Tuesday 11 October 2016

Diablo 3 pre-launch Runestone system overhaul

I actually really liked a lot of the ideas they explored early on. The first screenshot is oozing with history.

You can tell which skills were passives because they have no rune socket. The initial skill runes that dropped on the ground and would socket to a skill were square shaped. They had names that were evocative of their trait. For example, a Minor Hydra Rune enhanced the multi-target aspect of a skill.

The multi-tab inventory can be seen on the right below the old paper-doll. It was demoed as expandable and later scrapped because they felt like it limited the loot hunt too much early on and then made town visits fiddly once you had multiple tabs.

The talisman button on the bottom right of the paper doll. Oh how I wish we'd seen this thing in action.

A surprisingly minimal amount of UI artwork survived from this stage, less than a year from launch.
Jump to 4:08 and you can see the old (now gone) official Battle.net page where they explain the Crimson, Alabaster, Obsidian, Indigo, and Golden runes. They were still drops but had a spherical appearance and the actual rune that persisted to the current skill interface. There's an interesting read on why this system was scrapped.
I loved watching the videos of the individual characters with a single skill + rune mods, here's the montage for all of them:
Still kind of amazing how much iteration took place.