tainted

In the latest update for Guild Wars 2, developer ArenaNet saw fit to make necromancers more awesome. I’m not complaining. I might complain if I was playing a boring old warrior or ranger and I saw in the patch notes that boring old warriors and rangers were just as boring while already awesome necromancers got even more awesome. But the last people to decry the rich getting richer are the rich.

After the jump, tainted shackle love

In any good MMO, every class has a unique gimmick. For instance, in Guild Wars 2, the mesmer gets copies of herself. The engineer builds turrets, flamethrowers, and goo guns. The warrior gets, uh…I’m not sure about that one. Probably a special hat or something. But the unique gimmick for necromancers is a resource called life force. When nearby creatures die, the necromancers sucks up a little green blob of life force. This is handy when the necromancer dons her death shroud, a shimmering inky cloud that says “I’m Gothy and I don’t care who knows it!”.

But death shrouds aren’t just fashion statements that would make Tim Burton proud (even the lighting changes to the sickly green hue). Any time a necromancer takes damage while wearing her death shroud, the damage comes from the accumulated pool of life force instead of the necromancer’s hit points. Basically, she has borrowed hit points from dead things. When you attack a necromancer wearing a death shroud, you’re attacking the souls of dead grawl, dead wurms, dead centaurs, and dead moas that got a little too uppity. You’ll eventually get to the necromancer underneath, but only when she runs out of life force.

The drawback is that a necromancer wearing a death shroud can’t use her usual weapons and abilities. Instead, she gets a handful of death shroud abilities which use up some life force. These, frankly, were disappointing. An attack, another attack, and one more attack. Uh, and a fourth thing that I never used. Probably some sort of generic attack. Wearing a death shroud might have looked cool, but it was like playing a warrior. For me, the death shroud was just a way to delay death when a battle went poorly. Oops, I’m nearly out of hit points and my healing ability isn’t going to recharge any time soon. Better don the death shroud to buy myself some time!

The latest update for Guild Wars 2 gave necromancers a new death shroud ability. It’s called tainted shackles and it changes the death shroud from a last resort to a first response. Tainted shackles affect all enemies within a certain area by loading them down with a debuff called torment. Torment does damage over time, and the damage is doubled if the victim is moving. This is particularly handy in player vs player situations, which involve everyone running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I have never — never! — seen someone standing still in a player vs player situation.

So my latest necromancer build is all about rushing into a crowd of bad guys to administer tainted shackles. She focuses on attack and abilities that store up life force, with special traits that make the life force last longer. It’s particularly gratifying to see the sickly green/black tendrils extend in all directions, often to enemies I didn’t even know where there. Oh, you want some tainted shackles, too? Happy to oblige you, courtesy of my necromancer and ArenaNet’s latest Guild Wars patch.