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Developer Diary : Rune-keeper Class Changes in Helm’s Deep

Developer Diary : Rune-keeper Class Changes  in Helm’s Deep

By Jinjaah


Greetings, fellow Runekeepers! Working on this class turned out being a tough nut to crack. The Rune-keeper was built to be a good healer and good damage dealer at the same time by swinging from one end to the attunement bar to the other. When we started, we felt it was very important that the swing remain intact. Being able to be a damage dealer and then swing to provide backup healing was our number one priority and so the trees were built in such a way to encourage this play, while making you great at one at the same time.

Solitary Thunder

Solitary thunder is all about mobility and instant cast single target burst damage. This specialization has less range than its fire counterpart, but relies on unleashing a large amount of damage over a short period of time. Timing the use of their skills with various proc effects helps turn this specialization into a killing machine.

For example, the Solitary Thunder has two proc effects named Thunderous Words and Harsh Debate. These provide the Rune-keeper with tactical mastery and finesse. Deeper in the tree, they can unlock the ability that turns Thunderous Words and Harsh Debate into Closing Remarks, which greatly increases the damage of Epic Conclusion and lowers the cooldown after use. However, Epic Conclusion will consume Closing Remarks on use, creating an interesting choice for the Rune-keeper.

If the Rune-keeper is concerned with the amount of survivability they have, quickly investing into the fire tree will add a potent heal to Self-Motivation. Having it return both power and morale becomes a very powerful panic button at their disposal. Further investment will supplement their damage over time ability for longer fights.

Cleansing Flame

Cleansing Flame Rune-keepers rely more on damage over time compared to their lightning counter-parts. Preferring to keep a distance from their enemies, they put as many effects on a target as they can before unleashing a powerful channel on them. Being induction based makes their increased range incredibly important to them.  

While Fire is primarily damage over time based, it still has a very powerful Area Effect component for group content. The legendary skill Combustion is a very powerful Area Effect skill, where the Rune-keeper calls down a flaming runestone from above their target, delivering heavy damage as well as area effect damage to any enemy next to them. With the trait Seething Truth, Combustion can also spread Writ of Fire on a target to all those around them. And when combined with Essay of Fire, which removes the induction of your next fire skill, the Rune-keeper can quickly bring down a large group of enemies if need be.

Inductions also mean that choosing to use healing skills can potentially slow down your damage on your target, making survivability tricky. Going into the healing line and grabbing the Rune of Restoration, however, gives you a Runestone to supplement your healing ability. Placing it at your feet or at the feet of a friend will provide much-welcome healing. Going further into that tree can also net you Epic for the Ages, a powerful single target heal.


Benediction of Peace

The healing Rune-keeper, Benediction of Peace, prefers healing over time and damage reducing abilities like re-directs and bubbles. A new healing skill to the Rune-keeper is named Bombastic Inspiration, which is a stacking Heal over time similar to Writ of Health. However, upon expiration, Bombastic Inspiration heals the target for a large amount of Morale. This expiration heal is increased by the number of stacks on the target.

 They also have access to powerful Area Effect heals, making them a very competent group healer. Skills like Rune of Restoration and Rousing Words provide powerful healing over time when combined together. Adding Essay of Exaltation to the mix, which provides more healing over time as well as placing a bubble on your allies. A new addition to the Area Effect arsenal of the healing Rune-keeper is a new Our Fate’s Entwined Runestone. Now place able at range, this stone re-directs 60% of all damage directly to itself for a period of time or until it is destroyed by the damage it absorbs.

Soloing as this line means you will have tons of survivability, but you might want to pick up damage traits from the other lines to speed up your fights. For example, investing into Solitary Thunder will give you immediate access to Ceaseless Argument; a single target instant cast lightning attack. Investing further will even grant you a runestone the Rune-keeper place at range that deals damage and stuns any enemy around it after a few seconds.


Attunement Changes

One very important change we are making is how Rune-keepers will interact with attunement. One of the issues we ran into with lower skill counts is that interaction with attunement felt slow and clunky. Having less healing or damage skills made it seem like there was less of a focus on the opposing side of attunement. Damage dealers felt like they didn’t need to focus on the right side and healers felt the opposite, so we made a few big changes to attunement to help combat that:

The first change we made was not to gate any skill by a minimum amount of attunement. For example, as a fire Rune-keeper, Smouldering Wrath no longer requires 9 battle attunement to become useable. This makes more skills available at any point. This also plays into the next point: attunement cashout skills.

With removing attunement requirements, having skills cashout your current attunement to enhance the effect they give made a lot of sense. An example of this is Words of Exaltation. With the new changes, Words of Exaltation can be used at any level of healing attunement and the duration of the bubble is increased by the number of healing attunement that is consumed when used. This does two things. One, it puts more of an importance on building up your attunement while not completely gating the skill. You can pop the skill when you choose, but waiting will yield a much greater reward. Two, it brings even more of a swing to attunement and helps lead to the last point: increasing the speed at which attunement builds.

Before, attunement built rather slowly, increasing by one per skill for the most part. Now, it moves anywhere from 1 to 6 in a given direction depending on which skill is used. This, combined with cash out skills really brought the swing back in a big way. Swapping between damage and healing feels much more responsive and opens up a lot of new ways to play the class.


In closing, we hope you really enjoy the new Rune-keeper. It’s been a pleasure to work on this class and hope all the time and love we put into this revamp turns into a great experience for you.



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