I’m coming up for air from my time in the Diablo 3 Necromancer closed beta test to tell you that you should buy this content when it releases.
…what? You want me to elaborate? Is not hearing about the fact that the freaking Necromancer is back in Diablo enough? Fiiiine. Here are some more in-depth reasons on why not only the Necromancer so far feels like the most fun I’ve had in Diablo, but also the most fun I’ve had in ARPGs period.
Granting My Bloodlust
I should perhaps state first of all that I’m a new arrival to Diablo 3 itself. I played Diablo 2 many years ago, and have had some ARPG enjoyment out of the two Torchlight games, but ARPGs were never really my cup of tea. Still, after my hands-on with the female Necromancer at this past PAX East, I was slowly intrigued by not only the class but the game overall. So I was naturally eager to see how the Necromancer operated outside of the staged realm of a convention setup.
Running the game completely blind, I didn’t really have many expectations for Diablo 3 or the Necromancer class. My previous experience with necromancy in video gaming tended to be MMO-based; the pet class that used demons to do damage or the slow-burn DPS sort that hung in the back slowly impeding the enemy. As I ran my new Necromancer through Adventure Mode, however, it became very clear that this class has a lot more bite to it.
For one thing, the remarkable selection of abilities for the Necromancer makes it a lot more explosive and exciting. Yes, there are skills that degenerate or weaken foes and of course you can conjure hordes of skeletons or a giant golem to assault enemies. All of those abilities are present and, for a Necromancer, they’re appropriate.
But on the other hand you have skills that can cleave into a wave of foes. Or you have a power that creates an immense torrent of undead servants to rush a position. Or my all-time favorite, the ability to blow up freshly-made corpses that damage nearby enemies.
My GOSH, do I love that skill.
This dynamic take on the master of death and undeath was only getting better as I unlocked more Runes for my skills. Runes that improved corpse explosions or made the skeletons I summon more powerful only made putting together a build that much easier and even more satisfying. I was struck by how easily every power I chose seemed to synergize with the next. I was allowed to experiment and tweak until I had built the death dealer I never knew I was missing.
Using my originally granted Bone Spikes LMB skill with the Teeth rune of Bone Spear, I was able to unleash death from long or medium range. While I did so, my Skeleton horde would rush foes, creating new bodies for my Corpse Explosion to pop. If I faced some heavier resistance, a quick Frailty curse with a Rune that makes those affected explode on death usually helped me mop up.
I wasn’t a pet class. I wasn’t a soft target. I was the destroyer of entire armies. I became carnage. Which made my visit to Whimsydale even more jarring and awesome.
It’s not just the skills I chose that made things feel right, though. As my PAX East preview demonstrated, the Necromancer can just as easily be turned into a close-quarters slasher. Pairing up the Grim Scythe LMB attack with the Death Nova RMB attack and using corpses to gain Essence while ripping the bones out of foes to create armor is just as grimly enticing as the build I put together.
In synopsis, the possibilities all feel nearly endless as well as empowering. There really isn’t any other way to say it; this class kicks ass.
A Plague Comes
There are a couple of criticism I could perhaps levy against the Necromancer build I came up with. For one, the aggro range of my Skeletons was awfully long, meaning that I very often had to chase them down as they madly rushed anything that was nearby.
Second, things perhaps felt a little too simple. It’s a weird complaint to have, but I maybe feel a little too powerful. Stranger yet, I was expecting the Necromancer to be nerfed when taken out of the beta test. Instead, the recent patch notes as of this writing actually saw it buffed.
And before anyone starts rolling their eyes at my difficulty level settings, I felt the same way when I pushed things up to Hard. Though perhaps things feel more balanced in the higher difficulties or further tuning will happen; this is still an ongoing beta, after all. Honestly, though, it’s an observation more than a complaint.
Seriously. This is fun, don’t hurt my pretty death machine.
Regardless of what tuning or adjustments may or may not happen between now and the release of Rise of the Necromancer, all I can say for sure is that this test has made me a fan of Diablo 3. I’m gleefully running through the standard game with my Crusader now and I eagerly await the moment when I can put together a Necromancer and blow up dead bodies all over again.
The Necromancer is, without a doubt, the most fun I will ever have with the ARPG genre. It’s bombastic, it’s brutal, it’s gleefully aggressive, and it is a hell of a lot of fun. I can’t recommend this class enough to Diablo 3 players, especially those like me who are very late arrivals.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got more bodies to pile up and burst. Mwee hee hee hee…Related: ARPG, Blizzard Entertainment, Classes, Closed Beta, Diablo 3, Necromancer, Preview