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.
- +10s second increased duration with each soft level.
- 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.