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Mostly witch doctor stuff
12-31-2012, 08:58 PM
Post: #1
Mostly witch doctor stuff
In an attempt to liven up this LL topic, I'm going to cross-post some of my ramblings that have been posted on my guild website. For some quick background, my main character is a witch doctor, but somewhat gimped with magic-find equipment. With the introduction of the Paragon system bonuses, I've slowly been able to gain some DPS while swapping out of m/f gear. I also realize I'm relatively new in these parts and it's possible that Willie Tanner has already covered all of this ground. In fact, and I'll note it below, one area was specifically taken from something Willie Tanner posted here. But, hey, if you're like me and you barely remember months ago, some of it might seem new! I've tried to edit out the guild-specific stuff, but if I missed something it might not completely make sense.

I'll start off with something I posted a couple of weeks ago, with the title "What was I talking about again?":

So I noticed that in all of my rambling on this thread, I haven’t delved into my favorite class to play: the witch doctor. Ever since version 1.04 was released, there are many good skills to choose from. You can do a number of different builds that are effective and fun. Or if you just get tired of one you can switch it up just for something different-and you don’t really sacrifice killing power to do so. I’m not going to write an entire guide (I just heard a collective sigh) because that would be way too long. I mean, it’s not like the monk, where I could write a guide in 6 sentences.* No, really, the monk has no build diversity. In fact, here is your cookie-cutter monk guide:

Fists of Thunder/Thunderclap
Sweeping Wind/Cyclone
Breath of Heaven/Blazing Wrath
Blinding Flash/Faith in the Light
Passives: One With Everything, Seize the Initiative, and pick whatever third one you want-it doesn’t matter since they’re equally crappy.

Get your critical chance up to at least 30%, life on hit at least 1,500, and all resist to 800. Voila, you’re a tank monk. The play style is: cast mantra, cast Sweeping Wind when approaching a group of monsters, refresh your mantra, hit Breath of Heaven at least once every 30 seconds, refresh your mantra, cast Blinding Flash for a 3-second damage boost, refresh your mantra, hit Serenity for 4 seconds to attack (or retreat) without taking damage, then refresh mantra. If you get bored with that style of play, you can always refresh your mantra again. Or, you know…just refresh your mantra.

Yeah, yeah, with elite levels of gear you have a few other viable options, but usually those posts I read end with “I only have 140k DPS, and I can do an Alkazier run in 13 minutes.” Great-except my monk has fought and clawed his way to 45K and unless I hit the item lottery I don’t see it going much higher. I’ll admit that spewing out the pretty blue tornadoes is fun, but the repetition in the play-style has worn thin for me.

Do I have any numbers to back up this claim of build diversity? Of course. Looking at the most-used skills list on, I added up the top 6 skills and 3 passives to get cumulative percentages. Here they are:

Barbarian: 521
Monk: 502
Demon Hunter: 392
Wizard: 349
Witch Doctor: 322

I realize this isn’t the most scientific way to do this, but clearly the DH, Wiz, and WD have more diverse build options with the lower amount of agreement on the “best skills” for each class. And, yes, the Spin2Win barb beats out the monk in cookie cutter points, but considering that is the most powerful build in the game it’s not a surprise. The monk is sturdy, can buff the party at the margins, and is dreadfully repetitive. Note that none of this means I’m permanently abandoning my monk-it’s just that I’ll probably limit him to uber runs in the near future. So there’s the monk guide.

Wait…where was I? Right! The witch doctor. So here’s the build I’ve been using to farm Act 3 MP0 for most of my 30s (Paragon level):

Plague of Toads/Rain of Toads
Unbreakable Grasp/Death Is Life
Spirit Walk/Honored Guest
Acid Cloud/Acid Rain
Soul Harvest/Swallow Your Soul
Spirit Vessel, Gruesome Feast, Grave Injustice

Someone pointed out to me that this meant my main damage skills both rained from the sky, so I’m thinking of this build as the “Rain Doctor.” (Maybe if I were an elite player, I’d name it “Rain King.”) Rain of Toads casts very fast plus has a small area of effect, so it’s a nice damage skill to use when you’re low on mana. And you WILL be low on mana as a witch doctor, at least if you’re gearing up with magic find equipment that isn’t on an elite level. If I were doing Act 2 key runs, I would swap out PoT for Corpse Spiders/Leaping Spiders as there is no better way to take out those deadly wasps. You can be a full screen away and kill those buggers with Leaping Spiders. It’s also a nice skill for monsters which are going to spawn in a pre-known location. Just start spamming the jars and once the monster appears over a dozen spiders leap onto it instantly. A lot of WD’s use Poison Dart/Splinters which is also a great choice for single target damage. Plenty of good options here.

Unbreakable Grasp is an excellent crowd control spell that also serves as an important mana source in this build. The Death Is Life rune gives a 10% chance to drop either a health globe or zombie dog when a monster dies in the skill’s area of effect. The dogs aren’t terribly powerful, but they’re great for further crowd control and distracting the baddies. They’re also pretty durable on MP0, with only the arcane sentry, molten, or desecrator elites tending to take out your whole pack at once. Green suicide guys in act 3 (Fallen Maniacs) can also wipe out your doggies, but at least they’re taking the damage instead of you!

