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    I recall vividly staring at the character selection screen in D2 agonizing over what to choose. In a few weeks we’ll all have that same feeling again. Ultimately, I chose a Necro after begin swayed my the vast minions he controlled. D3 won’t have a Necro but it has something close the DiabloWikiWitch Doctor. I was not blown away by the class reveal back in 2008 but over time it grew on me and after playing it, I find I may be steered down the same path I found myself on in D2.

     

    From the Beta perspective the Witch Doctor is a beast. Unlike the Necro the minions (aside from zombie dogs) aren’t permanent so each pet you choose to cast requires thought and active participation on your part. You fling spiders, shoot bats and call forth zombie hands to do your bidding. What really caught me was how fun the juggling of it all was. I would come up to a pack and have to think about how I would dispose of them using what I had. There were times I could just spam DiabloWikiPoison Dart but I found it to be much more fun to hurl things across the screen to do my dirty work.

    Where the WD ramps up the most is with DiabloWikiSoul Harvest. At no point was it difficult to keep up a full charge on this buff and as a result the damage I was doing was ridiculous. I probably spent the better part of an hour just using Soul Harvest and DiabloWiki Firebats runed to Direbats. It was cool to see the large bat rush through and kill almost everything in it’s wake. Even without Soul Harvest I was able to kill things quickly but once I got the skill I couldn’t find a reason not to use it.

    The one downside I noticed was the Zombie dogs. They don’t do too much damage anymore and in a boss fight aren’t much use since they are killed right away.   With skill slots at a premium I feel like Zombie dogs might not make the cut except they are good at one thing. For the large part they are able to run in and distract those large packs. That gives you time and space to unload on them.  As of right not I’m not sold on the long term use of Zombie dogs but the meat shield factor will make me keep them.

    Most of the Beta with the WD was played with ease. Each WD I’ve brought up to level cap has never died but also never failed to make me have fun. Whether it was the the sight of the giant bat leveling hordes of zombies, or the sound of the blowgun shooting multiple projectiles, I was enjoying myself. One of the things that bored me with the Necro in D2 was the waiting factor. I was always waiting for my minions to show up, or to kill something. With the WD I am in charge and things flow at the pace I want.

    As for the Hardcore factor, I can’t really see a downside for this class in Hardcore. I never really had a point where I was close to dying or being overwhelmed and the skills helped keep things interesting. Being able to summon three companions to take the attention off you helps immensely  and if things are really looking grim you can always DiabloWikisacrifice them.  Soul Harvest gives an awesome boost and helps cut down the monsters you might normally struggle with. The Witch Doctor also benefits from being a ranged character. Range is the greatest advantage right now that i’ve found. I’m expecting some server lag in the first few day( or weeks) of D3 and would hate to lose my shiny new barb in the middle of the pack while the ranged characters on the outside make it out alive.

    So that’s it the last class to talk about before release. Each has some pro’s and cons for Hardcore, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a preference.At the moment I’m down to Monk, WD and Barb with no idea which to pick. What class will you be taking with your  one life and why? Feel free to post your thoughts and opinions as to what I should choose as well!

    Next week: What comes next.

    One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.

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