Patch 1.0.4 Preview: Witch Doctor


The fifth and final class preview for patch 1.0.4 of course addresses the DiabloWikiWitch Doctor.

Out of the five Diablo III classes, witch doctors are receiving the most attention in patch 1.0.4. The goal for this patch, like for many of the other classes, was simple: identify the unpopular or hard-to-use skills, figure out what’s not working, and then make them better. In some cases, skills only needed slight tuning — a little more damage here, or some increased durations there. In other cases, more significant changes were required. For the purpose of this preview, we’ll focus on the bigger changes, which can be broken down into the following categories:

  •     Pet survivability
  •     Vision Quest design flaws
  •     Splinters and Zombie Bears are way more appealing than most other skills

Pets

One of the core play styles for the witch doctor (and indeed the reason many people chose to play a witch doctor to begin with) is to have pets. Unfortunately, while witch doctor pets do pretty well in Normal difficulty, their survivability has been virtually non-existent in Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno. From our perspective, this isn’t acceptable, so we’re making some significant buffs to pets in 1.0.4. The goal of these buffs is to make pets not only more viable in those later difficulties, but also more enjoyable for players who prefer to base their builds around them.

From a design perspective, we want your pets to be durable enough so they can tank for you, but we don’t want them to just be automatically immortal. The cooldown on summoning pets is there for a reason. Speaking more specifically, we’d like for there to be times when your pets have died, your cooldowns haven’t refreshed yet, and you have that period of increased tension as you wait for the situation to stabilize again. On the other hand, we’d also like for there to be noticeable improvements for players who put thought and effort into their skill and gear selections to make their pets as strong as possible.

Trial and Error:

zombie dogsOne of the first things we tried internally was to have DiabloWikiZombie Dogs (db) scale their Life directly with their owner’s Life (Zombie Dogs already inherit Armor and Resistance from their owner). This had mixed results. For example, if the player stacked a large amount of Life, Armor, and Resist, it was possible to have Zombie Dogs tank most of Act I and parts of Act 2  in Inferno. As much as it made sense to have Zombie Dogs scale directly with your gear, it actually inhibited a completely different playstyle: players who wanted their witch doctor to be more of a glass cannon, but still have their Zombie Dogs able to tank. And with that we went back to the drawing board.

The next time around we gave the Zombie Dogs a base amount of Life, and in addition to this base value, they would also receive 35% of their owner’s Life. So, you had a Zombie Dog that could scale with your gear, but if you were built as a glass cannon you’d still have that base amount of Life to fall back on. To help with general survivability, we also gave Zombie Dogs some innate passive Life regeneration.  This test was much more successful. The Zombie Dogs could survive through most parts of Act I and Act II of Inferno just fine and died only occasionally to really difficult encounters. In Act III and Act IV, however, they could take maybe one or two hits, but the outcome was always the same: dead Zombie dogs. We tried increasing the bonus to 100% of their owner’s Life —  and even to 150% at one point, just to see what would happen — but it was to no avail.  The incoming damage just scaled up too high in those later Acts.

So, we made some more adjustments to their scaling, we gave them more passive regeneration, and we made pets resistant to even more AoE effects (such as DiabloWikiPlagued , DiabloWikiFrozen , and DiabloWikiMortar ).  The result was positive, but not perfect: Zombie Dogs could now tough out Acts I and II of Inferno, but they were still melting in Acts III and IV.

The Final Product:

Our final iteration was to give Zombie Dogs their own version of the wizard skill DiabloWikiForce Armor (db), which limits the amount of damage a wizard can take in a single hit up to 35% of their maximum Life.  Much like the rationale for reducing damage for DiabloWikiAoE effects, pets take more damage from melee than players.  Pets also don’t back off when they’re low, make use of doorways, or avoid big attacks.

When translating “Force Armor” over to Zombie Dogs, we wanted to make sure they could still scale with the player’s Life, Armor, and Resistances. So, rather than a flat 35%, the damage cap per hit is based on inherited Armor and Resistance values, and rather than scaling with the total Life, the mitigation amount is calculated on the base health of the Zombie Dogs, allowing additional Life to actually scale exceptionally well.

This might be a bit confusing, so let’s set up an example using a level 60 witch doctor. Let’s say this witch doctor has 32,000 Life, 45% mitigation from Armor, and 30% mitigation from Resistances. (For clarity, this means that 55% of incoming damage gets past the player’s Armor, and 70% of the incoming damage gets past Resistances.)

