As Lilith’s minions crawl out of the shadows, Blizzard’s Diablo 4 beta has proven that you’ll need to muster all of your strength to send them back to the burning hells. Two new Diablo 4 classes will be added as part of the RPG game‘s next test phase: the Druid and Necromancer. Ahead of their release, PCGamesN spoke to Diablo 4 game director Joe Shely, and franchise VP Rod Fergusson about what to expect.
As someone who has always played melee DPS characters, the Necromancer and Druid are somewhat foreign to me. While I played Witch Doctor in Diablo 3 (S-tier in my heart, D-tier in reality), I never quite extended my summoner class fantasy to Diablo’s resident ranger and dark magician.
I’d be a liar if the release trailer for the Necromancer didn’t have me intrigued, though, so I asked Fergusson and Shely what to expect from each class ahead of the upcoming open beta.
Fergusson, a self professed “necro main” who just got a tattoo of the class during the Hell’s Ink tour, tells me that “the coolest thing is the control of the Necromancer. The customisation that the Necromancer has centres around the book of the dead, and so you get to configure your army the way you want.
“You can take all of that customisation around what your army will look like, and you can actually sacrifice them to make you stronger,” he tells me with a vaguely maniacal grin. “You can be like ‘actually, I don’t want an army, I want to be a badass blood Necromancer or a bone Necromancer, and I’m going to take the power of my sacrificed army and make me stronger.’ I really love that flexibility. It’s my favourite class.”
While the Necromancer deals with the deceased, the Druid deals with all things living and breathing. Unfortunately we won’t get to see their homeland in the beta this weekend, but Shely promises that the Druid is an awesome warrior whose animal menagerie is key to stopping Lilith.
When it comes to the Druid, their “specialisation has a thematic element to it. The Druid gets to travel the Scosglen (the home of the Druids), and there are spirit animals there that the Druid can commune with that reward them for bringing tokens back as favours. The [spirit animals] offer customisation in the form of different buffs that the Druid can get if they choose to be aligned with one of four different spirit animals.
“There’s a heavy thematic component to it, and there’s a mechanical differentiation there as well,” he states. Fergusson notes that, while you won’t get to see Scosglen in this beta, there’s some really cool changes to the Druid’s signature shapeshifting that we’ve never seen before in previous iterations of Sanctuary.
“What you do get to see is that [the shapeshifting mechanics] aren’t cumbersome, it’s not like ‘oh, I’ve got to be a bear to have bear attacks,'” Fergusson tells PCGamesN. “Basically, for every skill you use you transform into the animal that does it, so if you have a swipe that is a bear attack and a bite that is a wolf attack, you’ll smoothly transition between the two forms. And then the itemisation allows you to customise things; you could be a bear most of the time except for maybe towns or on horseback – but bears on horseback are awesome!”
Sadly he confirms that said horse-riding mammals “aren’t in the game,” but it’s sight we’d like to see. Diablo social team, I see you, make it happen – after all, there was an hour long livestream of the beta wolf cosmetic.
If you’re ready to dive into the latest beta, be sure to check out the Diablo 4 system requirements ahead of time so that Lilith doesn’t incinerate your rig. We also have a list of the best games like Diablo if you can’t wait until the Diablo 4 release date – I know I can’t. Don’t forget to check out our best Diablo 4 Necromancer build and best Diablo 4 Druid build when you finally get your hands on the game.