Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer Q&A (May 3)

How will you address the issue that the season in which the Necro gets released in will be full of players playing just the Necro?

Julian: We plan to address that by throwing a big party watching everybody play the Necro, and feeling really good about it. We don’t really see that as a problem. When you release a new class, and everybody wants to play it, if that is how it turns out, then that is a success. You have done your job well. That is what we expect to happen. We have also built some new things into the class to make that… probably not an enjoyable experience for everybody, obviously if you aren’t into the Necro, maybe it won’t feel enjoyable, but the fact that we have done some things to kinda curtail the way the graphics will work for all of your party members. Sure it will make it work pretty well, and I think if we had 4 necromancers onscreen, it is going to be great.


Does Resource Cost Reduction (RCR) reduce the health cost of Blood Skills, since health is a resource for Necromancers?

Travis: That’s a really good question, actually. As recently as this week, I was a actually confused about what we had decided to do with this. Originally, I thought were going to– like yea, let’s make RCR affect health costs. We did not… and then I had a conversation with someone recently, and we were talking through like: “huh, I thought we did. Ok, what would it affect if we did implement that change?” — and we started talking through the consequences or the expectations, or some interactions we didn’t like. Like… “Oh, but this item says when a resource is spent, blah-blah-blah. So will that work with the Necro? Does it work if they take damage? Reasons, reasons, reasons;” and the short version is we talked about it through, we were really close to making that change, but there were some really concerning consequences of that change that we didn’t feel comfortable with; so ultimately our RCR doesn’t reduce the health cost of the Necromancer’s skills.


Brandy: So it does for Essence, just not for Blood skills.

Travis: Oh, yea. Absolutely. It works on your Essence, which is your primary resource. It just doesn’t work if you are using Blood skills that also have Health costs associated with them.


Just finished a Diablo II playthrough as a Necromancer. What are the class specific weapon and off-hand? Any throwbacks to Diablo II?

Julian: The class-specific weapons that we have is Scythe, and also a 2-handed Scythe; and off-hands are Phylacteries. One of the things here is that we didn’t want to bring back wands, obviously for the Necromancer, because the Wizard has wands. So we weren’t going to do that, and also we really didn’t think that wands was necessarily the most thematically-suited item for the Necromancer either. We wanted something a little bit more edgy. Scythe really seems like a total win. Malthael uses scythes. And then, for the off-hand, we kinda had a similar type of problem in that even though the witch doctor doesn’t exactly have an off-hand — it is called Shrunked-head– a lot of the stuff ended being shrunken heads, and it is very witch-doctor-ish.

So even though shrunken heads appeared in Diablo II, it didn’t feel like a great fit for us here, so the notion of Phylacteries seemed to ring true. So now with those decisions in place, it makes it a little hard to bring some of those item fantasies from Diablo II forward into that particular space. Simply because it feels very disingenious, or maybe even almost dishonoring to take a fantasy that belongs to a wand in Diablo II, and pull it forward [?] a Scythe. It might be a little difficult to do fantasy-wise, but also just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do in terms of honoring Diablo II.



Brandy: Let those items live up their legacy, right?

Julian: Yea. They (wands) are awesome where they are, and if we can’t do them justice, then we shouldn’t just bring them forward.


The Golem is similar to the gargantuan; who would win a brawl?

Travis: Ahh… my money is on the Golem, because he is cooler; and bigger. He is like the Hulk. Very bulky.

Julian: The counter to that, though, might be if you were wearing The Tall Man’s Finger, then they would be 3 Gargantuans on one Golem, and like that could be a real unfair set of circumstances.



Brandy: But what if you take the Flesh Golem, and you revive him into the 8 little Flesh Golems?


Julian: See… this is really hard to answer. You may have to find out on your own.

Travis: But also, pets don’t take any damage in Diablo III, so I would probably call it a stalemate.

Brandy: Yea, probably it would last forever.

Travis: Yea. More or less.

Brandy: For quite a while. Perpetual motion.



Can we please talk about how a lot of the Necromancer’s abilities and rune choices cost health? This idea is very awesome and welcome, but I am playing hardcore and I feel like this limits my options in skill builds. Things get scary!