[Complete rip-off of Willie Tanner/Chesspiece-Face found in next paragraph]

I’m surprised that Hex isn’t a more popular skill. I understand why people like Gargantuan, which provides an extra tank that does actual damage, but Hex can negate 1 or even 2 elite monsters at once. Taking away that much danger for a couple of seconds is huge, and killing elite packs is the name of the game in D3. The Jinx rune increases the damage the cursed monster takes by 20%, so it’s a great spell for the entire party.

Spirit Walk is the 2nd-most used WD skill, and it’s easy to see why. It increases your movement speed for 3 (or 4) seconds, makes you invulnerable to any attacks, and allows you to walk through anything but walls. It can also heal you or regenerate your mana at the same time; my preferred rune has been the mana generator, until very recently.

The most-used skill is absent from my listed build: Zombie Charger/Zombie Bears. I’ve used it a lot in the past, and it is quite fun. The problem I ran into was the Reflect Damage affix. Without any life steal, spamming bears was very dangerous for me. And it is extremely mana-intensive. So when I found a legendary voodoo mask with a bonus to Acid Cloud, I happily switched over. Acid Cloud has better life on hit, more range, more area of effect, and uses less mana. [Edit: I later found out that it does NOT, in fact, use less mana. It just felt that way to me for some reason.] Winner! If I ever find a suitable 2-handed weapon with significant life steal, I will happily switch back to zombie bears. But in the meantime it’s Acid Rain for me. (The Acid Rain rune increases the area of effect for the skill.)

Soul Harvest is a self-buff skill that increases your intelligence for a short time. Since that is the WD’s primary stat, your damage increases as well. My preferred rune gave me additional, much-coveted mana to dish out more acid damage.

And speaking of self buffs, Gruesome Feast adds to your mana AND gives you a short-term boost to INT when you pick up a health globe. Between GF and SH, you can easily double your DPS for 10 seconds at a time (and SH actually lasts for 30s).

We’re not even done with the synergies in this build yet. Grave Injustice lowers the cooldown of all of your skills by 1 second for every monster that dies within 8 yards, plus gives you back 2% of your max life and mana. And this range is increased by items that increase your pickup radius for gold and health globes. So, you kill stuff, which gives you shorter cooldowns, pops out more health globes which heals you (and your minions!) plus adds to your mana pool almost instantly since as soon as those globes appear you’re sucking them down with your increased radius. And the Death Is Life rune gives you minions plus extra health globes. Pretty frickin’ sweet.

Spirit Vessel is a wonderful spell that lowers your cooldowns on Spirit Walk and Soul Harvest, plus keeps you alive and sends you into Spirit Walk if you take fatal damage (although this effect can only occur once every 90 seconds). In other words, it keeps you mobile, agile, and hostile.

I find the play-style much more interesting than the monk’s, because you have to be constantly on the move, figuring out where to position yourself, staying close to the action but not getting caught in the middle of a pack. But you’re still running into the middle of packs to buff yourself with the Spirit Walk/Soul Harvest combo. And if for some reason you get stuck you can often escape with SW. There’s also controlling mobs with Unbreakable Grasp and laughing at elites when they get turned into a pig and can’t attack you. It’s fast-paced with plenty of opportunities to buff and heal just-in-the-nick-of-time. Add in the build diversity and you can understand why it’s my favorite class to play.

Since this has already gone too long, I’ll explain why this build sux and my new build rulez in another post. (Not really-there are just a few tweaks.)

*Long-time readers know this to be false. It takes me at least 6 sentences just to clear my throat.

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01-01-2013, 05:54 AM
Post: #2
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
Happy New Year! In 2013, I resolve to play even more Diablo 3, as well as use even more obscure references when posting about it. Shortly after the above post, I sent this one to the Interwebs:

Title: They're here

Got through two Act 3 runs last night and the drops were awful. Not even anything worth listing on the AH. One crappy level 60 legendary that got salvaged as soon as I identified it. That is, until the very last pile of items I picked up. There was a rare sword that was a nice upgrade for my monk. I had to look at it a few times to make sure I was reading it as a 1-handed weapon, because the DPS is over 1,200. No socket, so it isn’t a huge upgrade, but it gets me to the 50k DPS level. It made me glad I bothered to head back through the portal and pick up those last ½ dozen pieces.

The night before I found a quiver upgrade for my demon hunter. It’s the same as my old one (Dead Man’s Legacy), only better. Kicked me up to 90k DPS and even more importantly, my attack rate ticked up a tad. I want a socketed Calamity so bad, but all I seem to find are stupid Balefire Casters. And a good, socketed Calamity is out of my price range on the AH. [Guild member] suggested I shop for a Manticore, but at this point I think I’ll just let RNG decide. It’s not like I allot much time to play DH anyway.

Which brings me back to my witch doctor. So I mentioned a few tweaks in my previous posts, 2 of which are rune changes. In my quest to keep the blue mana ball filled, one way I can accomplish it is to pop out more health globes for Gruesome Feast, and more frequently. In other words, NEED MOAR DAMAGE! As I was walking through those packs of spiders (actually Stygian Crawlers) in Act 3, I was thinking “if only I could do damage at the same time, instead of “wasting” the extra souls harvested (SH maxes at 5).” And then I had an “ah-ha!” moment. The Vengeful Spirit rune also deals 225% damage to any enemy harvested. After changing over, I was killing half that pack while still in its midst.

