Skullin’ Up: Guild Wars 2’s Necromancer

The necromancer, as you might imagine, fiddles with dead things. He (or she, as necromancers are just as likely to be comely ladies) also doesn’t die when he’s dead, instead becoming the “death shroud” figure and continuing to battle his enemies even after his corpse has fallen. A bit like me with blogging. The keyboard continues to type even after I am slumped down in a coma beneath my desk. Spooky. The full necromancer page is here. I’ve posted the five clips of the necromancer in action below, for no good reason. If you want to scare yourself, try playing them all at the same time for nightmarish cacophony of sound effects that you are doubtless going to hear ten million times if you ever actually play as a necromancer.

Guild Wars 2 preview and interview coming up next week!


  1. Snall says:

    I like to me comely ladies.

  2. Pete says:

    Thank you for suggesting that nightmarish cacophony Jim, I now wish to hide somewhere.

    Still looking promising this, though part of me fears that with a HUD and scrollingt battle text and all that nonsense it’ll ultimately prove less dissimilar to the MMO norm than they’re preaching.

  3. Lambchops says:

    Ooh, my poor ears. i’m going to have nightmares now I tell you. Probably of a giant Jim Rossingol head assaluting me with an aural barrage of otherworldly noises of terror.

    • Lambchops says:

      Jim Rossingol being Jim Rossignol’s evil twin obviously.

    • Ian says:

      Jim Rossignol’s Aural Barrage of Otherworldly Noises of Terror

      Now that’s a band I’d pay good money to go and see.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      We’re both the evil twin.

    • RakeShark says:

      Wouldn’t playing them all at the same time backwards reveal a hidden message from the super secret third Jim Rossingol good twin?

  4. wm says:

    “as necromancers are just as likely to me comely ladies”

    I think there’s a typo here. You forgot the comma in front of comely ladies. (Are comely ladies really all you write for?)

    • mbp says:

      I think he is saying that he is just as likely to get off with a necromancer as a he is with a comely lady. That’s what it says to me anyway.

    • TeeJay says:

      Yarr pirate-like speaking day ’tis it be yarr, me lubblery jubberlies!

  5. Muzman says:

    Needs more Overacting.

  6. LemonyTang says:

    The whole death shroud thingy looks great, adds a lot more depth to a character who was a bit boring in GW1

  7. socialize says:

    “…try playing them all at the same time for nightmarish cacophony of sound effects…”
    Tried it, and I must admit, it actually sounds pretty darn awesome…

  8. manveruppd says:

    The necro’s my favourite character in GW1, bit slow-burning at the start of the fight,highly situational, but when everything clicks he can overwhelm the opposition! I’ll never forget watching War Machine playing on a smurf account of theirs and using a build that nobody would have seriously considered at the time: Greater Conflagration, 2 elementalists with Mark of Rodgort, and a minion master necro! A stupidly elaborate combo that never should’ve worked, but they completely rolled over all the opposition they met! :)

    • Kryopsis says:

      What was the game type? I am incredulous to believe that this could’ve worked in the Hall of Heroes. Then again, if you say it was War Machine…

  9. Toast says:

    Keep your damn filthy bones outta my mouth. ..

  10. Swyyw says:

    Anyone else reminded of link to ? :p

  11. Pani says:

    Now that’s how to do evil magic in games! All except the last video, which was a bit genericy magic, they were all spooky and cool. I just wished that the arms that came from the ground would’ve pulled the enemies down with them.

    • EtsSpets says:

      This is actually something that has been missing from the MMORPG s and what i proposed like 3 years ago when GW2 was still an idea more or less. That the environment needs to react to what you are doing. They have implemented a little bit of it but its still not enough. The flammable things should burn, melt-able melt etc.

