Witch Doctor Passives Improvements/Changes?


An interesting thread in the Demon Hunter forum asks which DH passives should be "baked in" to the character, basically making them full time abilities. The whole thing was spurred by a blue post about Monks:

The most commonly proposed solution is to simply bake One With Everything directly into the Monk's class. In essence, give the passive away for free. This has a few issues. We don't currently bake a mechanic like this into other classes, so it would be something that’d need to be explained to new players or otherwise exist as a hidden bonus. It also represents a big boost to one class that's inequitable with the other classes.

So which WD passives need work/improvement? Which might be baked in and made permanent features of the class? Which could be improved to promote build diversity?



Passive Skills for Witch Doctor in Softcore
1Pierce the Veil(Passive)41.44%
2Gruesome Feast(Passive)38.52%
3Jungle Fortitude(Passive)38.47%
4Grave Injustice(Passive)36.53%
5Spirit Vessel(Passive)32.84%
6Spiritual Attunement(Passive)22.63%
7Zombie Handler(Passive)21.01%
8Vision Quest(Passive)19.43%
9Blood Ritual(Passive)15.31%
10Circle of Life(Passive)8.63%
11Tribal Rites(Passive)6.22%
12Fetish Sycophants(Passive)5.45%
13Fierce Loyalty(Passive)5.40%
14Bad Medicine(Passive)5.17%
15Rush of Essence(Passive)2.81%

The WD's passives are actually in a pretty good place, in terms of diversity. (Compare to Barb, with 2 over 80% and half under 5% usage rate.) Nothing is mandatory for the WD and only a few passives are basically useless/ignored.

Okay, first of all, who are the 2.81% of people using Rush of Essence? Unless I'm misinterpreting the tooltip, they could literally 10x that skill to 490 mana over 10 seconds, and I couldn't imagine using it.

Bad Medicine seems an easy improvement. Just make it work with every type of damage. Lower the reduction to 15% perhaps, if needed for balance? That's also a good potential to "bake in" to the WD; it's part of his inherent poison affinity, or something.

Tribal Rites is another easy fix. Just up it to 50%. That'd help a lot with build diversity too, as skills like BBV and Mass Confusion aren't much used since the cooldown is too long.

I personally love Circle of Life but it's not that popular. How about we combine it with Fetish Sycophant, giving you a chance to spawn either or both?

You guys got some other suggestions for changes or improvements or entirely new passives the class needs? I've been talking to the CMs about this stuff lately, and they're definitely soliciting fan suggestions for game improvements.

Similar threads are now running for all five classes: Barbarian Passives, Monk Passives, Wizard Passives, Demon Hunter Passives.


Diabloii.Net Member
First and foremost, a blue has responded to this awesome thread with a positive response, that is, 'we are aware that the WD has problems and we are looking into it':

That is infinitely better than the consistent silence for WD balance changes since 1.04.

@ the above poster.
If that was SA, that would be broken. RoE already is mana positive for Spirit Barrage. SA + RoE would be infinite mana and you could bears to you heart's content with haunt mana regen rune.

Tribal rights: 50% except for garg/dogs. Don't need easy zero dogs (or hell zero garg) running around, unless they make changes to sacrifice and the garg runes that are not restless giant.

My opinion:
Baking in Jungle Fort is an easy change for everyone.

Witch Doctors are all over the place when attacking, sometimes melee, sometimes mid range, sometimes long range. Just give them more base defense, halfway between zero and barbs. Pets survive longer, WDs can use certain melee skills more often, and I really don't see a downside.

I think Fierce Loyalty is another VERY easy one. What fierce loyalty is now, can be the base, and the fierce loyalty passive can increase it to double life regen, add 20% max HP, and double/triple/.../septuple/... thorns damage based on MP level (double at MP2 and so on). Also pending supposed updates to thorns. Thorns is **** now. Or it can just follow the monster HP bonus % per MP.

That's two passives and it would barely change things. In PvP it would still be 30% DR for WDs.

Secondary: (Less obvious to me if there aren't bad side effects)
I would consider VQ. If you use a primary, it is using a precious skill slot on one very low damage skill; first they should cost zero mana and second they should all generate extra mana per second without any requirements, just like the other classes.

RoE is awesome. My profile with RoE for high MP:

I've been using spirit barrage well of souls for a LONG time now in high MP. More attack speed means more temporary mana per second. Are there any skills this applies to besides RoE or VQ+widow makers?
I can alternate WoS + acid rain, once every three seconds. Use bears to quickly down white enemies.

