Now that Duke Nukem Forever has gone gold, Diablo III has taken the top spot on the list of games I want that will probably never be released. (I keep it by my bed, and every night I say a prayer for StarCraft Ghost.) Today, though, Blizzard has posted a big update about the game that just might force me to reconsider my unyielding skepticism.
On display for the first time is the game’s runestone system, presumably a replacement for the Diablo II’s runes. The new feature will apparently allow you to use one of five different types of runestone (Crimson, Indigo, Obsidian, Golden and Alabaster) to buff your skills in a variety of ways. Some of the upgrades will be minor, like reduced energy costs or an increased damage radius, while others will provide radical alterations, adding new animations and abilities. In addition, runestones will carry their own level, with those of higher level providing more dramatic skill buffs.
Keep in mind, each rune will have a different effect on every skill in the game, effectively quintupling the number of skill variants to over 500. That’s almost one for every month the game has been in development!
If you’d like a more in-depth look at how it will all come together, Blizzard has posted example videos and descriptions for five different skills on the game’s official site.
Diablo III currently has no firm release date, though Blizzard is hoping to launch before the end of 2011, with a beta kicking off sometime this fall. Though rumors abound that the game will be coming to consoles, Blizzard has, as of yet, only confirmed a PC release.