Both of these skills are very rarely used, even though both of them have a very decent niche for Necromancer builds: Sacrifice can synergize with all sorts of minion “on-death” effects such as Skeleton’s “Immortal” + “Empty the Grave,” while Drain Life is one of the few Necrotic-based single-target spells Necromancer has access to, as Death Seal is exclusive to the Lich, and the Health Leech is decent if you’re playing a caster Necromancer. I have not seen any discussion on any of these skills other than “they’re bad,” so I wanted to give my hand in some ways to improve these two.
Sacrifice has a ton of synergy within the Necromancer tree, especially with Volatile Zombies having a chance to Sacrifice a nearby minion when it explodes. One of the best things about it is that Sacrifice counts as “your hit,” so that you can apply things like “Fire Resistance shred per hit.” It is a 2-year old tree, so there’s barely any synergy within the Sacrifice skill tree itself, so I wanted to propose some ways to better synergize the skill.
In my opinion, the Blood Spectres from Sacrifice should be replaced with the Blood Spectres from the Harvest tree. There are simply too many mandatory nodes in the Harvest tree to really specialize in the Blood Spectres (you’d like, at the very least, the Skull stacks for minion buffs, the Necrotic shred, the increased Crit chance for yourself so that you can use the minion Critical chance nodes), so giving Sacrifice the Blood Spectres would allow you to summon minions with a lot of flat Necrotic damage and a lot of increased Critical Strike chance.
The Fire damage seems to be tacked on, and there’s little that you can do to have it synergize with other Fire minions. There’s not even a full conversion, just adding some flat Fire damage. Worse off, you’re spending 3 points on a simple 100% chance to ignite, when many other skills can provide 200% easily for similar point cost. The best synergy I can think of is having a chance to apply Infernal Shade on an enemy when Sacrifice is used, especially as Infernal Shade can be used for both Fire/Ignite and Physical/Bleed.
Drain Life has the problem of doing far too little damage to be useful as a single-target ability (as opposed to Sentinel skills that give flat damage per Vitality, Drain Life only has a small Intelligence boost). Also, the entire Contempt node is practically worthless, as well as the draining minion aspect of it now that there are no longer 100+ Wraith builds. Since there is a big opportunity cost to channeling skills, it would be nice to provide some real benefits to replace the “Contempt” line of skill nodes.
This may be wishcasting on my part, but it’d be nice if Drain Life can apply curses like Spirit Plague onto the enemy, as you can’t spam Spirit Plague itself since it only does 1 tick per second, so you need to find a way to apply single-target burst damage. Having Drain Life apply Spirit Plague would help Drain Life be more of an AoE clear ability while simultaneously boost the single-target portion of it since Spirit Plague scales well with Intelligence. Additionally, Spirit Plague provides a nice global damage over time buff, which would help Drain Life increase its single-target damage.
There are already more than enough ways to kill off your minions, so I would propose a way for Drain Life’s sustain to also heal up your minions as well. It would work great for hybrid caster/minion builds who can’t afford spending too much in having equipment affixes like Minion Health. There is already synergy with minions attempting to provide Damned (Necrotic damage over time), so maybe there’s a way to code it as “Drain Life can target your minions, but heals them over time using your Health Leech. You can only target 1 enemy using Drain Life.” That way, you’re using Drain Life to “connect” with your minions, while the minion leech is balanced by only applying to the amount of Drain Life targets - 1 (So that, realistically, you’re only healing up to 5 minions, for example).