John Yang hopped onto the forums this afternoon to share some of the Diablo 3 developers’ plans for addressing the problem of pets dying too quickly on higher Greater Rifts. Blizzard: How to fix Witch Doctor Pet Squishiness:

    Can we please get an answer about whether or not pet toughness is getting looked at… so I can decide if I want to keep playing my WD, or just roll the FotM class and get it over with?
    John Yang: Hey everyone. We’re in the process of doing a review of Rift Guardian abilities and extremely damaging monster abilities in regards to the amount pets take. Our philosophy on pet survivability can be summed up as follows:

    Pets should be roughly as survivable as the player. There’s a lot to this statement so let me clarify a bit:

  • Pets should scale with your survivability stats. They currently scale with most of your stats but not all of them. This is being worked on.
  • Pets should derive their Toughness from yours, and if you skip out on it, your pets’ survivability should be noticeably lower as a result. On the flip side, they should be noticeably tougher if you’ve increased your own Toughness. You shouldn’t skimp on Toughness just because you have pets.
  • We don’t want pets to be invulnerable tanks. In the live environment pets are too squishy, but even after our review is done in a future patch, if your pets are still dying a lot, we want you to be looking to increase your Toughness, which will consequently increase your pets’ survivability.
  • To work towards the first goal, Pets should take reduced damage based on how avoidable the monster attack normally is for a player. This is done instead of giving pets AI to run away from damaging attacks, which would cause them to lose out on DPS time. These monster attacks exist in a spectrum but roughly fall into 3 categories:

  • Full damage to pets – Basic melee/weak projectile attacks, not expected to be always avoided by a player.
  • Reduced damage to pets – Special attacks such as fireballs, which typically deal more damage than a basic attack, are pretty bright and visible, and can sometimes be avoided by the player. Good example are Perdition’s volley attack or Agnidox’s fireballs.
  • Drastically reduced damage to pets – Persistent AoEs for which the player is intended to move out of quickly or highly-telegraphed attacks for which the player is intended to avoid altogether. Examples are Thunderstorm monster affix, Mallet Lord’s arm attack, or Morlu meteors.
  • We’re not at our goal yet but are actively working towards it. Though the vast majority of monsters abilities in the game already follow these guidelines, we’ve identified a number of monsters abilities (e.g. Mallet Lord’s arm attack and some others mentioned in this thread and elsewhere) which don’t, and we will be addressing them in a future patch.

    You’ll note the presence of any “soon™” or other ETA-type comments from John, so WDs can just keep their claws crossed. It’s an interesting philosophy John’s proposing. So basically they’re going to nerf the damage to pets from all the most dangerous/damaging monster attacks, under the logic that if the pet was a player, it would have dodged. Of course the whole danger in the game is when you do *not* dodge such attacks.

    How about the idea of pet’s toughness growing from your own toughness? It’s logical, but many players choose to use in pets as a surrogate for boosting their own toughness. Unfortunately D3 doesn’t have skill points so it’s more complicated to really “invest” in the skills that you want to work best. People who want tougher pets will thus have to boost their own toughness to make it happen, and/or use passive skills for pet strength, and/or the few items that boost pet effectiveness (though those are mostly about boosting pet damage output).

    You may also like