pax east 2017

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

Hands-On With Diablo III's Necromancer At PAX East
by Daniel Tack on Mar 14, 2017 at 05:00 AM
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Rating: Mature
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac

At PAX East 2017, I had a chance to play Diablo III's Necromancer yet again - the first time being during the BlizzCon reveal last year. This time around, I played as a female version of the Necromancer with a decidedly different skillset than the bone-spearing, corpse-exploding incarnation I played last time. Between the two of these characters, we can finally start piecing together what the Necromancer's skillset might look like when it finally hits later this year.

This Necromancer was a stark contrast to the pet-army, ranged damage BlizzCon template. First off, the "builder" in this loadout was a deadly scythe swipe Grim Scythe, with medium range but a massive arc - it hits almost everything, and provides the Necromancer resource, Essence. The resource dump of choice? Blood Nova. Short range, almost point-blank-area-of-effect, huge damage, and it costs you health to use it as well as Essence, so you pay for your power. Luckily, this incredibly potent build that's perfect for being surrounded by every enemy on the screen you can lure over is powered by some other abilities to keep you happy and healthy as you deliver death.

One of these skills is the iconic Blood Golem, which looked way too much like Diablo for my liking - just a big red thing on the screen running around attacking things. That said, it was great to mess around with the revamped version of one of the Necromancer's most revered spells from Diablo II. We didn't get to combine it with the Iron Maiden curse this time, but who knows... Maybe in the future. The redesigned golem's summon button is actually still useful with him out on the field, as you can shoot him across the field to dish out extra damage on your cursor position.

Devour let me consume the corpses of fallen foes for a glut of health and Essence, essentially the perfect skill to combine with Blood Nova.

Then there's Blood Rush which lets you move across the field. Probably the least exciting ability in this kit, pretty much just a blink, but mobility and escapes are always an essential tool in the toolbox.

Finally, there's a new curse on display called Leech. Simple enough, you throw it on enemies and you'll get life from whacking on them. Added bonus, this works with your allied players too, so Necromancers with Leech might become sought after group companions.

Rushing through the demo rift, it became fairly apparent the big skill to talk about is Blood Nova. It's a fairly amazing skill for destroying entire legions of enemies, just running from screen to screen and slaughtering foes by the truckload. Devour is a key complementary skill and made the engine work, to be honest, I didn't have to use anything else. Granted, we were doing a rift on rather low difficulty for demo purposes, but it was still easy to see the potential.

I'm eagerly awaiting the Necromancer's return. That way, we can get started on announcing Druids, Amazons, and Assassins, right?

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Diablo III: Reaper of Soulscover

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Mac
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