Saturday, April 29, 2017

Trying out Diablo III's Necromancer

While, given the cooperative nature of WoW, I haven't really been playing it much on my ancient laptop while I'm out of town, I did find in my email an invite to the Diablo III Necromancer beta test.

Diablo III's in a weird place where content is coming in entirely patches. The Necromancer will be paid DLC, but it's not a full expansion.

The Necromancer was, of course, a popular class from Diablo II (and Xul, the character who represents the class in Heroes of the Storm, is my favorite character in that game,) so it's exciting to get to play it in Diablo III, even if some of us (me) don't really feel incentivized to keep playing much given the lack of a new campaign act (and I long-since got multiple full gear sets for each class.)

Still, I dig the necromancer aesthetic (I was never a goth, but Halloween was my favorite holiday as a kid) and wanted to give it a go.

Now obviously, the first thing that comes to mind playing the necromancer is its similarities with the Witch Doctor. The Witch Doctor is also an intelligence-based caster who tends to command undead legions. Indeed, I think the Witch Doctor was heavily based on the Necromancer, but given a decidedly different aesthetic. So what does this new version of the Necromancer bring?

Well, one thing is that, mechanically, when you kill enemies, you get corpses on the ground. Certain abilities (the first one you get and probably the most iconic being Corpse Explosion) use these corpses as a kind of alternate resource. You can explode corpses without any cost as long as there are some on the ground, but positioning enemies to be near corpses will require a degree of skill.

Necromancers use Essence as their resource, which seems to build and spend at roughly the same rate, though in my mere 14 levels of experience, I've tended to just let my skeletons and by builder ability drop a couple of monsters and then wipe up the rest with corpse explosions (sometimes I use Bone Spear, a spender, to get the ball rolling.)

A bit like the Scourge in Warcraft III, the Necromancer seems to be pretty powerful if you can build up momentum, and if there's a large swarm of enemies, you can devastate them with amazing speed (though to be fair, this tends to be the case with most Diablo III classes after you get a decent complement of abilities.)

I don't know off the top of my head how much the DLC will cost, but right now I think I'd be willing to pay something under twenty (preferably under fifteen) dollars for it. I'm curious to see what the set bonuses do.

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