The Bare Bones – The Basics of the Necromancer
My name is R.J., also known as Grin14 around Guildmag. Why is this important to you? I suppose in the grand scheme of things it isn’t. But, I am excited to announce that Guildmag is now publishing bi-weekly columns about various professions and aspects of Guild Wars 2. I was lucky enough to get an early chance to jump on this opportunity and write one of these columns. I was even more fortunate when I managed to seize my favorite profession in my jaws.
Charr jaws that is.
My character is a charr.
And what profession am I going to be discussing in my column? The necromancer!
Every two weeks, I’m going to be bringing you the latest news and tips about our beloved pet-summoning, condition-inducing, life-stealing, death-cheating profession. These tips and tricks will, hopefully, provide you with some useful insights to the necromancer and make for some fun reading while helping out anyone who chooses to play one. And if you choose to not play a necro, my column may just give you that little bit of insight you need to crush one. (Good luck with that by the way, all you non-necro players. =D)
So, why would I play necromancer? For several reasons. First, the synergy and adaptability this profession has is incredible. No matter what your talent tree picks and skill slot choices, the necromancer class can work. I have several builds (one of which I will share with you later in this article) I use in varying situations, and all work very well. Secondly, they are very user friendly. A new MMORPG player could play the necromancer and have a fun time exploring and learning new mechanics due to the large number of pets the necromancer can have. Meanwhile, a more skilled player could hop on and become a condition-inducing machine and never use a single pet. Finally, the necromancer has some great-looking skill animations and fun abilities. There is nothing quite like turning yourself into a ball of blinding smoke and charging into a hoard of invaders in WvW and watching as they can’t hit you or any of your allies.
Now, before I get into my build, I want to discuss some basics of the necromancer. I am going to cover some pretty basic information here, so if you already know a lot about the necromancer, this may seem like a recap.
First off, pets. Most necros you will see use them. They are distinct and easily noticeable. They make leveling incredibly easy and are an excellent choice for use in the small pvp battles. Pet skills occupy your 6-0 slots on your hot bar and allow for a maximum of five pets. Once each pet is summoned, it gains a special ability that is usable by pressing the same button that summoned it. Should a pet die, it can be re-summoned after the ability has cooled down.
Second are Wells. These are large, area-of-effect utility skills that induce various conditions on those inside of them. Some heal and buff allies, while others poison and blind enemies. These abilities are more useful for WvW than pets. If you plan on waging war across the planes, I highly recommend using wells in combination with a staff to gain large AOE control and damage. I will discuss my Well WvW build next column in detail, but if you want to play one now, I highly recommend you take “Focused Rituals” in the Curse talent tree to allow you to cast Wells at a distance instead of only at your feet.
The third and most unique part of a necromancer is the “Death Shroud “ability. With the use of certain abilities, a meter fills up. At any time, pressing f1 will cause your character to enter the Death Shroud. This will change your abilities and give you a new health bar. This ability contributes greatly to a necromancer’s survivability and learning to switch in and out of this mode is key.
The finally part of the necromancer is its use of conditions. Necromancers can inflict large variety of conditions on an enemy. There is a catch, however. Many of these abilities also inflict conditions on the necromancer. Necromancers are able to stack a huge amount of conditions onto themselves, and, if using the dagger weapon, send these conditions onto an enemy. This type of play style is certainly the most difficult to use effectively and can lead to killing one’s self if not careful. It is extremely good in small pvp battles, but is inferior to pets for leveling and is inferior to wells for large-scale pvp.
I’ll be covering each of these aspects of the necromancer in more detail in the coming weeks, as each can be an article of information unto itself.
So, after all this information, you may be considering trying a necromancer out. Go for it.
Even though I play a charr necromancer, I recommend the Asura for this class. Their racial ability “Radiation Field” is extremely suited for a condition based-necromancer and is a strong addition to any build.
Once you have your character made, I recommend going a tanky pet build as you learn the ropes. Why?
It makes leveling forgiving and you won’t be overwhelmed if you pull a large number of enemies. The pets will takes hits for you and allow you time to act. I recommend using the scepter/focus weapons for the first weapon and staff for the second. This combination will give you a solid variety of AOE damage and access to a regeneration skill that can increase your tankiness. Remember, this build emphasizes use of bleed s and constant pet attacks to deal damage because you will not be throwing big hits.
This build also works very well in sPvP for taking and holding points. Summon five pets, equip your staff, run into the middle of a point, and start causing as much trouble as you can while switching in and out of Death Shroud and summoning pets as needed. The reason I recommend the staff is twofold. One, it allows you to affect anyone inside the point. Second, with the talent tree build I lay out below, it lets you re-fill your Death Shroud meter very quickly. If you play this right, it is more than possible to hold a point long enough for team mates to re-enforce you. Even if help doesn’t come, you can often keep two to three players occupied for upwards of thirty seconds. The best I’ve even managed to do was hold the clock tower on Battle of Khylo by myself against four players for close to half a minute while my team capped the other two points.
The talent points of this build are split 30 in Death, 20 in Soul Reaping, and 20 in Blood. In Blood you will take “Blood thirst” and “Vampiric Master”. These traits will allow your pets to regenerate your health as they do damage. Often people will ignore your pets and go for you. You are going to make them regret this and laugh as they attack you but your health keeps refilling. You will take “Soul Marks” and “Vital Persistence” in Soul Reaping. This will let you keep your Death Shroud meter full by spamming staff abilities and make it last longer. By constantly entering Death Shroud, you are effectively adding health and allowing you to last long enough to kill the npcs or players you are up against. Also, while in Death Shroud, any health you gain is added to your normal health bar. It is possible to enter Death Shroud at little to no health and leave with your health bar at almost full. The 30 points in Death go into “Death Nova”, “Flesh of the Master” and “Staff Mastery.” These talents will allow you to cast staff abilities more often and let you fill up your Death Shroud Meter even faster. “Flesh of the Master” lets your pets live twice as long and is incredibly important to this build because you gain extra toughness for each pet you have out, making you tankier than most necros. Finally, “Death Nova” causes your pets to explode when they die. This is a nice little bonus that can saturate a group of enemies or a control point with lethal gas.
So there you have it. A brief introduction to the necromancer class. I hope that this information helps you. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.
I can be found on Guildmag, or on the Ehmry Bay server running around as the Char necro Dizy Grymm.
Until next time, may the wind be at your face and blow the stench of your undead minions away from you.