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Act One, Wilderness. The Necromancer here showing off a new and unknown spell. What skill is it? Well, we first thought that the icon had been surgically removed, but news from Mike Huang of Blizzard North, the man who took these shots, is that there was no alteration of the shots. In the current pre-beta build, they are changing the art for the icons, and this is how it looks in the game now. Just a blank square. On this spell effect in particular, it's very pretty. A human head, with open mouth and long lower jaw. Looks male. Also note where the cursor is right now. Directly in a line from the Necromancer through the spell effect. So it is something sort of like BloodStar from Diablo. No doubt the light in the spell cascades and shines and the tentacles wave about. Very odd that it doesn't have a light radius. Also, our first thought, that this was some sort of scouting spell similar to Familiar, is ruled out by the fact that the screen is centered on the Necromancer, not the spell. So our best guess at this point is Mind Control.
Why? Well, we have to make an assumption right off the bat, and that is that the spell in use here is the same one that hit the two motionless Fallen on the screen. We have no proof of that, but it's our only way to speculate at all. Something has clearly effected the Fallen. Both are within visual range of the Necromancer, but neither is attacking him. Neither do they seem to be running away, as they do when one of their fellows dies. We don't know of any Necromancer spells that could do this to monsters, but the ones that have the most likely names are Mind Control, Dim Vision, and Confuse. Others, like Iron Maiden, Decrepify, Spike Field, and Homunculus, Blizzard North just hasn't released any info about yet, so we just have to go by the names (which can and will probably still change) to guess here.
Anyway, Dim Vision and Confuse are both curses, and from what we've seen of the graphics of curses (we saw two or three of them at E3) they are all sort of a sparkling cloud that appears where you click the pointer. Nothing like this floating head graphic. Our guess is Mind Control, since it appears that the Fallen are not attacking, and what would Mind Control look like? Unknown, but shooting out some sort of projectile to strike the target seems like a possible way to cast it. More realistic than just pointing out the monster, like Stone Curse or something. So you shoot this glowing, hovering head at the monster, and whatever it hits is Mind Controlled? Maybe. Of course the question then is why shoot out a 3rd one when the two monsters on the screen are already under wraps? Um, cause it's pretty? No, we are not convinced either, but the beta should be underway in 4 weeks or so, and hopefully all of these questions will be answered around that time.
One other thing to notice here is the Necromancer's posture. He's got his right arm behind his back, and is actually holding the shaft of a large scythe here. You can see the shine of the curved blade between his legs. Cool pose he has assumed after casting the spell. -- 3d-enhanced shot, 8/99
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