Yesterday, ArenaNet officially announced the necromancer profession. Of course, the fourth profession for Guild Wars 2 has been known since the gamescom demos started going public. I am happy because in Guild Wars, my main is a necromancer. I can’t say the profession is my favorite because ritualist makes the decision too close to call, but my necromancer character is my favorite.
Out of the four professions announced, the necromancer seems to have gotten more re-definition than the elementalist, warrior, or ranger. There are still supposedly two more professions based on Guild Wars professions (current belief is mesmer and assasin) and two professions that are entirely new (current belief is “paladin” and “alchemist/gadgeteer/gunslinger”), so the Guild Wars 2 necromancer might not be the furthest away from its original. However, the changes are significant enough to note.
The biggest change is that the necromancer no longer relies on corpses. Minions and Wells originate instead from the necromancer’s own power. However, balance must be maintained by taking away this limitation, and now a necromancer’s army is limited to [possibly] 7 minions (5 bone minions, 1 blood fiend, and 1 bone fiend) at a time. Additionally, only one Well may be active at a time. (As an aside those little human-skulled rat-looking bone minions are some freaky stuff.)
The iconic Soul Reaping mechanic of Guild Wars necromancers has also been replaced with Life Force. Life Force is a bar, separate from energy, that fills up when things around the necromancer die and when the necromancer uses certain skills. Once the Life Force bar fills to a certain point the necromancer can go into Death Shroud mode. In Death Shroud, a necromancer assumes a spectral form where health is replaced by Life Force, and the necromancer gets 4 new skills including the ability to summon a shadow fiend. When Life Force is depleted through damage taken or time in Death Shroud, the necromancer returns to her original location where Death Shroud started to get dumped back in her body.
And, get this… instead of falling to the ground like a chump. The necromancer’s downed state is going in to Death Shroud with full mobility! So, it is a risky maneuver, but the necromancer seems to get stronger in a way when he loses all his health. That sacrifice, for me, defines the feeling of a necromancer.
The final big difference is the apparent lack of sustained hexes or hex-like abilities to put on an enemy. The Blood and Curse line for a Guild Wars necromancer was hex heavy, and the Guild Wars 2 necromancer seems a lot more active without any sustained fire-and-forget hexes. To kind of replace the missing hexes, a necromancer gets a unique condition to spread around: Fear. Fear, as you can imagine, sends enemies running away, which has the PvP crowd kind of worried at the loss of control of their character when a necromancer targets them. It is a condition, and thus removable; so it should be interesting to see how it gets balanced.
Overall, I am excited with the changes. My two favorite Guild Wars professions are fairly passive, and I am a little nervous about the necromancer becoming a more active profession. Yet, I think Guild Wars 2 is a more active game to begin with, and so times they are a changing justly. I can’t wait to get my hands on one, and I already have a sylvari necromancer name in mind.
the line it is drawn;
the curse it is cast