      The other thing is co-op combos etc…ahh well the games will never be as good as i can imagine them :)

  12. Seras says:

    pretty interesting, seems like you only get one minion ‘set’ at a time…though some sets seem to contain more than one minion(not sure if that’s based on the minion type, a skill/attribute level or both)

    will make the MinionMaster meta pretty different, i’ll miss the extra crowd control around me in PVE, but i also have many bad memories of AB matches with 5-6 player MM squads herding 40-50 minions around.

    i really like how the skill gets replaced with ‘destroy this minion for effect x”…that was always the weak point of player MMs vs AI MMs, not being able to easily target your minion for those effects.

    this rounds out the 4 classes we were pretty sure about being in the game, the last 4 are the real mystery…i’m guessing some monk/paragon replacement, hopefully mesmers, some ritualist/druid affair and …? can’t wait to find out

  13. Tei says:

    This videos are somewhat misleading of the real product.

    With the UI off, and carefully selected scenes, this looks more like a world than a theme park experience.
    While the real game will look more like AION 3.0 or something like that.

    Playing withouth UI is not a viable option with MMO’s, even singleplayer RPG’s. And I doubt we will see roaming mobs (much less in packs) in this game. Are expensive serverside. Maybe as a scripted event (so you know will show, theres no surprise).

    Guild Wars 2 as a DikuMUD clone will have necromancers in two flavours: overpowered, or underpowered. And there will be two ways to play it: pet tanking, or dealing necro damage that maybe will heal you.

    The promise of this videos is not what the game will deliver, GW2 will be a better AION. Maybe we all sould start looking forward for Guild Wars 3, because if GW3 is anything like this videos, it will be the second comming of jesus, or something.

    • Tei says:

      Lobotomize, are you there? I summon you!, what is your opinion about this?

    • Rii says:

      Fortunately we already know what the real game looks like courtesy of Gamescom.

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      Thanks for mentioning that about the videos. Went and looked them up, and I was quite impressed. They’ve really got some snazzy ideas I honestly don’t think I’ve seen before in these kind of games.

      Interesting tidbits…
      Moving while casting
      Dodging projectiles (like arrows or a fireball spell)
      Elementalist switching affinities on the fly (Offense not the best defense? Then go on the defensive and switch to water instead of fire)
      Manning turrets/cannons
      Basic Resurrection abilities integrated to all players

      Gameplay wise it certainly does look like an evolution of GW1. I was quite surprised how different yet similar it seemed to be.

    • Seras says:

      oh look, random uninformed trolling courtesy of tei, how unexpected

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I think describing Tei’s postings as trolling are missing the point of Tei.

    • Okami says:

      It’s a teaser, Tei. Get over it.

    • Okami says:

      @Jim: “The point of Tei” sounds like an awesome philosophy textbook. Somebody should write it.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah, but why is he saying it’ll be like Aion? If by like it you mean not really like it all then yeah. I mean it will have a whole bunch of similarities, what with them both being MMO’s. But considering the focus of Aion is PvP between factions and Guild Wars 2 looks to be PvE focused I’m not sure what he’s on about.

    • Tei says:

      Ignore my comment, and watch the real game in gamescon. And be prepared for more people comparing it to AION. Some for superficial reasons (most), like I did here. AION is a different game, so wen I compare it to aion, I only compare the surface, not the interior.. I don’t know the interior of GW2.
      AION is ultimatelly shallow and unfullfilling, I guest GW2 will be a different thing.

    • Ignorant Texan says:


      Are you refering to the change in the Asuran look from ill-bathed cats to Hello Kitty? If so, I’m with you in that regard.

    • Tei says:

      Humm… no. My comment has not deep at all. I mean what is written. This game will look more like AION than this video. This video make it look like some genius sandbox adventure world where nothing is scripted and you can live a adventure much like in books or comics. The real product delivered will be a typical MMORPG exepericence. Comparing to AION makes sense because AION is very pretty (really is) and GW2 will be as pretty as it, and more, with some asian style shared.

      Probably I sould not have compared it to AION, since that may make some fans angry. Sorry about that, I don’t really like AION at all, but that don’t transfer to GW2 style and spirit. I hope the best for GW2.

  14. Jez says:

    As an MMO noob, I quite wonder how the Sylvari (elfthingymajigpeople) come from the forest but can be Necros? Surely they’re naturey and don’t like bad devil shit? Or is that just a retarded WoW perspective and in most MMOs you can be any race-class?