  • The base Life of a level 60 Zombie Dog is 10,000 Life
  • With scaling, each Zombie Dog will have 21,200 Life (10,000 [base] + 32,000 * 35% [scaling])
  • The maximum damage the Zombie Dog can take in a single hit will be 3850 Life (10,000 [base] * 55% [damage not mitigated by armor] * 70% [damage not mitigated by Resistances])
  • Ignoring passive Life regeneration, this means each Zombie Dog will always be able to take at least 5.5 hits (21,200 [Life] / 3850 [damage])

fierce loyaltyzombie handlerjungle fortitudeOnce you factor in some passive Life regeneration and healing from health globes, Zombie Dogs can do reasonably well in Inferno.  Players who decide to go with a glass cannon build while using Zombie Dogs will have pets that can tank for short periods of time. Meanwhile, players who build with some survivability and choose pet-oriented passives like DiabloWikiFierce Loyalty (db), DiabloWikiZombie Handler (db), and DiabloWikiJungle Fortitude (db) will find their pets to be extremely durable and very capable of handling all Acts of Inferno.

 

Vision Quest

As it stands now, without DiabloWikiVision Quest (db), many builds feel like you never have quite enough Mana.

vision questDon’t get me wrong: feeling like you always want more Mana can be a good thing, otherwise the resource system isn’t really doing its job. Even so, there are two major issues with Vision Quest that we want to address. The first is that it can feel very “feast or famine” when you’re using it; sometimes you have near limitless Mana and at other times you’re starved for resources. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it forces you to keep four skills on cooldown in order to be useful. This can be frustrating for a witch doctor who wants to use a cooldown skill strategically, but ends up casting the spell early for the Mana regeneration benefits.

big bad voodooLet’s use DiabloWikiBig Bad Voodoo (db) as an example.  Big Bad Voodoo might be ready to go, but you need it on cooldown for Vision Quest to stay active.  So, you cast the skill with only a handful of enemies on the screen. Then, no more than 20 seconds later, you come across a nasty Elite pack. While this would be a great moment to drop a Big Bad Voodoo to help you kill everything in sight (and ultimately avoid being killed yourself)….the skill is, of course, on cooldown. This can be a very aggravating experience!  This isn’t a dilemma we want players to face on a regular basis, so Vision Quest is getting redesigned for 1.0.4.

What’s Changing:

We’re keeping the focus of the skill on Mana regeneration, but we’re going to shift the way you get that regeneration away from needlessly spamming cooldowns to attacking and doing damage. The first thing we’re doing is increasing the baseline Mana regeneration of all witch doctors from 20 Mana per second to 45 Mana per second. Not only does this help to alleviate the “feast or famine” effect, it also acts as a big buff to witch doctors who choose to skip Vision Quest.

firebomb corpse spiders poison dart plague toads

 As for Vision Quest itself, it will increase Mana regeneration by 30% for 5 seconds after dealing damage with DiabloWikiFirebomb (db), DiabloWikiCorpse Spiders (db), DiabloWikiPoison Dart (db), or DiabloWikiPlague of Toads (db). One of the fun things about this set up is that you can combine it with a DiabloWikiSpider Queen (db) (Corpse Spider rune) or a DiabloWikiPyrogeist (db) (Firebomb rune) and they’ll keep Vision Quest active for you the entire time they’re out.

Of course, Vision Quest going down to 30% can seem scary. Base Mana regeneration is increased, and the new mechanics actually allow for Vision Quest to have a very high uptime, but is it enough?

As we continue internal testing, one of our checks to determine how well Vision Quest is performing is to see if a level 60 player can still summon hordes of stampeding DiabloWikiZombie Bears (db). While we can’t accommodate every skill and build combination out there, the goal for Vision Quest is that a player who has chosen the right passives and gear will still be able to summon waves of stampeding bears for at least a few seconds. The new Vision Quest is a lot less “feast or famine” than before, which means some players won’t be able to spam Zombie Bears for quite as long, but the tradeoff is you’ll have a more consistent stream of Mana coming in, and (more importantly) you’ll have your cooldown-controlled skills available to use strategically for maximum effect. A more reliable Mana stream, being able to use your cooldowns, and having the option to use other active and passive skills seems like a better design for the class as a whole for the long term.

 

Skill Options

In case you’re wondering, we’re not touching DiabloWikiSplinters (db) or Zombie Bears this patch. While these are the two most popular witch doctor skills right now, it’s probably not just because people love the sound of Splinters or the look of Zombie Bears (though both of those are pretty cool). Instead, their popularity is likely due to how attractive these skills are, both in terms of damage output and overall feel. To help compensate and open up more build options, we’re buffing a lot of other skills to make them as appealing as Splinters and Zombie Bears.

