Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer for Xbox One review — Is the addition worth $15?

Diablo III just picked up a brand new DLC, breathing new life (or "unlife?") into the industry-leading action RPG.

Diablo III is an incredible action game from Blizzard Entertainment, available on Xbox One and PC. Not only does it fully support online and offline cooperative play, but it keeps seeing new features, content updates, and more, giving the game some serious longevity.

The previous DLC, Reaper of Souls, was a full-blown story expansion, complete with new characters, new cut-scenes, and an all-new hero class, the Crusader. The Necromancer DLC is nowhere near as beefy.

For $15, you get the all-new, fully-voiced Necromancer class, a series staple from Diablo II, and various cosmetic items. The DLC's launch also saw the addition of new areas for adventure mode and other new challenges for end-game players, all of which are free to existing players.

So, is the Necromancer DLC worth it? Read on, friends.

Diablo III: Necromancer — What you'll like

Straight up, the Necromancer is overpowered right now, so if you want to get in on the carnage, do so quickly. Blizzard will nerf this boney dude any moment.

What makes the Necromancer overpowered? It's a combination of things, but thankfully Diablo III has near-perpetual scaling difficulty, allowing you to ramp up the difficulty every time you start feeling too powerful.

As of this writing, I'm level 60 on my Necromancer, playing on Torment III difficulty. I deal so much damage and have so many minions that I can tear through huge groups of enemies in seconds, never taking agro myself. The skeletal archers, knights, and risen dead do that for me. It's so much fun.

One man army. 💀 #Diablo3 @TheJoshKerwin pic.twitter.com/PX0K5Sfy8p— Jez✖ (@JezCorden) 29 June 2017

The Necromancer uses "essence" as its primary resource, which builds up using primary attacks. Some of these include a ghostly scythe slash, bone spikes from beneath the ground, and blood siphoning (which also heals you). You can spend essence on more powerful attacks, including the summoning of skeletal mages, the spreading of debilitating curses, and various other diabolical abilities.

The Necromancer, like other classes, has a full complement of abilities, passive skills, and modifiers, allowing you to tailor your playstyle in all sorts of ways. You could play a bone-armored Necromancer who gets up close and personal, using ghostly scythes and other melee-range abilities. You could focus on minions and build up huge armies of undead creatures, which follow you around and do your bidding. You could even ditch minions all together and focus on necromantic ranged attacks.

For my Necromancer, I'm leaning heavily on the class's other resource: corpses. When playing as a Necromancer, every time an enemy dies, a corpse spawns and becomes available to manipulate in various ways. You can make them explode, dealing area damage. You can devour them, to restore health. You can resurrect them, to add to your army, or leverage a combination of abilities.

I'm using a build that generates additional corpses when my summoned or controlled minions die. Then, I use "corpse lance" to transform the bones of the fallen into giant spikes, which deal huge amounts of damage. The downside is, of course, that I'm a total glass cannon. If an elite mob even looks at me funny, I evaporate. The Necromancer has plenty of survival tools, I just wanted to see how much damage I could get out of this guy.

In the midst of a field of corpses, I've been able to fell bosses incredibly quickly by sending dozens of corpse lances flying at the target, modified to deal stacking damage. It feels like something Blizzard will adjust, eventually, but for now, playing the Necromancer is hilariously powerful and satisfying.

Diablo III: Necromancer — What you won't like

There seems to be a missed opportunity somewhere here for the Necromancer to have been part of a larger DLC. You have to wonder if the new areas Blizzard patched into the game for free were originally slated to be part of a larger effort.

The Necromancer DLC isn't cheap at $15, considering all you get is a new class and some cosmetics. The Necromancer is fully voiced, and has some of his or her own cutscenes, dialogue and armor types throughout the whole game, though. The art effort alone is pretty large for the Necromancer, and he feels as much a part of the base game as any other class.

That said, I can't help but wonder why some aspects of the Necromancer's inclusion couldn't be more fleshed out. For Reaper of Souls, for example, Blizzard added a ton of lore tomes to give greater context to the new Crusader class. Every now and then the Necromancer will mention the Priests of Rathma, and the "balance" between life and death. But the DLC leaves you hungry for more information on the Necromancer's ethos and motivations that don't seem present in-game.

Blizzard could have done a little more to help slot the Necromancer into the game's world too. It's jarring when the kids of Caldeum seem completely at ease with the fact that a dude just walked into their city, followed by an army of undead and a grotesque flesh golem. For the Death Knight DLC in World of Warcraft, Blizzard added some negative NPC reactions to the Death Knight's presence as you walked through the major cities, enhancing the overall fantasy of the class.

Final thoughts

Diablo III's Necromancer plugs a hole in the heart of long-time fans of the franchise, who wished for the return of the Diablo II staple. It brings a huge amount of versatility, allowing for solo play, ranged damage, support, and melee, with beautifully rendered armor sets to compensate. The voice acting is well realized, and the Necromancer is just so damn fun to play and learn.


  • The Necromancer is fun to play.
  • The Necromancer should suit all playstyles.


  • It's a little pricey.
  • There's not much Necromancer story content.

At $15, I would've liked to have seen a little more story content, even if it was just some additional lore, but that's a personal gripe. Most players will probably be too busy relishing the bloody carnage the Necromancer can bring, which is considerable. This is a great addition to Diablo III, one I highly recommend to fans of all of Diablo's existing classes.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!