My next gaming session I looked at the runes on Spirit Walk, and sure enough it has a damage one as well. Now I can pass through mobs, hit them on the way in, damage them with Soul Harvest, and hit them on the way out again with Spirit Walk. Or on a big monster, like a Tremor, I can run through it 3 or 4 times before SW ends. That means I only need 1 or 2 casts of Acid Cloud to kill it instead of the 3 or 4 it took previously. That’s also a mana savings. It improved my killing speed enough that I added another area (Tower of the Cursed 1) to my farming run [Archon_Wing showed me this], so it still takes about an hour [for an entire run] but I get a few more elite kills there. Since all of that damage tends to happen in spirit form, I’m dubbing this build, “Full-On Poltergeist Mode.”

The last change also has to do with mana management, as I swapped out the passive Spirit Vessel for Blood Ritual. BR means you pay some of your mana costs with life, but in return you get life regen. I have definitely noticed being able to get more acid cloud casts with this setup, but at the price of dying 2-3 times during a run vs. 1-2 times previously. At this point, I think it’s worth the trade-off but I won’t be all that surprised if Spirit Vessel makes a comeback in the future.

I also have in mind a build where maybe I add Gargantuan, take away Acid Cloud, and use only Spirit Barrage/Well of Souls as a damage-dealing skill. If I ever end up trying that out, I imagine I’ll post the results here.

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01-01-2013, 02:37 PM
Post: #3
I misled
And this one went up yesterday. One more note: the "new, favorite build" thing is kind of a running joke, since I tend to switch up every few weeks-or days.


So I’ve got a couple of witch doctor updates. I added Firebomb/Ghost Bomb to my build mentioned above (subtracted Plague of Toads). It has a wider area of effect which comes in handy at times. I also swapped in Pierce the Veil (moar damage!) as a passive in lieu of Blood Ritual. I was able to kill fast enough to regenerate mana with health globes, so while I ran out of mana more often, I still gained a little killing speed. I got a couple of paragon levels with this build, but I couldn’t resist switching things up again-into my new, favorite build.

One of the runes on the Spirit Barrage spell got a buff in the V1.05 release. I had played with it a bit when it first came out, but switched back to a more mainstream build soon after. I had also read a post about how to use it a few weeks after that, but never got around to experimentation with it; that is, until last week. SB is the cheapest of the Decay skills (which also include Zombie Bears and Acid Cloud). These are your primary damage dealers/mana hogs in most witch doctor builds. But whereas Zombie Bears and Acid Rain rank 1st and 4th, respectively, amongst the most-used skills, SB/Well of Souls is a lowly 50th. It’s not even the top rune on Spirit Barrage, which comes in at 25th. And I think I know why…it’s a bit tricky to use.

Speaking of little-used skills, the least-used passive chosen is Rush of Essence, which returns mana over time for any spirit-based skills you use. The contrarian in me wanted to give it a try-especially since I’m frequently out of mana with my WD. And on top of all this, I had my eye on the level 63 legendary ceremonial knife on the AH. A lot of good WD items are in/near my price range since it isn’t the most popular character class. I had purchased the level 61 legendary (The Gidbinn since it has magic find) for around 2 million gold. (Note that I found a lower-quality one, then spent gold on one with more DPS.) The next one up always rolls with a 15-second cooldown reduction for the skill Mass Confusion, which I had never used before. And on top of all this, my old Skorn was sitting in my stash waiting for enough paragon magic-find to be brought back into play. So, what would I want long-term: a new ceremonial knife or an upgraded Skorn? In the short-term, I only want to buy one of those. My plan was to try out this Spirit Barrage build and see if I liked it.

I did.

The first run with the new build looked like this:

Spirit Barrage/Well of Souls
Unbreakable Grasp/Death Is Life
Spirit Walk/Severance
Mass Confusion/Mass Hallucination
Soul Harvest/Vengeful Spirit
Gruesome Feast, Grave Injustice, and Rush of Essence

Fun fun fun. This was the first build in ages where I didn’t run out of mana. Ever. I could stand in one spot and spam Spirit Barrage over and over, even on Extra Health elite packs, and not empty the blue ball. Amazing to someone who has always had trouble coming up with enough mana. I did, however, notice a downside: I could stand in one place and spam Spirit Barrage over and over. Generally speaking, standing in one place in Diablo 3 is not a good idea, and I found myself in a lot of dangerous situations due to laziness/sloppiness.

For the next test, I made the conscious decision to run out of mana more often and selected Pierce the Veil instead of Rush of Essence. Moar damage! Since endlessly spamming was no longer an option, I had to move more frequently and make more tactical decisions on when and where to cast. This was an OK compromise since it kept me a bit sharper mentally during the elite pack battles. I did a final run with Blood Ritual as the third passive, but while that gave me life regen I still ran out of mana occasionally-so I settled on Pierce the Veil.

At this point I need to confess that I lied to you earlier, dear readers. I was not formerly in “Full-On Poltergeist Mode” because I didn’t have Mass Confusion on my skill bar. Now I do, and it is hilarious to watch a big ol’ spirit walk slowly through elites, damaging them and laughing maniacally the whole time. (For clarity, the specter is laughing maniacally-not me. I’m cackling.) Mass Confusion causes some of the monsters to fight for you, which is a great advantage in the early stages of an elite battle. By the time it wears off it’s usually a simple matter to clean up whatever remains, and the cooldown is short enough that you can use it for just about every elite pack you encounter (Grave Injustice helps with this as well). And it’s more even poltergeist damage, at least to my simple mind. A lot to love.

