We've put together this Diablo 3 Beta Witch Doctor guide to get you up to speed on the most spiritual class coming to Blizzard’s upcoming action role playing game. This handy guide gives you all the most important info on the Witch Doctor from the Diablo 3 beta at a glance.
You Should Play A Witch Doctor If: If you love summoning pets and creatures to do your bidding, you're definitely going to want to try out the Witch Doctor. Aside from pets, Witch Doctors can also assault their victims with exploding skulls, poison clouds, and curses. If you liked the Necromancer in Diablo 2 then chances are you're going to love the Witch Doctor in Diablo 3.
Background: Also known as spiritual warriors, Witch Doctors of the Umbaru Tribe are are new to the Diablo universe. According to the lore, only a few select men and women among the tribe can ascend to the role as they must possess the talent for communicating with spirits.
The key features of the Witch Doctor include pets, elemental attacks, curses, hexes, and battlefield control. Pets are exactly what you'd think they are: things that the Witch Doctor surrounds himself/herself with and they fight for their master until they're killed. These include cute and cuddly things like zombies, zombie dogs, bats, fetishes, spiders, and more. Elemental attacks are the Witch Doctor's destructive magic spells that allow them to kill packs of enemies with acid clouds, swarms of locusts, gouts of flame, and other fun stuff like that.
Curses and Hexes are the spells that Witch Doctors use to weaken and slow their enemies. These skills are often used not as a killing blow, but rather as a way to soften up the enemy so that other members of the party, or the Witch Doctor's pets, can rip them to shreds with ease. With the Witch Doctor's Battlefield Control, they can use their crowd control abilities to make enemies flee in fear, strike their own allies in bewilderment, or even turn them in to chickens.
How You Play A Witch Doctor: There are many ways to play a Witch Doctor, but at this point in the beta the easiest thing to do is to summon your Zombie Dogs and let them kill anything that comes near you. Obviously this is an extremely basic way to play what will eventually be a skill-based class, but for now all you need to do is summon those dogs and they'll almost do all of the work for you.
If you don't want to take the easy way out with the dogs, you can also use your Witch Doctor as both a melee or ranged damage dealer. They come equipped with spells like Firebats which do massive damage, and they can also dual wield weapons if they want to deal strong melee damage after cursing their foes.
Witch Doctor Equipment: Witch Doctors, like all of the classes in Diablo 3, get their own types of unique equipment including ceremonial knives, mojos, and voodoo masks. What makes a Witch Doctor's small ceremonial knife different from a normal dagger? Well, its only purpose is for human sacrifice, that's what. Mojos, like the Wizard's orbs, are what Witch Doctors use in their off-hand instead of another weapon. They "serve as symbolic representations of their enemies’ awful futures." Finally, Witch Doctors get epic voodoo masks so that they can present themselves as aspects of spirits. These masks are used to not only terrify foes, but also to give the Witch Doctor some protection (and style) as well.
Witch Doctor Skills: Witch Doctors have 22 available skills in total in Diablo 3 which are divided in to three different types: Physical Realm, Spirit Realm, and Support. The Physical Realm skills feature many summonable pets like frogs, spiders, bats, and zombies. These seem like the skills that manifest the most direct damage to your enemies. Spirit Realm skills on the other hand deal their damage over time, or are there to act as utilities. Finally, Support skills are a mix between buffs, debuffs, and summonable pets. Here's where the Witch Doctor's zombie dogs come in to play, but these skills also contain abilities like Hex which turns your enemies into chickens, and Big Bad Voodoo which increases the attack, casting, and movement speed of your allies by 15% in an area.
Like all of the other Diablo 3 classes, Witch Doctors can only have six skills active at a time. You start out with two active skills at level one and you unlock the ability to use an extra skills at levels 6, 12, 18, and 24. Witch Doctors also get their choice to equip a passive skill at levels 10, 20, and 30.
