Good afternoon, people of the Internet! It is I, HAPPYcat, managing editor at GWI (which means I’m super important). I come today in place of your usual writers, Syrii and Vims, both of whom I have neatly folded in a trunk somewhere, and I’m going to teach you how to be mean to people using my favorite profession, the
In my time here, editing the columns of all of this website’s other profession columnists, I have been tempted to try every profession in a variety of settings, including literally all of the settings. What does that mean? I don’t know, but nothing stands out in my mind as far as fun is concerned any more than a Necro build I discovered to harass and irritate people in World vs World…
I have a lot of experience playing Necromancers, mostly in Guild Wars 1. While my main character in that game today is a Dervish and not a Necro, I did have a relatively strong Minion Master going up until the Legendary Minion Master Nerf of 2006. In that game update, the Soul Reaping stat was redesigned and how Necros worked in the battlefield was changed radically, to the point that for many players, they stopped working.
I can remember, during the Faction’s Beta Weekend Event, running around in alliance battles on a single team of 12 (no three teams of four business) with 16 bone fiends behind me. I was getting multiple bursts of ten energy every second as two teams of 12 fought and died around me. Many foes were crushed under the advancing weight of my Wall of Bone Fiend, which would reduce any player to a withering, infantile rejection of nature within just a couple of seconds. Usually, it was my enemies that fell this way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my own teammates crumbled at the sight of my awesome power.
Then ArenaNet decided that this was overpowered. The Soul Reaping stat became a much tighter measure for how much energy you got when something nearby died, Death Magic determined how many minions you could control (with a max of 10, though you can often trick the system into letting you use 11), and more. I don’t understand why they had to change a class that made it so easy to destroy EVERYTHING IN FRONT OF YOU, but I hope the name of my Necromancer character – “Anet Plz Fix Iol” – didn’t have something to do with it. (That was really his name, by the way)
Today, I only use Necromancers as heroes. I shed a tear – a big, black, death-riddled tear – every time I see a Bone Fiend strutting along, whipping its split tail back and forth and shooting crap out of its head.
Fast forward to today. Six years later, Guild Wars 2 – like Guild Wars 1 with the release of Factions – has eight professions, and Necromancer is one of them. Is it the same? Are Necromancers those things that people in WvW see before immediately evacuating their bowels and running in the other direction?
Thankfully for the sake of balance, they are far from that (in fact, all of the professions are far from that, which is probably how the game should be). However, while tooling around in the game recently on a Necro tailored for WvW combat only, I found an absolutely genius build that makes the Necromancer not necessarily a formidable opponent on the fields of war… but a large patch of poison ivy that you want to itch, but instead you actually don’t know it’s there and as a result it drives you insane.
THE WEAPON: A staff
For starters, you’re using the staff, a two-handed weapon designed to, well, be a two-handed weapon. It’s complete with all kinds of skills, like other weapons. Have I summarized this well enough for you?
When a Necromancer picks up the staff, he or she (because if there’s anything to fear, it’s a woman who’s a Necromancer) effectively becomes Marks McGee. You get five skills:
- Necrotic Grasp: You shoot hands at people. Awesome.
- Mark of Blood: You drop a mark on the ground. When an enemy stumbles over it, they start hemorrhaging hemoglobin EVERYWHERE. A tidal wave of red drowns out every critter in Tyria whenever you use this skill. The Red Cross relocates its corporate headquarters to the Eternal Battleground and never asks for blood donations again.
- Chilblains: You drop another mark on the ground. If a foe is zany enough to step on it, they’re chilled (as in, they ain’t goin’ anywhere ‘cuz they’re legs are frozen an’ stuff) for several seconds, and poison creeps out of the ground like nobody’s business.
- Putrid Mark: Another mark! When this one is triggered, if you have buddies in the area who themselves are bleeding, chilled, poisoned, etc., they pass that stuff on to your un-buddies like it’s a bad stock option.
- Reaper’s Mark: Scare people by striking Fear in their hearts when they step on this thing.
On the most part, you’re going to use this weapon when you’re standing out of reach of your opponent. Everything has a range of 1,200, the highest available for any skills in the game. In places like WvW, this lets you stand on cliff edges behind attacking foes, where you can drop these marks ON your opponents to your heart’s content. So long as you’re not attacking with the first skill, there’s no possible way for your foes to know where you are. Green stuff just keeps appearing below them, and they can’t figure out why.
There is an effective reason for doing this too. Every point of damage you inflict, that’s one less point of damage your team of defenders have to cause. In fact, many players in a crowd retreat to the back when they need to heal or Regen up to full strength. But if you’re dropping marks on them (and again, they can’t figure out where you are), that becomes a bit harder to do. The battle for them becomes longer and more difficult, and your team is able to amass better support with one less person scratching them up front.
Now, let’s go over the rest of your skills.
- Well of Blood (heal): We might as well keep dropping circles. This one can be used to heal you if necessary, and if you’re with friends, it can heal them just as easily.
- Well of Suffering (utility skill): In short, if you’re stuck in close-quarters combat, this is another Mark-like option you can use to put yourself at an advantage. It dishes out weakness like egg salad dishes out toxins while sitting in the sun.
- Well of Corruption (utility skill): Another close-range option if you get caught nearing the wrong end of something nasty . If your enemies are buffed up, those buffs start to become problems for them.
- Well of Power (utility skill): This is another support-styled circle-dropping thingy that does the opposite of Well of Corruption. If your buddies are bleeding, crippled or any of that other stuff, this turns those frowns upside down.
- Whatever the hell you want (elite skill): I couldn’t choose an Elite skill that works well with… Wells. Or Marks. I would go with Flesh Golem, because having your own dead version of the Hulk running around seems like a bright idea.
And let’s go over your traits:
- Curses (30): Two minor traits here augment your Marks, Barbed Precision (crit hits cause bleeding) and Target the Weak (conditions cause more damage). Your major traits should be Forced Rituals (now you can target your wells anywhere you want), Terror (now that fear Mark does damage!) and Withering Precision (crit hits not only cause bleeding, but now they can cause weakness too!).
- Soul Reaping(30): While standing on a cliff ledge, you’re going to build up a lot of life force, and you’re probably not going to use it much. So this will reward you with having it. Minor traits like Gluttony (filling your meter faster) and Strength of Undeath (rewarding you with power for keeping a full bar) do this well. Your major traits should be Master of Terror (with fear doing damage because of Terror, now it lasts 50 percent longer too!), Soul Marks (your Marks make you a life force generating machine) and Vital Persistence (if you use your life force, say because you’re no longer standing on a cliff ledge, you get to use it longer!!!).
This leaves you with ten points left for traits.
- Spite (5): You get the minor trait Parasitic Bond, which gives you life when something dies. That could be useful.
- Death Magic (5): You get the minor trait Reanimator, which gives you a chance to spawn a Jagged Horror (a minion of Guild Wars 1 fame) when you kill things.
And that concludes my report. Did you like the build? Hate it? Think I’m a social recluse and need to stop messing around in other people’s columns? Voice your grievances here or in the comments below!