And there it is..

Posted by Daeity On Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just went live less than 10 minutes ago. Diablo 3 Skill and Rune Changes by Jay Wilson (comments are disabled on their blog post by the way.)

Here are the important parts:

First, they’re now called skill runes, and they’re called skill runes because they’re no longer a physical item, but built directly into the skill system.
With the new skill rune system, you’ll be unlocking new skills as you level up just like you always have… but in addition you’ll also be unlocking skill runes.
Before I wrap up, I did want to cover that one of the added benefits of the new system is that you’ll be unlocking something every level all the way up to the level cap (60).
Just as we set different skills to unlock at specific levels, skill rune choices unlock at different levels as well.
Here's a good part about how they were trying to force the skills into items that could be sold on the RMAH. When you're trying to be creative, you shouldn't be "forcing" anything..
We fully expect that some of you will be disappointed that runes won’t be part of the itemization system. Internally, it took us a long time to let go of that notion too and stop trying to force them into being items, and instead embrace the intent of the system. Integrating runes with the skill system directly gave us a bunch of great benefits, and even without runes we’re launching with more item types than Diablo II had.
My past predictions were just based on public information and potential challenges to itemizing runes. However, there was apparently an internal leak that also appears to be confirmed due to some of the other, very specific, information just announced.

That Blizzard Leak

Disargeria, from the SomethingAwful forums, had a lot to say on the subject of runes yesterday, claiming that it was inside information from within Blizzard.

I do know for a fact that there are a lot of Blizzard employees with registered accounts on SA. I see them visit my blog all the time.

This leaked information by Disargeria and "Lammy!" ended up on Reddit and other sites, so Disargeria eventually went back and deleted all of his posts, and asked others to delete their quotes.. so, some members simply decided to repost them even more.

Here's what they had to say yesterday:
Runes are no longer items, but are now inherently tied into the skill system. You pick your skill, then your accompanying rune to go with it. Rank 1 runes start unlocking as of level 6 (!!!)
Skills are now going to be further divided into categories (defensive, technique, etc.) Initially, unless you specifically tell the game what you want, it's going to lock you into a recommended 'type' of skill for each slot. Presumably this is to keep noobies from making unviable builds, but allows you to do whatever you want once you're comfy with doing so.
My misinterpretation, apparently there are no more "ranks", they've all been normalized to around what rank 4 or 5 used to be. We unlock individual runes as we level. We'll get something new every level.
This leaves open the potential to boost the rune effects through gear. Previously the rune power was tied to the item, but if it's tied to the character, they can bring in stats on items that boost the rune effects.
They've set an internal release date.
I think the release date has an internal release date, too.
I'm surprised he didn't mention the Bola Shot change. DH feel weak at the beginning and one of the first things they did in the recent cycle was change Bola to round up 3 targets and pull them together before exploding. It does the 100% weapon damage to all three targets, making it a lot less frustrating to use. This also sets targets up to be more susceptible to other AoE like grenades and Chakram and gives the DH some needed control.
It's just the way he references +rune effects. I made that up, it wasn't leaked to me. He also isn't sure if you can opt out of it. Everything he posted is included in this thread, and there is more information to go that hasn't been leaked that for some reason he doesn't know about.
They're not moving back to skill trees, no. They're... making a change for them in normal difficulty. And it's well-intentioned but will upset a lot of people until they realize everyone graduates from normal mode.
Runes are now tied to the skills themselves, and you'll "learn" these runes as you level up. Like, at level 20 you learn the alabaster rune for Crippling Wave. I don't know how easy it is to change, but I'm guessing you can change the runes at the alter.
I think it's like, left click has to be a spammable offensive attack or rage builder or something, 2 has to be offensive, 4 is utility, something like that. And after you beat normal that goes away. Maybe even before normal, they might've changed it to something you can opt out of.
Would you guys mind unquoting me please?

Uh, and by lies I was referring to the bola shot
Reddit linked to this thread.

I'm not trolling, the problem is it's true and I don't want to be connected to it.
Most importantly, this is a very good confirmation now that this information did indeed come from a Blizzard employee and that it's well known internally that there is a Diablo 3 Release Date set.

And, they had a release date a mere week after the Q4 2011 call. Given other evidence, it appears that they even had this release date planned before the Shareholders Meeting (Bashiok had said it was discussed during that week, and it was delayed to Q2.)

In Other News..

Apparently, the RMAH Currency Cap is lower for accounts without Authenticators attached. Meaning that Blizzard will be "strongly motivating" many users to buy the authenticator. Make sure you familiarize yourself with this older post which confirms that Authenticators really do generate revenue for Blizzard.

And it appears that another prediction also came true. Blizzard has added a ton of new item affixes. :)
New item affixes have been added!

Chance on hit to:
And they have also made some changes to affixes to further increase the variety of randomly generated items:
The following affixes now have a chance to appear twice when crafting items:

Min damage
Max damage
All Elemental damage types
Expect more, like double or triple affixes to increase item variety (e.g. multiple Chance On Hit modifiers.) There will be a gentle balance though.. once they collect actual RMAH metrics, they can tweak the total quantity of item variants and either increase them or scale them back.

Now, I just need to test Public Chat when I get a chance so see if it's truly trade friendly (ie, it allows item linking.)