Speaking of how a skill feels, the reason players avoid many of the lesser used witch doctor skills have more to do with the skill feeling “slow.” For example, Firebomb, Plague of Toads, and Corpse Spiders all have animation timing issues which are being improved for 1.0.4. In general, all of these skills will cast faster, which will make the class feel snappier and more responsive. We’re also doing a straight damage increase on many skills including (but not limited to) Acid Cloud, Firebats, Firebomb, and Spirit Barrage.

That wraps up the witch doctor, and all of our class previews! We hope you’re excited about these changes and look forward to hearing your feedback.

So, did Blizzard save the best ’til last?  Are these changes the icing on the cake or a big sloppy kiss from your toothless gran?

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Skills, Witch Doctor

Comments

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  1. Survivable pets? Faster attack animations? Increased base mana regen?

    Hallelujah!

    • Very cool!

      My WD is my highest lvl character (my Monk did all the hard work of getting to Inferno), so I’m really looking forward to hitting Act 3.

    • It seems like most of you can’t do math nor have played a witch doctor through beating inferno. Vision quest was completely nerfed from 300% to a paltry 30%. Even with base mana regen buffed to 45% you can no longer acid cloud tank, rain of toads, nor have bursts of bear spam when needed.

      As of 1.0.4 a level 13 passive (spiritual attunement) is better than a level 40 passive (vision quest).

      I have beaten the game with all 5 classes and I experienced and appreciated first hand the weaknesses of every class. My witch doctor struggled the most even though I gave it the better gear my wizard was using because no matter what, mana regen was a handicap you could not get around even with 30 mana regen stacked from gear on top of passives and natural regen. Even if you went all out mana regen, it was still an issue and this nerf will not change that.

      • really? Cause I didn’t use Vison quest and I manage to spam rain of toads just fine.

      • “It seems like most of you can’t do math nor have played a witch doctor through beating inferno. Vision quest was completely nerfed from 300% to a paltry 30%. Even with base mana regen buffed to 45% you can no longer acid cloud tank, rain of toads, nor have bursts of bear spam when needed.”

        Don’t forget the base adjustment to 45 manareg./sec. That’s already an inert buff of an added 125% of manareg. already. In effect, Vision Quest get’s a little debuff in general and a little buff when using one of the four signature skills. In the end, Spiritual Attunement is the passive which ain’t as sweet a choice, if Blizzard ain’t planning on changes for it, too.

        edit: Strike that! It’s a debuff both ways, although not quite the debuff your making it up to be. (Was not thinking straight… Just woke up from a nap ^^)

        edit2: I will have to think a bit about these changes, before delivering an adequate comment, as I haven’t played the class for over 200 ingame-hours (while still beeing the class played the most). At first glance, they sound rather promising in adding viability to pet-setups (, although I would have liked a substantial boost to the damage pets make, to allow for pure pet-setups – but that never was the goal in designing the class to begin with.) Also, depending on the changes in attack/animation speed, setups built without any mana regenerating passives will be made viable, which I like, as I’m generally preferring a rather ressourceindependent setup. (And not just on the WD)

      • Lets see ATM you get 20 mana regen without Vision quest and 60 with it right, but only when you got 4 skills on cooldown.
        New WD model you get 45 mana regen without Vision Quest and 58.5 mana regen with it after casting on of the core cheap skills.

        So is 1.5 mana regen extra really that good?

        • @Rockman – Sure, if you are naked those are the numbers. Let’s say you have a paltry 20 mana regen on your gear.

          Old Regen = 40 * 3 = 120 mana regen
          New Regen = 65 * 1.3 = 84.5 mana regen

          Now do you see how severe a nerf this was? WDs now have to stack even more mana regen than before and they still will never have the regen they used to have. All because Blizzard saw the “flaw” of managing cooldowns and “fixed” it for you.

  2. Im really liking this. Especially the pet survivability buff and the faster animations…mana regan is great too. Incoming rage from people that use the zombie bears build 🙂

  3. Most of this sounds good, but as I read about zombie dogs I couldn’t help but think, “You didn’t test pet survivability before initial release?” Guess it worked on me…I’m still playing the game.

    • This. A million times this. I can’t believe that pets shipped the way they did. Without pets, a WD is basically just a gimped wizard. Can’t wait to see how people start playing inferno now that pets (and the WD class in general) are viable.

      • I don’t get why they think pets are so lame, actually. They don’t do so hot past Act I of Inferno. But their resistances are scaled, they can be re-summoned every sixty seconds, and Fierce Loyalty is so potent that pets can take care of every enemy in Hell difficulty without any help at all, if you’ve got the gear to give them half of the maximum possible benefit. I haven’t had any trouble keeping my guys in the game. I’d say they’ve always been viable… but I still like the change.

  4. Pets and mana buffed you say?

    It’s about time.

