this game with all the dudes from my class. best time(wasted)of my life.

Went from 33 runes in Diablo 2 to 5 in Diablo 3? Still looking forward to this, but still... only 5 runes...

qwerty19411:
Went from 33 runes in Diablo 2 to 5 in Diablo 3? Still looking forward to this, but still... only 5 runes...

5 Runes... per spell. Each which does a completely different thing. This isn't even *comparable* to the D2 system.

qwerty19411:
Went from 33 runes in Diablo 2 to 5 in Diablo 3? Still looking forward to this, but still... only 5 runes...

I dunno if you have much clue of either game but the runes in Diablo II are nothing like the runes in Diablo III, much less fun in design in fact. The runes in D2 don't change your skills, adding unique features to the spell etc. pp.

Hell... those runes don't actually change the skills at all -_-

So you should reconsider your point.

John Funk:
There will be a respec option, I believe.

There will be. In fact, somewhere in the past couple years (a couple years ago being the last time I played D2 and this feature wasn't there), Blizzard patched Diablo 2 to allow respeccing. See, that's one of the cool things about Blizzard. 10-year-old game, it still gets updates. I think you're only allowed 3 per character (one for each difficulty, it's offered as a reward for completeing an Act I quest), but it's still a step up.

qwerty19411:
Went from 33 runes in Diablo 2 to 5 in Diablo 3? Still looking forward to this, but still... only 5 runes...

eh, well in D2 they just did small things like slight increases in stats/damage ect. In D3 it seems that they can drastically change the way the ability is used.

And those ruens affect every skill? yoy that would be awesome. Imagine the depths the PVP will have. Diablo 3 will truly OWN!

I was thinking to roll barbarian but meh Witch Doctor has such awesome looking spells.

Eric the Orange:

qwerty19411:
Went from 33 runes in Diablo 2 to 5 in Diablo 3? Still looking forward to this, but still... only 5 runes...

eh, well in D2 they just did small things like slight increases in stats/damage ect. In D3 it seems that they can drastically change the way the ability is used.

Wrongo.

Runes could also be aligned on weapons to create something more powerful. The right runes in the right order, placed in the right weapon and its slots, could result in an entirely new weapon to use..

And honestly, I'm rather "meh" on this. At least one example of runes for each skill is something you'd end up seeing in a talent tree to begin with, so all they are doing is moving it from a talent to something you'll have to equip, so you only really have 4 "unique" effects, not five. The Golden rune is the big culprit for that.

They should drop these stupid names and go with something closer to D2's system. Let us combine two runes together within a skill to give it completely unique effects, instead of the lesser effects of the rune. Like with that plague of toads skill... you could combine the giant Toad rune with... the rain of toad rune perhaps, and all of a sudden summon a giant toad that hops in and out of screen, dealing light AoE and possible poison damage with each landing. Or maybe take the giant toad rune and combine it with some other rune, and all of a sudden you got a summon where the giant Toad lashes his tongue out, grabs an enemy, and performs a whirlwind-like attack by slamming said enemy into everything around it.

cursedseishi:

Eric the Orange:
[quote="qwerty19411" post="7.287086.11335605"]Went from 33 runes in Diablo 2 to 5 in Diablo 3? Still looking forward to this, but still... only 5 runes...

Runes could also be aligned on weapons to create something more powerful. The right runes in the right order, placed in the right weapon and its slots, could result in an entirely new weapon to use..

I was rather meh on THAT. It was just a piece of gear, but dropped in 3-6 installments, which you could misclick the order and ruin everything. In the two years i played d2 i never found anything above 6th rune.

cursedseishi:

Eric the Orange:

qwerty19411:
Went from 33 runes in Diablo 2 to 5 in Diablo 3? Still looking forward to this, but still... only 5 runes...

eh, well in D2 they just did small things like slight increases in stats/damage ect. In D3 it seems that they can drastically change the way the ability is used.

Wrongo.

Runes could also be aligned on weapons to create something more powerful. The right runes in the right order, placed in the right weapon and its slots, could result in an entirely new weapon to use..

Really, huh, never knew that. I guess that game was made back in the day before the internet, and after the internet I never bothered to look up things about it.

cursedseishi:

Eric the Orange:

qwerty19411:
Went from 33 runes in Diablo 2 to 5 in Diablo 3? Still looking forward to this, but still... only 5 runes...

eh, well in D2 they just did small things like slight increases in stats/damage ect. In D3 it seems that they can drastically change the way the ability is used.

Wrongo.

Runes could also be aligned on weapons to create something more powerful. The right runes in the right order, placed in the right weapon and its slots, could result in an entirely new weapon to use..

And honestly, I'm rather "meh" on this. At least one example of runes for each skill is something you'd end up seeing in a talent tree to begin with, so all they are doing is moving it from a talent to something you'll have to equip, so you only really have 4 "unique" effects, not five. The Golden rune is the big culprit for that.

They should drop these stupid names and go with something closer to D2's system. Let us combine two runes together within a skill to give it completely unique effects, instead of the lesser effects of the rune. Like with that plague of toads skill... you could combine the giant Toad rune with... the rain of toad rune perhaps, and all of a sudden summon a giant toad that hops in and out of screen, dealing light AoE and possible poison damage with each landing. Or maybe take the giant toad rune and combine it with some other rune, and all of a sudden you got a summon where the giant Toad lashes his tongue out, grabs an enemy, and performs a whirlwind-like attack by slamming said enemy into everything around it.

You realize your suggestion would multiply the work on every single spell for every single character in the game by a factor of five, right? That's completely unreasonable. Not to mention the fact that since runes are dungeon drops, having as few as possible is a good thing. Maybe I want to improve my Wall of Zombies spell but I keep finding these damn Giant Toad runes. The way it's set up now is much more streamlined and convenient.

And the game isn't using a talent tree anymore. Passive bonuses will come in the form of "Traits."

I love blizzard it looks really quite cool! The Firey thing the barbarian does with his whirlwind looks sick

They had better release this on consoles. This game is looking so awesome that it will come to violence if they don't port this.

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