Seeing as how this class reveal was possibly the worst-kept secret of Guild Wars 2 to date, we saw a fair amount of the necro last week at Gamescom. The Death Shroud skill garnered a fair amount of attention, and while we didn't get an official video of the skill, ArenaNet described it pretty well in the reveal.
"A necromancer feeds on death and decay," says the class description. Keep that in mind and it's easy to see that a downed necro is maybe not someone whom you want angry with you. Other classes will remain prone on the ground when they hit zero health, utilizing their downed skills to try to finish off a nearby enemy and rally. Meanwhile, the necromancer goes straight into Death Shroud and becomes a spectral shade with a series of abilities that are almost as dangerous to enemies as the regular skills. Shadow Fiend, for example, is a spectral minion that a necro can summon while in Death Shroud.
Death Shroud isn't limited to a downed state for the necromancer -- it can be activated at any time if you've got enough life force built up, but there's a hitch. While clearly awesome, Death Shroud is unfortunately temporary. Once you either make a kill or run out of life force, the vengeful-ghost act comes to an end, and you'll return to your regular skill set.
Life force, by the way, is a special sort of energy used by the necro. Think of it as adrenaline, only green and for the undead. Necromancers can gain life force through kills that happen nearby, through utility skills, and through weapon skills.
The regular skill set isn't too shabby either, so don't despair when Death Shroud ends. The skills we've seen bear some familiar names, but they've gotten quite an upgrade in both appearance and effectiveness. Check out the videos for Bone Minions, Putrid Explosion, and Life Siphon -- you'll like what you see, especially if you're familiar with their current-day counterparts.
Minions in general look to be much tougher than what we've seen up until now. Between attacking your enemies, healing you, and finally exploding in order to both damage your foes and heal you even more, they're a pretty all-purpose bunch of allies to have at your beck and call.
The new skills look even more fun, and not just because they've got the allure of the unknown. Locust Swarm makes use of the warhorn, one of the offhands available to the necromancer. We've seen the ranger's use of the warhorn, but rather than bringing a flock of birds to attack your enemies, the warhorn spews a swarm of locusts. The locusts surround you, turning you into a buzzing cloud of ouch for anyone who gets too close. (Hint: run after them.)
Grasping Dead is another new skill that may well take the prize for coolest animation. Hordes of skeletal arms exploding from the ground to drag your enemies into death -- a round of applause goes to whoever designed that one. Doom is the final new skill that we were introduced to with this reveal, and while the animation looks a little familiar
, it seems to be a pretty formidable spell. Sneaky too -- that asuran necro in the skill video looked pretty vulnerable until he unleashed a wall of death.
Taking a more general view, some of the overall necromancer skills are as unusual as the profession itself. Wells are a familiar set of skills to fans of the current Guild Wars
necro, but marks are an interesting addition. Somewhat of a cross between wells and traps, marks are ground-targeted spells that can harm enemies and buff allies. They aren't active immediately -- instead, they'll trigger after a certain period of time or when the necro triggers them by hitting the skill a second time.
The Fear condition is unique to the necromancer, one that should be fun to watch. Fear sends your enemies fleeing from you in terror for a short period of time. Given the range of abilities we've seen for the necro so far, the condition could just as easily be called "common sense."
The necromancer reveal, as always, comes with five skill videos, a handful of screenshots, and two brand-new wallpapers to add to your desktop rotation. Check out the gallery below for the screenshots, and the reveal on the Guild Wars 2
site for the wallpaper and videos.