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Elder Scrolls Online: Hands On With the Dark & Glorious Necromancer

William Murphy Posted:
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During Bethesda’s Game Days at PAX East, I finally got time to try the Necromancer in Elder Scrolls Online’s forthcoming Elsweyr chapter. I can say, with some trepidation, that the Necromancer may be the most interesting class Zenimax has ever imagined for their MMO.

As you can see in the video, I first got a look at the new starting tutorial for Elsweyr, which has you on the home of the Khajiit, going through trials and training, when all hell breaks loose and yep - you get your first taste of fighting a dragon at the low level of 2 or so in the tutorial. It’s a nice callback to when vanilla ESO started you off in Coldharbour only to bring you back there for the original story finale.

A nice touch in the tutorial this time is that the Khajiit teachers actually give you some good learnin’ by showing you how to block, how to counter with a heavy attack, how to shield bash, and how to break free of stuns.

Now, for the Necro itself... the thing that’s basically put all my other ESO playing on hold until June. Will the Necro be worth the wait? YES, oh lawd yes.

Not only is it filled with a varied and appropriately dark-feeling skill selection, but there’s a kicker for a lot of the Necromancer skills - using them in front of townsfolk can make you wanted by the guards around town - just as if you stole something or killed someone. Luckily, it’s not EVERY skill that does this. Just the really morally... complicated ones. Summoning skeleton mages, for example.

In an actual fight, the Necromancer doesn’t feel like it’ll be a super easy class to play, which is nice. Its skills are complex, and involve a lot of positioning and timing. The DPS tree, which is what I went with in the demo, has a skill that can create a line of dark energy between you and a corpse and if you catch an enemy in that line, it drains their health very fast.

The summons aren’t permanent with the Necromancer, as they are with the Bear of the Warden, for example. This makes playing the Necro far more interactive, as you’re not wasting a skill on your bar for a pet that just sort of does its own thing. I really enjoyed my brief time spent trying out a max level Necromancer, and it was especially epic to see the massive ground pound of the ultimate. The Necromancer isn’t a pet class like the Warden or the Sorc are - it’s more of a temporary summon class that overwhelms enemies with incoming damage from many different sources. It felt powerful and very different from the game’s other classes.

I’m curious to see how the tank and healing trees work, and from what Brian “Andy” Wheeler could tell me that could be very soon with the PTS for Elsweyr going up in the coming weeks.

All I know is that I’m more than ready for a fourth level 50 journey, beginning life as a Khajiit Necromancer in Elsweyr this June.


William Murphy

Bill is the former 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.