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Guild Wars 2 Column: Why I Will Play a Necromancer

By William Murphy on October 18, 2010

I normally don't play casters. It's just not my style. Having only dabbled briefly in Guild Wars, I have no basis to go by. But for me, though we only know four of the professions thus far, the Necromancer is looking more and more like my cup of tea, even if he/she/it is a little emo. But hey, whatever, I'll just make a few macros to have my character shout "I'm going to cut myself because my dad doesn't love me!" from time to time, and I'm sure I'll fit right in. In all seriousness, let's talk a little bit about why right now the Necromancer is my front-runner for class to play. Sure my selection could change between now and the 2011 release, but this weapon of deadly magic is going to be a little hard to beat.

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I Love Me Some Minions

The classes I always wind up enjoying the most are those which require me to do a lot of management. Pet classes inherently require a lot of watch-dogging, or rather the well-designed ones do. Because when you're playing a class like the Necromancer in GW2, you should not only be watching your character's skills and movements, but those of your pets or minions as well. But aside from the pure awesome of having little undead and demonic minions at your control, ArenaNet has seen fit to make sure that each minion summon comes with an added benefit for killing off the little buggers. An example they give is the Blood Fiend, a little bugger that heals the Necromancer as it attacks its target. But should I choose, or perhaps when I need it most, I can then use the spell Taste of Death to destroy the Blood Fiend in gruesome fashion and gain a significant health boost from it.


Fashionable and Useful Support

Guild Wars 2 is aiming to make every class have some sort of support skill in groups, but I'm starting to think that the Necromancer's going to be the one that looks the best doing it. And yes, for vain people like me, that's important. But aside from the dark and brooding look of his/her skills, they really do have some very key party mechanics. When tied to the use of efficient crowd control, the Necro's Marks will likely prove invaluable during the game's more difficult encounters and that's just the kind of stuff I like to be in charge of. But perhaps the most important skill of defense available to the Necromancer and the Necromancer only is Fear. Ah, the bane of every player's existence. I'm sure it'll be extremely annoying and therefore treasured in PvP, not to mention as a way to keep your other support classes out of harm's way in both PvE and PvP. Plus, I just can't help the fact that I like to annoy people and Fear will be really good at doing just that if past games are any indication.


Unique Mechanics

The last and probably main reason I'm most intrigued by the Necromancer are the mechanics ArenaNet is employing for the class. Not content to just shake things up in the game world itself, the developer's definitely trying a few new ideas with its classes and the Necromancer's Life Force and Death Shroud mechanics are no different. Life Force seems to be the main driving force behind all of the class' skills. I liken it to Rage for WoW's Warrior, but in practice it's probably a lot more complex than that. Life Force is not only tied to many different skills, other skills by that same token are tied to it. One example the team has given is a skill called Ghost Armor which allows the Necro to build up Life Force at an accelerated rate by adding Life Force every time he or she takes damage. But the true coolness of Life Force comes from its counterpart (as I'm calling it) known as Death Shroud. You can use Death Shroud at any time, as it then converts Life Force into a sort of secondary health bar. Then when the first health bar hits zero, instead of falling into the downed state, the Necro enters spectral form. When in this state, he'll have access to some seriously wicked skills that are only available then.


The way I see it? Not only is the Necromancer poised to be one of the cooler looking classes in the game, but it's also poised to be one of the most enduring ones. It makes sense for a master of the undead to be able to tap into that essence to avoid death himself, and I love that ArenaNet sees the potential for some truly unique mechanics with this class. I just hope it plays as fun as it sounds.

But what about you? What class, both of those we know and those you hope to see revealed, are you itching to make your own upon the game's release?

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

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