In the Diablo 3 beta all characters can only level up to 13, so you only get access to a few skills. Plus, all of the enemies are so tuned down that your spells will do massive damage. Keep in mind that this will undoubtedly change when the game is released but for now, as you're making your way through the Diablo 3 beta, there are a few skills for the Witch Doctor that are a bit more potent than others.
- Summon Zombie Dogs: Unlocked at level 2, this Skill allows you to summon 3 zombie dogs "from the depths" to fight by your side. These dogs are bloodthirsty beasts from hell that will tear your enemies to shreds in seconds. You can't directly control them, they just run around and kill until there's nothing left. What's great about this skill is that any health globe you find will also heal your zombie dogs, so they're very hard to kill. But, if one does happen to get taken down, the cooldown on the skill is only 60 seconds so you can always just summon new ones.
- Plague of Toads: Unlocked at level 2, Plague of Toads allows you to release a handful of toads that deal 155% weapon damage as poison to enemies they come in contact with. You read that right, you release toads at people and they blow up to deal poison damage. Again, you can't really tell the toads which enemies to attack, they just hop around towards enemies and deal massive damage to them if they connect. However, it's rather hilarious to unleash dozens of toads at an enemy while your zombie dogs are already ripping them apart. (I'm twisted, I know)
- Firebats: Unlocked at level 9, this skill releases a swarm of fiery bats towards any enemies in front of you for 130% weapon damage per second as Fire damage. Not only does the animation for this spell look amazing, but it's also a very strong skill for the Witch Doctor that blazes through most of the enemies that get up in your grill.
Between dogs, toads, and bats, none of my enemies lasted too long against my Witch Doctor in the beta. There are also support skills that are very impressive like Grasp of the Dead that slows enemy movement, or Horrify, which scares enemies into running away. But again, the beta's difficulty is so tuned down that none of these more strategic skills came in to play that much, so I went for the more direct damage abilities.
Passive Witch Doctor Skills: In the Diablo 3 beta you can only equip one passive skill once you get to level 10. Your choices are Circle of Life or Vermin, and at level 13 you unlock Spiritual Attunement. Passive Skills are just that: abilities that you don't have to cast but grant passive advantages to your Witch Doctor.
The passive skill Circle of Life gives your Witch Doctor an additional 10% of your maximum Mana whenever you're healed by a health globe. Vermin makes your Plague of Toads, Corpse Spiders, and Firebats abilities do 20% more damage. Finally, Spiritual Attunement increases your Witch Doctor's maximum mana by 20% and allows you to regenerate 2% of your maximum mana per second.
Personally, I used the Circle of Life passive skill on my Witch Doctor in the Diablo 3 beta. I found that with the abundance of health globes that drop in the beta that I never ran out of mana with this passive equipped, so I could constantly be casting spells over and over without worry about emptying that resource. That said, I think when the game is actually released I might go for Spiritual Attunement as there may be less health dropping and this skill will give me more benefits at a higher level.
As someone who loves pets in games, the main active skills that I used on my Witch Doctor were the zombie dogs, toads, and firebats. I loved controlling the beasts of hell, but with my fourth skill I used Poison Dart, which shoots enemies at range for 100% damage and an additional 80% weapon damage per second for two seconds. My zombie dogs and toads just did so much damage that I was never stuck fighting too many enemies at once with my Witch Doctor.
At the moment, the Witch Doctor seems like the most versatile class in the game. You can play it with just about any playstyle you prefer, whether that be summoning minions, melee combat, ranged combat, or spell casting. While every other class is a bit niche, the variety of ways that you can play the Witch Doctor at the start of the game all the way to the end is extremely appealing. Not to mention, they have some of the best looking character art and voice acting in the game, which only adds to the class as a whole.
What do you think of the Witch Doctor in the Diablo 3 beta so far? Let me know in the comments below, and tell me how you set up your Witch Doctor's skills if they're different than the ones that I used. Also be sure to check out our Diablo 3 Beta Wizard Guide and our Diablo 3 Beta Monk Guide for everything you want to know about these other D3 classes.
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