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Age of Conan: Correspondent - Necromancer Guide

MMORPG.com Age of Conan Correspondent Michael DeHart writes this guide to the Necromancer class in Funcom's Age of Conan.

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Hello fellow AoCers and welcome to my necromancer guide! If you’re reading this then you must at least be mildly interested in Age of Conan’s necromancer class. This guide will show you the ‘ins and outs’ of the necro as well as PvP and PvE tips that will have you destroying enemies in no time.

Class Overview:
Archetype:
Mage
Permitted Races: Stygian
Weapons: Daggers, crossbows, and thrown weapons
Armor: Cloth and silk armor

The necromancer is the unofficial ‘pet’ class of AoC. They rely on their minions as well as unholy and cold damage to destroy their opponents. The necro also specializes in damage over time (DoT) spells and has a number of important crowd control spells that freeze targets or send them running. A necro’s minions are more than just meat shields. Every pet has specific special abilities such as stealing health/mana, weakening enemies or even exploding on impact. High level necros can even summon powerful liches that do ranged spell damage. The number of pets a necromancer can control depends on his or her pet points. A new character starts out with only two pet points but quickly gains up to eight by level 20. A necromancer’s pets are divided in to three categories:

 

  • Undead Minions – the majority of the necro’s pets, cost only one pet point
  • Deathless Acolytes – these are more powerful ranged casters, cost two pet points
  • Dread Archmages – these are the most powerful pets a necromancer can summon, however they require use of the Draw Forth the Heart spell and cost four pet points.

Pros:

The Necromancer’s powerful AoE spells as well as their minion armies make questing and PvE a piece of cake. Strong damage and crowd control spells such as Freeze and Death’s Terror make them formidable casters. Running around with a small platoon of bodyguards isn’t bad either. The chaos of 8 pets swarming people in PvP can make it much harder for someone to target you and annoys the heck out of your opponents.

Additionally the necro’s fatality is one of the best. An exceptionally fast and powerful ice beast named ‘Frozen Hatred’ appears to flay your enemies for a short period of time. He is especially helpful in the early levels in Tortage as he kills most 10-20 level NPCs in a of couple hits.

Cons:

As with most casters, the necromancer is extremely squishy. Self buffs such as Runed Flesh help to absorb some initial damage but not enough to make much difference in PvP. Even at level 80, many necros can be killed by one or two shots from a well geared assassin. That is usually worst case, but if you are adverse to dying often, especially in PvP, then you might want to try a class with a bit more defense.

Between pet management, spell weaving, reagent use and a myriad of spells, the necro is a complicated class that takes time and skill to play well. This can be either a pro or a con depending on how you like to play, but don’t expect to pick up a necromancer and be smashing faces in minutes.

PvE Tactics:

The biggest difference between the AoC necromancer and pet classes in other MMOs is that your pets will not tank or hold aggro in any way (except Frenzy but that’s temporary). It is helpful to think of your pets as just another DoT. They are very powerful but you’ll have to find your own way to stay alive. Usually Runed Flesh along with Bone Ward and Scythe Shield does enough to keep you alive against most NPCs. Runed Flesh’s damage absorption is especially important. In addition to Life-stealer minions and the necromancer’s many life leaching spells, your defense buffs should be all you need to end most fights with nearly full health. My usual spell combination for a monster would be: Pestilent Blast -> Flesh to Worms -> Lifestrike/Gelid Bones. These are your main DoTs throughout the early and mid levels. Lifestrike and Gelid Bones can be interchangeable depending on whether you decide to use frost of unholy spells. If a monster does manage to get to you just hit them with Blasphemous Ruin and Parasitic Soul Swarm to finish them off. As an added bonus you might get a Parasitic Soul minion if you kill them with Soul Swarm. On single NPCs its better to stick with single target spells since they generally recharge faster and use less mana

PvP Tactics:

As a light armor class, your hardest job in PvP won’t be killing but staying alive. Until casters get defense improvements expect to die more often than some of the more heavily armored classes, but the DPS you’ll be dishing out will help to ease the pain. Remember to use the environment as camouflage and the hide ability to keep a low profile. PvP is really where a necro’s crowd control shines. There is no better way to put distance between you and an opponent than sending them running which is why a necro’s fear spells, like Unimaginable Terror and Death’s Terror, are a necessity. I also recommend investing points in perception since stealth classes will give you the most problems. Much of PvP this early in the game is trial and error. Be sure to try different pets and spell combinations to see what works for you.

Feat Trees:

The two feat trees on the necromancer are Reanimation and Nightfall. The aptly named Reanimation tree focuses on the strength and abilities of the necromancer’s minions while the Nightfall tree specializes in cold or unholy damage depending how you spend your points.

Reanimation necromancers rely on their pets to do most of their damage and the tree reflects this by incorporating feats that increase pet damage and give special pet abilities. The left side of the tree focuses on pet abilities and stats while the right side boosts the necromancer’s unholy damage.

(Important Feats: Corpse Detonation, Master of the Dead, Grim Hunger, Bone Horde)

Nightfall necromancers focus more on boosting direct damage and DoT damage. They often sacrifice pet slots for increased damage or mana regeneration. Many necromancers (as of version 1.02) swear by Nightfall for PvP. It is best to choose whether you want to focus on unholy or cold damage and choose feats accordingly. The tree is split between unholy feats on the right and cold feats on the left.

(Important Feats: Mark of the Devourer, Grip of Death, Soul Frost, Flesh of the Wight)

Conclusion:

I hope you’ve gotten a feel for the necromancer class, but I’ve only skimmed the surface. The game has only been out a few months and numerous changes are on the horizon including changes to necromancer feats and PvP enhancements that may change the class’s game play. Just remember that the most important thing is to enjoy the class you play and have fun!

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