Necromancer F.A.Q

This guide was created by El Chupacabras of the EQ2 Necromancer Forums. All credit for this F.A.Q goes to him. To see the original posting click here.

This is reposted, I've been keeping a FAQ for a long time (for this game) though the original is too cluttered with old issues... time for a new posting of it! The original thread can be found here and while it isn't the original FAQ's information (it was updated throughout the life of the game) all the comments are the old ones. If you want to see just how much the necromancer class has changed, check out that thread.

In the interest of helping the community, I've decided to write up a little frequently asked questions list. I certainly won't pretend to know it all so if you see something you'd like added or disagree with, add a response and I'll add or correct it. I'll only be including necro specific stuff in this thread, not racial traits or quests. I will also be focusing on grouping as that's where we really shine.
Necromancer general questions:

Q. What does the essence of anguish I received from the Grisly Mark/Horrific Mark/Necromantic Symbol spell do?

A. The essence of anguish is used for the necromancer spell "revivication", our ressurection spell received at level 48. It is also used for our level 52 spell drawing of souls. These items stack up to 50 per inventory slot and breed like rabbits... don't feel bad about deleting these from inventory every few stacks, they are easy to come by and you really won't use that many. Personally, I have 10 stacks though there is no reason to hold onto that many, a single stack should suffice 'til 52, after that maybe keep a couple stacks at a time.

Q. What are our "fun" spells and where can I get them?

A. Our fun spells are: Nylph's Bone form (lvl 20), Nylph's Flayed Form (lvl 30), Nylph's Misty Image (lvl 35), Dartain's Dead Sight (lvl 40) which gives self Infravision, Skeletal Regiment (lvl 45) and Dartain's Cloaking Debris (lvl 50). All of these spells can be purchased from the mage academy in North Freeport, the same place you got your subclass quest from... they are all there, sometimes they're just on different scribes so look around.

Q. Where do I start my level 20 armor quest?

A. The armor quest starts in East Freeport in the Freeport Observer building... look for the witch Kirsteh. These quests are long, drawn out and a royal pain in the rear. This is composed of six quests, one for each visible armor slot. I wouldn't recommend obsessing over finishing these quests as it can be pretty tough around AQ4 (think it was AQ4, whichever one is in Edgewater Drains). I did all of the AQ's but it took me a long time /lfg to finish them; knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't do the AQ's after 3 again. I guess my point is, the armor is pretty nice stuff and can be fun in the right groups... just don't feel you have to finish them.

Q. What makes the necromancer special compared to other mages?

A. Agro control and health/power manipulation.

Agro control by our ability to do more damage against a single target without pulling the hate off of our tanks than most any other class. Before the shouts of "nerf" rain from above, lemme clarify this point a little. If a necromancer can place a pet behind a mob and if they can get both their swarm pets on a mobs back and if the fight lasts 35 seconds or longer, chances are you will do more damage than most other classes. That ability comes at a steep price though... if any of your pets are killed by a mob after about 15 seconds, all their hate will transfer to you and you'll most likely have a new friend that will do horrible things to your fragile person. It's not as easy as it seems, the DPS pets will take hits and die at the most inopportune times. Keep your pet healed to the best of your ability, if he dies and transfers all his accumulated hate to you, chances are you are going to be mowed down before your healers realize what the heck happened.

Health and power manipulation are just that, tap your pet for power, use your health to heal him and use your lifetap to heal yourself... it's a dance but can be quite fun.

Q. What's the difference between a Conjurer and Necromancer?

A. There are five big differences between the classes.

First, Conjurers are better then us at AoE, we are much better at single target damage. The necromancers spells are very focused on single target damage, the conjurers get almost all AoE type spells. Necro's get a couple, they just aren't as good.

Second, conjurers get some very good group damage buffs... they get a fireshield (a spell that does damage when the recipient is hit) spell and a proc (process, essentially a spell that has a chance to "process" or cast when attacking) quite early and of very good quality.

Third, conjurers are elemental (fire, cold) based, necromancers are noxious based (disease specifically). This isn't always important though it is helpful when grouping with a sorcerer. Wizards are elemental based like the conji's, so their debuffs stack up helping both classes do more damage... Warlocks are noxious based, just like us, helping both do more damage.

Fourth, conjurers get more status effecting abilities like stifles and stuns. We get health transfers and revivication.

Fifth, necro's get less pet specific special abilities. A conjurer can instantly revive a dead pet, ward a pet against damage and put a massive damage buff on the pet only come 50 while we get a small pet only haste. This point really isn't a big deal but it is a difference.

