Some thoughts on runewords

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Some thoughts on runewords

Post by archon256 on Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:24 am

Alright, so my Death  Shards/Fireheart totem reanimator necro has finally gotten to a point where I can clear all of A3 Sewers without much difficulty (aside from random deaths to teleporting into Witches, gah) and I've managed to farm up a small assortment of Elemental Stones (2 fire, 2 pois, 2 earth, 1 light, 1 magic) and 3 Unknown Skulls.

My goal is to switch to a Fairy Ring/Fireheart totem necro with the "Fleshbane" Elemental Javelin RW, going to need 2 more Poison runes for that.

Some questions:
1) Looks like Unknown Skulls are rarer than the Elemental Stones. Makes sense, that would serve the purpose of making the player think about exactly which runes he wants instead of just converting all the stones into runes (which would make unknown skulls pointless). Can anyone tell me roughly how many stones you find per skull?

2) What are some good elemental runewords? Preferably build enablers like the Fleshbane one (which lets you use Fairy Ring on non-zon chars).

3) Why are there so few elemental runewords?
3a) Has Marco expressed any interest in adding more?
3b) Were the runewords all added a long time at once or has the list been updated often since then?

Some thoughts on runewords:
I strongly believe that runewords are the best items (concept-wise, not necessarily power-wise) in the game, because they combine the difficulty of finding SUs with the freedom of item base of crafts.
Crafts were a good idea for giving players customized gear, but they're far too much an in-base time-sink for my liking. That is to say, the time spent rolling crafts in the base is better spent out in the gameworld killing monsters, which is what runewords require.

Another advantage of runewords is that every single rune you find gives you access to multiple pieces of epic gear and you get to carefully decide which one suits your build the best. You could even swap out the runes for different runewords depending on what uber you're attempting.

A couple of suggestions:

1) How about adding runewords that require multiple types of Great Runes? And I don't mean all 6 non-elemental ones like the Eternal (Disco Inferno) RW. Just ones that require one from Fauzt and one from Toraja, another that needs one from Fauzt and two from Sewers etc.

2) Add more advanced runes that require you to kill difficult bosses and cube ingredients while you have swirlies on you. That will open up a lot more gear choices that are focused on completing hard ubers instead of farming the same uber over and over.
For example:  

  • Chrysaor now drops a "Hammer of the Gods" item, and killing him gives your char swirlies.
  • Taha + Hammer of the Gods while swirlies = Tala rune

2a. The bosses chosen for this sort of thing should be such that they're hard to do, but don't take a long time to kill so that players don't go mad farming multiple of these runes. It's better if the bosses can only be done by certain chars, so players are encouraged to build some chars to farm the various Great Runes, and others to kill the bosses.

For both suggestion 1) and 2), any runewords added shouldn't be automatically stronger than all the other ones so far. It's better if they add unique oskills that open up funky new builds, or make farming other bosses easier.

tl;dr Moar runewords plz. I'm sure we can all come up with fun ideas for them.

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by The Big Ouchy on Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:33 am

1)I'd say at least 1 skull:2 stones maybe 1:3.

2) Hand of frost, Flame, Fleshbane, Fiacla-Gear's Weathervane, Xazax, and Doomguard are my picks for best build enablers.

I do agree that runewords are a nice middle man between crafts and uniques. Crafts would be better but there's just so many bad affixes that it makes rolling one that is actually comparable to or better than a prefab item not worth the effort for most people. The tedium eats at you after a while which is unfortunate.

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by Quirinus on Sun Feb 23, 2014 2:35 pm

Unknown Skulls and stones have the same chance to drop. Its just that theres more stone types and only one skull, so youre more likely to get any stone than an unknown skull. Pretty much like ordinary gems and skulls.

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by MarcoNecroX on Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:17 am

fauzt / toraja runewords alone don't even cover all itemtypes; yet elemental runes do. So how are there 'very few' elemental runewords?

While I do intend to add more items in patches; I do not plan to increase the total amount of them at all. I'd say there are too many items, the problem is that a lot of them suck. I want to remove/rework the ones that suck, together with an overall tweak of the strong ones too.

For sigma my plan is to have an overhauled layer of SU's, where each item has either good simple stats, weaker but synergizable stats (procs/morphs) or just fancy/cool/fun/themed. Then a layer of SSU's which would be kind of strictly better than each SU variant. Again, all of this would be overhauled, for example, fryst nagi would take the SSU spot while the SSU would take the SU spot. Then there would be a final layer of legendary or whatever uniques that would have probably tweaked mechanics; non MO'able, non-equal levelreqs (vary from 100-150), true uniques.

With runewords it feels like there is also a huge amount of useless runewords, which probably exceeds the 80%. And there's a lack of runewords in some cases (like swords) while there is some overflow on not-so-common base items i.e. scepters.

Eventually if all SU's are equally decent, drop rates could be lowered as you would mostly have a guaranteed good drop. Right now, drops are stupidly high because you find crap too often.

For runewords; it feels like you could have a billion of them as they don't inflict into getting-good-drops efficiency; however it could be a bit overwhelming/misleading towards newcomers, which have a rather easier access to runewords than to specific uniques.

tl;dr - new items are fine, but they need to take the spot of old-unused items.

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by archon256 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:35 am

@MarcoNecroX wrote:fauzt / toraja runewords alone don't even cover all itemtypes; yet elemental runes do. So how are there 'very few' elemental runewords?
That's a good point, I was comparing them to non-GR runewords, which is my error.
If anything I feel we have too many non-GR runewords and too few GR ones.

