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Hands on with the Necromancer at BlizzCon 2016

William Murphy Posted:
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During BlizzCon 2016, it was revealed that the Necromancer hero class would be making his triumphant return to Diablo 3 in a forthcoming Character Pack (not an expansion) in 2017. Lucky for us, the male Necro was playable at the show, and we played through the 15 minute or so demo and took some of the class’ old skill made anew for a spin.

First, I must say that I did not get a chance to try the Diablo 1 re-make as part of the anniversary patch. I’m going to poke around the show floor to see if it’s playable, but I think the Necromancer demo is all we’ve got for now. That said, I can’t say enough how good it feels to play as him after all these years. There is a female version of the Necro too, but she wasn’t available in the demo either.  Additionally, the runes were not available to preview, and only a select handful of skills were on hand too.

The demo presented us with a basic map to clear, triggering a Rift, and then taking on a new boss once inside. It’s clear that the focus of the demo was on the playability and refreshed skills and feel of the Necro. What we’ll have to pay attention to during the panel is the skeleton summon system. As it was in the demo, it feels like the Skeletons are just an ever-present part of the Necromaner and not something you must manage or summon repeatedly. You seem to always have ten of them at your disposal, and you can use a skill called Command Skeletons to basically toss them at a target and make them attack it. It worked well on the console version we were playing (the PC demo was having fits).

Siphon Blood is your main builder, and acts as a self-heal. You’ll probably rarely use potions with this thing, and if a rune can turn it into a group heal well… the Necro’s going to be a favorite. Bone Spear is your main projectile spell and hurls a rocket of bone out and through any enemies for a long-distance damage dealer. But the true star of the Necro’s arsenal in the demo was by far Corpse Explosion. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and Diablo fans will remember it well. Only imagine the spell shaking the entire screen with blood, bone, and gore. It’s super powerful, and impressive visually. Of course, what would a Necromancer be without curses? That’s exactly what Decrepify is, and it’s a fantastic disabler of large groups of enemies.

All in all, even without a lot of the details filled in, we can tell the Necromancer is going to be a fantastic addition to the Diablo 3 experience. While we’re with you all in wanting a full expansion, the Anniversary Patch and addition of Diablo 1 into D3, along with the Necromancer and other unannounced features gives fans of Diablo plenty to look forward to. And if I didn’t know better, I’d say that the lack of an expansion announcement makes it even more likely that there’s a new Diablo game in development, and we’ll be hearing about it at a future BlizzCon. 


BillMurphy

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.