RoE builds up temporary mana regen rate. VQ stacks on that RoE temporary mana regen.
I use RoE+ blood ritual normally. With 1.39 aps I can build up 145+ mana per second, iirc, and that's free bears for a while.
WoS+acid rain keeps me safe and keeps the enemies hurting in between bears.
I've tested RoE + VQ + PtV and it works really well.

Also of note, spirit barrage well of souls:
+25% Spirit barrage damage (what I have on two items) gives me 4x that much extra damage:
230% + 25% and (65%+25%) * 3 = 255% + 90%*3 = 525% single target weapon damage versus 425% single target at the base damage.
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Diabloii.Net Member
Yes, D3 can go either way. Either go for broken or go for a tougher resource management system.

I would prefer all the other classes have to suffer for resource management as Monks and WDs do. That would make the game more difficult.

A lot of people certainly prefer, just give the WD the old VQ back (essentially). The old VQ is broken, but people like that. Break all aspects of mana management with some relatively minor penalty.


Edit: Just realized that you posted this across various class forums -- I don't think it's just the WD's passives that need a rework, in case that wasn't clear -- I think the entire concept of a "passive" should shift less from a boring stat boost and more to a huge buff to something specific, or something that encourages you to play in a way that you wouldn't without taking that passive.
Yes, I'm planning a larger "issues with passives" article for the main page, and wanted to gather player feedback for each class. Especially for WD and Wiz, which I've played the least of lately. So please, carry on with your comments, guys. Useful they are.

Ironically, the worst design of passives is found on the Barb; 2 are over 80% in use rate, with half under 5% . Ironic I say since hardly any Barb players complain, since the big 2 are so OP when combined with the OP spin2win build that no one seems to mind the lack of diversity.

Doctor Clock

Diabloii.Net Member
For the most part, I think WD passives are pretty good. The last four on the list do need some attention, though.

Fetish Syncophants have a few of problems. One, there is no UI indicator of if/when the fetishes have been summoned. This wouldn't be so bad, but problem two, you can hardly see the fetishes when they are summoned. They are gray and blend in really well with everything else. Third, a 5% chance is really low. When you take a passive, you want to be able to rely on it. 5% isn't reliable. Even though in use, you usually have a few fetishes out, a 10-15% chance to summon a fetish with a cap of perhaps 5 fetishes seems more appealing. Lastly, they really don't bring anything to the table that Gargantuan and Zombie Dogs don't. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if some of the other WD skills (Locust Swarm, Haunt, Grasp, Mass Confusion, BBV) were appealing enough that it was actually hard to find room for a summon on your skill bar. Currently, it is easy to fit both skill summons (Gargantuan and Zombie Dogs) in a build and not give up that much.

Fierce Loyalty is just underwhelming. Life regen isn't exciting, and I rarely have had a problem with minions dying after they were buffed a few patches ago. Thorns needs a serious rework, or the entire passive needs to be redesigned for it to be appealing outside of a novelty build.

Bad Medicine isn't bad, but Jungle Fort is just so much more reliable, is always on, and doesn't have skill use restrictions. I would rather have something like poisoned enemies have movement speed slowed x%, or take x% addition damage.

Rush of Essence is pretty much only good if you are running a Spirit Barrage build as it lets you spam SB non-stop, especially if you have decent base mana regen. However, Spirit Barrage is just not the appealing of a skill to begin without outside of a few niche situations (mp10 Ubers)

Lastly, I would like to see some of the passives such as Vision Quest, Gruesome Feast, Jungle Fort, Grave Injustice, give a smaller but similar buff to party members. This is a broader idea I have though of buff skills for all classes buffing the entire party in some way, not just the user.

Regarding buffing Tribal Rites, personally I don't use BBV largely because its effect is restricted to a small radius. The most annoying enemies for me are the ones that move around a lot, which pretty much nullifies the ability. Same goes for Mass Confusion. Confused ranged enemies will often run away from their allies, which just makes the fight even more annoying. BBV and MC basically only make fights against clumpy melee enemies (fights that are already very easy) even easier. If BBV followed your character around like the Hex ability, I would be much more inclined to use the skill and by extension the associated passive.


Diabloii.Net Member
I'm a Rush of Essence user as well, and basically it allows me to spam Spirit Barrage/Well of Souls, even against Extra Health elites (on MP2) and never run out of mana. Maybe this is just a "niche" build, but it works just fine-SB is the only true damage skill on my bar, so I don't even need to use a spot for the low-mana ones (PD, CS, PoT, FB).


Diabloii.Net Member