But the build lives or dies by Spirit Barrage/Well of Souls, which has its own pros and cons. A minor problem is that the damage is not instantaneous. It takes awhile (2 seconds?) for all 3 souls to reach their targets. Whereas you can spam 5 Acid Clouds rapid-fire, it’s going to take a little time to dish out your full SB damage. The silver lining is it allows you to conserve mana a bit-plus SB costs less than Zombie Charger and Acid Cloud.

The far bigger con, and I imagine the main reason it ranks in the 50s in most-used skills, is that the targeting is tricky. The worst way to use it is to target a monster and click. The pathing of the souls doesn’t work very well at this point, since the 2nd and 3rd souls tend to go off in other directions. The better way to use it is to cast near your intended target so that all the souls are seeking out an area instead of a monster. If you get it right, all 3 souls will hit the same monster with a nice burst of damage over a short amount of time.

One other minor disadvantage is that SB is not nearly as good at destroying the environment objects as, say, Rain of Toads. But I can live with that.

Where SB/WoS really shines is against the dreaded elite modifier: Waller. It simply ignores the walls; it paths right over them! I don’t know how much mana I’ve wasted casting bears or acid rain and watching it fall harmlessly against a wall instead of the monsters. I no longer need to worry about wasting mana in that manner; every SB cast sails over the walls and into mobs. It’s a beautiful thing.

So I finished last night at Paragon 46, meaning that I could upgrade from The Gidbinn to Last Breath (or switch back to my Skorn) and remain at max magic find. I bought a nice Last Breath for 1.5 million gold on the AH, and am going to keep using this Spirit Barrage build for now. I’ll probably also work in some testing with the Skorn (going back to Acid Rain) since it still has about 5k more damage-but less mana. I’ll also test the Blood Ritual passive some more since the new knife has life regen on it. Of course, the Fierce Loyalty passive would allow my pets to gain my life regen, and it’s been awhile since I’ve used a pet build. Hmmm…

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01-06-2013, 04:56 AM
Post: #4
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
Hail Aahzmadius,

I can finally talk about Witch Doctors, having just got a hardcore one to 60. Like you, I've been trying out different builds. I really enjoyed Rain of Toads & Acid Rain build, especially with life on hit. But once I got the hang of Zombie Bears I have a hard time getting away from it. At first it was awkward and dangerous in hardcore, having to run up close to mobs to do damage, but I played a bit smarter and got the hang of it. The damage output of bears is just insane, it melts champ packs while I feel like Acid/Toads whittle them away.

I spent some hours of today farming A1 MP0 and was able to get some DPS upgrades, but still feel like my vit/res is too low to tackle Act 3. Trying to figure out what to upgrade as anything I see on the AH is way above my budget. Thinking I'll stick to the high firepower bears build and continue doing A1 MP0 runs (thanks to Grave Injustice I can use Spirit Walk all the time!). The Wells of Souls build does look interesting, but I'll probably try it down the line if I can make it to ubers Smile

Keep us updated on how your WD is doing.
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01-07-2013, 06:03 PM
Post: #5
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
Color me impressed: I managed to get a HC monk to clvl 56, but died in HA2. I'm not opposed to playing HC in D3, but none of my friends do and that leads me to push for P100 on my WD during solo time. At some point I'll probably switch over to HC full time, but not yet. (That said, if anyone is interested in starting an HC group...)

I'm now at P48 and have stuck with the Spirit Barrage/Mass Confusion build while using Gruesome Feast, Grave Injustice, and Blood Ritual. It's a pretty hardy build at MP0, with the most dangerous time for me at the very beginning. If I get an elite phasebeast pack with no dogs, I typically die around 50% of the time (but only once per pack). If I get past that initial starting point, I don't typically die unless I'm careless to a stupid degree-or get one-hit by an elite pack of chargers. DPS is at 45K and I'll bump that up a little with an amulet upgrade at P49 (plus get 5k more life).

I also hit a jackpot sale recently (for me, anyway) on the AH. Funny...I bet I had that amulet in my stash for 2-3 weeks and didn't even realize what I had-only that it would probably sell. Unfortunately, there isn't currently an off-hand upgrade for my WD available on the AH in my (still-limited) price range. I'm probably going to spend the gold on my DH since that's what I typically use in group games for "farming." Maybe I'll get lucky and find the off-hand upgrade on my own (not likely).

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01-07-2013, 08:17 PM
Post: #6
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
(01-07-2013 06:03 PM)Aahzmadius Wrote:  Unfortunately, there isn't currently an off-hand upgrade for my WD available on the AH in my (still-limited) price range. I'm probably going to spend the gold on my DH since that's what I typically use in group games for "farming." Maybe I'll get lucky and find the off-hand upgrade on my own (not likely).

Just logged in for the first time in months. What sort of stuff are you looking for? I've got Zunimassa Helm and Off-Hand, Wailing Host, Hellcat Waistguard, as well as Blackthorne Amulet and Boots sitting in my stash taking up space. If you're interested in checking them out I may be able to find some time this weekend to log in and let you look them over.