    Still, sounds good. I’ve missed firebomb a great deal since I hit 60.

  5. Why are faster attack animations important?

    • like they said, it’s the “feel”. Not sure if you played WD, but Plague of Toads feels really weird, like…slow… It’s kinda like fighting with a very slow 2h weapon vs a dagger – bam bam bam bam! Of coure some ppl might not mind, but a general speed-up to some skills won’t hurt. Nice one Blizzard.

    • Because you don’t want to be dead by the time that firebomb actually hits the ground. It helps a lot when kiting to have faster animations.

  6. Begs the question: Who the fuck was in charge of testing this stuff before relase?

    • I’ll go on a limb here and say that they probably never tested all skills as much as normal on the remaining difficulties so they couldn’t see that some stuff wasn’t working well past normal.

      10 million players is a lot more than QA can handle

      And I’m sure the focus was a lot more on normal since that’s probably where the majority would play before stopping (casuals, not die hards like most of us here).

  7. wow, I think that was the best class preview in terms of substance.

    • I’m leveling my final char to 60 (to get the achievement) and playing the WD is a drag compared to all other chars. I look at the skills and passives and don’t know what to pick. I tried a few but they mostly suck and yes the fact that he casts soooo slowly is really not making him feel snappy at all compared toa wizard which can just spam 3-4 spells in a sec.

      Try the zombie hands, followed with acid + plague butterflies and you’ll see what I mean.

      After all these great buffs, it will surely be more fun to level another batch of 5 chars on HC for the 10 lvl 60 chars achievement!

    • The barbarian one was pretty cool too

  8. Corpse Spider is so fun to use, I hope this makes it much more useful!

  9. HELLLLLLL YAAAAAAA. Now just make spider queen run faster and I’m golden :D.

  10. My wife is running a WD and she is pretty damn happy right now. Booyah, well done Blizz.

    I am kind of stymied as to what the play testers were thinking, not banging down Wyatt’s doors screaming that their zombie dogs couldn’t make it past normal.

  11. Good stuff but, why make it so difficult regarding Zombie Dogs?
    Just scale survivability of Zombie Dogs based on the WD’s Intelligence, and voila, you have Zombie Dogs that are made for tanking with a glasscannon.
    Seems pretty simple, yes?

  12. how come everyone else got so much love, and their main skill builds left alone, but WD oh sorry zombie bears killed, and then VQ poof sucks now. Should I point out that WDs are the only class that have no skills to generate mana, all other classes can generate their rage, arcane etc, WDs only spend it…. rather quickly I must add. 280+ hour WD and I’m afraid it’s actually time to really move on to another class. 20 minutes ago I was excited to read it, now I’m just shaking my head.

    • I feel your pain and I don’t envy your situation.

      P.S: It took 2 pages of comments to finally see someone who has played the class enough to really understand things. Speaks volumes as to how unpopular it is in attracting good players to it.

    • wait till you use it, it may not be so bad. They said they don’t wanna nerf the zombie bears too much. And did you consider that perhaps now other combos will be as viable or better?

      • new combos etc I understand but wasn’t my point at all. They have left pretty much all the main builds that I could tell intact, until the WD came about. I don’t care what they said, they pigeon holed us. If we want to run bears we’re going to have to stack mana regen on our items, and I’d rather use that sta for something else, mana regen was never a req on gear I searched for. So now we’re loosing mana regen, still have no way to create it on our own like every other class, lose a mod slot to stack mana regen, and probably still not have the mana we would have had due to the only nerf I could see across all the classes. Just my opinion of course…

    • Err? Just quickly skimmed over all WD skills and he as 10! skills that generate mana for him, and then 4 passives that also give him mana with a bit of creativity, and 1 passive that decreases mana cost of skills and then VQ which needed a drastical overhaul.

      What do you want?

    • WTF are you a drunken idiot or are you being sarcastic?
      “zombie bears killed” No they are not they said they not touching them and don’t plan to do so.
      “VQ poof sucks now”, no it dont all you need to do is cast one of the core skill to trigger it instead of having 4 skills on CD. Also the change in mana regen is a puny 1.5 less than old one. As for regen problem well you got a 150% base mana regen buff. As for no skills look at the primary runes the a version that generates mana in there.
      So if you could spam bears before you can now just not as long, but here the thing you should be able to cast a few spams without VQ now and if things go wrong you will have you Big Bad Voodoo or Fetish Army ready for use.

  13. I would still like to see Life on Hit and Reflect Damage affect zombie dogs and gargantuan instead of me

    Life on Hit to make them live longer
    Reflect Damage to make them die faster

    and cut their cooldowns by 25-33%

  14. Everyone expected stronger pets and I’m glad of that.

    I was always out of mana, but I thought it was the way I played or my gear. For me, this is better news.

