At BlizzCon 2018 we sat down with the team behind the upcoming mobile game Diablo Immortal to talk about bringing the franchise to an even smaller screen.
Talking Diablo Immortal with Blizzard
Plus, of course, plenty of B.O.B. - Ashe’s trusty Omnic sidekick.
Talking Overwatch and the 29th Hero Ashe with Jeff Kaplan
Our in-depth conversation with with Microsoft’s Chris Charla, the head of its indie platform – ID@Xbox.
In Conversation - Talking Indies and More with Chris Charla
We go through the history of Alienware, the rise of esports, and becoming the market leader with co-founder Frank Azor.
Ahead of the Curve - The Alienware Story
Corpses Everywhere: Hands-On with the Diablo 3 Necromancer on Console
Post by KostaAndreadis @ 01:05pm 04/07/17 | Comments
The Rise of the Necromancer pack for Diablo III beings back a fan favourite class. We take the master of the undead for a spin on console.

When Diablo III first made its way to consoles, starting on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, there was understandable trepidation by a lot of die-hard fans that the series would probably lose something in the translation. As someone who has regularly played the game since the misguided inception of the 2012 Auction House to the worthy reinvention that came alongside the Reaper of Souls expansion, getting Diablo III for the current generation of consoles was perhaps the smartest impulse buy one could make. For those that have played Diablo III, or still play the game on PS4 or Xbox One, then you’ll understand that sentiment. Especially if you’ve also sunk in an insane number of hours into the PC version.

Diablo III works exceptionally well as a console game.

Which, is thanks to the team at Blizzard that went that extra mile to provide what is anything but a port. And depending on the character and build, you could argue that it might just be the superior version. Yeah, it’s that good. Throw in stuff like patch and content parity and you can see why other Blizzard console titles, like Overwatch, have been so successful regardless of platform. The bar was set high with Diablo III. Now, if only Blizzard would release a console version of Heroes of the Storm using the same level of care and attention they put into Diablo III then we’d be set. Ahem. That’s a topic for another time because we’re here to talk about the new Necromancer class for Diablo III. Specifically, the consolemancer. Or, how the new class and Diablo II favourite stacks up with a controller.

After spending several hours with the PC closed beta, and a few days now of solid console-Necromancy, the long-story-short version is that the Necromancer is a joy on console.

So. Much. Fun.

The Corpse Lance Speed Build – Version 1.0

To say the Necromancer feels great on console, is more than just a statement. Outside of the core design of the class, which is steeped in the sort of choices that could only come from a game that has had time to mature and grow over a couple of years, you should probably know that the Necromancer is the first Diablo III class to be designed with both PC and console players in mind. This means a development process that went to great lengths to ensure that skills, builds, and playstyles felt natural and intuitive across two very different input methods – the controller and the keyboard and mouse combination.
Also, thanks to a class that has been designed to support several very different playstyles – melee, pet, speed, poison, sacrificing life, and many more -- comparing one person’s Necromancer to another’s would be like, err, comparing two things that are different. Like apples and orange demons. The point being, this is what I decided to come up with when reaching level 70 with my Necromancer on Xbox One.

Okay, so the big smile on my face right now probably needs a little explanation. But mainly, it was really just a sequence of events and eureka moments that led to the above. Dubbed the ‘Corpse Lance Speed Build’ it’s based around the first two set pieces that dropped for me whilst playing, which came from the Pestilence Master’s Shroud set.

Plus, I love speedy builds.

For someone who has played a lot of Diablo III, being able to put new builds together and experiment with a brand-new class can be a great experience in and of itself. But, the sheer (viable) variety of different combinations on offer with the Necromancer takes things to a new level.

Taking the two-set bonus for Pestilence Master’s Shroud as a basis, which states that any corpse you consume will fire off a Corpse Lance at an enemy, it was time to get to work. As the Necromancer is an active class for the most part, it was by chance that when combined with the Devour Rune that surrounds the Necromancer with a small area-of-effect circle that automatically consumes corpses to restore Essence – that this build began to take shape. Being able to run around and over corpses to create full-screen chaos was simply too much fun to pass up.

But here’s where it gets interesting -- combined with the Boon of the Hoarder Legendary Gem (which causes enemies to explode with gold when they die) and the Avarice Band ring (which increases movement speed and pick-up radius whenever you pick-up gold), the build enters the realm of pure genius. With the key reason being that the Devouring Aura Rune’s small circle of exploding corpse-influence quickly becomes a massive circle of exploding corpse-influence.

The Corpse Lance Speed Build “Golem Spears” – Version 2.0

Here’s what the build looked like a few hours later running a Torment 10 rift. Which, for Diablo fans is the sweet spot for being able to get a decent amount of crafting materials as quickly as possible.

Basically, what happened in the jump to Torment 10 was that Corpse Lances were no longer able to one shot monsters, which meant relying on Bone Spear to do most of the work when the going got tough. Plus, it became a lot harder to keep the corpse consumption stacks up for all the bonus damage. So, this meant a switch to a Golem for the sole purpose of using Moribund Gauntlets – which has a passive that causes your Golem to “shed a corpse every second”. Problem solved.

Again, this was how I chose to play the Necromancer on console. With the ability to freely experiment and put together various combinations of items and runes and passive abilities, this quickly evolved from something that was fun at lower levels to a viable Torment 10 speed build to play. And it’s something that I continue to tinker with swapping out different weapons, armour pieces, and amulets. Plus, there’s probably a better version of it out there waiting to be put together.

For a detailed version of the build, including all the items, skills, and passive abilities -- head here.

And stay tuned for the next console-specific build we put together, one that thanks to a few very lucky Primal Ancient drops, might just be one of the most powerful in the game. The Bone Storm of Holy Light.