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01-07-2013, 08:51 PM
Post: #7
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
Thank you for the kind offer. I was specifically looking for something that boosted Spirit Barrage damage while maintaining the damage level on my current Thing of the Deep. That would probably mean the Uhkrapian (sp?) Serpent thingie. And I realize that's a very narrow request. My current TotD is fine: 150 avg damage with mana, +300 INT, and some life boost. Tough to replicate with even more specific mods. Details available on my profile, obviously.

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01-10-2013, 06:55 PM
Post: #8
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
(01-07-2013 06:03 PM)Aahzmadius Wrote:  Color me impressed: I managed to get a HC monk to clvl 56, but died in HA2.

Thanks, but after getting other classes to 60+ in Hardcore, I've found the WD to be by far the easiest class to survive and do runs with. I can't get over how strong his passives are. Grave Injustice, Gruesome Feast, and Spirit Vessel are incredible skills that really make farming Act 3 MP0 in Inferno quite easy. You don't need amazing dps gear thanks to the massive damage boost of Soul Harvest and Gruesome Feast. After that dps boost Zombie Bears just completely wrecks face.

Spirit walk is also absolutely insane. Once I realized how fast it refreshes from Grave Injustice, I started using it all the time. Offensively and defensively. As long as there was a group of mobs around I could constantly be casting it, and be pretty much immune the entire time.

So yea, within a week my WD is at the point of feeling invincible in Act 3 MP0, and the drops are just raining down which means I'm able to gear up a bit more and make it even easier. It's really a perfect class for damage and survivability, just have to get used to the play style.
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02-06-2013, 07:04 PM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2013 08:59 PM by Aahzmadius.)
Post: #9
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
Well, since MonTy asked for updates:

So just for something different I decided to try a new farming build for my witch doctor. The passive skill Circle of Life grants a 30% chance to summon a zombie dog when a monster dies within a 12-yard radius-which can be extended with items that boost your gold pickup radius. With my mojo and its 20-foot radius…Wait! There’s a joke in there. If I were single, I could say “Hey, ladies. Check out the huge radius on my Thing of the Deep!” What a pickup line that would have been! But anyway, I thought I would go back to the Sacrifice skill that I used for most of normal difficulty. Skills swapped out:

Spirit Barrage, Grasp of the Dead, Mass Confusion, Gruesome Feast, Blood Ritual


Firebomb/Ghost Bomb
Acid Cloud/Acid Rain (my helm grants a boost to crit chance on this skill)
Sacrifice/Provoke the Pack
Circle of Life, Zombie Handler

Firebomb is just a nice area of effect skill when you are out of mana (OOM). Sacrifice allows you to blow up your zombie dogs for over 200% weapon damage. Provoke the pack boosts your damage for 30 seconds by 5% per dog sacrificed. (Unfortunately Blizzard did not add a skill bar graphic to let you know when this damage buff is in effect. Sloppy and annoying.) Zombie Handler grants the ability to summon a fourth dog-MOAR DAMAGE!

I basically used this build while I was at paragon 57, and it worked OK but it was a little slower than my previous build. Plus there were times when I was OOM and had no zombie dogs available to sacrifice (usually Extra Health elite packs). So, a fun change of pace but I switched back to my preferred farming build with Spirit Barrage/Well of Souls.

Speaking of which, I found a couple of upgrades this week. One was a minor armor upgrade for my WD: a little more vitality and a little more magic find. The big one I mentioned on the Shiny Prizes thread: a really nice Chantodo’s wand that went to my wizard. Now this triggered my desire to upgrade the wizard even more since I was lacking some attack speed-and I had just read a post about how Energy Twister procs more often with more IAS. At the same time, I want to save up 30MM for a DH glove upgrade, and I knew I was getting close to an amulet replacement for my WD (since I could drop the current one with magic find and change to something else due to paragon bonuses). I had recently shopped for WD amulets and found what I was looking for listed at 10MM; so I assumed a similar one for the wizard would cost about the same. But should I even spend that gold? For one, I’m trying to save for the gloves. And further complicating things is there will be new crafting recipes available once 1.07 goes live. But I would have to find the Amulet of Intelligence plan, so there’s no telling how long it might take. And when I want upgrades, I want them NOW. And then I thought “it’s too bad I don’t have an amulet like the one my DH uses for my wizard and witch doctor.”

Hang on a minute…amulets are not class specific. I can only play one character at a time. Diablo 3 has a shared stash. I DO have great amulets for my WD and Wiz-it’s just the same one currently on my DH! (And I should have thought of this long ago since Sfounder [guildmate] stashes his Hellfire ring to use across his different characters.) And since I just hit paragon 59 and my WD is ready for that amulet upgrade, I could let him “borrow” it from my DH. How much did that help his damage? Took it up 20k to around 75k DPS. MOAR FARMING SPEED! I haven’t checked it on my wizard yet, but it should bump him up as well (not as much since his current amulet is better than the old WD one). Needless to say, I’m excited about the change.

Last night I tried the WD on MP5 for the first time, in an Act 2 key run with Sfounder’s barb. I had about 3 deaths, partly due to an unfamiliar build. I brought my old Skorn out of retirement for a DPS boost, put in a +500 life on hit amethyst in it, and went with the following build:

Plague of Toads/Rain of Toads
Acid Cloud/Lob Blob Bomb
Spirit Walk/Healing Journey
Zombie Dogs/Rabid Dogs
Soul Harvest/Soul to Waste
Jungle Fortitude/Bad Medicine/Fetish Sycophants

This is a pet build, designed to spew forth plenty of targets to distract the monsters from attacking you. Actually the forum post called for Gargantuan, but I prefer Hex due to its crowd control advantages. The Acid Cloud rune drops blobs (like Ghom’s acid slime) that do some damage as well as distract. PoT/RoT casts very quickly, maximizing the amount of fetishes that spawn with the Sycophants passive. Rabid Dogs do poison damage to take advantage of the Bad Medicine skill, and Jungle Fortitude mitigates the damage you and your pets absorb.