Q. Whenever I cast the spell swarm of rats or ghastly stench, they all get killed before they do much damage... how can I maximize their effectiveness?

A. The rats and zombie themselves can take very little damage so sometimes when a mob (Mobile Object, in other words, an enemy target) uses an ability that effects everything in front of it, the rats get killed. The best way to cast this spell is go behind the mob and cast, the rats will stay in back and not take as much if any damage from the mob, leaving your tank to take the damage, you and the rats to do damage. The limited pets won't take damage from AoE but my experience has been either they will get hit by frontal arc attacks or the chances are much higher that the swarm pet will be tageted and destroyed if in front of a mob.

Q. Is the necromancer mostly a solo class?

A. No. Forget any ideas about the class from certain other games... the necromancer with pet does not make him a solo only class. This is not to say we aren't a good solo class, we are probably the most efficient solo class as the game currently stands but those solo abilities are what translate into a fantastic groupmate as well. It's not like "certain other games" where the long duration DoT's of necromancers made them a detriment to a groups damage. Here, we have some of the fastest cast times and most consistant damage with the best control of hate of the mages... this makes us pretty close to ideal in all playstyles.

Q. Is the necromancer a fun class to play?

A. I've always enjoyed the class and since the combat revamp, I've come to enjoy it even more. There's no way of really telling how much you'll enjoy it, pet classes in this game are quite a bit different than that "other" game so give it a try. You'll know by level 16 or so if a pet class is right for you. Just remember that necro's aren't big nukers like the sorcerers, we cast lots of fast DoT's and use lots of dumbfire pets and spend an inordinate amount of time juggling our health. See what you think, it's a great class that has only gotten better the more the game's matured.

Q. Can I become a necromancer in Qeynos?

A. Nope, necromancer is only available to residents of Freeport. You cannot become a necro then betray to Qeynos either since the betrayal quest locks your character at level 17 'til you complete it and you can't start the necromancer subclass quest 'til level 18.

Q. What should I be spending most of my money on? Spells, equipment or a combination?

A. Spend every penny you can on upgrading your spells, the ones you use anyways. For necro's (and any mage really) our effectiveness is completely tied to our spells (especially pets, pet buffs and swarm spells). If you have to decide between upgrading your boots or upgrading a spell, the spell wins every time. I'm not saying save all your money for spells only... if you find a jeweler grinding out rings and things, pick them up; just don't concern yourself with keeping all your equipment "new". Don't be afraid to let your equipment /con grey, our AC gains really don't mean alot anyways... our spell power > all.

Q. What stats should I be looking for in my armor upgrades?

A. This can be subjective... my belief is that the desireability order is intelligence > power > stamina > health > resists. If you find an item that is very grey to you but has unbeatable int, use that item instead of the item with high AC but no int or power on it.

Q. What race makes the best necromancer?

A. There really isn't a best race when all is said and done... however there are some that give some nice advantages for a mage class. If you remember we actually have three main stats; intelligence primary, stamina secondary, agility tertiary. You can look at the bonuses each race gives through traits and plan accordingly. The benefits are pretty slight so by no means base your character on those traits alone, go with the race you think you'll have the most fun with. Racial traits can be found at http://eq2.primagames.com/pdfs/traits.pdf and should give you a pretty good idea of what the different races can give in regards to special racial advantages... it's not exactly "right" as far as use timers etc. but it is a good guideline.

Q. Aren't Sorcerers better at damage then us? Why should I choose a second-rate DPS'er?

A. Sometimes, the term "best DPS" gets thrown around with little basis in fact. Sorcerers (and predators) can out damage us sometimes, not all the time. In fights lasting longer then 30 seconds, necromancers start pulling ahead of the pack in regards to top damage output; every second after 30 pushes us further up the DPS chain since most classes cannot keep up with our power regen capabilities. This leads us to the difference between burst and sustained damage.

Q. What's the difference between burst and sustained DPS classes?

A. Necromancers (and conjurers/rogues) are a sustained DPS class, Sorcerers and predators are burst damage classes. Burst damage attacks are high damage long recast attacks, those big booms that wizards get. Sustained damage is steady, reliable damage that just keeps adding up the longer you go. A good example of sustained damage is the DoT, a whole bunch of DoT's stacked together and allowed to run their full course are perfect examples of why necromancers are great in the long fight... our damage is sustained with very little variation and why you will generally see your DPS as always around the same number.

