How do we fix Runewords?

    Positing this here as well as PTR is on hiatus until further notice.

Runewords broke itemization. Rares, uniques, and sets all have fixed affixes can can appear on them and that number has a hardcap of 6 affixes(there are some uniques that go higher due to addition of special modifiers). Even crafting recipes which usually include 3 fixed affixes limit (yes, there are a couple of safety pieces that have 4 fixed affixes) the roll of additional affixes to 4 providing a total of 7 (up to 8 on some safety gear).

Sets and uniques currently don’t take advantage of staffmods (Auto mods) found on gear and Sets can’t roll Ethereal. I speak about these issues in more depth here:

I also discuss how low level sets only roll 2 attributes here:

When it comes to Runewords, they retain the affixes from the runes and get additional properties as well. Let’s take a look at some of the newly added runewords:

Unbending Will
6 socket Sword
Fal + Io + Ith + Eld + El + Hel

  1. 18% Chance to cast Level 18 Taunt on striking
  2. +3 To Combat Skills (Barbarian Only)
  3. +20-30% Increased Attack Speed (varies)
  4. +300-350% Enhanced Damage (varies)
  5. +9 To Maximum Damage (Ith)
  6. +50 To Attack Rating (El)
  7. +75% Damage to Undead (Eld)
  8. +50 Attack Rating Against Undead (Eld)
  9. 8-10% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
  10. Prevent Monster Heal
  11. +10 To Strength (Fal)
  12. +10 To Vitality (Io)
  13. Damage Reduced By 8
  14. +1 Light Radius (El)
  15. Requirements -20% (Hel)

This weapon has 15 attributes of which 8 are derived from the runes socketed in it and an additional 7 as a bonus for crafting the runeword.

The +300-350% Enhanced Damage is also surpasses any and all unique Exceptional (The Atlantean and Coldsteel Eye both have +200-250% ED) or Elite (Azurewrath is highest at +230-270% ED) swords. Even the WORST rolled Enhanced Damage is 30 to 50% higher than the BEST rolled unique.

3 socket Claw
Tal + Ort + Thul

  1. +30% Faster Block Rate
  2. +40-80% Enhanced Damage (varies)
  3. 10% Bonus to Attack Rating
  4. Adds 17-62 Fire Damage
  5. Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage (Ort)
  6. Adds 3-14 Cold Damage (Thul)
  7. +75 Poison Damage Over 5 Seconds (Tal)
  8. +6 to Strength
  9. +6 to Dexterity
  10. All Resistances +15

This example also has 3 attributes from the runes used in addition to another 7 attributes added for building the runeword.

Flickering Flame
3 socket Helm
Nef + Pul + Vex

  1. Level 4-8 Resist Fire Aura When Equipped (varies)
  2. +3 To Fire Skills
  3. -10-15% to Enemy Fire Resistance (varies)
  4. +30% Enhanced Defense (Pul)
  5. +30 Defense Vs. Missile (Nef)
  6. +50-75 To Mana (varies)
  7. Half Freeze Duration
  8. +5% To Maximum Fire Resist (Vex)
  9. Poison Length Reduced by 50%

This example also has 3 attributes from the runes used in addition to another 6 attributes added for building the runeword one of which is unique to this runeword only (Resist Fire Aura)

How is any other piece of gear supposed to compete with this? Either the rune bonuses need to be removed from the runewords or the amount of affixes awarded for making a runeword should be fixed to 4 like it is for crafting. There has to be a way to bring Sets, Uniques, and Runewords closer in power to one another.

The 2.4 Set updates by the development team did nothing to address the disparities between gear. Adding or modifying Set Bonuses does virtually nothing to address the issues with gear. The runes for these words above are infinitely easier to farm for than uniques or sets like Azurewrath, Griffon’s Eye, Griswold’s Legacy, etc. but the runewords crafted by these runes are exponentially better than their unique and set counterparts.


Runewords broke the game very badly. Why hunt for mid level caster items when double Spirit plus Lore is +5 to all skills at very low cost?

Really, a few rune words are the main offenders. The above two plus Stealth, Smoke, Treachery, Fortitude and Enigma make 99% of uniques look very bad by comparison. Yes, it is hard to find the runes for some of them but one Lo and you know exactly what armor your character will be wearing, forever. That’s pretty dull.

1 Like

Let’s be honest, only pallies have access to Spirit shield early game (which is an issue in itself, this game basically revolves around pally and sorc), every other caster has to wait until level 37 for Splendor to bridge the gap between 37 and 54+.

