We've put together this Diablo 3 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 Diablo 3 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 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, happy stuff.
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 one of the easiest things to do is summon your Zombie Dogs and let them kill anything that comes near you. Obviously this is an extremely basic way to play what is otherwise a skill-based class, but for softer enemies 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 skills manifest the most direct damage to your enemies. Spirit Realm skills on the other hand deal their damage over time, or act as utility skills. 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 20% in an area for 20 seconds.
Like all of the other Diablo 3 classes, Witch Doctors can only have six skills active at a time. You start out with one active skill at level one and you unlock the ability to use a extra skills at levels 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24. Witch Doctors also unlock passive skill slots at levels 10, 20, and 30.
As you're making your way through Diablo 3 as a Witch Doctor, there are a few skills to keep in mind. These are skills that will prove to be most useful, or are a bit more potent than others.
Summon Zombie Dogs: Unlocked at level 4, 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.
Firebats: Unlocked at level 5, this skill releases a swarm of fire-imbued bats towards any enemies in front of you for 150% 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. The only downside: an extremely high Mana cost of 122.
Plague of Toads: Unlocked at level 11, Plague of Toads allows you to release a handful of toads that deal 130% 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. (Twisted, I know)
Between dogs, toads, and bats, none of my enemies lasted too long against my Witch Doctor. 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. If going for the all-out assault tactic doesn't work, these strategic skills will help get your Witch Doctor out of a pickle.
Passive Witch Doctor Skills: In Diablo 3 you can only equip one passive skill once you get to level 10. Your choices are Circle of Life or Jungle Fortitude, and at level 13 you unlock Spiritual Attunement. At level 16 you can swap in Gruesome Feast, and at level 20 you'll unlock a new Passive Skill slot, as well as Skills Bad Medicine and Blood Ritual. 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 a 5% chance of automatically summoning a zombie dog when an enemy dies within 12 yards. Jungle Fortitude reduces damage by 20%, which extends to your pets as well. Spiritual Attunement increases your Witch Doctor's maximum mana by 20% and allows you to regenerate 1% of your maximum mana per second. Gruesome Feast turns health orbs into jack-of-all-trades drops, gaining 10% of maximum Mana and increasing Intelligence by 10%, a buff that can stack up to 50%.
Bad Medicine will reduce an enemy's damage by 20% for 3 seconds every time they're dealt poison damage, and finally, Blood Ritual will reduce the Mana cost of your Skills by replacing 15% of their cost with Life. Don't worry though, Blood Ritual will also regenerate 1% of your Life every second to keep you from passing out due to blood loss.
Circle of Life is a great passive to keep up if you're going for the offensive approach and don't want to keep burning Mana on summoning zombie dogs. If you're looking for a more balanced playstyle though, Spiritual Attunement might be the way to go, as it helps your With Doctor stay reliant only on him/herself.
As someone who loves pets in games, the main active skills that I used on my Witch Doctor were those that summoned 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% weapon damage and an additional 40% weapon damage as poison over two seconds. This is the Witch Doctor's very first skill and it never truly loses its punch.
Truly, 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 Diablo 3? 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 Wizard Guide and our Diablo 3 Monk Guide for everything you want to know about these other D3 classes.