(Note: This post was written for the GuildMag Blog Carnival Event. Be sure to check out the other great articles!) http://www.guildmag.com/blog-carnival-event-bring-the-popcorn
The necromancer in Guild Wars has a handful of iconic builds, those that rise like cream. The necromancer is a lord of hexes and conditions, yet arguably it’s heart, it’s purpose is to be a minion master. The minion master’s purpose is to quickly convert bodies into undead slaves as quickly as possible. Unlike a pet oriented class, such as Guild Wars ranger or the pitiful necromancers in other MMOs, the minion master cares not about a single creature it creates. It sends them on their way in to the meat grinder hoping their death even brings destruction.
After 250 years, the necromancer profession has changed and evolved. Legend says it was a sylvari that asked the simplest question of all, which would change the minion master forever: “Why do we need bodies?”
In ages past, the necromancer required fresh bodies lying on the ground so that its vile magics could be used to reform and refuse flesh and bone into a living weapon. Yet the skill forced the necromancer to recharge for a time, and during that time the minion would rapidly deteriorate.
The Guild Wars 2 necromancer has learned to manipulate and harness the power of death with far more expertise than it’s predecessor. The first change came from the necromancer’s acceptance that the world had experienced death for eons. It was everywhere. As sure as the sun would rise, something had died on the ground the necromancer was standing on. Minions could be summoned from this everpresent power rather than relying on fresh kills. The second change was that minions no longer decayed. They were not able to regenerate health either, like a living thing, but at least gobs of flesh were not falling off from the start.
Yet, what were believed to be advancements beyond came at a cost. This additional control over death required more focus. No longer could a necromancer summon minion after minion. Now the skill had to be kept in matrix until the minion passed. The necromancer cheated this by modifying the skill to change if a minion was active. For example, after a necromancer used Summon Blood Fiend, that skill would change to Taste of Death. The necromancer could not summon any more blood fiends until the one she had summoned died.
This presents a fundamental change for the minion master necromancer. The very passive role of spamming as many minions as there were corpses available has been brought a little closer to a more active, or at least aware, role. Going back to the blood fiend, if the blood fiend stands at 20% health during the downtime, a skilled necromancer would quickly kill off that blood fiend and summon a fresh one before combat starts again. A necromancer using Bone Minions has to be even more careful because that one skill can control 3-5 bone minions. If 3 of the 5 minions are down, should the necromancer explode the two remaining to start clean? It’s going to become a tricky balance each minion master necromancer is going to have to ingest to decide how far to push the minions before deciding to reset.
know when to hold ’em