I’m not gonna twist my soul and say that I’m a diehard Diablo fan, in fact, I haven’t even finished the second one, let alone the first. Truth be told, I tried getting into it a couple of years ago with a group of friends, but I just couldn’t feel it. Maybe it was because one of us had already completed it and the rest of us, were just following him like minions, so we gave up quite easily … twice. However, I did pick up Diablo 3, a while ago, when the expansion came out and I quite enjoyed that. Alas, again I choose not to twist my soul and say that, unlike World of Warcraft, which I have been playing for almost 10 years, Diablo is the type of game, I just cannot push myself to play solo, apart from the actual campaign itself. This is solely due to the fact that I absolutely detest grinding in games and while I would absolutely do it for the purpose of achievements (that is something entirely different), just to be part of a list detailing who passed what rift for however many minutes … no thanks, let alone if I was solo. Honestly speaking, maybe I would give this game a better chance, if I actually had who to grind with, alas that is not the case either.
However, we are not gathered here to discuss my relationship with Diablo, rather for me to tell you how awesome the new class, which Blizzard recently released, is, and I’m not just saying this because I’ve played (and enjoy) every single Blizzard game, well apart from Hearthstone, rather because for a person, who hates grinding, but enjoyed the campaign already once and has grinded almost all campaign related achievements, I managed to begin anew with a new class and enjoy the whole experience all over again (well minus achievement hunting, because I already have those).
Indeed, to those of you who like Diablo, but are reluctant to try out the necromancer and would prefer to stick to their old characters, to you I say “stop right there and reconsider, because once upon a time I loved my demon huntress and as my favorite class I enjoy her so much, however, now that the necromancer is in my life, I think they might have to share first place”. In other words, to the diehard fans of the game, or even those who just casually grind, and have not yet given the DLC a chance, then by all means, do so.
So I’m not going to delve into the game itself and talk about it, because there are already articles for that (you can go check them out – both for the game itself and the Reaper of Souls expansion), I will simply talk to you about the new class and what other small bonus features come with purchasing the DLC package. Shall we begin with that in fact?
What value do you get by purchasing the Rise of the Necromancer DLC pack?
- new class – the necromancer (well … duh!)
- a gross, yet at the same time very adorable (once you get used to it) pet – the half-formed golem
Let me tell you a bit about this pet. Truth be told, this is the first time I used a pet in this game and dayum, they are so useful, it’s not even real. I know that all they do is run after you and collect your gold, but you have no idea how helpful it is, not having to think about collecting gold. Can I tell you what a wonderful job it does, to collect every bit of gold, when I am busy chasing the treasure goblin and trying to kill it before it runs away? This guy right here, modeled after its father, the flesh golem, which is a necromancer summon (more on that later), quickly managed to grow a very special and well deserved place in my numerous army. For those of you, like me, who have not yet experienced having a pet in Diablo 3, you’ll quickly learn to love this little guy (not to mention that it’s the most adorable thing when you see it running around beside his daddy <3).
- a badass cosmetic – wings of the crypt guardian
If I have to be honest, I feel like I’m both in love with these wings and I somewhat dislike them. I have only one other pair of wings in the game and those are the ghost queen wings I got from a Heroes of the Storm event, however they are quite the considerable smaller size. On one hand I love having these wings on my necromancer, because they make her look all the more badass (and to be fair, I’m a sucker for dragon and demonic wings), but I think they are a bit too big when it comes to character model. Maybe I would have loved them all the more, if they weren’t so huge. Alas, still – adore them, will keep on wearing them on my necro. Also, I think all wings are like that, when it comes to size.
- banner cosmetics
I believe here you get a banner shape, a sigil and an accent, and while they do look dope as eff, especially the ghostly skull shape of the banner, I still love my own banner, which includes the half-moon shape and proudly donning the Cydaea sigil (damn, I just love her).
- a pennant
Pennants are not my thing. I have a couple of them, however wearing a flag on my back, just doesn’t do it for me. Didn’t do when I play arenas in World of Warcraft, doesn’t do it her either, so I would rather go forth without having one on my back. Besides, I would much rather rock my wings instead. However, for those of you who like this sort of thing (I bet Samuro would love it), the pennant looks amazing, not gonna lie, it has the necromancer logo, but to be honest, I would change the color to a more teal pallet, instead of the pinkish and red tones it has at the moment, kind of to give it this ghostly hollow theme.
- a necromancer portrait frame
Okay, this is one of the stuff I loved the most from the whole pack of cosmetics – I just adore the new frame and both my heroes use it now. It resembles the necromancer logo and has teal tints. Out of all frames I have seen up to this point, the necromancer frame is definitely my favorite one. On the other hand I am kind of sad that not all hero classes have their own class portrait frames – that would be so dope.
