Make More Interesting Uniques/Sets, Not Boring Runewords

As the title suggests, they need to focus on making more interesting unique and set items instead of focusing on making boring, uninspired Runewords. Full disclosure this topic comes from someone who was never a big fan of Runewords to begin with.

My personal opinion Runewords have been a blight on the game ever since D2:LOD came out. I’ve been a hardcore Diablo 2 fan ever since someone came into my Diablo 1 game, typed in all caps “DIABLO 2 IS COMING!!!1!!!” and left my game. Diablo 1 and 2 have been my favorite games since their inception, and will probably continue to be for the rest of my life. As such I was there when vanilla D2 first launched. Don’t get me wrong I love Lord of Destruction too, and it’s the pinnacle of what I think an expansion pack should be and it’s the standard by which I hold other games’ expansion features to.

That all being said though I do believe Runewords kind of ruined what Diablo was supposed to be. Once Runewords came out you no longer got excited for random rares with good rolls. No longer was finding that unique item a complete game changer or something that made you want to completely redesign your build for. Most sets became useless, only worth the few pieces of gold you could vendor them for and not items that progressively gave you large spikes in power. Now a days it’s all just Runewords.

Now for basically every class it’s use the Stealth Runeword up until you’re high enough level to use Enigma. Use Steel/Malice/Ancient’s Pledge/Leaf/White until you can use Spirit. Don’t bother with any merc aside from the Act 2 Nightmare one because Insight is so OP it makes all the other mercs useless by comparison. Use Nadir or Lore until you get a Circlet with a class skill and sockets to stack resist runes in, and so on and so forth.

Yes yes I hear some of you now. “Well you can just not use them hurp-a-durp!”. And that is true, but doing so deliberately handicaps yourself because the runewords are just so good compared to anything else you could use at those level breakpoints. “Just play vanilla then and shut it!” I hear others cry. That’s an option yes but not a very good one as vanilla, or classic as it’s called, isn’t getting any of the new content updates. Hell they’re not even giving singleplayer LOD the new content updates, so that idea is kind of garbage.

What they need to do is make more interesting unique/set items that both actively compete with the meta runewords as well as encourage people to use them. Like how about a 2h unique that has a 5% chance on landing a killing blow to cast a level 15 Corpse Explosion at the target? Like you hit that thing so damned hard it exploded and hurt everything around it. Or a unique chestpiece that grants 25%-50% bonus move speed and casts level 18 Charged Bolt but only when moving? Like you’re moving so fast you’re creating static that jumps out and shocks things nearby.

Those are just two super basic examples as I’m not a designer by any stretch of the imagination. But just make interesting sets and uniques that can compete with Runewords so you don’t feel like Runewords are the only way to go to.


My guess is that the underlying engine does not allow an easy development of that. Since each item type tends to have a single unique and set option. Runewords are likely easier to push. This is just the consequences of the game not being successful and having a healthy player base.

Only low effort things, like this, are going to be made because there’s probably very few resources devoted to improving this title.


I mean what I suggested isn’t really that far off from what D2 already does, so I think it’s still within the realm of possibility for the engine to be capable of doing. Though I do agree with you that Blizzard’s not willing to do anything that’s not low effort.

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Very well said, OP. Exactly how I feel about runewords. Terrible, lazy mechanic that make most items in the game look unimpressive in comparison.


And what I am saying is that each Monarch unique shield is always going to be Stormshield. The engine probably has so much complex, spaghetti code that to introduce another item in that class would cause problems. Developers are not allowed to just put things in the game that they think would be cool. It has to get approved, which means money. There’s no money in adding things more complex than more runewords.

It’s possible. Who knows that the Blizzard North crew did in order to get the game to work properly. But I mean when you make a runeword you’re essentially converting one item into a new one. Yeah it uses the same base item, like say Mage Plate or something, but it essentially becomes a new item. And I’m not even suggesting they introduce new item classes either. Like they don’t need to make a SUPER DUPER ELITE weapon class or anything. It can still be the same class of item, just with new affixes.

There was a link on one of the old modding forums from way way back in the day and they found that the reason for the “next hit always miss” bug that plagued LoD for decades was due to some spaghetti code that took someone days to comb through the animation coding and found that it was attached to some obscure piece of code. If North was still around, I don’t think Diablo would be in the shape it is today as they would have continued working on it.

Diablo 2 is full of spaghetti code and if I remember correctly they said at some point that it would be near impossible without doing a complete re-write of the game code to fix a lot of things or it might have been for diablo 3 that was created with some hodge podge spaghetti mess which is the reason it performs so poorly.

I think David Brevik or however his name is spelled said during a GDC panel or an interview before D2R came out that in order to remaster D2R they’d basically need to remake the entire game as the game is designed in such a way that it’ll really only work under those specific conditions or something like that.

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I like the “roleplay” elements of runewords transforming your items into amazing items. But there are so many uniques in the game that are useless or never used and it definitely hits home.

Either tone down the power of the runewords or buff the sets/uniques to find a balance, bc right now it’s the same meta of uniques on every single character.

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Yeah, like Trang Oul’s set for Necromancers that transformed you into a vampire when you had the full set on. I don’t know how it is now a days since with Runewords there’s no point in using the full set for the effect, but I remember in the early days of D2 that vampire transformation used to have some powerful perks to it. Much faster move speed, faster cast rate for poison spells, and I think you were basically immune to poison and ground effects like firewall, etc., etc… At least that’s how I remember it working back in the early early D2 days.

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the only full set i consider decent nowadays is tal rashas and even then you probably want to break it up and hybrid with uniques for more mf

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Sets, especially end-game sets need love for sure. Jeeze… Aldur’s??

I just had a thought in another thread to modify Bul-Kathos’ set, to add a new unique set text that changes the way knockback works for this particular set:

“Knockback direction is reversed”

Imagine using Whirlwind and instead of knocking enemies away, they get pulled in… continually being dragged along with your whirlwind. Yes! :smiley: Sword damage still sucks though…

full trangs still gives you vampire and is actually used by some necros. I had the full set on my necro pre season 1. Still gives you the run speed even while walking so your defense wouldn’t go to zero like it does when you are running through mobs now.

But in the eyes of the playerbase patch 1.10 is the best patch ever period!

Nope, full Trang’s actually greatly slows down your casting speed since you use the frame table of the vampire. Something I hope they address even though it’s not technically a bug.

What I am saying is that its likely baked into the design of the code so much that they could not create more unique or set items without also introducing more base items. Runewords likely work off of a completely new system of code. I’ve seen plenty of examples in my career of systems that are hard to extend upon.

Its probably not this simple, but an example of something that would be hard to change is if Stormshield is a child object of Monarch, which also has parent of “Kite Shield” class. They’d have to completely decouple all of those objects, and define interfaces to allow for extend ability. Most of these design paradigms weren’t around 20+ years ago when the team was writing the game. Its likely got a level of complication, such that management (who might also serve as lead developers themselves) shoot the idea down because of business cost.

Thanks, and buff on hit to high level so it actually does something. Just needs to do medium damage. Compared to the trivial it does now. On hit effects are fun, but only if they actually do something.

How about improving some of the non-class specific sets. Plenty of sets could use new and improved bonuses. We have a whole list of them:
The Disciple
Orphan’s Call
Cow King
you name it

Class specific ones too. As it stands right now they can retool all of the sets and most builds wont even care because most builds don’t use any of them anyways.

Both Azurewrath and Lightsabre are unique phase blades. Mods commonly add multiple uniques for the same base item types just by editing the .txt files (no code edits). Uniques are easy to add.

That said, it would be better for existing uniques to be made useful than new ones added.

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