@MarcoNecroX wrote:
While I do intend to add more items in patches; I do not plan to increase the total amount of them at all. I'd say there are too many items, the problem is that a lot of them suck. I want to remove/rework the ones that suck, together with an overall tweak of the strong ones too.
Right now I feel that non-GR runes are too easy to get, and GR ones are at the right difficulty. There's an overkill of runewords at lower levels, where players can typically just get by with TUs and Honorifics.

I'd be okay with shifting the focus of runewords from early game to mid-late game. That's not to say that there shouldn't be any low-level runewords. They're often the best type of item to get until you can farm up gold or arcane crystals. But beyond that I think they're the best sort of item to farm towards, rather than for leveling.

The main point I'm trying to make is that runewords are a superior concept for a long-term goal. Instead of farming over and over hoping that the right SU will drop, it just feels a lot better to say "Okay, there's a RW I want to get that'll let me use Fairy Ring on a non-zon. What character should I pick? I could use a Barb or a Sin for Doom, or I could pick a Necro for Sacrifices/Devil Fang Totem. Hmm, looks like this rune only drops in an area where you can't get reanimates by killing the monsters, so it'll be a lot easier for a Necro to farm it".
See, that way you can plan from level 1 for a mid-late game goal (farming Psn runes in Sewers) and a long-term goal (using said runes for an item that lets you spam Fairy Ring).

I find that more fun that just building a character that can farm Duncraig and doing it over and over and going with whatever random SU drops.

That's why an additional even higher layer of runewords (where you need to use multiple Great Runes from different areas, or modify your Great Runes somehow through boss kills) makes sense as an even longer-term goal. If that means removing useless runewords that you use only from level 60 to level 90, then it's fine by me.

This second layer of Great Runewords would be a fitting replacement for SUs in my eyes (or heck turn the SUs into them). That might be too much of a change though. But I think they're a better method of rewarding players with rare items than the pure chance of an SU drop.

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by pa5call on Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:36 am

I use pul gloves no matter what class or stage... Mr Green 
Any runeword or unique becomes attractive with +# to all skills cherry on top...  Colored 
...and I am persisting on this despite of your opinion on the + skills subject  Wink

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by archon256 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:43 am

@pa5call wrote:I use pul gloves no matter what class or stage... Mr Green 
Any runeword or unique becomes attractive with +# to all skills cherry on top...  Colored 
...and I am persisting on this despite of your opinion on the + skills subject  Wink
Pretty sure he's not talking about that one. Just other useless ones.

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by manafire on Mon Feb 24, 2014 2:53 am

I have to largely agree with MNX; there are way too many items and the content of the game needs to be severely streamlined.

Having said that, I don't think a reduction of content is called for, just a culling of sorts, to allow further content to actually have an impact.

Many of us want to see more uniques, rws, sets, base items, item types, skills, monsters, quests, etc (of course; we're not the modders, we're the consumers), but I think they (items, specifically, but really all content) should both take the place of existing ones (ones that are underused, underpowered, ill-befitting a certain aesthetic or them, redundant and not truly unique, etc...) AND provide content in a different spectrum.

To clarify, it's one thing to add more unique items and secret items and runewords or whatever, but it almost seems enhancing, content-wise, to have fewer items, but in more original paradigms. As MNX said elsewhere, a current idea/plan is to halve the tiers of the tiered uniques, and to clean up/overhaul SUs and replace the third tier of SUs with "true" uniques that almost behave as a new item type.

However, as I said, I'd still like to see more items. But not more layers of items. I'd be thrilled to see more kinds of base items. Right now, we have TEN tiers (6 TU + 3 SU + 1 secret sssssssuwhatever). Hopefully this is reduced to a saner 6, or even 5 (3 TU + 2 SU + 1 ?).

In a way, this halves the item content, but it really doesn't. It creates context for the remaining half, and opens up room to explore anything from expiring items (like, actually ethereal, or unfillable quivers), to multi-class-specific items (if that makes any sense), to the devouring item/moveable craft idea, to simple new base gloves to fit between chain and light plate. Whatever. It doesn't matter. Cleaning up the tiers will make everyone hungrier for items that are now more unique.

As for runewords, I have to agree with archon. I think they are the most engaging items. Not necessarily the most unique in terms of gameplay, but they don't have to be; they bridge the gap between uniqueness and customization (i.e., 'build-your-own mostly preset item'). Having said that, while I don't think we need more runewords outside of potential replacement/new base items (we don't need moar content, we need refined content), I think a slight overhaul of the runeword system would make sense. They have their own appeal as archon described (you fight monsters to find the runes, sort of hunting for reagents, as opposed to say crafting, where you fight monsters to find the shrines, then reroll and try to optimize forever when you could be killing monsters).

Making the runes more relevant to the runewords seems a reasonable goal. Is it fun to just stick an Ith rune into armor because it's convenient and useful at that level? Or is there a way to encourage a degree of item-hunting while not derailing the low or middle level character from act progression? As common as they are, finding runes should be more rewarding. As rewarding as finding a unique?

tl;dr this is a neat thread, right?

EDIT:

@MarcoNecroX wrote:Eventually if all SU's are equally decent, drop rates could be lowered as you would mostly have a guaranteed good drop. Right now, drops are stupidly high because you find crap too often.

. . .

tl;dr - new items are fine, but they need to take the spot of old-unused items.

This. A thousand times this.

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by bardamu on Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:09 am

Support for rebalancing SUs instead of adding new ones. I always derp when i see a "x% chance to cast y when you level up" affix on a sacred unique.

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Re: Some thoughts on runewords

Post by archon256 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:32 am

@bardamu wrote:Support for rebalancing SUs instead of adding new ones. I always derp when i see a "x% chance to cast y when you level up" affix on a sacred unique.
I'm all for rebalancing. And I certainly don't want more SUs.

This was intended to be about how runewords are a better way of giving the players access to late-game items than SUs, Sets and Crafts.

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