Rune arms in DDO have gone through 4 distinct changes and now entire a fifth or maybe 4.5.
In phase 1 and pre MotU rune arms corresponded very well to the Arti enhancement system. Since back before the trees an Arti could pick from one of several spell powers (and even before it was called spell power) including all elements. So it was entirely possible to do an acid based Arti. Not that it was functionally synergetic with any of the Arti’s spells (no acid based ones) but it did function beautifully with the better named rune arms such as acid and force based.
As I’ve mentioned before; only acid and force based rune arms used to track (that is still largely the case but Turbine have released some pretty cool ones lately that while force based have a completely different spread pattern).
All other rune arms (until the latest cool force based ones like Knife Eternal) are fire in line of sight. With various and often terrible result. Such as things going straight up or like in Animus case, one big more powerful fire ball but easily reflex saved.
Anyways, one of these rune arms is Glorious Obscenity.
As you can see it’s not a special rune arm, but it has 5 charge tiers (so up to 5 bolts and 2-16 acid damage per shot.
But there was also one more thing – you could add crafting levels onto it. Today (and until u32 drops) all crafting is based on potential. The formula isn’t important but all pre MotU rune arms (including store bought) have 2-5 crafting potential.
Like this one.
Normally level 18 and now 20 due to increase of crafted shard (added kinetic lore v). Since Max is 20 (with old crafting system) a lower end rune arm would add as many additional levels as per the shard you put on – but this one as you can see capped out.
This is a smart system. It allows you to add a little something to the rune arm itself and potentially a small benefit. Like kinetic lore to a force based rune arm. Now a days the philosophy is to make rune arms more of a utility – and therefor to better complement the type it is, like lightning based rune arms adding lore and spell power and force based the same.
Post MotU the crafting levels were removed and okay but nothing special. You can call it phase 2. This would change with the revamping of the augment system in EGH and the release of rune arms that now had augment slots – adding a little bit more choice back onto rune arms. Until phase 4 and the utility based rune arms (around Epic 3BC and forward).
I mentioned that adding crafted shards onto rune arms is good; there simply were not that many good other gear around to boost the Arti’s rune arm. Such as if you wanted to boost acid lore and spell power for a acid based rune arm the only real items for that was something like the Cannith Challenge Rock boots. Post MotU and until Shadowfell there were some items such as rings and helmets with the spell power and you could always add a spell power augment to a weapon, but it got a lot more complicated for force based rune arms with even fewer items with lore.
Just take the Lucid Dream above where I crafted in a Kinetic Lore shard. Post MotU there were no such options for rune arms any longer.
So, onto phase 4.5. The change coming with update 32.
First – let me say this; it’s awesome. What Turbine did was to fix a ponderous problem in one fell swoop and they did it very elegantly.
As you might know by now crafting has changed from shards of potential to ML shards setting the power of the feature you’re adding. The problem was that the old rune arms had a set potential and it was hard to envision how you would craft into that system. Could you do just one shard and how will that function ML wise? One suggestion was that it would be replaced with say one extra slot. Simply put; the old rune arm system is not compatible in a good way with the new system.
So Turbine decided to throw out the old rule book and make this system functionally compatible with the new.
The ML of the rune arm is now the feature that sets the power level of the effects you craft onto it. You can ‘reset’ old rune arms by disjuncting them. That will turn the rune arm above into a blank that have a prefix, suffix and extra slot option, just like any item that you can craft.
It also removes some features of the old rune arm but keep core elements – such as you can see here from a crafted example of Glorious Obscenity.
Gone is seeker and spot and Mind Turbulence and Taint of Chaos Remains. But I could craft on Acid lore, Acid spell power and as an extra slot, insightful Acid spell power.
Or how about this animus?
As you see from the before and after rune arm it is now more functional towards your needs and you still keep some of the better features of it (such as banishing).
In this one you can see that you have a lot more options than just spell power and lore. Here I added insightful evocation, insightful combustion and ranged alacrity.
And best of all; no increase in ML – it stays at whatever level it was originally at.
You can’t craft all type of features – it’s not as versatile as a trinket, but it is fairly robust. You might not be able to add ability effects, but you can add all type of lore, skills, DC focus etc. This makes the rune arm more of a utility based one (why I say it’s phase 4.5).
This won’t replace existing rune arms that you can now find as heroic, such as Corruption of Nature (excellent Epic and for a while were very competent heroic) or level 13 Arm of Archons (again a good force based one). Since these can be equipped earlier than say Lucid and Glorious, they’re still okay as a stop gap before you can start using these new crafted ones.
But it will blow the Archaic device out of the water. It’s a ML 20 forced based one. Similar power levels as Lucid Dreams (charge tier 5), but now not as flexible as the level 18 force based one.
Altho you could say that Archaic device is still useful as it doesn’t have the same negative limitations as Lucid Dreams.
Anyways; I like this new system. I love the flexibility and you can even do it to the rune arms you can buy out of the store. Those are good early rune arms and the crafting system allows you to either grind out some of the named one, or buy one and craft onto them the things you need or want the most.
Again – I really can’t find anything bad about the new crafting system. It’s genuinely a full attempt to make it functional and complimentary from the get go. The items you craft might not be as powerful as the ones you can pull, but it’s a solid item that provide you with freedom of choice. And now they just extended that great system onto rune arms.
There are sure to be some issues; I just disjucted rune arms with the old crafted levels and once I did that it kept the old crafted shard (acid lore on a Glorious Obscenity) but made it ML 5. That means a ML 5 regular 17 rune arm with that charge level and with acid lore 14%. That means that anything I craft onto it will have the power of a ML 5, but it’s hard to argue against a level 5 rune arm with 5 charge tiers doing gobs of damage.
That will most likely be fixed, but it might linger into the a post u32 patch. So be forewarned. If you disjunct crafted rune arms when u32 drops they might look funky. But if you disjunct clean items without any crafting on them, they should give you the version with prefix, suffix and extra slot.
Enjoy and craft well.