It worked OK, but there were a couple of notable deficiencies. Skorn is a sub-optimal weapon for this build because it does not have a fast attack speed. A few million (which I don’t currently have) spent on the AH could correct this. Also, Reflect Damage still hurts, which means I need to add Life on Hit to my equipment. Sounds like a crafting project for 1.07. Still, if I do further key farming runs with the WD, I expect this is the build I will use.

With my recent DPS boost I’m thinking about a different farming build that will attempt to cut down the time it takes for a farming run-but it will require discipline on my part to avoid distractions while playing. We’ll see how it goes.

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02-13-2013, 03:57 PM
Post: #10
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
First impression of 1.07: solid patch. In just under 4 hours of play I managed to find 20 demonic essences and a whole heap of legendaries (7 or 8, I think). Of course, only one of those was “good” and another might sell for 300k or so; the rest were brimstone. I noticed more blacksmith plans dropping, although I did not see a jeweler design. Of those plans, 4 were of the new level 63 crafting recipes, but 3 of the 4 were identical. The additional pickup radius feels right as well-that’s a welcome change.

The change I like the best at the moment is the experience bump. I did a couple of runs on MP1 with my witch doctor and while it took a lot longer I felt like I got a good amount of XP to compensate. And in only one run on MP2 my demon hunter got about 8/10ths of the way from paragon 20 to 21. With [guildmate's] wizard and [guildmate’s] demon hunter along the mobs were dying fast enough that it didn’t feel much slower than solo MP1. Granted, that’s partly because my DH has double the DPS of my WD, but the speed still felt like “farming” speed.

So I developed a new route to incorporate the chance for the new crafting plans to drop from certain bosses:

Start new game on the penultimate quest for Act 3 (A Second Heart?)
Arreat Crater 2, clear to exit
Tower of the Cursed 1, clear to exit
Tower of the Cursed 2, clear to exit
Kill Cydaea, run to Core of Arreat wp
Stonefort for keywarden, port to town
Tower of the Damned level 1 wp, clear one circle
Bridge of Korsikk wp, clear in a circle pattern back to wp
Keep Depths 1 wp, immediately enter and clear Keep Depths 2
Enter Keep Depths 3, and clear level; port to town
Core of Arreat WP, kill Azmodan, enter Act 4
Find Rakanoth, and kill him. End game.

Obviously it’s quite similar to the Alka-Seltzer runs of yore, with the added benefit of getting 2 chances for the new crafting plans. Now that you keep your NV stacks between acts, it’s only 10-15 minutes extra time to kill Azmodan and then Rakanoth. Another bonus last night was that Iskatu dropped one of the plans.

Looking forward to more farming tonight (but I’m not expecting as many dings.)

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02-14-2013, 06:58 PM
Post: #11
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
^^ That sounds like an efficient run. I'll try and log on this evening to try it. I've only found two plans so far farming ghom--then again, I haven't played much 1.07 yet.
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02-15-2013, 06:53 PM (This post was last modified: 02-15-2013 07:00 PM by FireIceTalon.)
Post: #12
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
Pretty well done patch overall. Reflect dmg is no longer an issue - really glad this got the nerf hammer Smile Plagued hits REALLY hard now, as promised, but its fairly easy to avoid and mitigate in most circumstances. Although plagued with horde on fast monsters can make things a bit hairy.

Really like the exp boost also, however i think my favorite aspect so far is the ability to use Vanishing Dye on legendary items now. I love Storm Crow's functionality, but it is HORRIBLY designed, and thankfully my wiz doesn't look like a bird face anymore. Hated looking at that upon logging in.

Did they buff Azmodan some? I haven't read all the patch notes but seems like he has some sort of enrage ability now. Me and a friend were playing him on mp8 recently and he kicked our tails. We've never had this issue before, even playing on high mp levels, so I'm assuming he has some sort of buff now. I guess it makes sense, since he was a joke before, especially compared to Belial or Diablo.

PvP - not much to say here. Imbalanced as promised. All 1-2 hit kills. Its fun for a bit, but gets old fairly fast. They should really reduce damage for ALL classes by at least 50%, maybe more. Witch Doctors are owning everyone though, with that zombie dog sacrifice/explosion build.

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"Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class, made into law for all, a will whose essential character and direction are determined by the economic conditions of the existence of your class." - Marx (addressing the bourgeois)
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02-20-2013, 07:12 PM
Post: #13
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
Found a decent Manajuma's carving knife for my witch doctor. I had the other set piece in my stash, but I went out and spent a couple million on a better offhand. My DPS dropped slightly, but I gained life steal. So basically at higher MP's I get more DPS than with the Last Breath/Amethyst combo. Since 1.07 launched I've been doing solo runs on MP1 with the Spirit Barrage build-although I changed Blood Ritual to Rush of Essence.

