Diablo 3

D4 Feedback: Runewords

diablo1 - D4 Feedback: Runewords

Current iteration of Runewords shown in D4 demo:

  • Socketed items will have two sockets. One socket for a Condition/Trigger rune that activates the second socket, the Effect rune (and possibly Gems).
  • Example:
    • Amn rune – Condition: When you freeze an enemy, activate the next socketed rune.
    • Ko rune – Effect: When active, reduce a random skill cooldown by 15%.

I believe they mentioned exploring leveling up runes in some fashion, but I can't confirm that.


This works on the surface, but not very exciting or special. It could certainly be more interesting. How?

Bring back Secret Runewords from Diablo II.

Bringing back Runes and calling them Runewords is clearly a callback to D2, among many things in D4.

D2 Iteration:

Runes when put into sockets simply functioned like Gems, giving slightly more enhanced basic properties such as Adds 5-30 Fire Damage, or Hit Blinds Target.

But there were secret Runeword combinations as well, where if you combined the correct runes into the correct item type that is a Common tier item (since they had no affixes like Magics, Rares, etc.), they would turn it into a Runeword item with several new additional affixes, making the item far more special, similar to Unique tier items.

  • D2 Example: Using a Common 5 Socket Weapon, place Amn + Ral + Mal + Ist + Ohm runes in it to turn it into the item Call to Arms.
    • Added 11 new affixes, such as +1 to All Skills, +40% Attack Speed, +2-6 To Battle Command skill, 30% Magic Find, etc.

D4 Iteration:

Runes can still function as they've shown in any two socketed items, with a Condition/Trigger and Effect. This is far more interesting than D2's runes when they weren't used to form a Runeword, and might actually be useful outside of a secret Runeword. Side note: I encourage class/skill specific runes as well.

But combining the correct Condition and Effect rune within a specific item type that the Runeword requires should turn it into a far more special item like D2, except the newly added affixes would be designed around the property of the Condition/Effet the runes used would have outside of the Runeword.

  • D4 Example: Using a Common Socket Sacred Globe (one of the Sorceress's wand types), place Amn + Ko runes in it to turn it into the item Bygone Gelida.
    • Still has rune effects when freezing an enemy (Condition), reduce a random skill cooldown by 15% (Effect).
    • Adds an additional 7 affixes, such as +30% chill effect duration, +20% chill build speed to freeze enemies, Frost Nova has 50% chance to ignore crowd control immunities, +2-3 Skill Ranks to Glacial Spike, +2-4 Skill Ranks to Frozen Orb, etc.

In conclusion…

Don't tell us outright what Secret Runewords are out there!

Imagine the fun the community would have getting their hands on the game knowing that secret Runewords exist and diving headlong into the game uncovering more and more the first several weeks/months of the game. Logging into reddit seeing someone post a newly found runeword for the first time would be hype!

Sure, the secrecy would dissipate overtime, but at least Runes and Runewords serve two purposes:

  1. Giving a new interesting Condition/Effect mechanic to any item.
  2. Making Common items have a unique purpose rather than just being careless scrap.

Who knows, maybe more secret Runewords could be secretly added every season to discover!

tl;dr Keep the Trigger/Effect iteration they've shown, but bring back Secret Runewords for the community to discover like in Diablo II, except when used on the specified Common tier item the Runeword requires, keep the Condition/Effect the two runes would normally provide, but design its interesting additional new affixes (provided by the discovered Secret Runeword) around synergizing with the Condition/Effect property that the runes have given the item. This is essentially replacing the boring D2 rune effects when used outside of a Secret Runeword, so its still worth using D4 runes in non-Common Socket items (Magics, Rares, etc.).

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