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The idea behind the rune system was to give players different choices and to add greater dept and customization to the game. With patch 13, it now seems like we have less customization because the game predetermines the level at which we get a specific rune for a specific skill.
For example, when playing a Barbarian at level one I use "Bash" as a primary. At level 3 I get the primary "Cleave." Now when I hit level 6 the rune skill system becomes available; however the only rune that is unlocked is "Instigation" for the skill "Bash". At this point it almost feels forced upon to player to use "Bash" with the rune skill "Instigation" as oppose to using "Cleave" with no rune skill. And later in the game the same happens again with the secondary moves "Hammer of the Ancients" and "Rend". Both moves are available to the player but since only "Hammer of the Ancients" has the skill rune ("Rolling Thunder") it again feels like it forces the player into using "Hammer of the Ancients". This makes the player feel like he has less customization because the customization feels forced upon the player.
I feel like the game should allow the player to choose their path of customization. Lets use the level 6 Barbarian again. Lets say me play style prefers to use AoE so I really want to use the primary "Cleave" in my build as a resource generator. When the player reaches level 6 and the skill rune system becomes available I think it should be the players choice as to which rune he wishes to choose. Instead of picking the rune skill "Instigation"(which adds bonus resource regen) for "Bash", I would choose "Reaping Swing" (also adds bonus resource regen) to "Cleave". This allows me to play my style as well as separates me from the other level 6 Barbarian.
I don't see this as being unfair to the players, since theoretically, each rune skill should be just as useful as the other. I feel that a player should be granted 1 rune skill per level to put into a skill of his/her choice. This won't cripple a player who makes "THE WRONG" choice because if the player doesn't like the rune skill they put into a skill for whatever reason (i.e. sees another player who uses a different rune skill with a cooler effect) then the player have to gain another level to make a different choice.
To take the idea step further, we can break down this system of customization. If the idea was to have every player have every rune skill available to him then we can break down the amount of rune skill points per level roughly as follows:
LVL 6-25; 1 rune skill (20 total)
LVL 26-40; 2 rune skills (30 total)
LVL 40-50; 3 rune skills (30 total)
LVL 50-60; 4 rune skills (40 total)
This would bring us to a total of 120 rune skills which is roughly about the amount of rune skills available to each class. This still allow the character to unlock something new each level, while still maintaining player choice and customization for every level up until level 60, when all rune skills are available.
To add more character choice, consequences, uniqueness, and permanency, we can modify this model so that not every level 60 character receives every rune skill in the game. To accomplish this simply only allow a player 1 runes skill per level or even only 1 rune skill every other level. This way a player only has 30-60 rune skill available to him out of the 120ish. Now every character will still have every spell, just not every modifier which would add player uniqueness and replay value to the game. Since no rune skill should be weaker than the other, then no "WRONG CHOICES" should be made.
I feel like a system like this will satisfy the players who are complaining of a lack of skill tree as well as the players who feel they are being forced to play a certain style early on. This change can be fairly easy to implement with what blizzard has already done with patch 13. Let me know of your thoughts :)
I want to see your first suggestion implemented (I was just thinking of composing a post along the same lines), in which we choose what rune to unlock every time a skill gets a new rune, but at level 60, every rune for every skill is unlocked. I do not want there to be anything left locked at 60.
To be specific, if Elective Mode isn't checked, the game would choose runes for the player just like things are now in patch 13. If Elective Mode is checked, each time a character gains a level, if a particular skill would get a new rune as things are now, instead of the next rune in the line being unlocked, it's any rune for that skill that the player chooses.
As things stand, every character has the exact same set of runes and skills unlocked at every given level. Allowing the player to select runes for themselves would allow players to have a more unique leveling experience, give players meaningful choices during leveling, but still allow full freedom of choice at maximum level, without scaring newbies. I consider it a win-win.
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