Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A plea for the Witch Doctor.

I have to only hope that the Witch Doctor is still receiving tuning passes and skill changes from this point on. I’ll try to keep my thoughts short and sweet as best I can, but there really is a large amount of text that could be said to explain my ideas.

This post is about the base WD experience I’m sure there are tons of awesome legendaries that greatly improve upon some of these issues. However, none of the other classes (IMO) require legendaries to feel like their basic abilities and skills work they just improve upon them or make them work in an amazingly powerful way.


Mana as a resource is failing to live up to the idea behind it. I’m not saying it requires scrapping it or even changing affixes (such as mana on crit). However, the idea I have heard from blues is that in comparison to arcane power it is supposed to be a slow charging but high impact resource. Arcane power lets you “spam” powers but mana requires thought and precision to have the best rewards.

A couple of incidental points, I assume that all the classes are capable of pushing their DPS the same ways outside of legendary affixes. All classes stack the same amount of main stat, crit, crit damage, IAS etc. The only differences are minor (off-hand vs dual wielding) and passives/powers

• All the other classes have passives and skills that let them stack lots of + damage through various means.

• Witch doctors have two passives. Gruesome Fest which requires health globes, and pierce the veil which drastically increases the cost of spells.

• With so few options in passives to increase damage we would assume that our spells do significant damage so when they are cast it is a big deal and we have to make due when we go OOM as it slowly regenerates.

• Again based off the assumption that everyone has comparable stats outside of passives and skills (and legendry effects) weapon damage on a skill is fairly comparable between classes as a way to gauge comparable power. This point is a bit simplistic due to lots of variables and resource differences, but that requires much more in depth comparisons of individual skills.

• Two of the WD’s skills are fairly high in comparison to other classes, but only two. Zombie Bears and Cloud of Bats. Is it coincidence that those are the two most highly used skills?

• This is especially more evident for single target spells like haunt, spirit barrage, and the non-bear version of zombie charger.

TL/DR: The WD’s skills need to do high damage to be worthwhile to use your precious slow regenerating mana supply on.


Currently the WD has the least amount of viable skills in the game of all the classes. There are two high damage AoE attacks for the WD and one medium damage spell; zombie (bear) charger and fire bats being high damage and “risky”, while acid cloud is lower damage but easier to use. Of those, there is one or two runes on each that make the rest basically pointless. I could probably type thousands of words going over each skill discussing ideas to make them better and more enjoyable. I won’t do that and instead focus on the flavor and fantasy that isn’t succeeding for the WD at this time.

DoTs. They are a flavorful part of the witch doctor. The idea of cursing and/or poisoning your enemies and giggling as they try to claw their way past your defenses should be a highlight of the WD.

• Locust swarm, is a great spell but it requires a little bit of risk to get started you have to run up to the enemies and get close. It should be highly rewarding to do so, but it currently spreads so slowly without pestilence half the enemies can die before it gets to them. Make pestilence baseline to increase rune variety and perhaps replace it with a rune that increases damage the enemies take by 10%.

• Haunt, needs to have some sort of additional oomph to make it worth using. Its damage is low and single target. Either the haunted enemy should deal some sort of AoE (small range) or perhaps make it a ghost you summon that periodically haunts enemies for you, or drastically up the damage. The fact you spend 200 mana for what amounts to slightly more than 200% weapon damage per second on a single target is laughable compared to what EVERY OTHER damaging skill the WD has (except zombie dogs of course). Sure it’s a fire and forget it spell, but having to fire it off several times makes it a massive drain on mana and time, why cast haunt when zombie bears is more effective in every way.

• Fire bats, Cloud of bats damage makes all the other runes rather pointless. Though the new vampire bats rune is interesting, potentially making it fit in nicely with a dot build spam dots and channel that while your mana refills. Please, please, PLEASE reduce the cost of the dire bats to just 75 mana. It made a great kiting ranged attack at one time, far better than spirit barrage. Having to channel it to keep the cost reasonable kills this option.

• Fire bomb, Remove Flash Fire’s damage reduction (or at least reduce it) for each bounce. It is an easy skill to use, but since it no longer has an AoE component hitting 6 targets hardly seems OP especially when splinters is now doing 140% damage x3. Alternatively let it keep a small AoE and keep the damage reduction.

• Spirit barrage, is just pointless… it is basically a ranged channel spell that hits one target… it requires the mana return rune to make this not just a total joke. Make it at least on par with arcane torrent small AoE and higher damage. Alternatively, you have a ground AoE dot that does about 133% weapon damage a second with the phantasm rune making it a smaller and with no cooldown grasp of the dead. Decent rune, but still why use this over acid cloud the damage is about the same but without the kick that acid cloud provides and a smaller radius.

• Grasp of the dead, why-oh-why does this skill have a cooldown? limit the number you can place if need be. The damage is laughable without groping eels and even then is barely over 100% weapon damage a second. Compare to blizzard, even spirit barrage-phantasm, this is just such a waste of a cool concept and possibly useful spell.

TL/DR: several skills really need a niche and competitive damage to make them enticing and increase build options for the WD.


A lot has been said about pets for the WD already. I only really have two things to say.

• Make them have the passive/active feature of DH’s and Monk’s. This is the coolest change to pets in Diablo and solves the issue the devs have of a pet class just sitting there doing nothing… they are pressing buttons and using the pets abilities with timing and skill makes it far more engaging. This also would help with the general squishiness of the pets making them have a short cooldown when they die or something.

• Sacrifice, remove the cooldown on zombie dogs, to make the previous change not wonky. Add a cooldown to sacrifice make all the cooldown reduction skills and affixes affect sacrifice instead. Note in my opinion if you choose this route increase the damage on sacrifice, it is just pathetic for the amount of skills and passives and gear needed to make it work well.

Alternatively, at 185% weapon damage each even with five dogs at most that’s LESS(!) damage than zombie bears (assuming all three hit the same target)… with two skills and two passives needed. Just ditch the cooldown all together and let all WDs sacrifice their way into victory… another active and interesting way to make pet builds fun yet effective. Make blowing up the dogs put a short cooldown on their active skill if need be to make it a more engaging choice.

TL/DR: Pets can be fun and active at the same time allowing for interesting builds that differ greatly from other classes and letting WDs be the “pet” class in diablo 3.

This is long enough, but I could go on… (so many skills with long cooldowns that feel underwhelming…) please implement some or all of these changes, or hell find other ways to improve the class, but please, please, PLEASE! Make the WD the standout enjoyable class it should be…