It’s hard to believe it’s been over half a decade since the now infamous error 37, which is now little more than a footnote in Diablo III’s history along with the long deceased online auction house, with the Reaper of Souls expansion did a lot to restore the reputation of this once tarnished game and series. This being the 20th anniversary of Diablo, Blizzard are celebrating the series in a number of ways, as were announced back at at BlizzCon. There’s the full recreation of the original within Diablo III, and now the Rise of the Necromancer pack brings back one of the most beloved classes from Diablo II.
Initially, I was a little unsure about the Necromancer’s reinterpretation. My character was initially able to make bone spikes appear from the ground, shortly afterwards learning the ability to throw bone spears. Your move set does expand nicely as you progress, but iconic abilities simply weren’t showing up. It took a while, but I then noticed that one of my secondary abilities I unlocked was to raise a Skeletal Mage, which hinted that Blizzard haven’t quite forgotten what made the Necromancer so special.
In combat, there are occasionally pickups not too dissimilar to the health globes that grant temporary perks for the character. These certainly encouraged me to keep moving around a little in order to pick up these power-ups and give the Necromancer a unique twist in the core gameplay that all the other previously released character classes share.
Then I hit level 9 and unlocked the ability to Command Skeletons, and in just a short amount of time I had seven skeletons walking around with me. This was what I was looking for from the Necromancer – to command a small army to fight for me. With poison abilities now with the Witch Doctor class, it’s imperative that the Necromancer retained something about the class that was familiar.
From there, things fall into place for the Necromancer, focusing on blood and curse magic as well as raising an army of the undead to do my bidding. Runes are also a huge factor in how the spells worked, with certain combinations being ridiculously fun to use.
As an example, my current build has skeletons that go into a frenzy upon activating the ability, two mages that spring up for a short time that deplete all of my essence, accumulated by attacking foes with primary skills, and a spell that raises the defeated enemies to turn them on their allies. Best of all, that last spell turns them back into corpses when it runs out, but they can be re-reanimated should I so wish.
One small area of contention is the cost of this DLC. On the surface, the £12.99 price tag may be a somewhat bitter pill to swallow for those who have had their fill of Diablo III’s existing content and are just looking for something new. Alongside this new class, it does include a couple of extra storage chest tabs for PC players, as well as a few cosmetic items for your character and UI for those on all platforms.
In order to play, you will need to have both Diablo III and the Reaper of Souls expansion, with console gamers able to pick up the Diablo III: Eternal Collections which bundles those together with Rise of the Necromancer, and could potentially be a better bet. On PC, you’ll be picking up all three via the Blizzard shop, but they’re seemingly available at a reduced rate.
Nostalgia does play a lot into the appeal of the Rise of the Necromancer DLC for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, but if you are prepared to play a half decade old game and its expansion one more time with the new class, you’ll find that it truly is a fun experience. A lot of care has gone into the design of the skills and abilities and there’s no greater feeling than standing back to watch your minions annihilate some tough monsters and unearth that legendary loot.