    • Tei says:

      As a side note, helping the people that just die “traverse” correctly is the most important task in any religion with shamans/monks. I suppose I can reply you with a oneline: dead is part of life. In a forest theres a lof of life, yes, and equal quantity of dead, an the dead of some, support the life of the others. Also in the game.

    • BlooDeck says:

      In the book Jez the sylvari main character is a necromancer. She finds death fascinating because her people have never experienced natural death (An “old” sylvari is about 25 years old or something). And I’d imagine sylvari would say stuff like death is part of the cycle of life and all that.

    • mrmud says:

      I was under the impression that necromancy was all about breaking the circle of life by reanimating the dead.

    • Guildenstern says:

      One interesting thing about GW lore is that necromancers are not really “evil”. They are legitimate servants of legitimate God of Death who is as respected as all other gods, and who allows them to manipulate corpses in exchange for their worship and service.

  15. pakoito says:

    A grim necromancer instead of a wizard dressing black and purple? wow that’s good news.

  16. Guildenstern says:

    What I DON’T like the sound of is that they are giving necromancers Fear spell that seems like a carbon copy of warlock’s spell from WoW. GW1 was unique in that it didn’t have any abilities that took away control of your character completely while still providing plenty of options to mess your enemy up by interrupts, slowdowns, skill disablements etc. Losing control of your character isn’t fun.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I seem to remember the first game having disables and fears. You could definitely get knocked down.

      But yeah I hate Fear spells. It’s actually why I gave up on King’s Bounty. I kept getting Feared. I would still win the fight but I wouldn’t get to control any of it. Where’s the fun in that?

    • Guildenstern says:

      Oh yeah, I forgot about knockdowns. But those were pretty brief. And you could use stances and shouts even when knocked down I believe.

    • Nick says:

      Don’t forget that the abilities can function differently in PvE and PvP, it may act some other way in PvP for all we know.

      Here’s hoping anyway.

    • Hyudra says:

      Wholly agree re: Fear. I read it and my heart sank.

      In the original game, there was only really knockdown, and that lasted for only ~1 second, usually with some hefty cost or prerequisite to it.

      Kind of wish MMOs would focus on control skills that give players a choice and leave them in control of their character. Diversion in GW1 was a great example – It was a 6 second duration hex in the Mesmer profession. “For 6 seconds, if the hexed opponent uses a skill, that skill takes an additional 10…57 seconds to recharge and this hex ends.” (Duration depends on investment in the Domination Magic discipline).

      In play, it works out as something very similar to a six second silence, but players do have the option of using a skill if they want to face the drawback, burning a situational skill with the knowledge they’ll have to wait more than a minute to use it again, or trusting an ally to remove the effect.

    • Nick says:

      Well, there were knockdowns that lasted 2 and 3 seconds and one that lasts 4 (restricted to primary warriors with a hammer now however, anyone with a hammer and warrior secondary previously). Also blackout which meant you couldn’t use any skills for a short period.

    • Burc says:

      The blackout-spell (as diversion mentioned above) was an “optional” block. Every spell you cast hurts you something fierce, but if you really needed the spell, or had a healer on sandby, you could take it.

  17. Guildenstern says:

    Also, 12 minute cooldowns on some abilities? Not cool.

    • Seras says:

      cool if warranted by the ability.

      if using long cooldowns allows them to add powerful skills (that wouldn’t be viable if they could be spammed) then that’s a fair trade off.

    • Guildenstern says:

      Pretty much nothing in GW1 had more then 1 minute cooldown, and it was fine. Long cooldowns are boring.

    • Ignorant Texan says:


      I keep seeing a 12 minute cooldown mentioned for elites and wonder where this information comes from. Is this official in anyway? Or is it extrapolated from the blur-o-cam vids on the web?(I’ll admit my eyesight is pretty poor, and I am unable to read most text from those). And, if from the aforementioned vids, could it have been to keep folks from spamming during the Gamescom demo, like the nerfed Bosses?

    • Guildenstern says:

      I believe that information is from the demo.

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Gracias, Guildenstern, must be a bit deaf too. >_<

    • Wulf says:

      Hm, I’m seeing a lot of worrying over skills with cooldowns without actually any understanding of how the system works, which means that the worry is completely out of context. So let me do a bit of explaining, here, starting off with a numbered point list…

      1. There are just 10 skills in Guild Wars 2 (only two more than Guild Wars 1).
      2. ONE skill on the bar has a twelve minute cooldown.
      3. This ONE elite skill is a skill that does ludicrous levels of nuke damage.