A really nice thing about our style of damage is we aren't horribly effected by resists to our spells... if one of them is resisted, not that big a deal since we've got other stuff running on the mob and we generally have short recast timers (the ghastly stench line being the exception). A burst class misses their big hit and they have to wait a while before they can try to do that damage again, meanwhile our slow steady damage has been ticking the whole time.

I'd recommend to anyone to download one of the various combat parsers to see how to maximize your damage output... and to prove that we are a high damage DPS class. You don't see the big booms with a necro but the proof is in the pudding at the end of a play session. In a short fight we can't even touch a sorcerer or predator, give us 30 seconds and we move quickly to the top of the heap.

A necromancer will do alot more damage without drawing the agro than most classes but if any of those pets dies we are in deep poop.

Necromancer spell specific questions

Q. Why can't I stack my concentration buffs?

A. Concentration buffs (just like pet buffs) are meant to be used 'til upgrade, with the old one taken off the spell bar. We aren't meant to stack up our buffs for +100 intelligence or anything like that, you get one buff of each line at a time, that's it.

Q. Since spells are generally upgraded by a new one every 14 levels, where can I find the name of <spell name's> upgrade?

A. Here's the progression: http://www.freewebs.com/ryokousha/Games/EQ2/necromancer-spelltable.html Necro spells all have samish names like our fast DoT is xxxxrot etc. and you'll get used to the naming convention but this is a handy chart to map your future upgrades.

Q. I just hit level 51 and didn't get my spell! What the heck is going on?

A. Spells level 51+ are no longer granted automatically, they have to be purchased either from your friendly sage, received as an adept1/master1 spell drop or purchased in Maj'Dul.

Q. What are these special spells level 52/55/58 I'm hearing about? I can't find an apprentice spell for these either on the broker or in Maj'Dul.

A. The three spells, drawing of Souls (lvl 52), control undead (lvl 55) and consumption (lvl 5 cannot be made into apprentice spells nor do any merchants carry the app II. If you want these spells (and you really should want them) you'll either have to find a dropped adept spell or find the adept III recipe and have a sage make it. These just don't come in an apprentice variety but devouring and consumption are probably the first two spells in T6 that I'd upgrade to adept III.

Q. I just harvested a rare, what spell should I upgrade?

A. Another one that's a little subjective but I'll answer what I would do. All spells should be upgraded as high as possible, preferably to adept 1... these spells are the over and above's; the ones that should be adept 3 or master. Remember, I primarily group so this list reflects that.

T2 (Level 10 to 19)

1. Seism (our only AoE stun, you can use this forever)
2. Tellurian recruit
3. Agitation
4. Soothe servant

Special notes: In general, I'd just sell any rare to a twinker I got in this level range, you'll be out of it so quickly that the adept3 would just be a speedbump on the road up (except for #1).

T3 (Level 20 to 29)

1. Undying adherant
2. Lifetap
3. Swarm of rats
4. Pestilential blast
5. Grim spellbinder

Special notes: If you aren't fairly near (levelwise) when you receive these upgrades, don't bother. 20-30 is a fairly easy run up the level ladder so most of these aren't make or break spells, modify per master 2 choices.

T4 (Level 30 to 39)

1. Rotting thrall
2. Plague of rats
3. Words of the wicked
4. Shadowy stalker
5. Draw life
6. Ghastly stench

Special notes: This is a really fun level range and where you'll really be kicking tail.

T5 (Level 40-50)

1. Lich (the best necromancer spell, it is the number one upgrade no matter what and in all circumstances)
2. Siphon life
3. Exchange life
4. Shadowy assassin
5. Stench of the grave
6. Grim terror

Special notes: If you're just coming up on #4 and get a rare, get him right away, it's a great upgrade. By parsing, this is the most damage/utility order of upgrade.

T6 (Level 51-60)

1. Drawing of souls (ancient spell and only way you'll probably find it)
2. Diseased servant
3. Voice of the departed
4. Consumption (another ancient spell)
5. Nightshade
6. Blighted pack
7. Death Rot (the highest damage non-dumbfire spell after Lich)
8. Deathly coil

You may have noted my putting warlock pets fairly low on the upgrade priority... the problem I have with the warlocks is that our offensive buffs currently have little or no effect on them (the increase in "casting level" has been verified to not actually increase cast ability by development so our buffs don't do much), causing a fairly low parse when compared to the assassin pets. They have their uses and mine is an adept3 but in general she just can't touch the assassins averaged damage in a night.