    All of these changes will make the WD a totally different class.

  15. WD was my first class and i took one up to inferno, died a lot, and rerolled a monk.

    I loved my fishymancer until Act 4 of Hell. Just couldn’t keep my pets alive any longer, and so i switched styles entirely for vision quest. Their right: the skill is great at powering a spam assault, but it turns at least 2 skills into meaningless cooldown payments.

    So if some people have to spam acid cloud a little less so the rest of us can actually enjoy a fully useful skill bar into inferno, then I’ll take that trade.

  16. So after reading “Pets” my first thought was:
    … Gargantuan? :< I hope he becomes awesome. Just simply not lame.

    Mana seems to be a neat way to go. I want to do a quick calculation of mana regen in the hopes the millions of gold I spent on regen items for VQ isn't totally wasted.
    45 base + 28 from items = 73 per second, with VQ that's 73*1.30 = 95 mana/sec

    To spam Zombie Bears continuously at 1.4APS (ceremonial dagger) you need about 198 mana/sec. So this was nerfed in half, basically.

    Splinters will have no trouble at all. Rain of Toads without PTV is 34 mana, but is has some hidden attack speed modifier similar to monk primary skills and thus is used much faster than 1.4 aps, though it should be spammable without VQ and without PTV.

    All I can think of atm, some of these skills could change too.

    • A blue on the reddit thread posted that Gargantuan is getting the same changes as dogs.

    • Regarding Such Violent Storms calculations on mana regeneration with his gear. This shows that you can spam zombie bears with approx 50% up-time with good gear on VQ alone. And since VQ no longer requires your abilities to be on cooldown at all times this would allow us to use additional abilities to supplement this with some additional mana income. If you also consider a little kiting and other movement/positioning the up-time for bears can still be quite high. I love these changes because it makes the entire build/concept much more strategic. When to burn mana, what to do while its building up, which other abilities to help supplement mana if max bears up-time is your priority, and the ability to actually use your cooldowns as required/situationally. Massive win imo.

  17. This definitely feels like the best upgrade for the bunch. The class should have a completely different feel… Might even make it the cake walk/noob class of D3…

    Anywho, didn’t they learn anything from D2 Necromancer “pets”? Just curious.

  18. All these delicious updates makes it really hard to play D3 in it’s current state. 😛

  19. VQ was a broken skill, glad to see the change

    I will be able to play the WD the way I played until Inferno, with pets, a CC skill and a buff skill. Left click a single target, right click an aoe
    plenty to choose from now!

  20. I don’t have a lot of experience from playing a level 60 WD, but this sounds awesome to me. I think I’ll give my WD another try once the patch hits. I loved my necros in D2 and I can’t wait to give pets another try in D3 😀

  21. So some calcs :

    max dmg zombie dog 10000* (dmg not migrated bij armor)* (by res) if u got really good gear (like 75% dmg redux,70% res and 60k hp)? 10000 * (75% dmg redux=25 not migrated)0.25 * (70% res = 30% not migrated) 0.3 = 750 dmg per hit.
    With 60k life = 10K + (60000*0.35) =31K ife on zombie
    31K/750 = roughly 41 hits ???? (not calculated 20% hp or less dmg from passives)

    Is this really true ???? cause with some life regen and lots of procs the dogs wont even die anymore…

    Summoner stats prio?
    -hp
    -armor
    -all res
    -int/dmg
    -procs/life regen/blees/thorns

  22. how nice.
    Every class gets dps boosts, WD is completely nerfed.
    Base mana reg 20 -> 45 per sec
    Old VQ 20 x 300% = 80 mana per sec
    New Vq 45 x 30$ = about 60 mana per sec.
    But that’s not the problem

    The problem is that every WD has some mana reg boosts from passives or gear.
    SA passive gives 1% of max mana reg per sec. For 1000 mana it means + 10.
    you can possibly get around 45 mana req from gear (3 x 15).
    Overall old VQ could give you.
    20 + 10 + 45 x 300% = 300 mana per second.
    New VQ with the same gear would give you.
    45 + 10 + 45 x 30% = 130 mana per second.

    That’s a huge nerf.
    but hey I can cast some pets now and they will live for 5 sec – not 1.
    The funny thing is that they have 60 sec cooldown…

    Effectively
    dps will be limited – no mana
    survivalability will be boosted a bit.

    And WD is not OP class by any means now.

    • people on the us forums are saying that zombie dogs will cost u effectively 15 mana per cast with this buff and VQ is easy to keep up for 100% of the time without having 4 spells on cd. Where is the nerf …

    • They nerfed vision quest and buffed the generation as a whole.

