Improvements for necromancer

Hello fellow Necromancers

I have few hints how to improve the class to make it overall better, more fun to play, and suitable for additional variety of builds.

Shrunken Heads automod
That “Add X-Y poison damage over Z seconds” is absolute, useless crap. To make it interesting it should be changed to “Add X-Y poison damage over Z seconds to your minions’ and yours attacks and spells”. Alternative is to replace it by +mana, or +life, or a combination of these.
Or another idea, perfectly fitting to necromancer theme - “+X life and mana on kill”.

Summoning tree improvements

  • Summon Resists - remove Golem Mastery prerequisite, make it standalone level 24 or 30 skill. If it cannot be standalone move all golems column to the far left, and switch place with Iron Golem.
  • Raise Skeletal Mage - should be given damage increase, maybe just every level not each 2nd one. In addition however, I propose to give them stronger spells since some level, say 20 - fire mages should use Fireball not Firebolt, lightning ones Lightning, cold ones Glacial Spike, poison ones some kind of poison fireball. Maybe there might be 2nd tier of spells for them, like Blizzard, Meteor/Hydra, Chain Lightning, Poison Nova at level 30+, or:
  • Raise Skeletal Archer instead of Skeletal Mage - after exchanging ideas with @Skulm we agreed that better and easier solution would be replacement of mages by Skeletal Archers. The archers would shoot physical arrows, with a random elemental addon on top of their damage, like many enemy skeletal archers encountered in the game. Of course, the archers need to deal solid damage, and scale that with levels well, not as pitiful like current mages do. Their AI also have to be more aggressive so they will actually attack not wander around or stand still, like mages often do. The main benefit of archers there will be benefiting from Amplify Damage and various auras like Might, Concentration and Fanaticism, as they deal mainly physical damage.
  • Revive - remove prerequisite from Iron Golem. If you move the whole column with golems you can create a prerequisite from Summon Resists instead of Iron Golem - assuming there must be a connection between Summon Resists and other summoning skills. Other improvements for the skill, inspired by discussion with @Skulm, are:
    • +10s second increased duration with each soft level.
      Then with hard points investment the skill should gain:
    • lv5-10 ability to revive normally unressurecteable monsters, like Baal’s Minion of Destruction/Oblivion Knights etc.
    • lv11-15 ability to revive champions(blue enemies) and minions of an unique enemy without lowering them down to base type.
    • lv16+ ability to revive unique monsters, but not super uniques.
    • Hard Revive level should be added to all skills the revived monster have, ex. assuming Vampire normally casts lv10 Meteor, having 10 hard points in Revive would make it to cast lv20 Meteor.
    • Each hard point in Revive should increase by 5% revived monster’s characteristics like crushing blow, deadly strike, open wounds etc.
  • Golem Mastery - in addition to what it currently does it should allow to summon additional golem per 10 levels. These extra golems might be of the same type.
  • Blood Golem - allow it to share leeched life not only with player, but also with mercenary and minions.
  • Fire Golem - make it grant bonuses of his Holy Fire(+X-Y fire damage to attacks and spells) to whole party.
  • All golems - should have their damage increased significantly(at higher levels), to be at least as strong as skeleton warriors. They also should always hit, and don’t rely on attack.

These changes will allow to create a completely new build - Golemancer; it could focus either on pure destructive power thanks to damage increase for all golems, or use them as support units. Hardly usable golem types(blood, fire) should become a real alternative for clay and iron ones. Those interested only in skeletons and revives, without touching golems, could save points required to pick Clay Golem and Golem Mastery just to be able to pick Summon Resists. Skeletal mages with access to better spells also should become a viable alternative to other summons.