      The points 1 and 2 are to show that there’s none of that hateful 80 skills over five bars nonsense you find in MMORPGs like WoW, where all you do is watch screens filled with bars, meters, and cooldowns. If anything, Guild Wars 2 (like Guild Wars) is the anti-WoW. There are no dedicated healers (and no locked down and enforced holy trinity), so no bar watching, there are no bars filling up your screen, filled with cooldowns, just 10 skills and one of those skills has a long cooldown.

      The idea of that one skill with the long cooldown is so that it’ll work like nuke items in action-adventure games, or power bombs in shoot ’em ups, you have a limited amount of them, so you only pull them out when you need them. Most the time you’ll be using the first five skills, the skills of your weapons, to do the damage. Yet every now and then, when you’re in a pinch, you’ll be able to use a nuke skill to get yourself out of a jam.

      For those new to GW2, here’s the lowdown on the bar:

      [ 1 – 5 are weapons skills ] [ 6 – 8 are utility skills ] [ 9 – a heal skill ] [ 10 – an elite skill ]

      Only the elite skill seems to have a cooldown of any worth, in the demo all other cooldowns seemed to go by very quickly, with a focus on action there.

      1 – 5 are determined by your weapons, I’ll explain.

      Say you have a sword and a shield? Your bar will look like this:

      [ 1 – 3 are sword attack skills ]
      [ 4 – 5 are shield defence skills ]

      What if you’re wielding two axes?

      [ 1 – 5 are dual-wielding axe skills ]

      And each profession will have different sets of skills, depending on what they do. So for example, a Fire-attuned Elemental will have [ 1 – 5 dual-wielding fire daggers of doom based skills ], and this has been shown in the gameplay videos.

      Furthermore, in the gameplay videos, a Charr Elementalist was shown, primarily he used his weapon skills, sometimes using his utility skills, and once he turned into a freaking tornado of lightning spitting doom and did tremendous damage. As you can likely guess, the latter instance was the elite skill, and you have one elite skill, so you won’t be worrying about the timer, you’ll just save that skill until you really need it, that’s the idea.

      Utility skills? Well, to use the ranger as an example; one Ranger utility skill could be a fire trap, another could be to toss dirt in the eyes of a foe, distracting them. To use the Necromancer as an example; one Necromancer utility skill might summon a bone minion, another skill might order the bone minion to ‘splode.

      So here’s the bar again…

      [ 1 – 3 skills for whatever is in main hand (weapon) ]
      [ 4 – 5 skills for whatever is in off hand (shield, warhorn) ]
      — or —
      [ 1 – 5 two handed weapon skills ]
      — or —
      [ 1 – 5 dual-wielding weapon skills ]

      [ 6 – 8 utility skills ]

      [ 9 is a heal ]

      [ 10 is the elite nuke skill ]

      Once you understand the mechanics, the one skill with the cooldown doesn’t seem so bad, does it? In context, it makes a lot of sense. And believe me, if it were the regular skills that had cooldowns like that, I’d be complaining too. :P

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      Wulf –

      My question was in relation to the source for the seeming panic about a 7 minute cooldown, not any concern as to time per se on my part. Having played all the campaigns, the expansion, and even the ‘bonus’ missions, I trust ANet to get things right. They are one of the only devs I can say that about.

  18. pakoito says:

    link to

    Necros skills include auras, AoE “totems” and minion summoning, aside from the usual damage spells. They also can fake death and something something…

  19. Kadayi says:

    Cool, but I hate the ‘witty’ audio comments. I hope they are place holders.

    • Nick says:

      you will be able to turn them off and they aren’t as frequent in the game proper, according to devs.

    • Kadayi says:


      Thank god for that.

    • Nick says:

      I totally agree, hate them myself too. Hopefully I can lower the particle density a lot too…

  20. Ezhar says:

    These spell effects don’t suck.

    Also, was that Fjola and Eydis in the last clip?