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Review: Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer (PC)

Action RPG PC


If you play Diablo III, or have been on any forum about Diablo III, you have probably asked where the necromancer class is. We asked. We whined. Someone finally listened and here we go, the power over death itself is all yours.

No pale horse, but a golem will do

Being a necromancer is, generally, all about the corpses. Several of your best abilities use corpses to cause damage to your foes, making them a secondary resource that your class needs to manage. Corpse explosion, for example, turns a corpse into an blast of pain, bone fragments and gore. This normally kills more enemies, especially those weak fodder types, leaving you with more corpses to explode. Lure the elite pack close and watch the fireworks. But what if you run out of corpses? What about the end of a greater rift with no enemies left around? Fear not, your golem friend has you covered.

This blood magic is a tricky knife’s edge to tread on, but the rewards are amazing.

While several of your abilities can generate a corpse or two, the golem is a great party starter. The first ever rune you unlock for him makes your poor friend shamble to where you want him before dismantling into a pile of fresh corpses. He comes back shortly thereafter, to keep smacking your opponents. Now you have ammo for your bone spear or corpse explosion, two high damage abilities with no cooldown or resource cost besides a corpse.

To help out with finding corpses on the battlefield, all corpses that a necromancer can use look the same and have a red outline. No worrying about missing corpses of those gnat mobs or any creature that leaves an odd corpse as it explodes. Sure, seeing a swarm of gnats drop a corpse is a bit weird, but when you are in the thick of things looking for a bunch of corpses to fuel your abilities or to heal up and get more resources, then you aren’t really wondering why the corpse from a behemoth is the same size as one from a fallen.

Dark magic

Some of the necromancers abilities can be made even more powerful by sacrificing a portion of their health with the cast. This blood magic is a tricky knife’s edge to tread on, but the rewards are amazing. One big set offsets the health cost by letting you exceed your maximum health total, giving you extra health to use as a resource. Nobody said you would be fighting fair!

You can also rip the bones from your enemies, making yourself a suit of armour, or curse enemies so that once they reach low health the keel over, or that when cursed every attack heals you. It depends on if you plan to play in a party or not, but the necromancer can handle both solo and group play of high level content rather easily. Just pack a few of those survival legendary gems into your gear, you will need them at high level. To be fair though, I generally only play tank builds and classes so it is just getting used to the territory.

Spanner in the works

Depending on your build, things can really fall apart after a death. If playing alone, or with a bunch of necromancers, getting back on your feet after dying can be tricky. Besides the fact that you are both chewing through corpses, when you get back on your feet there are often no corpses to get things going. Having a way to make a few will help get a fight started, but if you died with a massive mob pack on the spawn point, be prepared for a hard time. Also, try to be considerate with your corpse usage. It isn’t a big issue when the enemies drop like flies, but once you try ramp up you might end up starving each other.

Build your own way

Four sets will help you to build the Necromancer of your dreams: The Pestilence Master’s Shroud improves survivability and makes your use of corpses improve the damage of your next Bone Spear by 3,000%. Currently I have this paired with Maltorious’ Petrified Spike, which makes Bone Spear cost 40 Essence but deals 450% increased damage. If you prefer blood magic and mobility, Trag’Oul’s Avatar gives your Blood Rush every rune, lets you bypass your max health and increases the damage of any life-spending ability by 3,300% at the cost of double life. The Grace of Inarius makes your Bone Armour do more damage and makes a bone tornado that not only does damage, but weakens your opponents, letting you do 2,750% extra damage to anyone caught in the shrapnel. If you like having an undead horde at your disposal the Bones of Rathma gives you a nice survivability bonus and each Skeletal Mage boosts the damage of all your minions and your big finisher, Army of the Dead.

If you loved the Necromancer in Diablo II you will love controlling an undead army once again.

What sets the Necromancer apart from the Witch Doctor is the finer control you have over your minions. Tell your golem where to explode or unload corpses. Sic your army of skeletons on a target and they will do extra damage for a time. Even when playing a full minion build, you still feel active and like a participant, rather than waiting for your army to kill things for you.

At the end of the day, I know people who would spend $10 for two extra stash tabs in Diablo III. Getting a whole new class with those stash tabs for $15? Hell yes. If you loved the Necromancer in Diablo II you will love controlling an undead army once again, and if you have some spare Intelligence items lying around from your Wizard and Witch Doctor, getting them up to scratch is a breeze, (until you do it all again as a season character).


  • It is good to be a Necromancer again.
  • Exploding corpses.
  • Good translation of D2 skills into D3 pace and system.


  • Class feels too powerful currently.
  • No new story.
  • Now I want the other D2 classes.


If you want to relive the heyday of the Necromancer in Diablo 2 with an army of undead laying waste to the enemy, sign up here.


If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

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