Poison and bone tree improvements

  • Teeth - allow it to shotgun the same foe. No piercing.
  • Bone Spirit - make it twice as fast as it is now - it will still be slow, but usable a bit. Also allow it to seek targets whose are not in sight range, ex. those hidden behind a corner; if it’ll create problems in PvP make its target lock radius against players be 1/2 or 1/4 of that used to lock on monsters if the enemy player is out of sight line.
  • Bone Wall - allow players to control direction of the wall, by clicking and holding assigned button, then moving a mouse in a direction, then releasing the button - the wall should arise at the drawn by cursor line. A quick press/release should create Bone Wall the way it currently works.
  • Bone Prison - allow it to be cast on the ground, or on player. Also, let it spill toxic fumes inside it, whose deal poison damage. Add synergies for extra poison damage to other poison skills.
  • Poison Dagger - rename it to Poison Attack(or somelike), and make it work with any weapon that has blade, also bows and crossbows. Add new synergies - with Lower Resist “reduces enemy poison resistance on hit by X”, and with Bone Armor or Amplify Damage “increase attack rating by X%”. Make the duration shorter, just 1s not 2s.
  • Poison Explosion - a quick improvement for it is just to add increase of explosion radius per level, as Corpse Explosion has. However, as the skill will still be mechanically just a clone of Corpse Explosion it’d be best to get rid of it entirely, and replace it by skill Vile Alchemy, (or Rotting Marrow) “Add X-Y poison damage over 2s to your, and your minions, attacks and spells”
  • Poison Nova - allow it to stack damage once per 10 levels - so lv20 PN can be triple cast to deal triple poison DoT damage.

Poison Attack, especially with Vile Alchemy, might open some real builds based on attacking enemies with a weapon. Bone spells could also use Vile Alchemy bonus as a way to counter magic immunities, and to stop healing. Teeth could become great boss killer, and improved spirit, wall and prison should open more tactical options. Poison Nova finally will work with faster cast rate, and be strong without Death’s Web.

Curses tree improvements

  • Amplify Damage - add effect “Magic damage taken: +100%”, capable of breaking magic immunity at usual, 1/5 rate. That’s way bonemancer will have his own mean to increase magic damage, like hammerdin has his Concentration aura.
  • Weaken - although it’ll be improved in 2.4 patch, however the whole design of the skill is flawed, and it won’t ever win competition with Decrepify. Therefore, I suggest to replace it with targetable curse Focus “Your minions and allies attack the selected enemy, and gain X% attack rating against him/her”. Focus, like Attract, shall not be overwritten by other curses. And credit for @Taranto1989 for initial idea.
  • Confusion - the problem with it is how randomly it works, sadly for now I have no idea how to fix it. Might be good to remove it entirely, this way a skill point can be saved on the way to Attract which works fine.
  • Lower Resist - the skill itself is okay, however its scaling with levels is atrocious. Make it same as Conviction has, at the cost of radius if must.

Curses need least fixing, and in general all of them are very good and helpful, with the exceptions of Weaken and Confusion.

I hope it was interesting reading, ofc if you have own notes feel free to share.


I’m not a PvPer myself but Bone Spirit is largely a PvP skill to begin with (Bone Spear for PvM) and this would seriously obliterate PvP, the community for which is already seriously concerned about the previous damage buffs to the skill.

Damage buffs can be mitigated by “% damage reduction vs players” modifications, should Blizzard ever seek to rebalance for PvP without affecting PvM. But if you change the actual mechanics of how it moves, then rebalancing is closer to impossible.

I’m not PvP guy too, but as far as I’m aware duels usually take place just outside Act I camp - there there are not any corners to obstruct visibility. Also, even 2x faster Bone Spirit still will be rather easily outrunned by players. So, my proposed changes won’t really change much how BS behaves in PvP(will be a bit better, true), but it’ll improve it significantly in PvE thanks to adding some tactical utility.

Im with you on the poison dagger and curse tree 100%. Confusion and weaken are literally useless. Poison dagger isn’t anywhere close to good necro skills. Lower res buff would make the suggested psn-nova buff obsolete. Direction of bonewall would be nice, but its prolly too much in pvp….

The rest of the changes is asking for way too much (besides maybe the prereq to revive…. But one needs IG anyway, so it wouldn’t improve anything)

Best thing Necro needs is damage boost to bone skills or decrease in synergies (but compensate payoff) so you can have some valid side skills. for the same skill point investment as a bonespear necromancer at end game a hammerdin has 4 times the damage output and several side skill options while being the same damage type in arguable an easier delivery.

synergie fix (more % payoff)
or profit from amph/decrep curse or hell even from concentration aura for multiplayer/merc is an option
Bring it back up for discussion in patch 2.4 (bone mage boost seems like a great improvement curious how it pays off)

I’ve got an idea how to keep my proposed improvements for Bone Spirit but without affecting PvP too much - just make blind lock range versus enemy players 1/2 or 1/4 of that used versus monsters. How do you like it?

Well maybe some damage boost for bone spells is needed, however if you read carefully my suggested changes will provide that by replacing very bad Poison Explosion with a buff skill which adds raw poison damage for everything, and by changing Teeth so they can shotgun the same target. That alone should should skyrocket total possible damage.

