A constant throughout each refresh has been that each rune has kept a mildly predictable effect. The name transitions from Multistrike, to Hydra, and now the Indigo Rune hint at the fact that the Indigo Rune still primarily adds multistrike to most skills. An example of this can be seen in the Blizzcon 2011 Crafting Sanctuary Panel, when Julian Love showed how an Indigo Rune effects the as seen here. Though runes still have a general theme, originally each rune had a very strict effect, with little to no room for off the wall skill variations. While some of each rune's predictability still exists, the new names open up more possibilities.
Current, and likely final Runestone names.The switch to the current names was made to bring a similar feeling of origin to all the runes. Furthermore the current names allow the development team to vary the effects each rune could have on a skill. As before with strict, predictable names for each rune, strange variations such as the Witch Doctor's Plaque of Toads skill, where when an Obsidian Rune is place in it; instead of casting multiple small toads, you summon one giant toad which eats nearby monsters whole. That would hardly fit the description for any of the older rune names. Another example of a skill which wouldn't have fit in the original Runestone model is the Indigo Rune in the Wizard's Ray of Frost skill which turns the skill from a focused beam of frost damage, to a AoE around the Wizard. This can be seen in Force's Runestone - Game systems video.
Advance the video to 2:12 for the mentioned example.
With the possibility that a rune will have an unforeseeable effect on a skill; one might ask how'd you know this before placing the rune into the skill? Bashiok provides us with an answer.
As of late, Magistrate promptly Covered Runestones, alongside the official cut of the Talisman. Before that Jackzor did an in depth article on Runestone's Levels and Progression. Hype about the rune system doesn't seem to be dying down, and for good reason. On a single class with every skill, and runestone taken into account there are over 96,000,000 possible combinations. To qoute Julian Love, Lead Technical Artist for Diablo III.
Official Blizzard Quote:
96,886,969,344. This is the number of skill combinations with runes, that you can have per class. This does not include things like traits, gear, dyes, charms, anything like that this is purely active skills.
This topic, and Runestones in general was farther delved into by Sixen and Force in their Lastest Podcast.While keeping in mind the majority of that number consists of low level skills combined with low level runes; one has to wonder how many viable builds there will be come endgame. For further information on Runestones feel free to visit our Runestones wiki page, the Official Diablo Runestones page, view Blizzcon 2010 footage at our youtube channel, TheChatGem, or read any of the past articles linked. Concerning last week's poll on Blizzcon Ticket Prices, just under half of the voters felt that the "Ticket price doesn't matter compared to travel and other costs". Between plane tickets, a hotel room, and food the expense of the event ticket doesn't seem to stand out.
As for this week's poll, Runestones will surely be an excellent system by keeping skills fresh for long after release. So, What are your preferable rune effects?