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Previews: PAX East 2017 - Hands On with the Necromancer

By Garrett Fuller on March 20, 2017

PAX East 2017 - Hands On with the Necromancer

Blizzard had a fantastic demo at PAX East for media on the Necromancer. Hidden away from the masses it was great to sneak in and sit down to try out the new class. I missed the demos at Blizzcon so was very excited to chat with the team and get a full view of the female Necromancer and some of the melee skills that the class will come with.

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The development team heard the fans cry and the Necromancer was added to the game. Famous from Diablo 2 this class is an icon in any fantasy game. However, the Witch Doctor was already raising toads around Diablo 3 and so they did not want to disrupt the formula. Many fans believe the Witch Doctor to be the Diablo 3 version of the Necromancer. So while the doctor specializes in poisons, the Necro does what he is best at, deals in death.

This demo focused on what the team called the Meleemancer. Holding their phylactery and one handed small scythe the character ran around the board boosting skills and finishing off foes at devastating speed. The main attack was a ghostly huge scythe you could swing in front of you to drop hordes. This is your main attack and have a large range on screen. The Necro is truly a pet class so we had our golem with us the whole time. It was the blood golem so leeching skills are fantastic to keep you alive. Especially, when you deal in blood.

The Necro works in an interesting way, as a master of like and death, you bargain more with your blood on skills. The Blood Nova area of effect attack costs you blood to use. It is great for getting out of a corner, but be careful. Refueling from the dead is a great mechanic on the class. Once surrounded by corpses, you can leech back their life essence and build up your hit points again. Keeping a strong rhythm between these three early skills made for a great class design. These are your main abilities, but with runes you can obviously change everything up. We’re very curious what impact runes will have on the different types of golems.

In terms of gameplay we loved how the class handled. The team is working very hard to make sure the Necromancer is on par with other classes at launch. They want everything ready to go when the class is live. The Rise of the Necromancer update should be coming to the public test realms soon, but Blizzard is always quiet about their times. We understand though, the team did say they want to have a long testing period for the class. This is to make sure community feedback is supported. If you are already stacked on characters, you’ll be able to get two new slots and two new stashes as well to fill up with the Necromancer.

With great animations, this fan favorite is making it back into Diablo. We’re looking forward to it and will bring you the full coverage as we go forward into the summer. Now let’s just hope the PTR is soon.