Crikey, kudos to Blizzard for releasing a hundred and sixty eight screenshots of Diablo 3 on the official site and all, and I do hate to be picky, but it'd be nice if could release just one or two that didn't look terrible.
We've got some sizeable Diablo 3 news today. Blizzard have done a big post on the game's new system of Runestones. Where in previous Diablo games you were able to plug gems into sockets on your equipment to alter it slightly, Runestones do much the same for your skills, altering precisely how they work and even what they look like. There's some serious work that's gone into this- in short, each of the game's hundred plus skills will five additional variants. I can't even conceive of trying to balance that for competitive multiplayer.
The five varieties of runestone, Crimson, Indigo, Obsidian, Golden and Alabaster (which is, coincidentally, exactly what the middle class family up the road from me named their kids) each appear to enhance skills in a consistent way. Crimson boosts damage, Indigo affects the greater area around you, Obsidian is vaguely protective in an offensive way, Gold appears to sort of buff you and Alabaster seems to stun and slow enemies. Or something.
I'm taking all of this from the examples they provide, which I've pasted below. It's not a clear-cut system, as you'll see. See if you can figure it out.
Whirlwind is an iconic Diablo II skill, wherein the barbarian spins furiously and damages any enemies in his path.
* Crimson - Shoots bits of rock and gravel in every direction, dealing area effect damage.
* Indigo - Barbarian spawns smaller whirlwinds which deal direct damage.
* Obsidian - Provides the barbarian with immunity to immobilizing effects.
* Golden - Reduced Fury cost.
* Alabaster - Critical strikes confuse enemies, forcing them to attack their allies for a short time.
Sweeping Wind is a combo skill that lashes out against all enemies surrounding the monk, creating a vortex of damaging wind that increases in damage and radius across three stages.
* Crimson - A flurry of blades increases Sweeping Wind's damage.
* Indigo - Expands the area of effect and strikes enemies with additional fire-based attacks.
* Obsidian - A persistent whirlwind surrounds the monk, dealing damage to any foes that come into contact.
* Golden - Increases Spirit regeneration.
* Alabaster - A powerful sandstorm billows with the monk's attacks, damaging enemies and knocking them back.
RAY OF FROST
Ray of Frost is a wizard spell that damages and freezes enemies caught in the beam, slowing their movement and attack speed.
* Crimson - Beam increases in damage the longer it remains in use, to a cap.
* Indigo - Wizard is surrounded by a swirling vortex of sleet, damaging any foes that come into contact.
* Obsidian - Decreases beam damage, but increases reduction in target movement and attack speed.
* Golden - Arcane Power cost reduced.
* Alabaster - Enemies slain by Ray of Frost have a chance to leave an area of ice on the ground where they die, damaging other enemies if they move through it.
Cluster Arrow is a powerful demon hunter tool, as it fires a cluster bomb which explodes on impact, releasing smaller bombs which explode shortly thereafter.
* Crimson - Increases the damage of the explosion at the point of impact.
* Indigo - Fires enemy-seeking missiles instead of grenades.
* Obsidian - The Cluster Arrow is launched high into the air and rains down grenades.
* Golden - Instead of grenades, the skill spawns shadow creatures that attack nearby enemies and leech life to the demon hunter.
* Alabaster - Adds a stun effect to the grenade explosions.
Acid Cloud is a witch doctor skill that summons an acid-spewing spirit, raining caustic, skin-dissolving death on the unfortunate enemies below.
* Crimson - Causes immediate damage instead of a damage over time effect.
* Indigo - Increases area-of-effect radius.
* Obsidian - Spawns slimes that attack nearby enemies.
* Golden - Afflicts enemies with a disease effect that deals damage over time.
* Alabaster - The witch doctor belches forth a directional pool of acid.