As many of you have no doubt heard, Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls now has a new class: Necromancer, along with a few other interesting, but not overwhelming content updates in conjunction with the Rise of the Necromancer expansion on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Blizzard was gracious enough to send us a code so we could check out the new improvements, and see how the Necromancer played vs. the other Diablo 3 classes as well as vs. the Diablo 2 Necromancer which I have so fond memories of.
Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls Necromancer Gameplay Impressions
It didn’t take long to get to level 70 and really start gearing and tearing, so let’s try to answer some of the questions that have been “raised” about this new class.
How does the Necromancer Play vs. Other Classes?
Well luckily I have a level 70 character of every class in the game so am able to give a more fine impression than perhaps some people who have only played a few other classes. The Necromancer feels a bit like a combination of the Witch Doctor and the Barbarian/Crusader, let me explain.
For starters the Necromancer has a ton of minions, just like the WD, and between the two you could almost completely cover the screen in minions. Some differences here are that the Necromancer can control his minions to a limited degree, whereas the WD cannot. The Necromancer’s minions also auto summon simply by having the ability equipped, which is not the case with the WD, as he needs to use Mana to summon them. If you wish to play a pure summoner, Necromancer is definitely the superior of the two classes.
The Necromancer also, like the Barbarian/Cursader, can increase his Thorns damage by a wickedly high percentage (200%) with a passive ability and also buff his defense with Bone Armor making for a tanky variation of this class to be played. Also, unlike the Witch Doctor he builds Essence with his attacks, similar to Wrath/Fury, and this only generates from attacking with the primary attack abilities and doesn’t replenish the way Mana does.
The primary objective with the Necromancer is to get that first kill or two and then use corpses to obliterate your foes with deadly Corpse abilities such as Corpse Explosion or simply reanimate the corpses into minions that fight for you. There is usually an abundance of corpses on the screen so this is not to difficult to do. However, having more than one Necromancer in the group tends to be redundant as they will be vying for corpses with one another which is something that can be really frustrating, especially if one Necromancer uses the Devouring Aura rune of the Devour ability causing them to automatically consume nearby corpses in exchange for endless Essence.
How does the Necromancer in Diablo 3 play vs. the Diablo 2 Necromancer?
That is an excellent question. Anyone who has played both games will note immediately the flexibility of Diablo 3’s character creation, by allowing players to change their builds at will, vs Diablo 2’s permanent choices. Initially this was something I really disliked about Diablo 3, but as I’ve grown older/more casual it’s become a feature I really like. As a Necromancer in Diablo 2 you pretty much had to specialize in Curses, Minion Master, etc, but in Diablo 3, you’re really all these things at once.
Blizzard has made it quite simple to do really, by making your skeletons and golems automatically re-summon upon their deaths, so that you can concentrate on casting Curses and dealing damage with Corpse abilities or Bone Spear. And, if you want to become more of a Minion Master, you can simply slot some more summoning abilities that allow you to replace active attack abilities, allowing the player to really customize just how much they’d like to summon vs how much they’d like to attack. In short, you can find your sweet spot for the type of Necromancer you’d like to play and play it your way.
Overall the Necromancer in Diablo 2 seemed a touch more satisfying than Diablo 3, at least as a Minion Master. I’m not sure if that’s because there simply weren’t as many enemies on the screen as there are in Diablo 3 so you felt way more badass with your army or what, but Diablo 3 is not very far behind nevertheless. I certainly don’t regret playing it, and since my Witch Doctor is my main, I felt right at home slaying and reviving the fallen into an every growing army that surpassed my Fetishes…in game Fetishes I mean.
How Much New Content is There?
Sadly the content is very short and didn’t take but an hour to complete, if that. There are two new areas to explore with one new boss battle, but neither are large, although one of the areas is the best looking visually in the entire game and has a very Lovecraftian vibe.
There are new Rifts called Challenge Rifts that allow the player to attempt Rifts for rewards by playing as other players, with their exact gear, skills and Paragon ranks. Some players may enjoy these, but personally I’d rather play with my own character than someone else’s. It’s a nice novelty but nothing amazing. All of these come free with the new Patch 2.6.0 anyway, even if you don’t purchase the Class.
For 14.99 getting a new Class is absolutely worth it…if you can stomach playing through the entire game AGAIN. Since this was my 7th character and Fex and I power leveled each other’s characters through much of the game in order to Platinum it, I can honestly say that it would have been more fun had I not already played the shit out of the game. That said, we still had a blast fighting over corpses as we fought our way to Hell, Heaven and beyond for the umpteenth time and I can see myself spending another week or two running some rifts, seeing just how powerful I can make him. If you were looking for a reason to get back into Diablo 3 after months or years away, this would be a great time to do it!
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