Btw, what do you mean by


I fully agree with taking poison damage off shrunken heads, even when I run my Pdagger I use a Bone shield as the Heads just don’t cut if for melee. Replace it with + to resist(I don’t care if that’s OP.)

I don’t think your proposed changes to the golems will allow a ‘golem master’ to be viable. A golem master needs to have a good solid set of damage dealers once you drop the 80 pts into it. With your proposed changes they will still be good tanks but incapable of doing damage. Fire would do the best damage but it’s still nothing you can make work. If you want golems to be good they need a massive damage bonus from Mastery as well as boosting their base damage so the synergies become useful.

Teeth - shotgunning, glad this is becoming more popular. PvP already has a way to make shotgunning skills not work on other players. If you make it Shotgun, you can remove all the bonus damage they just put in and make PvP not a problem.

Spirit - is fine as it is, with a high casting rate you have a ton of these slow moving dudes flying around. What they need is a cap on the mana cost.

Wall/Prison just need to be un-summonable. I have sat around waiting for them to die too many times.

PDagger needs a cap on the duration to 5 seconds. This upps it’s dps to an acceptable level (read equal to nova) and when you combine it with items like Blackbogs you will get the longer duration that is needed for the boss fights. i.e. lvl 20/20/20 PDagger would have @5K damage over 5 seconds or 1000/second (currently at @500dps). If you added blackbog’s 488 over 10 sec you would end up with 1048 dps for 15 seconds turning the 5K damage into 15K damage just because you understand poison mechanics.

PExplosion needs a radius gain as you level - agree’d, but that’s all.

Nova is perfect as it is, it’s a screen killer.

I would not touch curses. Remember monsters use curses as well as we do. The only meaningful change weaken has in 2.4 is to make it harder on physical damage players while running chaos. We actually need a few curses that are worthless so the monsters can use those.

Adding this in - mages: they currently gain 9 damage every 2 levels. They can be changed to add 9 damage every level starting at lvl 21 and beyond. This gives them a damage increase they need at higher levels if you invest in them. With just 1 pt they will just be extra bodies around.

I wasn’t clear enough, gonna correct that. I meant that 20th level of Golem Mastery should allow to summon up to 3 golems, but these might be of the same type. So it should be possible to have Golem Mastery lv20 and say three Iron Golems lv20, for 40 not 80 skill points; as I mentioned in “All golems” they should have get significant damage increase, because now they can be very good tanks, but they suck as offensive units, as you rightly pointed.

Well, not really - they are so slow they are outrunned even by some monsters, and if I have a direct line of sight to the target Bone Spear is a more reliable choice. So I proposed improvements which should help Bone Spirit to fill a tactical niche.

They aren’t?? o.O oh my, ofc they should, totally agree with that.

Well I won’t argue about exact numbers, I’d like only to point that allowing the skill to work with blade/missile weapon types will be beneficial for builds diversity.

I disagree. With additional radius per level the skill will finally become usable, but mechanically it’d be just a poor version of Corpse Explosion. Poisonmancer has his Poison Nova as AoE skill, and doesn’t need Poison Explosion for anything other than synergy. By replacing the skill with something that affects all bone spells, as proposed, it’d make thing more interesting - Bone Spear/Bone Spirit/Teeth with X-Y extra poison damage not only will have their total damage greater, but that also will help with monsters’ life regeneration, and to some degree against magic immunes.

Hmm doesn’t it require to be “perfect as it is” to obtain Death’s Web wand, Trang-Oul gloves and other rare stuff? I’d like to make it more viable even without very high gear investment, in self found games.

Well, the only worthless curses are for now Confusion and Weaken, and I opted to remove both of them. All the others have their uses. Lower Resist however is way too behind Conviction, so that’s why I think it should be buffed to comparable levels; yeah, Oblivion Knights might become a bit more dangerous, but I’m sure we can live with that.

Yes, I forgot to mention mages, partially because I had no idea how to improve them. However, now I figured out something, gonna update my 1st post here.

After discussion with @Skulm I introduce a replacement for mages - Skeletal Archers. While mages using Blizzards, Meteors, Chain Lightnings and Poison Novas would definitely cause total mayhem implementing that might be very hard, while archers should be much easier to add, and they present greater possibility to make them deal more damage.

Nice suggestions. 202020

Got an idea for automod for shrunken heads - “+X life and mana on kill”.