A guildmate has moved to playing mostly public games and she told me she runs MP1 games. The higher-DPS characters apparently carry her through quickly and she gets lots of XP. I tried a couple of those and they're OK, but the games end with Azmodan being killed, so you miss out on Keep Depths and Fields of Slaughter with 5 stacks. I consider that sub-optimal. The gaming itself was fine-people pretty much stayed together while adventuring. I also tried an MP3 game with my pet build and that also went OK, but was slow. In neither case did I feel like I was gaining a ton of extra XP over solo MP1-but the sample size is pretty small. I'm going to try MP2 with the pet build next.

I also found my first Stone of Jordan ever-including all of my D2 play. It was a decent roll for a WD with an 8% bonus to Plague of Toads damage. I'm using it for the public game runs and will switch over to it full-time once I hit paragon 65. I also did some crafting and rolled a nice set of shoulders for my demon hunter. Less armor than the Vile Ward, but about 4k more damage and life. All-in-all, the new crafting recipes seem pretty good, although a bit more customization would be nice.

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03-08-2013, 05:34 PM
Post: #14
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
I was fortunate enough to be included in a recent IncGamers Diablo 3 podast. If you're interested in that kind of thing, check it out:

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03-09-2013, 02:35 AM
Post: #15
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
(03-08-2013 05:34 PM)Aahzmadius Wrote:  I was fortunate enough to be included in a recent IncGamers Diablo 3 podast. If you're interested in that kind of thing, check it out:

Very cool, thanks for sharing. I don't enjoy many gaming podcasts, but Diablo IncGamer's is an exception.
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05-02-2013, 08:23 PM
Post: #16
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
[Cross-posted from guild forum to the LL:]

So let’s start today’s recap with the bad news: Belial killed off my HC witch doctor Friday evening. I was at 11k DPS, and it just wasn’t enough since I worked him down to maybe one-eighth of his life bar, but got caught in too many poison explosions. I had switched to a more pet-friendly build, with Garg, ZD/rabid, Jungle Fortitude and Bad Medicine. Ironically, my pets did not die at all. I think this means I went too defensive and should have kept a buff for my own DPS. Gruesome Feast, perhaps, or maybe Fetish Sycophants for additional damage. Vision Quest? Don’t know, but I’ll certainly change it up next time. I’ll probably also make sure I have a bit more DPS before stepping into that arena again. I think one of my issues was a lack of familiarity with that fight. I don’t face Belial in Inferno very often, whereas I did countless Butcher runs when that’s about all I could accomplish in the highest difficulty (months ago). In the Chamber of Suffering, I’m able to anticipate and dodge many of the Butcher’s attacks because I’m used to seeing them. I have no such innate feeling against Belial.

There’s not much else in HC news; I’ll probably try to level my barb next (currently lvl 10) or group with [guildmate’s] monk using my DH (level 19 or so). The journey of leveling up is a lot of the fun in HC anyway, so I haven’t been turned off playing it or anything like that.

My standard witch doctor has been farming on MP3 with [3 guildmates]. If I end up in a public game I usually choose MP2. I’m at paragon 77 and once I hit 78, I should get a nice bump in damage and EHP. I’m going to swap out my magic-find chest armor for a Zuni’s piece, and at the same time add Zuni’s boots and mojo. Hopefully I’ll get past that 100k DPS level with the change.

Now for the good news: I have been slowly adding armor upgrades to my (standard mode) barb over the past month or so. I have bid on various pieces, mostly Immortal King’s stuff, and lost out plenty of times. But I eventually won at the 1 – 2 million gold level, and now I have +Armor on every item slot save the weapon (Skorn). I also added 2 Blackthorne set pieces (chest and pants) for a boost to my Vitality. A trip over to showed my barb at 55k Life, 8k Armor and 650k EHP. With War Cry/Impunity active, the boost gets me over 800k EHP. So what could I accomplish with that and 115k screen DPS? I was short some Act 1 keys, so it was off to the Fields of Misery.

Game one I set to MP7. I’ve adopted [guildmate's] strategy of going straight for the keywarden and then running away if I have less than 5 stacks. A quick trip to Festering Woods usually closes the NV stack gap, and then I can go right back and kill the warden. The very first elite pack I got was the charging Savage Beasts, and I managed to survive. I had one death to elite leapers that were Plagued, Waller, and Vortex. Several times I Leapt away from the fray, only to be Vortexed right back in. I still might have survived this fight if not for a tree wandering over and adding some poison mines to the obstacle course. But, about 20 minutes after starting the game, I had one key to pair with that one death. That’s an acceptable rate to me-which is good since I also had one with my witch doctor on an MP7 Act 2 key run with [guildmate’s] barb. I was rewarded with a key; [guildmate] received a laurel, and hearty handshake from the game for his trouble.

All right…what happens if I crank up this dial? MP8: 1 key and no deaths in 25 minutes. How about 9? 1 key and no deaths in just over 30 minutes. What the hell…let’s try MP 10: 1 key and no deaths in just under 30 minutes. (I had to explore every part of the Fields of Misery on MP9 before finding the warden.) As I’ve mentioned, this is a kiting build, and there was LOTS of kiting going on, but I managed to stay unfrozen 99% of the time.

[LL edit: I stole this build from Hunter (Athenau on LL).

