Blizzard details new Diablo III skill and rune changes

In January, Blizzard announced that it was going to make some rather large gameplay changes to Diablo III, based on feedback from the current closed beta to the upcoming action-RPG game. Now, Blizzard's director for Diablo III, Jay Wilson, has posted up a new article on the game's official web site that goes over Diablo III's revamped skill and rune system.

As far as the skill system, one of the things that Blizzard added was placing skills in three different categories: Primary Attack, Secondary Attack, and Defensive. Wilson says, "We used this methodology to help us design the classes and their skills, but we weren’t exposing this to the player despite the fact that these categories would give the player, like they did our own team, a better understanding of how the classes work."

There's also been a change in the skill system's UI. Blizzard gave players in the beta the freedom to choose any skill in any slot but that might have given them too much freedom. Now Blizzard is linking skill selection into Diablo III's bottom bar UI which will provide the player with a list of skills to use for each of the six slots. For players who want more freedom to select skills, Diablo III has now added an Elective Mode that when activated gives players the freedom to put in any skill in any slot.

Blizzard has made even more changes to the rune system. For one thing, they are no longer in-game physical items but now part of the skill system. Indeed, the runes are now called "skill runes". Wilson says:

Now, when you open the skill window, you’ll choose which skills you want in which slots, the skill rune variants you’d like, and your passives. All of this is done directly through the UI, and all of the options from the skill, skill rune, and passive systems are unlocked through character leveling progression, leading to a cleaner overall integration of these systems. Just as we set different skills to unlock at specific levels, skill rune choices unlock at different levels as well.

One of the benefits of this new "skill runes" system is that players will be unlocking at least one, and usually more than one, skill or rune when they reach a new level, up to level 60.

The changes to the skill and rune systems should be available for people who are in the closed beta test of Diablo III. The game is currently set to be released sometime in the second quarter of 2012.

Images via Blizzard

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

LG officially announces 5-inch Optimus Vu

Next Story

Rumor: More upcoming Skydrive features revealed?

28 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

wonders if this game will ever see a store shelf or amazon like download site... how long has this game been in development as a whole? 5,6.. 7 years?

I hope there aren't any DPS meters in Diablo 3. Honestly, I just want to play the game and enjoy it despite dumb decisions. One thing I did like in WoW was the change in Cataclysm that simplified the talent trees. Before, there were just too many options and you either got online and set your talents based on the understood "right way" or you were creative and tried to be different resulting in poor performance.

Shadrack said,
I hope there aren't any DPS meters in Diablo 3. Honestly, I just want to play the game and enjoy it despite dumb decisions. One thing I did like in WoW was the change in Cataclysm that simplified the talent trees. Before, there were just too many options and you either got online and set your talents based on the understood "right way" or you were creative and tried to be different resulting in poor performance.

Get ready to have your mind blown then: EVEN SIMPLER talent trees for the next expansion!

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/ga...a/feature/talent-calculator

Less choices ftw!

DarkFriend said,
For the love of God, just release the damn game already!

^ This. Diablo III is slowly becoming the Duke Nukem of the RPG world.

sounds pretty weak. Games such as Dragon Age 2 & Kingdoms of Amalur are surpassing Diablo by leaps and bounds.

Blizzard is too busy keeping WoW people at the trough. That is where the real dough is.

the420kid said,
Games such as Dragon Age 2 & Kingdoms of Amalur are surpassing Diablo by leaps and bounds.
They're not the same type of game. Action-RPGs, yes ... but not that similar in actual playstyle.

people are starting to loose interest, if they delay one more time they will really shoot themselves

the many fans will still buy it of course, but if the release comes near release of GW2 or other great games they will lose alot of potential buyers to other games

Im currently in the beta but havnt played very much at all. Im bored... Im not sure if its because its so short (maybe 45 minutes) or if i have lost interest. I was so excited about this game but almost lost complete interest. I will still buy it because i am a huge fan but im on the fence... I updated to patch 13 but havnt given it a try yet... I will soon.

They were so close to release, but no - they had to delay it so they could make it easier for retards to digest. Come on, Blizz! We need our fix!

Kirkburn said,
These changes are already in the beta.

Just because the changes are in the beta already doesn't mean anything. They have to be thoroughly tested, and decided upon whether they are a decent enough idea, work up to par with their design goals, and so forth. A quick look at their work on Cataclysm showed a few ideas put forth only to become scrapped later down the road...

The stuff for Cataclysm didn't show up in the beta though ... whereas the D3 stuff is fully worked out, live, working, and working well.

Kirkburn said,
The stuff for Cataclysm didn't show up in the beta though ... whereas the D3 stuff is fully worked out, live, working, and working well.

Missing my point but whatever. The concern for game delays still exists with new implementations.

Or maybe not. Seems everyone here is tired of waiting already.

It was a direct response to your point. What was your point, otherwise? There's no new delay here, just changes they announced were coming ages ago. Apart from a bit of balancing (which is light technical work), why would successfully implementing this in beta be a bad sign?

Sounds a bit more like they are making it "easier" from a players perspective, more examples of dumbing down games.

Teebor said,
Sounds a bit more like they are making it "easier" from a players perspective, more examples of dumbing down games.
Not really sure how turning it from an inventory item to a skill option makes it 'easier'. The complexity before came from working out how to store them, and (for the devs) how to drop them in the first place - which is hardly 'fun' complexity. The fun complexity comes from choosing which rune to play with - which still exists.