The Diablo IV quarterly update is here, with a deep dive into the Diablo 4 Necromancer class recently announced during the Xbox Bethesda showcase. While the lord of the undead may be familiar to series fans or anyone playing Diablo Immortal’s Necromancer, Diablo 4 lead class designer Adam Jackson outlined a few key ways the team is tweaking the class in the action RPG to make it more flexible, with something to offer newcomers and longtime Necromancer mains alike.
The Necromancer’s key feature in Diablo IV is the Book of the Dead, a class-specific item you begin with automatically that lets you summon undead warriors and bend them to your will. The types of summon include skeleton warriors, mages, and golems, and you can further customize them from there. For example, warriors could specialize as reapers, defenders, or offensive-focused fighters, with unique playstyles for each sub-class and a set of abilities you can further customize.
If you’re not keen on one of the summon types, the Book of the Dead lets you choose the “Sacrifice” option to, well… sacrifice them. Doing so removes the option to summon them in exchange for a permanent character buff, though Jackson didn’t elaborate on what the buffs will be.
As for the Necromancer themselves, you choose between four specializations, although “choose” sounds more restrictive than Blizzard intends. While the Necromancer pulls skills from Blood, Darkness, Bone, and The Army specialties, the goal is letting you create pretty much whatever kind of undead lord you have in mind.
Blood skills restore HP and cause widespread AoE damage, while Darkness tends to focus more on inflicting debuffs in a broad area, keeping foes away and whittling their health down. Bone and The Army are closer to the skills from Necromancers of Diablo past, with abilities such as Bone Prison and the standard option to reanimate dead bodies and turn them into your servants.
There’s plenty of room for varied Necromancer builds, though, with the option to summon corpses through the skill bar or just by creating new ones with your other skills.
“We went through a lot of iteration on how we want the experience of summoning the undead to feel for the player, and how much of their skill bar should be dedicated to this part of the class,” Jackson said. “To that end, we’ve come up with what we feel is the best possible version to ensure that players 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.”
It’ll be a while before you can try the Necromancer for yourself, though. Activision Blizzard confirmed Diablo IV is set to release sometime in 2023, but the release date is just the beginning. Diablo IV will have several rounds of DLC, including full story expansions.