Leap/Death from Above
Hammer of the Ancients/Smash
Battle Rage/Into the Fray
War Cry/Impunity
Ruthless/Weapons Master/Animosity

end LL edit]

Since I was mobile, I could avoid taking the worst of the damage. Rend is the literal lifesaver for this build, and it’s best to fire one off right before you kite so you’re healing while you run away. 3 of the 4 runs included an elite charger pack; while those fights were scary they weren’t insurmountable. I only got one goblin, on MP7, and managed to kill it. I don’t think I would be able to above 7 unless it somehow got cornered for awhile.

So I know what you’re thinking now: “Big deal, Aahz. The monsters in Act 1 are easy compared to 2 and 3. How many deaths would you have there?” That’s a good point, and I intend to find out in the next few days. Who’s with me?

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05-03-2013, 11:37 PM (This post was last modified: 05-03-2013 11:39 PM by Athenau.)
Post: #17
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
^^^ Hah! Rend is just too good, right? Every time I take it off my bar I end up putting it back on.

And yeah, the barb is a surprisingly good kiting character. I think this is because his fury spender animations finish much faster than the actual attack cooldown, so you can kite without losing any dps. If you have a lot of crit I'd try swapping out leap for seismic slam/rumble. I had Leap on there for the longest time, but it wasn't doing it for me after a while--10 seconds is just NOT enough to keep up with any champ or boss with waller, vortex, jailer, etc and seismic is sick ranged AoE dps that pays for itself, as well as good CC on trash.
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05-06-2013, 12:13 PM
Post: #18
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
Thanks for the tip on Seismic-I will give that a try. By the way, an Act 2 key run on MP10 yielded a key along with 2 deaths. But it took an entire hour-lots and LOTS of kiting going on.

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05-08-2013, 07:44 PM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2013 07:46 PM by Aahzmadius.)
Post: #19
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
So patch 1.08 went live last night, and I’d have to rate it as a rousing success-aside from that whole economy-shattering gold duplication bug thingee. But the gameplay itself is great. More monster density in Acts 1, 2, and 4 was promised, and Blizzard delivered. (Not sure about Act 4 yet and I have no idea when I’ll play there again.) We were told that we would get a lot more XP in higher MP games-and we did. Fewer monster hit points in multi-player? Yep. Pre-patch, we were generally farming MP3; last night we moved it up to MP4 and things went at least as quickly as before. And finally, at long last, just like Diablo and Diablo 2, D3 now has Identify All. And there was much rejoicing!

Last night we ran around in Act 2 for quite awhile. The group was [guildmate’s] barb, [guildmate's] DH, [guildmate's] wizard, and my WD. (Before [guildmate] got on, [acquaintance] was playing his wizard in our group.) The more-dense monsters fell by the wayside rather quickly. As we were chatting on Teamspeak, [guildmate] mentioned that, due to the increased mob density, I was probably going to need to add a more area-of-effect damage skill to my witch doctor’s bar. Spirit Barrage/Well of Souls works, but it fires out 4 souls, one after another; they don’t hit monsters all at once. We weren’t having any problems, so I was skeptical. But he pointed out that he played earlier with his WD and was running into some issues with the density increase (he foolishly uses a build similar to mine). He made a good argument, and I figured I needed to at least try something different.

My first thought was to change Spirit Barrage to Acid Cloud. I have a good AC proc on my helm, so that made some sense to me. I haven’t tried it yet, mainly because I like how SB works with increased attack speed. AC isn’t really that great for spamming; the idea is to cast it and let the poison left on the ground do some damage-over-time work. Then I thought about leaving SB alone and adding AC. In theory I could cast AC to start a fight, then start firing off SB for a few seconds before casting AC again. This would be very mana intensive, but I could probably get away with using both skills at this point. I will likely try out these ideas at some point, but my third idea for a tweak is the one I tested:

Firebats/Cloud of Bats
Switch out Rush of Essence for Blood Ritual

Both of these skills got buffs in 1.08, and I’ve been pleased with how they work in initial testing. FB/CoB dishes out a TON of damage that tears through trash mobs. It also works well on certain elite packs, depending on their mods. Plus, you have to get right up next to the monsters in order for it to hit them-BONUS ELEMENT OF DANGER! (But not recommended for HC.) For the fire chains guys, I’m standing back and hitting them with SB. But for most other stuff, I’m running right up to them, standing still, and channeling bats. Will the plagued elites die before I do? That’s the race! I’ll have to practice with it a bit more, but it seems like a viable skill. The increased life regeneration on Blood Ritual gives me a little more survivability as well as some additional FB mana management.

I’m still not sure the switch was necessary, partly because I was already using an AoE skill: Soul Harvest/Vengeful Spirit. It may not finish off mobs in MP4, but it certainly weakens them before SB does the actual killing. The conversation gave me a good excuse to test out the new skills, and so far I’m having fun with them. I think the most important thing to remember is, when you’re running with my witch doctor and you don’t ever see Big Bad Voodoo/Slam Dance being cast because I’ve removed it from my bar, it’s [guildmate's] FAULT.

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05-08-2013, 11:06 PM (This post was last modified: 05-08-2013 11:08 PM by Athenau.)
Post: #20
RE: Mostly witch doctor stuff
^^Are you guys hellfire ring farming or just doing generic clears? I'm up for the latter. I'd love to join with my monk, but I don't think he can handle much more than MP1--gear acquisition is going to be a slow process since I've sworn off the auction house (for now, if I get impatient I may relent).
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