      So all builds without vision quest is better. And vision quest builds are marginally worse = still good. A 25% – 60% nerf of the generation but allows you to use CD skills strategically, or skip them.

      All in all, they are just trying to make vision quest not mandatory. If you don’t like the new change. Try something new. There will probably be another build that is considered to be the best there is after this patch that you can copy just like you did with vision quest, but the gap to the other builds will be much lower after this patch.

      The is also a pretty big chance they will introduce a legendary item that is basically designed to help players get ruffly the same generation as before the nerf.

      • Man VQ won’t be marginally worse, it will be completely useless along with Pierce of the Veil.
        Since VQ is mandatory as you states that means all WDs will be nerfed.
        Zombie Bears spam = 140 mana per cast x 1.5 attacks/sec = 210 mana/sec
        Acid cloud spam = 170 mana per cast x 1.5 attacks/sec= 255 mana/sec.
        Max possible under new VQ = 130
        Max possible under old (current) VQ = around 300.
        Easy to get under new VQ = around 80.
        Easy to get under old VQ = around 150
        Twice as much.
        Two times less mana for average WD = two times less dmg.
        So DPS output of WDs will be completely nerfed and that’s the FACT.
        Not marginally, it will be nerfed completely.
        While on solo it won’t hurt much (unless you are using VQ with Pierce of the Veil), whole mana pool will be enough to bring down a mob pack and it should replenish until next one, in multigames it would hurt WDs a lot.

        And I don’t have a problem with VQ nerf, I have a problem with pets and VQ nerf being the selling points of class changes in 1.0.4.
        How about no viable long range attack skills besides splinters?
        Maybe blizz would address that.
        How about sacrifice and pets passives completely suck?

        • No, VQ it wont be completely useless. Just not mandatory. If you read the article you can see that they tested the new version and felt that it was almost as good as useful as before, but added more flexibility to the build by removing the cooldown requirement. Besides, if it really is useless, they will just buff it again in an upcoming patch. Big deal.

          “How about no viable long range attack skills besides splinters?
          Maybe blizz would address that.
          How about sacrifice and pets passives completely suck?”

          Pet passives wont suck once the pets get the buff they promised. Also, didn’t they state in the article that basically all abilities besides splinters and Zombie bears will get a boost in power. So sacrifice will be better, and all other long range abilities like haunt/firebomb/spirit barrage will be better. Relax buddy! 🙂

    • Your calculations are wrong, the nerf is more substantial than that.
      Vision Quest INCREASES your mana regen by 300% meaning you already have 100% and add 300% totaling 400%. My WD has +30 mana per second from 3 items (helm/weapon/offhand) for a total of 50: http://i.imgur.com/pc0cB.jpg

      So,

      1.0.3 VQ:
      50×400% = 200 mana per second http://i.imgur.com/dEG1a.jpg

      With 1.0.4 VQ it’ll be:
      75×130% = 97.5 mana per second

      That’s a 51% nerf. What’s funnier is that the more mana regen from gear you have the larger the nerf gets. Luckily all my gear is self found and my WD is just an alt among 5 but people who invested their resources and time into their characters/builds are getting shafted.

      • Well even if the nerf is that big, do you find it “fun” to have 4 skills on cd and spam the hell out of one skill… I benched my WD for that kinda bullshit.

        • It’s fun because I’m able to kill things efficiently comparing to other builds.
          With other build I’m not able to that -> not enough mana.
          But instead of boosting other passives they nerf VQ heavilly.
          So unless you are pets fan and you like to run around with them and deal no damage, WD would suck for you after these changes (unless some other passives will be substatially boosted).

        • You’re right it’s not fun but like nessah said you can at least beat/survive the content. Instead of keeping VQ as is and ADDING options should someone chose not go down that route they force everyone out by nerfing it.

          Survivable pets are still useless. They never have and never will deal any amount of damage that will compensate for the dps loss incurred. This is by design as Blizzard has stated they don’t want your pets to be doing any significant amount of damage. So the burden is shifted instead onto your gear.

          On the monk preview they said that even though they didn’t like the idea of mandatory passives vis a vis One with Everything, they weren’t going to touch it because it would hurt the investment people had made on their gear. Why is there then a double standard when it comes to Witch Doctors?

          I’d love to play the class more but I just don’t find it enjoyable and having some gimmicky pets survive a few more hits in act3/4 is not going to change that. Looks like DonCornelius will remain another mule storing items destined to be sold on the AH.

