So why not at least give us a choice of what runes to earn while we level, instead of awarding them in the same static order?
Fundamentally we don't think that's a bad idea, but the guided structure has far more value for more players. Instead of building two different UI's, one of which will really only appeal to the hardcore players and require more development time, we go with the guided structure because the hardcore players are only in that guided structure for what will be a short window of their total amount of play time. It's a bang for the buck decision, which aren't always popular but have to be made. We do want you to play this game at some point, and we think you'd rather do that than wait longer but be able to pick rune unlock order while you're leveling.
We're trying to be smart about rune unlocks, and ideally hardcore players (knowing more about the mechanics) wouldn't even want to pick the runes we're not unlocking. Sure you could choose to pick a mana regen variant at level 2... but you wouldn't. Also, it's an awesome way to reward players all the way to 60, and putting some of the more impressive rune effects at the later game could encourage more people to keep playing past Normal.
So they kinda like the idea of us being able to choose our runes ourselves... but have stupid reasons why they wont do it
1) You wont play the part where you havent all runes for long
2) We have no time to develope a proper UI for it
So to 1) well that is true... unless people stop playing before they reach the part with all runes And if we trust what Blizzard said most people only play through Normal... not even through Nightmare. If I now look at some runes and when they unlock... most people wont see even half of the runes.
And number 2) is just... stupid? They spent months playing around with the rune/skillsystem... and after all that time they give us a "We will give you the shity system because we are out of time" And I would even bet that they came up with the idea of choosing runes too... so it would be intresting to know their "real" reasoning behind the not implementing it.
Also about the 2nd paragraph.... their "we choose what a hardcore player would choose" is pretty moot. For example the first rune you unlock for Blinding Flash is longer duration... 4sec instead of 3sec. You unlock that rune at lvl8 or something like that... with level 8 even the base skill isnt worth the slot... and 4sec blind is pretty useless in Normal. The next Blinding Flash rune unlocks with lvl21... so if you really want an increased defense it would be ok to unlock it with lvl21 (thats closer to the end of normal)... but I would never unlock a defensive rune (even for a defensive skill) with lvl8 (also note that you get the 3rd Blinding Flash rune with lvl29... thats 3 defensive runes for a defensive skill at the end of normal). Thats not a "smart" choice for a Hardcore player... in Normal there is absolutly NO reason to unlock defensive runes... yeah you need some defensive runes for Nightmare+ but then again if you are a Hardcore player you arent stupid enough to forget that and spend all your "runepoints" on offensive stuff.
IF they had 2 UIs you could integrate the "runepoints" in to the elective mode. So if you're a new player you get your carebear mode with locked skillslots and locked runes. If you choose elective mode you get to choose your skillslots AND your runes. That would be the best way IMHO. But yeah... after playing around with the runes for months they couldnt manage that
If you think that the Blinding Flash example is bad... Tempest Rush unlocks at lvl11. The first rune is.... *drumroll*... decreased cost. Wait what? Didnt Bash just say that you wouldnt pick decreased costs early on? Or is that only true for Wizards and WDs? (Because their Resource reggens passive.) Ok Ok... maybe Tempest Rush isnt a good example too... then again the change in Spirit is a huuuge 5 Spirit/sec (10 instead of 15). Then again as a Hardcore player wouldnt I choose a rune like "25% decreased damage while channeling" or "affected enemies do 20% less damage" (thats obsidian and crimson rune)... but NO you wouldnt... if you trust Bash. Because of that those (for hardcore player) useless (??) runes unlock at lvl44 (obsidian) and lvl53 (crimson).
Rune choices like that are there for almost ALL skills. An other example... the Obsidian Dashing Strike rune (adds Dodge)... unlocks last... with lvl35. Well lvl35 is still ok... I guess then again I would unlock it earlier .
So IMHO the rune choices arent about being smart... its more about the 2nd part of that paragraph. First thing if we are able to choose our runes we still get rewards up to lvl60 (they could give us the runepoints at the same lvls that they would unlock a rune... so the last runepoint is rewarded with lvl60). The "intresting" part of the 2nd paragraph is this "and putting some of the more impressive rune effects at the later game could encourage more people to keep playing past Normal"... wait... I thought we get the runes that a hardcore player would choose... and now you say we dont get the "impressive" runes until later? So the "best" runes are rewarded at later points... then again I thought that all the runes were the same power wise? Now it sounds more like "Everything you really want to try... we wont give it to you if you dont play all the way to Hell"...
PS: If you have Beta and look through the runes that we can see... all the runes were your first thought is "That sounds powerful/awesome/cool" are the runes that unlock last... and if a lvl2 Skill unlocks its last rune (the super cool rune) with lvl35... then you know when the "cool" runes for the highlvl skills unlock. So no testing your build before you reach Hell... you wont even have the runes to test it. Oh and all that kills some builds because you wont unlock a specific rune until lvl XY. A prime example is the Dodge Monk with Crimson Mantra of Evasion... with that rune everytime you Dodge you do AoE damage... well sucks for you the rune unlocks last (lvl51).
hmm new runes resemble the classic LOD runes. Thats both a good thing and a bad thing. Good is that it has a similar aesthetic taste. Yet bad is that its not different as we would think it would be. Also, It looks similar but of higher quality than the LOD runes.
Private Mod Note
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
A hundred thousand worlds, ten hundred thousand wars. There is no respite, there is nowhere to hide. Across the galaxy there is only war.
Anyone else thinks they should just let Bashiok deals with the communication around the game? I feel he's doing a much better job than Jay explaining their choices. I've seen a lot of people losing faith in this game over the last year, with all the poorly handled PR, from "Shut up pvp guy" to "look at how awesome this game is."
All of this mess could have been avoided if they had just been better at communication. Anyway, let's hope the game lives up to the hype now, fingers crossed.