I have mained the summoner class in basically every game I’ve played where it’s possible. Necromancer in Diablo 2, Necromancer in Guild Wars, Necromancer in Guild Wars 2, Warlock in World of Warcraft, Witchdoctor in Diablo 3, Crusader with turrets in Inquisitor Martyr and then Tech Adept when that expansion came out, Engineer in TF2, Engineer in Risk of Rain 2, Engineer in Deep Rock Galactic, turrets and conversion build in Payday 2, and many others.
I am a lifelong summoner class player, and I do not like Sienna’s Necromancer. It might even be my least favorite Sienna career.
I have to try and explain why. It’s gnawing at me. Probably because I’m still sore about Heroes of the Storm ruining all of its summoners one by one.
There are lots of ways to play a summoner and a variety of things a summoner player gets out of being a summoner, and I feel like the Necromancer doesn’t really do any of them very well. I like to manage minions, fight alongside them, commanding them, utilizing them to their full potential, but there’s not actually that much to DO with the skeletons except Have Them Around, and resummon them when they die.
Controlling the skeletons is a bit cumbersome and not usually worth the effort or the danger of pulling out a thing you can’t block with. That said I’m not sure how it could be improved, except maybe with its own dedicated button instead of sharing the potion slot. Maybe it could be like Engineer Bardin’s gun, where pressing the Ability Button brings out the control item, and pressing the Ability Button while the control item is equipped will summon the skeletons.
There isn’t very much synergy between the summoning and skeleton related mechanics and the talents. Malediction is good; converting flames into a debuff so most of your ranged attacks become curses. It’s a nice idea, but in practice the skeletons do so little damage that 20% doesn’t really make much of a difference. The fire itself is more likely to kill the enemies than taking extra damage from skeletons, even on the beefed up Dread Seneschal boys. I feel like Malediction should cause 20% increased damage from Sienna but like 50% or 100% increased damage from skeletons.
Instead there’s a bunch of Crit stuff. I feel the bonus crit mechanics are unnecessary. Summoning skeletons to fight for you is like five new things to do in game that no other class has; they should be worked into every aspect of the class, but instead NecroSienna is mostly about critical hits. Lifetaker, Reaping, Cursed Blood, and Soul Harvest can all go. And also Death Ascendant, since it’s boring and has nothing to do with skeletons.
I like the concept of sacrificing skeletons to vent heat, but the item is annoying to keep switching to. Instead of doing this through an item, it should be worked into the use of a staff. This might be good as a Passive, a replacement for Lifetaker, something every build has.
-Venting while at high heat vents lots of heat instantly and deals no damage, but kills a skeleton
-Venting with your staff deals no damage to Sienna if any of her skeletons are alive, they take the damage instead, but take more than Sienna would have. Like, 200% or 300% or something. I don’t know, I’ll leave numbers out of this so you can just pretend it’s balanced.
-If you overcharge, all skeletons die, and you take some damage instead of exploding, with the amount of damage taken decreasing the number of skeletons sacrificed. At least three skeletons are needed, otherwise the damage will still be enough to incapacitate you.
One of these could be the passive, and another could be a Tier 4 talent.
I read the dev post about building NecroSienna into a “Melee” build, a “Ranged” build, and a “Summoner” build, but those aren’t great concepts for the Necromancer Class, because her career skill is always going to be summon skeletons. She’s always a summoner. That needs to be her gimmick that the rest of the career is built around. If someone wants to play Sienna and focus on melee or on ranged, THEY SHOULD PLAY OTHER SIENNA CAREERS.
So instead I’ve been brainstorming three other main builds, all organized around summoning. I’ve kept two of them still tied to the idea of a “melee” build and a “ranged” build though.
Build 1, The Gang Leader
The build for people who play the summoner class because they want to attack as a group.
The “melee” build.
Gets stuck in alongside her skeletons.
Does most of the damage herself with melee attacks.
