Not unlike the Diablo 2 necromancer, the Guild Wars necromancer runs with the idea that necromancers can be priests to an unseen god, forces of balance in a world where conflict and strife are constants. Individual necromancers have different suites of powers and allegiances, but all their abilities come from the same place — Grenth, the keeper and ruler of the Underworld.

Similar to the Diablo 2 necromancer, the Guild Wars necromancer divides its powers into categories, these being relating to blood, death, curses, and adds a small category of “soul reaping” powers. Blood powers are themed around pacts, vampirism, and pain; death powers are themed around creating minions, corruption and disease, and vermin; curse powers deal damage indirectly and combine themes of corruption, parasites, pain, and suffering. “Soul reaping,” unique to Guild Wars as far as I know, is the necromancer’s main avenue of health and energy recovery, drawing power from the dead and the dying.

The class, again, plays well in accordance with the way it’s portrayed, though due to the nature of Guild Wars, you don’t often see a necromancer making use of more than one or two of their skill options, and usually no more than a handful of available powers. (Which actually isn’t all the different from Diablo 2, now that I think about it.) It’s featured in both games — you aren’t really intended to generalize and explore every option, but rather choose a single category of powers to excel in.

For instance, you have “minion masters,” who specialize in creating swarms of undead minions to hinder foes, and a cousin of the minion master, the “minion bomber,” who focuses on dealing devastating amounts of damage by exploding their minions in melee combat. There’s the “spiteful spirit” necromancer that uses the eponymous power, usually in combination with other curses, to deal enormous amounts of damage over a large area.