‘Diablo 3’s Necromancer class introduces the best companion ever: The Flesh Golem

The upcoming Necromancer class is so metal.

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls‘ will soon debut a new Necromancer class and two brand new zones, and they are everything that Diablo 3 should always have been.

This new content, that’s currently only available in a closed beta, will release as two sets of DLC at an unannounced date. There’ll be two free new zones within Act II of the game, and a paid “Rise of the Necromancer” pack that includes the new playable Necromancer class, two character slots, two stash tabs, and other cosmetics.

From what we’ve played so far, the new content is every bit as satisfying and exciting as the Reaper of Souls expansion was when it released in 2014.

Note: The beta I played was a not complete version of the game, so some in-game text seen in the clips and screenshots below may be using placeholder text indicated by a “{PH}” and could change before release. Additionally, as is to be expected in a beta, there were a few bugs.

The Necromancer

Diablo, at its heart, is all about blood and gore. There are horrific, demonic enemies wandering around in environments to suit them, in which you tear shit up in true hack-and-slash fashion. With her focus on blood and bones and corpses, the Necromancer feels like the embodiment of Diablo. She has an ability that raises the dead to fight on her behalf.

She’s the antithesis to the Crusader, introduced in Reaper of Souls, and hands-down the goriest class in the game.

The Necromancer has a skill slot dedicated to just corpses. One of the best of those abilities is Corpse Explosion, which blows up any corpses in a given area in a damaging flurry of blood. If those exploding corpses happen to create more corpses, you can just keep on hitting that ability to cause a chain reaction of deadly and morbid destruction.

Corpses, then, are effectively another resource to keep track of. But instead of them bookending your skill bar like your health and essence do, they litter the ground of whatever field, dungeon, or battleground you’re tearing your way through. Corpse Explosion won’t work if there aren’t any corpses on the ground, and you don’t want to waste any available corpses before nearby enemies can be drawn into their blast radius.

Necromancer is definitely the most complicated class in Diablo 3.

Necromancer is definitely the most complicated class in Diablo 3 a welcome extra challenge for the five-year-old game. Players as her mean you have to keep an eye on your health, your essence which is used to summon and command undead allies or trigger your secondary skills and corpses.

On top of that, each skill slot’s ability options are pretty varied. You can swap the basic ranged Bone Spike ability in your primary slot with a wide-sweeping melee attack with scythes, or use Siphon Blood which channels life away from a single enemy at any range to replenish your health and essence.

Corpses aren’t just used as mines, either. You can exchange Corpse Explosion for Devour, which allows you to feed off nearby corpses for health or essence. Or you can use Revive to expand your undead army.

Here’s a melee build using a Grim Scythe primary attack, a close range secondary ability called Death Nova, and Devour to regain all the essence used by Death Nova:

Not every skill goes together perfectly, but some pairings create seriously devastating synergies.

But pretty much everything goes with the reanimation skill slot, where you can choose from summoning a battalion of armed skeletons, a heavy-hitting and frankly gross-looking Flesh Golem, or forgo the constant companion for a high-damage one-off attack called Army of the Dead. Or you can go for a temporary buff.

Additional possibilities thanks to the AoE curse skills and the blood and bone skills craft some really interesting and highly tailored Necromancers.

But, honestly, if you’re playing offline or by yourself, the Flesh Golem is a must-have. There’s no better companion in all of Sanctuary.

Me and my Golem having a blast in a skeleton-filled well.

Image: mashable

New zones: Shrouded Moors and Temple of the Firstborn

Before the beta, the only thing we knew about the new zones were their names: Shrouded Moors and Temple of the Firstborn. After exploring every inch of them, it’s clear they were created with the Necromancer in mind. They fit perfectly with the aesthetic of the Necromancer, diving into the darker side of Diablo with the unnerving, foggy moors and the sinister, horrific temple.

Both zones are located in the northeast corner of Act II’s map (Temple of the Firstborn’s entrance is found within Shrouded Moors) and have nothing to do with the arid locations they’re closest to.

The location of Shrouded Moors and Temple of the Firstborn.

Image: mashable

Shrouded Moors starts off in an ominous circle of candle-covered stones surrounded by fog. Venturing out into the swampy environment means going toe-to-toe with werewolf-like beasts, vulturous birds, the undead, and cultists.

Shrouded Moors.

Image: Mashable

This zone nails the creepiness that’s missing from most of the main Diablo 3 environment as you battle through the ceaseless fog to find human sacrifices in progress and delve down undead-filled dungeons for loot.

Explore enough and you’ll wind up at the doors of the Temple of the Firstborn, referring to the first Nephalem born from both and angel and a demon. The environment takes a sharp turn, turning from bubbling dread to aggressive in-your-face horror reminiscent of the Halls of Agony King Leoric’s torture chambers from Act I.

Temple of the Firstborn.

Image: mashable

The halls and chambers of the temple are filled with pain. Dead and near-dead humans explode into a pile of dangerous rats and bugs. Iron maidens swing open to reveal disciples bent on your death. Rooms fill with blood as you cut through cultists.

Temple of the Firstborn’s aesthetic is harsh and horrific, filled with tentacles, spikes, and generally awful things. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a twist ending at the last boss fight.

There wasn’t an actual storyline available to pursue in the closed beta, but we expect some rich lore to accompany the new zones. There seems to be some kind of cult around the first Nephalem.

Bonus zones?

Aside from these two previously-announced zones in the closed beta, there are four new zones in Act IV with placeholder names: Stone Fracture, Searing Fracure, Dawn Fracture, and Soul Fracture.

The four fractures in the four corners of Act IV’s map.

Image: mashable

All four were similarly structured, starting off on a High Heavens platform that descends down into recreations of other parts of the Diablo 3 world. They’re all stitched together in a weird Frankenstein zone. Each Fracture contained four of these zone pieces and appeared to be nothing more than a remix to keep bounties fresh for the five-year-old game.

Whether these fractures will still exist when the DLC releases is unknown.

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