When Elder Scrolls Online announced the new necromancer class, I groaned inwardly. Not because I think it’s problematic from a lore perspective — according to some people it is, but I’m not invested enough to care — but because this game doesn’t need more classes.
This is a rare position for me to take. I’m generally all in favour of adding as many classes as possible, as often as possible. I love having more options. But because of the way classes work in ESO, adding a new one feels like it’s limiting options as much as expending them.
Most skills in this game are class-agnostic. A class comprises only three skill lines. Rolling a new character just for those few skills feels more like a punishment than an exciting new toy.
What’s more interesting is when they add new skill lines that anyone can use, like the Psijic Order skills added in Summerset (gods awful grind to unlock them notwithstanding). That creates new options for everyone in a way that’s truly exciting.
In fact, not only would I say that ESO doesn’t need to add more classes, I’d go so far as to say they should do away with the current ones. Just open up the class skills to everyone. Right now ESO is straddling the line between a class-based game and a skill-based game, and it’s kind of getting the worst of both worlds.
That said… I kinda still want to play a necromancer in ESO.
Look, I just really like necromancy, okay? It’s one of my favourite archetypes.
If I did roll one, I don’t think I’d play it as a necromancer per se. Since all the minions seem weak and disposable, trying to play this class as a full summoner seems like a recipe for disappointment*. However, it does look to have the potential to be a really fun “death knight” style class.
*(Tangent: Does anyone else find it weird that we’re now approaching a point where more than half of ESO’s classes will be pet classes? That’s another thing that makes the addition of the necromancer feel awkward. Its pets have to be weak so as not to step on the toes of the two summoner classes we already have.)
I’m picturing a melee bruiser sort of character who feeds off the life of their enemies. Maybe not a true tank, but a character who can soak up a lot of punishment while also dishing it out. Maybe an Orc. I haven’t played an Orc yet…
But I’m in no rush. In the past, Elsweyr would have been a must-buy for me — it’s possibly the number one area of Tamriel I want to explore, being a Khajiit fan — but I was also really hyped for Summerset, and it turned out to be a pretty big disappointment, so that has dampened my enthusiasm significantly.
Meanwhile I still haven’t touched Morrowind or about half of the base game’s content. Truthfully I haven’t played at all in a few weeks — my interest in ESO is a bit of a low ebb right now.
So the necromancer may tempt me, but it can wait… at least for now.
In other news, my latest article for MMO Bro tracks five turning points in MMO history.