      • They are not.
        Read again.
        I know that 300% -> four times more not three…

        Max mana reg on class specific items is IIRC +14/11/11.
        You got less but I’m not refering to you, I was refering to best possible mana reg gear (+14 on weap +11 mojo +11 voodoo mask) plus spiritual attunement passive (1% of max mana reg per second + 9-14 mana per sec depending on max mana value). Total is 14 + 11 + 11 + 14 ~ 50 mana from gear and passives + 20 base ~ 70. With old VQ (+300%) it equals ~280 per/sec.
        Max with new VQ.
        45 (base) + 50 (gear and passives) = 95 x 30% = 125 mana/sec
        125/280 = 0.44
        With best mana regen build new max mana regeration under VQ is only 44% of old max mana regen.

        For those who have no +mana reg gear it won’t be that much.
        20 x 300% = 80
        45 x 30% = 59 (58.5).
        59/80 = 0.73%
        Still it will be a lot less.

        All in all it’s a huge nerf.

  23. this build works fine for me.
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#ScUZfX!Ybe!accbcb

    i never run out of mana even on bosses. long range, aoe, close range and control. with gruesome feast passive and grasp of dead with death is life rune, i recharge mana easily. granted, i play single payer.

  24. Sounds great to me. More options, stronger pets.

    And the VQ spamming felt like abusive use of game mechanics to me anyway. I picked a WD to play a bit defensive, not to act like a Glass Cannon.

    • Pretty asinine comment. There was nothing “abusive” about Vision quest. It was being used just as the developers coded it. The fact that it was at the center of the few high end inferno viable builds only scores the fact that the rest of the class’s skills and passives were subpar.

      “I picked a WD to play a bit defensive” Good for you, but who are you to tell anyone how they should play their game? Instead of asking for all varieties of builds to be brought to parity you are ok with having them removed. Pretty sheepish way of thinking.

      Anyways, I’m glad I’m not invested on any one particular class. I have 4 other characters that can clear inferno act3/4 comfortably but I do hate having my options/variety diminished.

  25. bb 200+mp regen with VQ. bb my bearspamming WD 😥

  26. Am I the only one who uses zombie dogs to explode them for the damage buff??I don’t care about their survivability! Also, nerfing how often you can cast zombie bears just plain sucks. This is probably the most powerful skill the WD has and the only reason I haven’t given up with him.

    • Also, nerfing how often you can cast dire bats. No joy with one, who can not deal real dmg.. They are killing WD as damage dealer
      Even with 3 items mp regen and 20->45 regen boost and +30% from nerfed VQ(-1 slot for simple skill to ‘ON’ VQ) thhIT is far from 200+ mp regen
      Dogs. Ye I goona boom some fore fun. Die dog! 👿

  27. Here is my question to you. Why do skills still increase in mana cost per level, while mana regen still remains an integer value?

    That’s the real reason everyone went VQ Zombie Bears. If they kept the mana pool growing but made costs not scale, then as you level fights last longer and so do your resources. Instead, fights last longer, you run out of gas faster.

    Or they could have changed the flat values of mana regen to a percent and left the rest alone.

    Instead they missed the core problem. Again.

    And it isn’t about Zombie Bears. Even if they did boost the other skills to be competitive with Zombie Bears (and I have my doubts) you can no more sustain them than you can sustain Zombie Bears so it does not make any actual change.

  28. They probably did this because they are goin to put a buttload of mana regen on a legendary which will compensate for the nerf and will be required for the build.

  29. I like these changes. I never used VQ anyway. I’m concerned about spider vase though – at the moment, I only use the jumping spiders. The rest are useless. IMO they should all be jumping spiders and have extra abilities/strengths.

  30. Zombie bears is a fun build that does huge damage and feels powerful, especially from the way the dying monsters go flying into the air. I’ve used it quite a bit, but I am not upset with this change. Their is only one reason to be upset with it, and that is if you ONLY want to spam zombie bears, firebats or another high mana cost skill.

    These skills are still usable, but not for casting without end for a minute straight. Any different kind of build for the doc just received a huge boost, and players won’t need to equip skills just for an extra cool down.

    I’m a fan of the locust swarm, and I would use splinters and grasp of the dead with it. Now, I would love to use a skill besides splinters as a low cost main skill and hopefully there will be some better options after the attack skill buffs.

  31. So, to those people upset about the nerf to bearspam, does the fact that you’ve essentially been given 3 new active skill slots that you can use tactically not make up for it at all? Surely, you can make up for the deficit a bit by using BBV-Rain Dance when you need the mana or Spirit Walking it back or something.

    Aside from that, you’ll have more options in a fight and a bigger safety net. It looks to me like you can’t play it exactly the same after these changes, but you can still play it.