- 2 hero slots
- 2 in-game stash tabs (yeah, because mine are so full that I need more … that was sarcasm)
You know, as a note, this is actually the first game that my inventory is surprisingly not full to the brim … I need to play this game more. Hmm, so this is where those extra slots came from…
Anyways, let us proceed to the spotlight of this review and that is none other than – the necromancer.
The necromancer is a “mage” type of class and I am referring to is like this, because our main damaging statistic is intellect. The class itself can be played out in a few ways, thanks to the variety of spells at our disposal. We can choose from a variety of playstyles, which are the following: a typical ranged dps caster, who can either focus on plague or blood spells, a meleemancer (such as the community have dubbed it), who is basically the most tanky version of the necromancer and isn’t afraid to just go all out in melee combat and last, but definitely not least (personally my favorite playstyle) the minion oriented necromancer, who quickly and effectively can become a “one-man army”.
The necromancer uses 2 resources (much like my lovely demon hunter, who utilizes hatred and discipline, however not quite). The secondary resource is called “essence” and we have quite the number of spells, which generate and spend it, however, the other resource, which can be used to power our spells is our own blood (a.k.a our HP). Indeed some spells require a % of HP to be cast and others can be altered with runes to cost HP as well, but of course they become more powerful. Unlike my demon hunter though (I really cannot speak for other classes), the necromancer is not so dependent on essence. There are so many means to doing damage without spending even 1 point of essence.
The spells at our disposal fall into the following categories:
Primary – much like with every class, this is the category, containing spells of the type to generate our resource – in the necromancer’s case that is essence, as well as HP. Here we have some variety to pick between long range AOE, melee range or single target drain. I myself found the drain the most useful of all to generate resources, because it’s not dependent on enemy numbers. The melee one deals extremely low damage, however it’s most effective against clusters of enemies, since you can fill up almost all of your essence with one swing. Even with that in mind though, I found the single target one most useful, because it fills up your essence faster and you can proceed to dishing out damage with your other spells. Not to mention that it heals you, no matter what.
Secondary – ah, these are the mighty essence spenders. Of course, other spells do that too, however you fill up your essence mainly for these bad boys. They do a lot of damage and are the main reason you’d want to pick a consistent primary spell to begin with. As much as I loved the destructiveness of the nova spell, I just cannot neglect my children and since I love playing the necromancer on minions – the mages were all the way to go! Other than that, I don’t really find a reason to pick the spear spell, unless you really don’t want to go close to your enemies, since it’s effective just like the nova, alas the nova has a bigger radius of hit, while the spear hits in a line. Yeah, it does go further, alas most enemies clutch you anyways, so might as well go with the nova.
Curses – okay, I know this is a big part of the necro playstyle and I know they can be useful, I admit this too, but I never really got accustomed to using curses. I didn’t feel their usefulness most of the time, beside the ones that heal you, so I would much rather sacrifice this category for more children. Not to mention that the curse which kills enemies instantly below a certain % HP, isn’t very useful, since most of the times 2-3 hits is enough to kill an enemy, if you have a consistent weapon. Like I said, for me personally children > curses.
Reanimation – ah, my children. I love them so much. Like I mentioned, I found out that I love playing the “minion oriented necromancer”, hence why I am effectively utilizing all summoning spells. However, I do admit that some things in this category are not effective in this playstyle. The summoned skeletons and golem – love them, however, the other 2 spells are kind of very situational for me. On one hand we have the “Army of the Dead”, which does a huge amount of AOE burst damage, usually around the necromancer and while that is great, I felt like the downtime of this spell killed it for me. I much rather have my children fighting for me all the time, even if they don’t do such burst damage. The “Land of the Dead” is the other one, which quite frankly, I suppose it didn’t really get how to utilize properly to maximize its potential. By what I saw, it lets you freely use your corpse skills whenever you want, as long as the area of effect is active and based on the rune you use, there are also some bonus effects. I guess this is better if you play a meleemancer at best, however for my tastes, it didn’t prove very useful for me. The skeletons and golem were my preferred choice and while both do lower amount of damage than the other two spells, they are always present on the battlefield and only the golem has a cooldown to his active ability. And even if you choose to use the runes, which either make the golem collapse into corpses or die to heal you, it will immediately respawn, just like the skeletons, if one dies from taking lethal damage, another one will take its place immediately. The best thing is that they don’t despawn when you die, so you won’t have to wait for them to spawn again after reviving (skeletons usually take time to spawn and with the maximum number of 7, which you can have, they do spawn one at a time). Other than that, their active command usually has effects like, increased damage, attack speed, life steal, crowd control, etc.