I primarily group so my upgrade path takes that into account... if you are primarily a solo'er, upgrade the pet defensive buffs instead of the pet offensive buffs first. There is also something to be said for upgrading the lifetaps a little earlier in the list if you are a solo'er.

This list also needs to be weighed against the next topic:

Q. I just hit level (14/24/34/44/54), what should I take for a master spell?

A. Another subjective topic but I'll give a broad stroke of what I'd do. My feeling is you should take the "scaling" (spells that level with you) at every upgrade opportunity. This would be the rats or dogs upgrades, the pet offensive buffs or the pet defensive buffs (the buffs don't really level but a percentage increase in damage to a scaling pet makes them act like scaling spells). In general, I find the upgrades on things like siphon life to be too minor from adept 3 to master 2 to make them worth it. Just remember when looking at taking a master version of those lifetap spells, it takes 11 seconds between casts, that 200 extra damage may seem nice on the surface but it's really only a DPS increase of 18 whereas the scalings will do more and more damage every level (and certainly more that 18 DPS). If you need the extra heal of the master lifetap then go for it, only you know what you're character really needs... me, I stick with scaling spells only (and certainly not the group buffs).

Q. Where can I get the complete necromancer spell list?

A. Handelbars keeps a pretty up-to-date list of all spells with screenshots, it's not 100% but it's good enough @ http://eq2necromancer.com/, you can also check this post http://eqiiforums.station.sony.com/eq2/board/message?board.id=30&message.id=13011

Necromancer pet specific questions

Q. What type pets do we as necromancers get?

A. Necro's get three types of pets, Warlock, Assassin and fighter: The Grim Spellbinder (lvl 20), Grim Thulian (lvl 34), Grim Terror (lvl 48.6) which are all warlocks; The Shadowy Stalker (lvl 32), Shadowy Assassin (lvl 46. and Nightshade (lvl 60) which are assassins; The Tellurian Recruit (lvl 10), Undying Adherant (lvl 24), Rotting Thrall (lvl 38.6) and Diseased Servant (lvl 52), which are all fighters/tanks.

Q. Which pet should I be using?

A. That can be subjective... there are lots of considerations but I've found the following criteria to be pretty good in deciding:

If in a low damage group, the grim is a good choice since he is slow on the attack but does pretty good damage, can also regen your groups health (it's a green cloud that surrounds your party called "Grim Embrace").

If in a high damage group, the assassin line is a better bet since he has very fast attack speeds and has some high damage specials he likes to use fairly early in the fight. Can also stifle, in a fast fight he can knock out a good percentage of the damage your tank takes. If your tank isn't on the ball or doesn't have decently upgraded taunts, the assassin can easily pull the agro when that big attack hits, getting you killed.

If in an area that has predominantly single target mobs, the assassin is usually the best choice since he, in general, has the highest single target damage of all the pets. If in an area that has predominantly groups of group mobs, the grim may be the better choice since he has AoE attacks and likes to use them. Be cautious using him this way though, his four second cast times can be detrimental to his damage if assisting your tank and he may be able to pull agro if he's on a target the tank isn't concentrating on. Be careful with him, he's good but takes alot of babysitting to maximize.

If you need a mob to do the least damage possible, say in a healer light group, there is alot to be said for the fighter line of pets. They have good knockdowns and do decent damage if buffed offensively. Also a fine offtank, though he can be a bit overzelous with the taunts... watch his health, he generates alot of hate so if he dies you'll be getting alot more hate then his damage output would suggest.

Contrary to popular belief, the assassin pets do not need to be behind a mob to do all their specials like player scouts classes. You should keep your damage pets behind mobs to avoid frontal arc attacks like barrage or reactive damage from riposte (riposte will destroy a scout pet since the majority of his damage is generally auto-attack). Make sure your tanks know to position mobs in relation to your pet, explain to them how important giving a summoner the back of a mob is for both your regular pet and especially your dumbfires.

For solo, you normally use one of the fighter pets (undying adherant, rotting thrall, diseased servant) though it is possible to solo using the assassin line of pets (experiment and see which is the best way for you). In grouping, I find it best to start out with an assassin pet then change to a different one if I see an advantage listed above in the course of the group. There are also considerations when choosing a pet to use:

Q. What types of damage do my pets do?

A. Pets have four total damage types, sometimes these need to be considered when choosing a pet to use as some mobs are resistant or immune to certain damage types.

