The long-awaited Diablo 4 was revealed earlier this month during BlizzCon 2019 alongside a first slew of juicy details. Among them, is the return of runes and runewords, an item upgrade system that Diablo 2 popularized.
Diablo 3's runes affected skills rather than items, being an entirely different thing, however, the upcoming entry aims to change that. Here's everything we know about runes in Diablo 4.
Diablo 4 Rune Types
Blizzard has confirmed that Diablo 4 will feature two types of runes:
- Condition Runes
- Effect Runes
The two rune types will only work in tandem, combining a condition rune with an effect rune resulting in Diablo 4's take on runewords. The way they were described to work is fairly simple. The condition rune determines when the effect rune activates.
For example, combining the Fal rune which activates the next rune when a pet dies with the Thul rune which gives you a barrier that protects the user from 500 damage will result in a runeword that grants you a protective barrier that absorbs 500 damage every time one of your pets dies.
Diablo 4 Runewords
Given how on their own runes are rather incomplete, the sole way of applying their effects to your gear is by combining them into a Runeword. You can, seemingly, combine any condition rune with any effect rune which sounds a lot like a system that emphasizes player agency over how they customize their items.
In practice, Runewords in Diablo 4 essentially act as an enchantment of sorts, granting an item of the player's choice an extra desired effect on top of those that the item already comes with.
So far, Diablo 4's runes and runewords sound more streamlined than their Diablo 2 counterparts. At the same time, this is our first glimpse at them, and we don't yet know how expansive the system will be and just how much it will contribute to item customization.
Diablo 4 Rune Progression
Lead Systems Designer David Kim ended the segment of his presentation dedicated to runes by saying that the team is working on progression for runes and runewords in Diablo 4. What shape said progression will take is something we'll have to wait in order to see.
Although not exactly an extensive first look at Diablo 4 runes, BlizzCon 2019 gave us a good idea of what to expect from the system. We'll be sure to update this article as more info about runes is shared.