The summoner and the minions support each other.
Rarely bothers to pull out the skeleton command item.
Become stronger when skeletons are close.
Skeletons are buffed when Sienna is in melee.
Build 2, The Taskmaster
The build for people who play summoner because they like to sit back and laugh while they throw expendable minions to their deaths.
The “ranged” build.
Fights at range, minions are her meat shield.
Does most of the damage herself with ranged attacks.
Minions are there to support the summoner.
Uses the skeleton command item every now and again to make them form lines.
Spends skeletons like a resource.
Build 3, The Commander
The build for people who play summoner because they like to support their minions and control the battlefield from afar.
The most summoniest summoner build.
Fights at range, but is mostly focused on managing minions.
Skeletons do as much damage or more damage than Sienna.
Minions are there for the summoner to support.
Uses her attacks to ignite enemies so that minions will do more damage to them
Constantly switching between her weapon and the skeleton command item.
Possible Tier 2 Talents
Some form of buffing Sienna while she’s near her skeletons:
-Danse Macabre is basically fine and would fit here, perhaps changed to be proximity based.
-Sienna gains a small amount of damage reduction for each skeleton within a small range around her, skeletons gain this same amount as well.
Some form of buffing Sienna at the expense of her skeletons
-Skeletons generate significantly more threat, even more if they are near Sienna or if they’re ordered to form a line
-A percentage of damage Sienna takes is dealt to her skeletons instead
Some form of buffing skeletons at Sienna’s expense
-Sienna’s ranged attacks deal considerably less damage, but always ignite, and charged ranged attacks ignite enemies in an area
-Malediction increases damage from skeletons by a much greater amount, but no longer increases Sienna’s damage
Possible Tier 4 Talents
Some form of buffing skeletons from having Sienna in melee
-Sienna’s heavy attack kills heal nearby skeletons
-Sienna’s light attacks increase skeleton damage by a small amount for a short time, can stack a lot
Some form of utilizing skeleton deaths
-Skeletons grant a short lived damage bonus to Sienna when they die, significantly more and for much longer if sacrificed
-Skeletons grant Sienna a bunch of temporary health when they die, more if sacrificed
-Skeletons explode when they die, explode bigger if sacrificed
-Ordering skeletons to attack something causes one of them to suicide bomb the target
-A better method of venting via skeleton sacrifice, as mentioned above
Some form of buffing skeletons from Sienna attacking at range
-Igniting your skeletons with your own spells buffs them in some way, like for example healing them, raising their damage, giving them damage reduction, or some combination.
Possible Tier 5 Talents - Raise Dead Augment
-Barrow Blades (unchanged), can use Raise Dead like an area disruption attack, and causes skeletons to ignite enemies so that Sienna can do more damage to them.
-Raise Dead summons two additional skeletons with additional health. These two skeletons will always stay by Sienna’s side even if she orders her skeletons elsewhere, and will perform a charge attack at any enemy that attacks Sienna in melee.
-Or maybe one of the On Skeleton Death talents mentioned above
-A variation of Army of the Dead that increases max skeletons, and possibly reduces cooldown, perhaps by a flat amount, or maybe by a small amount on crit or ranged kill or when a skeleton is sacrificed or something.
-Or Army of the Dead unchanged, as having more skeletons in general would synergize well with being able to blow them up somehow. This would be more useful than Army of the Dead currently is, since skeleton damage is crap and twenty seconds doesn’t really let them be good guards.
-Dread Seneschal, skeletons are stronger, gain substantial bonus damage when ordered to attack, and gain substantial damage reduction when ordered to defend.
Right now only the Gang Leader is possible, and only because it’s the one of my three that has the least to do with skeletons and the most to do with Sienna. But it’s also my least favorite, for the same reason. I don’t expect this to be read much less implemented, but like I said my disappointed in NecroSienna has been really gnawing at me. If nothing changes about her, I’m just not gonna play Necromancer anymore. Boo.