Diablo 3 Rise of the Necromancer: How does the Necromancer play?

The Necromancer was one of Diablo 2’s most beloved classes, so when Blizzard announced that it would not make a return in Diablo 3 playes were surprised. Even in the expansion, Reaper of Souls, the Necromancer was nowhere to be seen. Five years after the release of the game, Blizzard has finaly decided that the beloved character should make it’s entrance in Diablo 3. The Rise of the Necromancer-expansion gives fans of the series what they’ve been yearning for.

Expansion might be too big a word to describe Rise of the Necromancer however, because apart from the beloved Necromancer-class it doesn’t add much to the game. For most Diablo-players a new class is a perfect excuse to pump hundreds of hours into the game, but the prospect of a class, some cosmetic wings and pets and two new character slots (to make sure you have room for a new Necromancer!) might not be enough for some.

The big star of the expansion is therefore the Necromancer himself, and I’m happy to report that he/she is a joy to play. Every new class in Diablo 3 brings along a new list of Legendary- and Set-items to collect, so the item-farmers among us can go crazy again in trying to find the best items. People who just play the game fors ome casual fun will also be delighted by the addition of the Necromancer, ‘cause not only is the class a joy to behold, it’s also an immensly satisfying character to play.

One of the features that sets the Necromancer apart from the other classes is the fact that it actually uses two resources: Essence and Corpses. Essence acts as your regular old mana and is gained by using certain skills known as ‘generators’. We’ve seen this mechanic before with classes like the Barbarian and the Crusader, so Essence is not really a refreshing or innovative mechanic. It is mainly used to throw Bone Spears, Curse enemies or summon Skeletal Mages to add to your undead legion.

Corpses on the other hand are ‘gained’ by killing enemies. Every slain foe now leaves behind a corpse, that can be used as fuel for certain skills. A Necromancer can use revive to make slain enemies fight on his side for a short amount of time or use Corpse Lance to rip the bones from the dead and use them to pierce a single enemy for massive damage. Corpse Explosion is used to blow up corpes to kill off large groups of enemies, who then leave more corpses in their wake. This allows you to set up a chain reaction of bloody explosions, allowing the Necromancer to decimate larger groups of enemies in a matter of seconds.

Most Necromancer skills work really well together. During bossfights it might be hard to come by corpses, since there won’t be much enemies arnound. In that case, you can always rely on your trusty Flesh Golem (which is summoned passively) to jump on the boss and dissolve into a pile of corpses, which you can then use to activate your other skills. Some of your skills also require you to expend some of your own health, but with the Siphon-skill you can easily compensate for that fact by draining the lifeforce of other enemies.

The skills used by the Necromancer are all visually striking. Having an army of skeletons around you the whole time just looks cool and most of the skills use lots and lots of blood (Corpse Explosion!), so you will be leaving a red trail behind you wherever you go. Army of the Dead is the most impressive skill in the Necromancer’s arsenal: it allows you to summon a horde of skeletons that all run towards a central point, where they pile up together and dissapear. Every enemy in their path get’s hit for massive damage. Skills like these just put a smile on your face never really get old, even after seeing them for the hundredth time.

The Necromancer is a welcome addition to Diablo 3. Thanks to unique skills it feels just different enough from other classes and impressive visual effects manage to make you smile every time. Rise of the Necromancer won’t convice those that didn’t like the first game to suddenly praise i tand love it, but for the diehard fans that are still playing the class is absolutely worth a try.