WARNING - LONG POST
I want to see Runes back in D3, but brought back in a much different way.
Below are the details of the Rune system I'd like to see.
First of all
Action RPGs like Diablo 3 are about items. There’s nothing more rewarding than finding or trading for a new game item and getting to reap its rewards. Players take this itemization very seriously - whenever we’re faced with a new system, the first question we ask is “How can I benefit as the player?”
Having Runes as physical items that have to be found or traded for is the backbone of having a very replayable end-game. There are already plenty of static tasks that high level players can do in Diablo 3, such as boss runs or farming exploitable content. Rune areas have a large range of random properties and rewards, so representing them as trade-able items adds a whole new dimension to both the game economy and opportunities available for high level players.
How Runes Work
The Rune is consumed (there will be no need to have 5 stacks of NV) and four portals are created that can be used to travel to the area it represents. The portals close as they are used by players. A party of four players can only enter the Rune Portal once (as it closes behind them) and can only leave if all inventories are full. This will allow severly increased drop rates, while still limiting players from botting the area. Players will have to pass on rares or legendaries for better ones found. This would allow much more player sharing as well. A group of players will be able to carry items out of the area, but if any player leaves the map, they may not return to the same area again. They also MAY NOT re-enter if they all die. They must the go to another portal and try to conquest a new map. The use of multiple portals for all party sizes will ensure that the players gain some of the benefits of the individual maps, even if they are unable to complete them fully. Players could also choose to play alone if they want to use all four portals and complete the areas themselves. Again, this player may only port to town with a full inventory but leaving the area would be permanent. This would encourage players to form parties and share the wealth with other players and increase their own chances at good drops. Example: A player finds a Mempo of Twilight that is not an upgrade from the one they are wearing. They drop this item to save room for the rest of the area and another player can pick up the Mempo for an upgrade. Using a system such as this will bring a new challenge to players as they decide which items to keep and which items to leave behind.
The most exciting part of the system would be that Runes can get mods that alter their properties. Runes of all rarities (normal, magic, rare and legendary) can spawn, each with their own characteristics.
In general, mods increase the challenge of the Map. Do not have any mods that make a Map easier to play. This means that most mods are generally drawbacks and need to have some additional reward to compensate players. Each mod has a specific bonus that it adds to the item drop rate of monsters and chests in that Map.
Balance these bonuses so that harder mods result in higher rewards. The overall item drop bonus is listed at the top of the Rune item. This value includes the bonus from the Map’s mods and from its quality.
Some Rune mods could affect the random generation of the level itself by changing parameters such as its size or how maze-like a dungeon is. They could also modify the types of monster packs present in the level, for example adding an affix to each one or forcing all packs to only consist of various types of skeletons.
There are a variety of mods that change monster properties. For example, adding high resistance to one element, preventing them from being stunned, or causing them to gain buffs periodically.
Many of the Rune mods alter characters while they are in the level. For example, reducing their maximum resistances, cursing them with the Vulnerability curse, putting them under the effects of reduced movement speed, or lowering their life and mana from regeneration.
Example: A mod causes the Map to spawn with large patches of fire traps on the ground.
Because some mods can be easily overcome with specific build choices (if all monsters have increased fire resistance, don’t bring a fire character), we expect players to re-roll or trade for Runes until they find ones that are easier for them to handle with their characters. Clever players will create builds that can reap the increased rewards of certain Rune mods while not suffering from the increase of difficulty.
Like any other type of item, a Rune has a base type. Each type represents a world area, such as a Desolate Sands or Festering Woods. The base type also has a level, which is the monster/chest level of the area that will be spawned. In the first iteration of this system, there could be areas laid out between levels 60 to 160 (level 60 with Paragon Level 100) inclusive (with a skew towards lower level areas). At least in this initial implementation, tilesets would be occasionally repeated at higher levels.
Point of Interest: Unique Bosses
In addition to chests and packs of random monsters, each Map would be inhabited by a Unique boss monster. These monsters are very difficult (more so than ubers) and drop an increased quantity/rarity of items. Each Rune base type would have a consistent boss monster, so players would be able to plan their build around the type of Rune they’re running. For example, if the Desolate Sand Maps have a boss that has Lightning Enchanted, then players know they need to have a lot of lightning resistance to defeat it. I expect that players will share information about what Unique boss they find in each Rune type in the same way that they share other aspects of Diablo 3.
Where Runes Come From
You could find Maps by playing in high level areas. They would drop from level 60+ monsters (i.e. inferno mobs), so players who do runs of Act One - Monster Power 0 will find level 60-63 Runes. Runes could also be dropped by any monsters or chests inside a Rune Map, as those monsters are all level 60 or above.
Just like the rest of the game, most of the monsters in a Rune Map level are normal monsters that are the level of the area. Magic and Rare monsters are one and two levels higher respectively, which means that they can drop slightly higher level Runes. For example, if you’re playing a level 62 Rune Map, it’s possible to find level 60-62 Runes from normal monsters and level 60-64 Runes from rare monsters.
Rune Maps will not always yield another Rune to the player. On average, players will not have a constant supply of Runes unless they trade for more or do end-game boss runs to try to find another when they run out. This is the same philosophy as any other end-game item, and is necessary to help keep Runes rewarding and valuable.
It should be difficult to obtain the higher tiers of Runes (thus bringing back High Runes). If players complete several Rune Maps successfully and are lucky with Rune drops, they can obtain Runes that are potentially too high level for them to complete. It’s reasonable for them to chose to trade these Runes to more advanced players who are able to handle that content.
Like the rest of the game, having multiple players in an area increases the drop rate of items and the experience that monsters yield (while making them more challenging). Under the new system, there is an exception: the drop rate of the Rune items themselves is not increased by the additional players (all other items drops in the area are still increased, of course). A Rune Map would have the same chance of yielding other Runes regardless of how many players are in it. This is because a single Rune item can be used by a whole party. The item quantity bonus that a Rune has (due to its Mods) will affect the drop rate of Rune items within that Rune Map.
Runes could have quality value in the range of 0-20% that improves their performance. Players can increase this using Enchanting, if and when it becomes available. Players would be able to improve quality with gold and combine Runes as well. Example: Three normal runes can be combined with gold to make a magical rune with random quality and affixes. Three magical runes can be combined with gold to create a rare rune with random affixes. Each rune type would be able to be Enchanted up to 20% quality. The player would not be able to create legendary, at least initially, until more become available. Because the additional quality comes with no drawback, it’s a goal that players can complete to incrementally improve their items. A Rune's quality could be applied as a percentage increase to the drop rate of monsters and chests on that map.
Like most other items in the game, Runes could be legendary. These Runes don’t go to a random area with random mods, but to a specific area designed with a set of properties that make it interesting (the layout itself is still randomized). Generally design these areas to be more rewarding to explore - because they’re so rare, it’s important that whoever decides to cash them in receives a decent haul of items in return.
Include one legendary Rune as an example and add more as development progresses.
My overall plan is to make Runes as a way of creating interesting areas that might be confusing or overplayed if they were in the core game.
Edited by Lloydxmas855#1411 on 12/5/2012 3:07 PM PST