With that said, yes some words are worse offenders than others. However, all runewords are offenders. Uniques and Sets can’t stack against runewords. It’s not even close.

Remove them would correct the issue forever.

1 Like

Runes and runewords are here to stay. Now let’s actually address how we fix the unbalanced gear options.

We dont know that :slight_smile:

We do know based on how “dramatic” the 2.4 changes were. The developers want to maintain the status quo

I fully agree with your statement but, We the community have VERY little input into anything… could you imagine attempting to collate every opinion on here and making decisions based on it?

It was PTR, I just provided my feedback. What they choose to do with it is out of my hands and out of my mind.

Nevertheless, discussions and debate help to expand ideas, not contract them.

What’s wrong with runewords? 1. They’re only in four gear slots 2. Most aren’t even used, but they’re there to be used should you so desire 3. Uniques are still used 4. Sets are still used 5. Rares are still used 6. Magic items are still used 7. Crafted items are still used. So again, forgive me for asking, what’s wrong with runewords? If you don’t like em, don’t use em, simple as that. For those that do like them, they get to use them and enjoy their effects, simple as that.

Maybe the unique items could use some buffs?

Pretty sure the entire OP trys to answer the question “what’s wrong with runewords?”…

Read it and let me know if you still have questions. Alternatively, provide critique instead of relying on strawman arguments.

I don’t need to go past the title, as there’s nothing to “fix” with runewords. They’re essentially great/perfect as can be as is. Sorry I upset you Mr. logical fallacy

I’ve said for years that dragon shields and maybe even kite shields with high ilvl need to able to obtain 4 sockets, similar to how nightmare crystal swords aren’t limited to the standard 3 sockets normal ones are.

But you felt the need to share your opinion without bothering to read the opinions within the topic?

Those who do not read have no advantage over those who cannot read. ~Mark Twain

Sure, why not, it’s an opinion, last I checked I’m free to share it. Also funny you say that, I love Mark Twain and have a bachelor’s in English. But feel free to continue being upset that I went against whatever it was you think is wrong with runewords.


Improve non-runewords with Multiple small layers of buffs which would add way more flavour and stability than just a single buff

these improvements can come in multiple ways and multiple aspects(power, perk,etc)

  • values buff

  • Direct changes to some uniques to make them better or just more interesting

ie: SwordBack hold shield now has 20% chance to cast level 10 Blade shield when you are hit

ie: Gravepalm now have 10% chance to cast level 10 corpse explosion on kill

ie: Stoneraven now turns killed enemies into ravens on death

  • Removing Indestructible items cant spawn ethereal

ie: GF, Butcher’s pupil, doombrinder, stormpyre,Cranium basher,etc to spawn ethereal

  • Adding corruption, this system allows you to slightly improve your unique but at the great risk of losing it. This would be restricted to non-runewords

  • removing item type restriction on crafting and allowing the crafting process a chance to retain the affixes of the sacrifices magic item

Ie: craft a blood weapon with a 300% 40ias phase blade has a chance to retain those affixes in the final crafted item

  • expanding the “cracked, primitive, lower quality, superior quality) system to non-white items on identification and also making it apply to the affixes as well. runewords can benefit from superior while others cant

Ie: find superior 15% Mang song, it can roll up to 17% -resist

  • allow sets and some unique items to spawn Automod

Ie: suicide branch could spawn with +[0-3] to corpse explosion, +[0-3] to bone prison, etc

  • Little more hard to swallow for purists, Allow ruenwords to be made in all Item rarity but at a greatly reduced efficacy. White=100%,Magic/rare= 70%, Unique/set =50%(placeholder values). That way original runewords stay super strong, but runewords dont invalidate magic/rare/unique/set items anymore

ie: Make a Lore in your Alder helm

ie: Make a Fury in your Eth Hone Sundan Yari

ie: make a Leaf in a magic +3 tree+3skill staff

Note: there are individual examples of how to improve the existing non-runeword itemization, there is no balance pass applied to the numbers, just concepts

Nah, just pointing out your idiocracy.

Have a good day, Sir.

Appreciate it, and likewise.

You too!

Complaining about runewords is as old as the Classic vs LOD debate. They’re stronger than most uniques although there are also many unique and set items which are better, for example a sorc can use a hoto but she will not get the most of it, this is still reserved to her unique orbs respecting her element.

So the traditional answer is: Go play pre-expansion.

In a more constructive way id probably promote positive enhancement however. Think about how many new builds became possible only thanks to runewords. Just to mention my personal fav, the tesla sorc(holy shock + zeal, insane dmg ouput and an actually working meele sorc).

1 Like