I have been playing this for a bit, and I worked through most of my early game issues by restarting, ignoring crafting (it's bad), and using magic to augment melee ability. That made the game more playable on the higher difficulties, and in general more enjoyable. Attack buffs and stacking heal spells are the keys to winning. When you hit every swing, there's very little that stands in your way.
There's one thing that is still giving me fits though, and that's the unlock system. It is a great idea, but a terrible, terrible implementation. The crux of the issue is that finding the runestones seems to be completely based on rng, and with the sheer numbers of them (3 different colors, tons of symbols) it has turned out to be an exercise in frustration.
Has anyone found anything to bypass the unlock system altogether, or a method of generating runes (ie, a console)? You do have the ability to edit your character's starting equipment by adjusting the save files, but I'm not looking to start over again yet.
You may have already figured this out if you are still playing the game but the runes you are speaking of are used later in the game on another type of chest you will eventually be opening. This is why a separate bag for runes and keys were requested to the developers among other things. They installed in the new path a bookmarking system that will allow you to track somewhat where those chest are that you can not open until you have the right amount of runes. It still is frustrating getting to a chest and being one rune off from opening.