- The undying adherant line does crushing autoattack damage and disease special damage
- The swarm of rats line does crushing damage
- The ghastly stench line does crushing damage with disease AoE
- The grim spellbinder line does poison damage
- The shadowy stalker line can use either slashing or piercing, just resummon until you get the right type for what you're doing
- If he has a rapier on his right hip, he's piercing autoattack with poison based specials
- If he has a short sword on his right hip, he's slashing autoattack with poison based specials

Q. How do I pull with my pet?

A. Send your pet at a target, let him hit, press backoff. Once the mob is fairly close to you (close enough not to hit you but close enough that your "pull" was successful) hit "pet attack" on that same mob. It used to be much harder then this and why it was in the FAQ, now, it's quite simple.

Q. Why won't my pet attack? The mob is right in front of him!

A. One of the more villified changes to pet targeting is the change that keeps pets from attacking anything that you wouldn't be able to attack. What this change did is keep pets from attacking stuff stuck in walls and floors as well as making it so we couldn't pet-pull something a long ways off or obstructed by geography. The change in theory was ok but now if anything is in your pets line of sight (LoS from now on) your pet will give a can't attack message. LoS isn't just walls, it's chairs, rocks, hills... it can be pretty much anything that would either be in the way of your pet running directly to the target or not seeing the target. This can be a real pain in certain zones, but there are workarounds!

Pet stay: Park your pet somewhere a little ways off that has clear LoS to where you're pulling to and tell him to stay, works most of the time though it's only good for groups that are camping a location.

Tank training: I know, I say it all the time... doesn't make it any less true though. Have your tanks pull mobs right onto your pet and have them jump over the mob to turn it. Doing that will give you and the pet the mobs back while maximizing your damage potential. This is the best option when group dungeon crawling since it works 100% of the time.

Run around like a goof trying to get your pet a LoS: Probably the worst option since the pet has such a long follow radius, you have to do alot of running to get him a LoS, possibly bringing adds. Only do this combined with 1 if solo

If your tank won't help you in groups by doing #2 where there is horrid geography, don't give the group the benefit of your pet damage. There are too many risks involved in positioning a pet in a dungeon crawl using method #3; lower DPS is better than a dead group.

Q. Can I name my pet?

A. You betcha! Just type /petname XXXX where X is the name you want, then summon a new one... it will have a new name!

Q. Can I name all my pets different things?

A. Again, sure! Here's a handy macro that replaced my regular pet spells on the hotbar:

- /petname Jaake
- /useability diseased servant
- /useability diseased servant

The first line sets the name for the pet, the second line dismissed whatever pet you have up now, the third line summons the new pet! It's just that simple! If you want to summon a different pet, just change the spell name after /useability.

Q. Why don't enchanters like necromancer pets?

A. Our pets have minds of their own, if something hits them, they will hit back. Sometimes when an enchanter is mezzing (mesmorizing a mob, essentially making it as dangerous as a rock) and a pet hits the enchanters target, the mez will be broken adding the previously mezzed mob back to the fight. Pets, however, don't just go willy-nilly, breaking mezzes... they have to be hit to change targets from the one you send them to. Sometimes a pet will break the mez on a target... just how it goes. Generally, it'll just be one target that breaks and you can usually get him to stop once the tank gets that mobs attention so it stops attacking the pet. This is no longer the case, however, a pet set to its default behaviors of protect itself and master will act this way. When grouped with an enchanter or in a raid, your best bet is to set your pet to passive (pet back off) and follow. Pets and enchanters should no longer have the aforementioned problems as long as the pets defaults are turned off (you need to do this every time you zone or summon a new pet).

Q. Whenever I cast a lifetap on my pet (essence shift, bloody ritual etc.) my pet has a shield effect surround him every tic, is he casting?

A. Your pet isn't casting, what is happening is you are probably grouped with a priest casting group reactive heal buffs. I've noticed this from Templars only (but other classes may get something similar), a spell line called "Intercession" that places a group reactive heal (reactive heals are pre-damage [cast before you take damage] heals, when you take damage, you are healed) on your whole party. Every time your pet takes damage from your lifetap, the reactive heal from the priest fires, healing your pet for some amount quite larger then the damage you did. This is something to be very aware of in groups... if you lifetap your pet midfight you just destroyed a large portion of your healers ability if they are using those group reactives. Be nice to your priests and they'll be nice to you!

Q. What are the different pet commands so I can put them in a macro?

A. While I don't generally recommend macro'ing the various pet commands, here they are if you have some use for 'em. The preserve's are what you'd think of as the pet guard commands.

- /pet stay
- /pet follow
- /pet backoff
- /pet attack
- /pet preserve_self

- /pet preserve_master