The troubled rune system in Diablo II has undergone one last dramatic redesign ahead of the RPG's expected release this year.
In a blog post, game director Jay Wilson revealed runes have been changed from a collectible item to part of the skill system in order combat a number of problematic aspects of the earlier system.
"Runes have been by far the biggest design hurdle we’ve had in the game, and as you know we’ve been continually iterating on them," he said,
"Diablo is all about the item drops. But with around 120 base skills, that meant there were around 600 rune variants; on top of that, each variant had five quality levels each, meaning ultimately there would be something like 3,000 different runes in the game… and we knew we were heading toward a problem.
"Later in the game, having to juggle all of those various runes was not only un-fun, it was a serious and tedious inventory problem. This final design is intended to resolve those issues," he added.
Now called skill runes, the customisation options will unlock alongside skills as players level up. As a result, each rune now has only one rank, so each has a notable effect, rather than being an upgrade system.
The new system means players will be unlocking new skills or skill runes all the way to the level 60 experience cap, and will be introduced in the next beta patch. Hit the link above for more details, as well as information on UI overhauls designed to assist beginner players while enabling veterans.