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"Necromancers are cunning summoners that conjure vengeful hordes of the undead. Their Essence flows into three powerful bastions of Bone, Blood, or Shadow to bring low their enemies."
— Class description(src)
The Necromancer is a playable class in Diablo IV.
Necromancers have four high-level playstyles: Bone, Darkness, Blood, and the Army. Among their spells are debuff skills called Curses, with Decrepify and Iron Maiden returning. Scythes are the class-specific items of Necromancers, and Swords, Daggers, Wands, Focuses, and Shields can also be equipped.
The Necromancer utilizes two resources: Essence, a slow regenerating resource that is also gained by using basic skills; and Corpses, which come from fallen enemies or can be generated from certain effects.
A classic direct offense and enemy detaining skills, the new iteration of Bone skills are supplemented by effects such as Critical Strike and benefit from a large Essence pool.
The battlefield can be divided with Bone Prison, to either restrict enemies into certain areas or enclose them in a narrow space to facilitate area of effect skills. Bone Spirit is a foe-seeking missile that explodes on impact, but has a cooldown and consumes all Essence though with the benefit of its firepower increased per point of Essence spent.
Darkness skills are a new addition to the Necromancer, seemingly a reinterpretation of poison, decay, and curses, consolidated into the Shadow magic category. Offensively, they either deal damage over time or attack multiple times in a short window. Also, these skills tend to induce debuffs and crowd control effects.
Decompose is a basic channeled Darkness skill that deals damage over time on a single while channeled, grants Essence in the process, and periodically summons corpses that can be used to summon skeletons.
Blood skills are expressed differently from their predecessors, but they retain the ability to heal. These skills benefit from a large Life pool and their usage proficiency is dependent on targeting multiple enemies, thus character positioning is critical to maximize these skills' effect. For example Blood Surge's explosion increases based on the number of enemies from which blood was siphoned.
Blood Mist is a survival-oriented movement skill, that makes the caster immune to damage, drains life of enemies around the Necromancer, and grants mobility for retreat or a better vantage point.
The Army skills deal with reanimated foes and golems. Skeletal Warriors and Mages are summoned by the Raise Skeleton skill, an extra skill on the skill bar, though each require a corpse to be summoned.
By design, the Army playstyle attempts to address the problem of past games where minion builds require heavy minion investment or maintenance, often making certain skills mandatory and excluding most from use. This new system averts this problem, and enables and encourages skill flexibility between minion and non-minion skills. Therefore a player can pursue a Bone, Darkness, or Blood playstyle and integrate this with the Army skills, which act as a separate layer that doesn't override and may synergize with the chosen playstyle.
Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead is a unique Necromancer-specific skill mechanic that allows the player to customize the Necromancer's minions, how minions are deployed, which minions the player can have, and how they behave.
The core skills center on three summons: skeleton warriors and mages, and a golem. Each summon has three variants to choose from. And each variant has three modifications: two Upgrades (only one may be active at atime) and Sacrifice, which disables summoning that minion in exchange for conferring a permanent buff to the Necromancer.
The player may choose a minion-less playstyle by setting Skeletal Warriors, Skeletal Mages, and Golems to Sacrifice, buffing the Necromancer directly. Which buff the class receives depends on which summon variant is sacrificed. For example, a sacrificed Blood Golem grants a 10% increase to the character's maximum Life while a sacrificed Iron Golem grants ×30% Critical Strike Damage.
- Fast-attacking Skirmishers, which have increased damage but reduced Life.
- Sword and board Defenders, which have bonus Life.
- Scythe wielding Reapers, which have a slower attack, deals AoE in front of them, and have a wind-up attack that deals a high amount of damage.
The Necromancer was chosen as the fifth class because it focuses on the theme of "return to darkness" that Diablo IV represents, particularly through the class' working with the occult, dark magic, and summoning the undead.
The goal for the class' system was that players are able to play with the full army, part of the army, or even forgo their army completely and play solo. The Book of the Dead feature remains beneficial to builds without any minions.
The Army playstyle had undergone many iterations of how the experience of summoning the undead would feel for the player, and how much of the skill bar should be dedicated to the Necromancer. The playstyle that was chosen was where the players would have as much customization as possible over not only their army itself, but also in which other skills they want to use to support their own unique playstyle.
- 2022-06-13 Diablo IV Quarterly Update—June 2022. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2022-06-13
- 2022-06-12, How Diablo 4 Reinvents Necromancer, Encourages Customization, And Deepens Endgame. GameSpot, accessed on 2022-06-12
- 2022-06-12, Hell on the Horizon: Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo® IV Coming in 2023. Activision Blizzard, accessed on 2022-06-12
- 2022-06-12, All Hell Breaks Loose in 2023—Diablo IV is Coming. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2022-06-12
- 2022-06-13, Diablo 4 Necromancer Explained - Necromancer Gameplay and Interview. IGN, accessed on 2022-06-13