Corpses – Okay, these are the skills, which require their own kind of thing to work and that is corpses. Basically when an enemy dies, it leaves a corpse behind and through this corpse we can utilize these skills. They usually range from healing us, to dealing massive explosive or piercing damage or we can even reanimate them to fight for us (more children for the army!) They do a huge amount of damage and healing, and to be honest, I love this necromancer mechanic. I think it’s the most unique out of everything and sets the class apart from others who have minions, like the witch doctor for example. There is so much variety in this skill category, so you can play to your hearts content. This is the main reason why I said that necromancers are not entirely dependent on their secondary resource. I found it funny how you can finish an entire lesser fight with one corpse only and your lance ability, because you kill something, lance its corpse to the other enemy, it dies, use it again to the third enemy, etc, etc. All in all, a great source of damage to get you out of the tight spot, however the downfall is that it requires corpses to use. But on the other hand, other skills like the golem or the mages can provide corpses for you, lest you can’t get them the normal way.
Blood and Bone – the final category of skills and this is the most interesting one, in terms of effects. Here we have the bone armor, which is essential for the meleemancer and provides a huge amount of defense, hence why you’re able to actually engage enemies in melee safely. There is a dash for those ranged necromancers caught off positioning. The bone spirit does a huge amount of burst damage and with certain runes does some crowd control to the enemies. I think this skill is very useful, however I have no idea why, but I kept forgetting to use it, when I had it equipped. Lastly, we have the Simulacrum, which is my personal favorite from this category. Basically it creates a mirror image of you, which mimics your secondary ability. This makes those essence spenders even more deadly, if you have the nova or in my case more children in less time and essence. And if you find yourself at a disadvantage, you can always use the rune, which allows the simulacrum to sacrifice itself on your behalf, if you happen to run out of HP, however there is a nifty passive for that too, which has saved me not on one occasion.
Other than those, the necromancer has a ton of passive skills that supplement the 4 distinct battle styles, this class can utilize. Truly, this is a very varied class, which can adapt to a player’s choosing at any given time. There are also 4 sets that further enhance these distinct playstyles, so for all that matters the necromancer can be so many things at once – two types of mages, a melee bruiser, or essentially a summoner. Whatever it is, it’s a class able to multitask at the very least. Not to mention how sturdy the necromancer is. I barely died with my own necro, if at all, because she heals so much. And because I like having a personal army at my disposal, my children always cover me from harm.
All is good, however, I am kind of dissatisfied with a few things. I wish necromancers had more ordinary tier sets, just like the other classes do. Also I’m not a big fan of their end game sets appearances. All I’m saying is, that for a person who loves transmoging my characters in creative ways, I found the necromancer lacked material to work with. I think the class has only like 5-6 sets, apart from the 4 end game ones. However, I do fancy their overall goth look, when they are with their basic armorless set, as I like to call it (basically the starter thing) and the most iconic set featuring the skull for a head and that one-sided skull pauldron. Also, I know this is a lot RNG than scripted stuff, but the one thing about necromancer gear I absolutely loved, is the phylactery and especially the pulsing heart one. However, I was rarely wearing a one handed weapon to begin with, because the RNG gods were not merciful and if I did manage to get a decent one, it was never a scythe and I know that necromancers can carry most one handed weapons, but I wish I had more scythes to wield.
Other than that, the second thing which dissatisfied me was that there wasn’t anything related to the necromancers in the actual campaign. Yeah, I know this is not an expansion, but a DLC and I know there is their story laid out on the internet, however the crusaders had their own journal logs at least, and the expansion did provide a new act. I would have appreciated if at least there would be some logs on the necromancers and Rathma. Also, I guess it would be unfair to other classes if they had their own story thing, however, maybe I am just fascinated with their background, and that’s why I would have enjoyed something exclusive to them. And while the class itself is a magnificent edition, I think for the pricing, Blizzard could have added at least logs, if not some short storyline (guess I’m a sucker for Blizz lore).
We have finally reached the verdict. I will give the necromancer DLC pack a 9/10. The necromancer class itself is very well polished and I am so much in love with it, however, for a standalone DLC and the pricing in mind, I think I would have liked to see more necromancer included aspects in terms of lore, instead of cosmetic stuff. For me Blizz lore will always be the most interesting aspect of a game, so I was kind of bummed that there was nothing special. However, the class itself is very well worth your money and for all of you who enjoy the game and especially those who have enjoyed the necromancer in Diablo II, I do recommend getting this DLC, without any note of doubt.