In typical Guild Wars style, she’s more dressed for a visit to a 16th century-era queen than for gravedigging. I suppose her cute little ghost and quaggan backpack don’t help prop up a serious goth image. It’s weird playing a different class in that game after so long with the engineer, but skills like being able to sic vampiric shrimp (seriously) on bad guys are endearing the class to me.
Playing her has certainly got me thinking about necromancers in general. First of all, when did necromancers become a standard MMO class? It sort of seems like they’re everywhere, from City of Heroes to Vanguard to World of Warcraft (yeah, I’m lumping Death Knights in here, especially with all of the ghoul summoning). I guess they’ve been around for a long time now, come to think about it, perhaps to the point where we just don’t question their inclusion.
But should we? Let me ask this in a different way: How can a necromancer be a hero? After all, these are classes that play with dead things, dredge up corpses, explode said corpses, and basically do all sorts of things that you’d normally find a really deranged (and very lonely) villain doing. I mean, necromancers are routinely bringing skeletons and shambling bodies back to a semi-life to be nothing more than disposable bodyguards with no names. I’m guessing that no permission was secured from the recently deceased or his/her next of kin for this sort of activity. So are necromancers — cute and stylish even so — defiling the dead for selfish purposes? Are we the heroes that other heroes shun, just because we play with dead things and have a perpetual smell of decay about us?
Are we heroes at all?
I suppose there are all sorts of ways that you could try to explain away the concept of the class. Maybe the undead pets come from a convenient parallel dimension where everyone is a zombie and they all compete on a reality show to become your next assistant. Maybe necromancy is the only skillset your character knows and it’s best to use it to help others than become a villain yourself. Maybe — and this is crazy, I know — it’s just a video game and make-believe.
When I think about it, necromancers just feel like the odd class out in the lineup of heroes. It’s got to be a really gross profession, even apart from the ethical factors. Perhaps that’s why they don’t seem to attract a legion of players. Since I’m attracted to odd-men-out classes (with pets), that’s why I’ll head in their direction. But it doesn’t make it any less disturbing when an abnormal amount of examination is given to what the class does or represents.
Here, pet my doggy. He died last week.