Diablo II’s Necromancer is back in Diablo III as a faster, more aggressive master of the dead.
First created in Diablo II, the Necromancer was a much-beloved character class for a totally different play experience. While most of the classes in Diablo II were considered fairly standard in the hack-n-slash genre (melee tanks, ranged bow masters, etc.) the Necromancer was something completely different. He was a methodical, creeping death that swept through the map with an army of undead at his back, the consummate commander who had to plan his every move to achieve success.
Diablo III’s Necromancer is completely changed from that careful captain of skeletons. In an interview with PC Gamer, senior producers Travis Day and Rob Foote described the process for updating the Necromancer to the modern game, the first step of which was making him a little faster.
“We wanted to start by addressing some of the issues - but there was also a lot to just adapt to bring into Diablo III. The pacing of the game is very different,” said Travis. Skills that revolved around slow-acting poison wouldn’t do in the world of Diablo III where any of the other classes could decimate an entire screen of monsters with a single click of the mouse.
That didn’t mean all the old skills were completely ignored, however. “We did use a lot of those as jumping off points,” Travis continues. “Like we have Death Nova and it has an assortment of rune variants on it. A couple of them are Decay themed which is the poison damage type but not the big green poison damage-over-time type of stuff that players are accustomed to in Diablo II.”
While Diablo II’s skills provided a place to start, Diablo III’s Necromancer needed more to set him apart. As such he has a bunch of new tools in his arsenal, including never before seen melee skills, passive skills, and even a “raise army” skill that raises dozens of skeletons at once.
Testing for the Necromancer began months ago with an extended PTR session, where players could provide feedback on how the new character class performed. The extra-long feedback period also ensured that the Necromancer would be balanced in comparison to the other classes while still feeling powerful and unique.
Along with the new class, the latest Diablo III patch also brings several new features. First are the Challenge Rifts, which unlike normal or Greater Rifts are not procedurally generated but actually fixed maps that rotate on a weekly schedule. Designed by other players as the ultimate challenge, they’re brand new end-game content for the game. There are also new areas to explore in The Moor and The Temple of the Firstborn (both Necromancer-themed areas) as well as brand new bounties to complete in the High Heavens.
The Necromancer is already out for Diablo III for $14.99 USD ($19.99 CAD), so pick ‘em up today and raise a little hell.