I can't wait to play the Runekeeper. I was a mage in most of the MMO's I have played and did not like the Lore master that much. I like the ability like in EQ2's Fury class, to be a hybrid. What I live even more is that you can choose which way to play and get more powerful as you continue to use either healing or damage. Booyah!
Hmmm beornings would have been a great 5th race to add. Class wouldn't work with the lore since hobbits, elves, humans etc couldn't be beornings. As for the runekeeper I'm on the sidelines. It has potential but as a middle of the road class it'll never stand out like the loremaster for crowd control but it is supposed to do more damage with high level attacks and damage over time. Its like they decided to cut out parts of the loremaster and minstrel and paste them together with a lame attunement panel.
Shapeshifters would be to close to Loremasters who get 'druid' like pets. They need another 'caster' base class.
umm, couldn't they make a class that sticks with the books? Maybe a shapeshifter class like Beorn? They could have come up with something more original than this.