Travis: Then you are braver than me if you are playing Hardcore. Two: You are way braver than me if you are using Blood runes in Hardcore. There are a lot of skills on the Necromancer– in fact there is basically at least a rune (if not more) that is blood-themed, and has a health-cost associated with them. Some of them are kinda nominal like this is an epic heal. Some of them really are going to chunk your health bar down. There are also a lot of blood-themed skills that are healing. So maybe you don’t want to use your primary spender as a blood skill. You would probably don’t want to use Blood Nova, because also you need to be in close proximity, and that is just disastrous for Hardcore. The flip side of that is you can get some really good health-regen stuff going for the other Blood skills. There is the Bone Armor rune that increases your Health regen per enemy affected. There is obvious stuff like Blood Syphon, or the Blood rune on your Grim Scythe. I would not pursue Simulacrum if I were you— buuuuut there is also stuff like Rathma’s Shield. Maybe, hey, you really like Simulacrum. Just take that passive (Rathma’s Shield), get 4 seconds of invulnerability when you push the button, everything is groovy. It was meant to be a very high-risk playstyle. It is certainly not well-suited for Hardcore. The upside is that because there is so much Health-cost and stuff in there, you have got a lot of tools at your disposal tokeep yourself alive. Maybe just take the healing side of Blood skills, and very sparingly use the Health-cost skills.


Can we expect items that increase our army size or make our minions more permanent?

Travis: We don’t have any items that explicitly increases the caps, or take timed-minions and make them permanent. We do have several items coming in the next PTR that will allow you to either more quickly reach those caps, extend the duration of things, but not indefinite. There is an item that lets you effectly double the duration of Simulacrum. Things like that. So there is certainly going to be items coming soon that you guys can use that will affect your pets in some way; but not permanent, and the caps that are in place are the caps so that we don’t break everything — including your computer.


Plague set seems really lackluster in comparison of the other set at the moment. Any plan to add other skills like Bone Spirit to the 6-piece bonus?

Travis: I am going to start off this one by saying the set balance right now on PTR is wildly dispersed(sp?). We are very aware. This is also what PTR is for. It helps us find these things, and yea, ok, we have to fix this, and this isn’t enough, and… there is a lot going on lately. The Plague Set has some really really powerful items that are coming that will help make it more powerful. We are not adding Bone Spirit exclusively to that Set for any reason, but there will be items that make Bone Spirit a lot more powerful. So if you like Bone Spirit, which I think is freaking amazing, there are items that you can either equip or put it into the cube that will make it a lot more potent.


Have you considered the place of the Necromancer in 4-man (and 3-man and 2-man) Greater Rifts?

Travis: Yea, we get this question a lot. When we set out to design the Necromancer, at no point we were like “Ok, what is their job in a 4-man Rift? What skills are we going to give them to reinforce that job?” We really just were like wouldn’t it be cool– what would you expect the Necromancer to have: you expect pets, you expect curses, cool, you have got Golems in there, sweet Corpse Explosion. We did give them a lot of really robust tools. The curses are really potent, so it is very easy to picture where people like to bring Necros for more support role, they also have some incredible DPS potential with some of these sets. So it is possible they can fill in damage role, some of the new items give them a lot of utility. So they could be in more like a crowd-control (CC) role. Don’t really know, but I think theoretically capable of all the jobs, and it is up to you guys to figure out what you think the best set, or what you enjoy playing the best.


I’m having really severe survivability issues, especially with the melee specs, but also as a summoner. Can we expect some items that address this?

Travis: No. We really want you to be squishing (laughs). This comes up often. The squishing. I was watching a lot of the streamers doing Greater Rifts over the last PTR. There is certainly squishing in some of the sets, in certain Greater Rifts. We designed tools for the class, like if you have Bone Armor, you have got Decrepify, hopefully these can find a place in your bar if you ever feel like your survivability is not enough. When we are designing our items, my opinion on the subject designing legendaries is, give them as many as we think are cool, and it is better that they have too many, than not enough, so that players can then sorta hone in on what is the right balance for their playstyle. We have got some really really strong survivability legendaries that are coming for them, one of them which seems super simple but is really for the Saint Set (or just any Necromancer set) is your Bone Armor stacks up to 15 (instead of 10). As a side note, we also are changing the way Bone Armor works, so that it doesn’t work like the old Soul Harvest, and instead just stacks and refreshes. So if you hit 5 guys, you get 5 stacks. If you hit 4 more, now you have 9. So some things like that, also just some minor tweaks to baseline skills will help bone armor as well.



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