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[LoD v1.09x] The Rune Mod v3.00 by Sir_General
Title [LoD v1.09x] The Rune Mod v3.00 by Sir_General
Description Reviewed by Maxx Power for the Phrozen Keep.
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A lot of mods out there are usually created via the same framework. Add new items, redo enemy graphics, increase stash size, add infinum. However, every so often a mod will come along which will break down these preset boundaries within the mod community, take the Diablo engine, and contort it into a work of sheer genius and brilliance that it leaves other modders thinking “now why didn’t I do that?”

Sir General’s Rune Mod is just one of those ideas. Everyone knows that customization is a central aspect to many a Diablo player’s life. This mod takes it to a new level. By this I mean the ultimate in item customizing. Rather than have endless seems of useless rares, sets and uniques, this mod throws the rules out of the window. You have base items, by this I mean only one type of one-handed axe, one type of two handed mace, and a couple of different armor sets. The stats between them are almost identical, with the armors only receiving Armor Classes of around ten at most. The reason behind this is simple. Throughout the game you will come across several strangely colored squares, know as runes. Each of these runes, when transmuted with an item in the horadric cube will give that item the stat shown on the rune. It is this means of item creation, which makes SGRM so brilliantly unique and diverse.

What Works
For a start the item creation. Gone are the days of spending ten or twenty Mephisto runs trying to find that elusive unique. As you progress through the game, your equipment will, in effect, level up with you. It is quite easy to go through the whole game, Nightmare and Hell, with the stuff you found in Act 1 in Normal. And use it you shall, as part way through the game, Sir General has done the smart thing and reduced any item drops to a bare minimum. Monsters will only drop runes, a great idea, which I’m surprised other modders haven’t caught onto yet.

However, the way in which these runes are implemented is another innovation. In previous incarnations of this mod, prior to v3.00, any rune could be used on any item, so long as it corresponded to the item being transmuted e.g. A Mox rune (which increases weapons) with a short sword. Now each item must be imbued with its own ‘element’. These are basically a certain type of rune, which can only be used on an item of its element and rune type. e.g. A Fire Mox rune can be used on a fire sword, but not a water one. You may think at first that this may restrict your item creation. However, after playing previous versions as well, I can tell you it is necessary to balance the game, otherwise your equipment becomes way too powerful for its own good. It also adds an element of strategy into the mod, as you have to extensively plan your character and his/her equipment before setting out (See Sir Generals’ site, book-marked on this web-site below). Choosing the wrong element on the wrong item for the wrong character can lead to disaster.

Also the need for gold is almost stricken from the mod. Now money only need be used for your initial equipment, and any repairs and potion you may need to buy (thankfully Sir General has supplied bigger potions in all the acts, which many Diablo players begged Blizzard to do ages ago). The only real point for money is also to provide a means of buying any new basic runes you may need for your items to imbue them with the element you wish that particular item to have. This means that less attention need be spent on deciding which items to buy when you get back to town, seeing as though you can’t buy any other weapons and armor by around Act 3 anyway. This is what the mod is brilliant at. Once you have some idea as to what element you wish to use and where, it’s simply a case of picking up the different runes around the game, and using them on your equipment. I can remember on several occasions where I had to carefully choose between one unique and another, forced to ‘test-run’ them in combat to see the highs and lows of that item. Some may argue this actually restricts your choice of items, but then again, so did the original Diablo.

What Doesn't Work
Although Sir General has tried hard to balance out the mod, and for the most part succeeds, there are some minor niggles which bother me. Firstly, despite the items screen stats being similar, the underlying stats, not usually seen in game still remain the same. For example, the heavy plate armor, although it has the same stats as any other body armor, it still keeps its stamina drain and walk/run speed modifier. Also, you have to wonder why some weapons are even there. The large mace has a normal attack speed, while the great sword has an attack speed of fast. However, both these weapons have exactly the same damage as well. It gets even worse with the pole-arm classes, as these have a slow attack speed, while still retaining the original damage rating.

Also, some of the rune drops do get a bit out of hand. It’s not so bad early on, as the amount of runes available to drop is very low. However, at higher difficulty levels, there are literally hundreds of runes to drop. This means that you can spend hours looking for runes, which are compatible with your items and their respective elements, only to find a load of junk, which is useless to you. In previous versions, at least you could gamble for runes if things weren’t going your way. Now the best you can do is gamble for the basic mods, which imbue your items with their element in the first place, useless by around Act 3 Normal anyway.

And probably the big problem with this mod, which isn’t really a problem with the game, but something that bothers me, is this. Apart from the items, vendors, drops etc. Nothing else is really changed. There’s no new skills, no new monsters, no new interface, nothing. Props to Sir General for creating this mod. It is top notch. The problem is that after playing mods for so long where at least one monster is changed or something is new, to have only the items changed seems a little bit like you’ve been left with a brilliant idea implemented into Diablo, but nothing much else.

Conclusion
Sir General’s Rune Mod lays down some much-needed new foundations to many modders as to how to bring the whole idea of item customization to a whole new level. Its incredible to think that this whole mod was done without the aid of hex editing (or at least that’s what Sir General says). The whole concept of gradually increasing equipment stats, along with your character stats, is a brilliant idea, and balances out the whole Diablo experience, rather than the originals tendency to go from stupidly easy to astronomically hard. However, apart from this innovation, there is nothing much else to this mods name. The lack of new monsters, areas, etc. dilute the whole experience slightly, and you hope that the next version will hopefully incorporate other areas of mods, which are sadly lacking from this mod. If you’re the type that strives to find that final set item, or that super rare Grandfather Blade, then you’re better off going somewhere else. Sir General’s Rune Mod is for a faster, more streamlined Diablo experience for all, though really isn’t for anything else.


Anyone wishing to check out THE Rune Mod can do so by visiting the official website at http://sg.d2mods.com.


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