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DiabloMay 1, 2017 1:00 pm CT

Diablo 3 Necromancer Beta impressions

I was invited into the closed beta for the Diablo 3 Necromancer and was able to take her to max level. I am by no means a speed runner or a hardcore player (Torment II is about as far as I like to go with my usual characters), but as a casual player I can say the new class is an awful lot of fun to play. Blowing up corpses never gets old. Seriously.

Caster Pet Necromancer

I mostly experimented with two play styles as I leveled: caster with pet support (Witch Doctor sytle) and melee machine. As a caster, I used the Command Skeleton skill to have 7 skeletal minions with me at all times. They kept most monsters off of me by attacking everything that moves so I could stand back and do my thing. When I came across an elite or boss, I could command them to attack that target specifically.

For my right click Essence generator (Essence being the power source of the class), I went with Bone Spikes which is instacast AOE ranged damage. Spam click, no travel time, AOE damage is really a beautiful thing to behold. To put all that generated Essence to use, my left click summoned Skeletal Mages which don’t last long (6 seconds), but do a great deal of damage while they are in play. I also used one of the three curses available to lay down an AOE debuff and Bone Armor to protect myself and boost my damage.

The real key to this build for me was Corpse Explosion. When I see a swarm of monsters coming my way, Corpse Explosions means I think about how quickly I can turn them into cadaverous grenades. You see, once a few creatures die and you explode their corpses to take out their companions, you now have more corpses. You explode those for more corpses. And so on and so on. It’s a chain reaction of ammo for you. It almost becomes a minigame of how many corpses you can generate and then explode.

Once I started experimenting with Runes on these skills, the real fun began. In particular, the rune that caused Corpse Explosion to freeze all enemies caught in the blast for 2 seconds. By timing my corpse explosions 2 seconds apart, I could keep a whole group of mobs frozen and locked down for the entire fight.

I didn’t experiment much with the Golem pet option as I found the numerous skeletons to be better at keeping multiple enemies off of me. I also didn’t do much with the Siphon Blood single target right click ability. You’ll need AOE damage for most fights except boss fights where you know you’ll only be facing a single opponent.

Overall I enjoyed this build more than any other. Tons of damage, good survivability with Runes and Passive Skills that heal you, and endless exploding corpses to revel in.

Melee Necromancer

If you’re more of “go in swinging” kind of deathmonger, Blizzard has you covered there as well. A cone-based scythe main attack and point-blank AOE blast Essence spender left click allows you to cut a swath through your enemies. I again opted for Bone Armor for protection, but I’ve seen video of clever use of Blood Rush which is the Necromancer teleport. It can be tweaked to heal as you pass through enemies which could help you in the heat of battle.

You can still have skeletons or a Golem follow you, but I went with Army of the Dead which is on a 2 minute cooldown. When activated, it calls down an army of the undead for 12,000% weapon damage. Not a bad get out of jail free card to have when you need it.

I liked this build more than I thought I would. Some skill tweaks for +Life on Hit and +Life Regen kept me alive through the fights. I did keep Corpse Explosion, but wish I had tried Corpse Lance instead. Check out this video of a player utilizing that skill (shoots a projectile from a corpse to an enemy) that is activated from consuming a health globe via one of the class sets:

Necromancer Class Sets and Legendary Weapons

Diablo streamer Rhykker has a video preview of four Necromancer Class Sets and Legendary weapons currently available on the Test Server. It’s worth the 16-minute run time to see what they look like and how they interact with the class’s abilities. You’ll also get a good look at how the class plays.

My time spent leveling the Necromancer in beta has me excited for Diablo again. The class was easy to learn and fun to play. I’m looking forward to when it goes live in the Rise of the Necromancer DLC, currently planned for “some time in the second half of 2017.”

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