  32. Ok… having thought a bit about the changes, I still like them. Yes, Vision Quest was nerved with a diminishing return the more manaregeneration you receive from other sources. But that only means that you can’t spam Zombie Bears like “automatic fire” anymore, while still being able to use it in “burst mode”. The skill even looks to me, as if it would be the ideal finisher now, instead of a main damage source, which seems to me like opening up the niche where the WD was lacking up to now, compared with the other four classes. (As Acid Cloud is getting a damage bump that may be enough of a compensation to not beeing able to spam the skill, so there’s not much to say about it at the moment.) All in all I’m awaiting one or more Legendaries compensating for the effect by providing high manaregboni or opening up a fourth (or even fifth) itemslot for the affix.

    The pets on the other hand, receiving such a big boost to their survivability, seem to me as quite a mandatory supplement to nearly every setup now. I won’t complain about it, as I like playing a summoner, but where they’ve lacked before, they seem rather overpowered now. I would like to see the resistance to aoe-effects linked to the actual rune one is using, though. Having a bit of control over what bossability one can savely ignore and adjusting your setup to keep your pets alive on the rest is a far more interesting choice, than simply beeing able to ignore the whole lot.

    On the changes to attack/animation speed I just can say that they’ve seen the problem right. But we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out in the end. (edit: I would still prefere having an affix on items adressing this problem, than a fixed boost on the matter, while keeping +attack speed and +animation speed excluding each other on the same item…)

    edit: All in all this was a pretty exciting update for all the people who like the WD and hated beeing pigeonholed into overusing manaexpensive skills.

  33. Fuck you Blizzard for nerfing my only character – Zombie Bear tank doctor. I actually used my spirit walk, soul harvest, gargantuan, fetish, and hex. Most disappointing nerf I have ever seen.

  34. My main is a level 60 hardcore WD running splinters and bears with rain dance the keep it going (butcher kill in around 20 seconds) and legion of daggers to help tank elites.

    They really need to make spirit walk go through walls. If they just did that and nothing else I would be a happy guy. Says right there in the skill \LEAVE YOUR PHYSICAL BODY and enter the spirit realm\. It makes no sense whatsoever for a spirit to be stuck behind wall spam in a cave. Hell I’d even be happy if they made me sacrifice jaunt for a rune to walk through wall spam.

    I read the changes to vision quest. It’s clearly a nerf to anyone using it for an insane bear spam wave which I think is fair. I never used it because the crazy mana regen on my gear plus rain dance was more than enough to bring anything down in time and I just didn’t personally like the idea of always having skills on cooldown in hardcore inferno. It’s most certainly harder to find the perfect gear to ignore vision quest but attaining a crazy mana stream like that SHOULD take way more time than just clicking a passive skill. With the buff to WD passive mana regen I will most certainly never need vision quest… I might not even need rain dance now we’ll see.

    Pet boost… I hope this means that I can have zombie dogs up all the time now instead of the burst tank of legion of daggers (which needs a big damage boost). I would have liked to read that they gave the gargantuan a strong taunt ability and a life buff but it looks like they just wanted to life boost zombie dogs instead which kind of bothers me. Spider queen still needs all kinds of boosts.

    It makes me nervous that they have their eyes on splinters and zombie bears. I smell a nerf coming soon similar to what happened to vision quest. I just hope they realize how terrible the class is as a whole when compared to others and how badly it needs boosting in multiple skills rather than the balancing they seem to be doing with it. There are so many skills that would be viable if they just simply increased the damage or attack speed to compete with bears.

    TL/DR Boost spirit walk. Don’t nerf splinters and bears JUST BOOST THE OTHER SKILLS. Hell it’s the witch doctor boost everything and call it a day. Why do I always pick the most broken class?

  35. I’ve got over 500 hours on my Witch Doctor and am pleased with these changes. I was pretty stubborn during my first 400 hours and refused to do the zombie bear spam. I’ve succumbed to bear spam for my last 100 hours or so of farming and I don’t enjoy it as much as the other builds I played, yet it is so much more efficient (especially when playing co-op with a barb).

    I still think bears will be the fastest champion/boss killers, it just means a little longer pause for your mana to regen before going in for a quick bear spam. Assuming rain dance is on cool down, I’d expect it to take 3 or 4 times of rushing in to spam bears (while using spirit walk/jaunt), run out and wait for full mana and spirit walk to come off CD.

    I also think the VQ change will boost survivability by a ton since it frees up slots for defensive abilities. I’d gladly triple my boss kill speed if it doubles my safety; I hate how fragile and helpless my WD feels when I’m trying to line the champion packs up for a VQ bear spam.

    I have my fingers crossed that they announce their end game plan is something along the lines of Everquest’s AA’s. Even if it takes a week of grinding to gain a “talent point” to assign a .5 % crit chance or 1% all resist, I’d be thrilled.

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