Edit note: Disregard this thread, it contains a lot of last minute panicking and some failed stuff - I've updated it to not mislead anyone and share my insights about what *not* to do ;-)
One day to go, and I'm completely revamping my leveling spec... so I just wanna ask around what people think. Problem is: I've tested some stuff and already leveled WD before (even as a first class last season), but never really thought too much about it. After all it's just 2 hours, so who cares. However, after I saw some variety in different builds, I'm about to make some major changes and wonder if I'm overlooking something. Main issue is that I'm talking about group leveling (no solo discussion here) and I can't test in group anymore, so I need to rely on theorycrafting+other people's experiences.
Situation: I'm leveling WD, in a group (probably DH, wizard, barb with me). We're probably gonna do rifts on Hard (or whatever we can faceroll). I guess a few skills are set and not up for debate:
Passive: Fetish Sycophants, as soon as it's available.
But for the remaining two slots I'm not sure.
Some say Hex - Jinx, but if we're moving constantly, is that really that useful? I also obviously won't have any cooldown reduction on that level (and no pickup range, so Grave Injustice is not useful). So I'm leaning towards kicking that out. Edit: Hex-Jinx is awesome in group, especially on hardcore.
Another choice I often see is Locust Swarm, and then switch to Pestilence rune as soon as available. But I already have Haunt as spender, with Haunt+LS I'm constantly stutter stepping and so slow, especially compared to the DH+barb. Plus, Haunt+LS means I need a ton of mana, and therefore locks me into Rush of Essence (I don't see how LS makes even sense before level 36 when you get Rush of Essence). Also: LS is an 8 second dot, in 8 seconds my three co-levelers, all heavy burst classes, will have killed almost everything. Edit: LS is amazing and should be in every build, even if you're really outgearing content. I stand corrected. Sometimes you don't realize how good a spell is until you remove it ;-)
Grasp of the Dead - I guess that's more of a solo choice, and I've never liked that spell to begin with.
My favorites are: Fetish Army and Soul Harvest (Swallow -> Souls to Waste). FA is a no-brainer that gives damage+survivability and SH provides more damage in addition to some more mana (for more Haunt) and later more movement speed. Edit: FA doesn't work since you don't have Zuni or Grave Injustice or cooldown reduction while leveling. It's pointless without any of those.
As passives, some guides recommend Pierce the Veil and Rush of Essence. I'm not happy with two passive slots being occupied, to be honest, just to allow for LS: Pestilence. Again, I don't want to be stutter stepping my way to 70.
My favorite as second (besides Sycophants as mentioned) is Fierce Loyalty, as soon as I can get it. Movement speed after all is key, isn't it?
As third I guess Gruesome Feast or Pierce the Veil (if I don't take LS) would be nice damage boost.
Edit: Final leveling spec - http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#ehYTiU!Vfg!YaZaZY (you can switch Rush of Essence to Pierce the Veil for more damage, though you will have mana issues then if you spam LS all the time; and you should switch any of the three passives to Spirit Vessel on hardcore). Tested this twice over the weekend (4 man group softcore, 2 man group hardcore being the "tank" with a DH) - worked like a charm.
Thanks! Good to know that my idea wasn't complete nonsense. I think I'll make two different spreadsheets, just in case. And about Gargantuam, actually I didn't know... to be honest, I've been basing my spreadsheet of my old leveling path from last season ;-) Will stick to Humongoid, good point.
Was crusader, barb, DH, and wiz last season. Might stick to 1 class this season. I will powerlevel up another WD in a week or so, so I can have a separate speed WD. Then, I don't have to loose time switching gear, skills and paragons.
Yeah, I noticed *immediately* while leveling that Fetish Army is crap (because you don't have CDR nor Grave Injustice), so went back to Locust Swarm and then Rush of Essence at level 36. Without a doubt Witch Doctor is the most ridiculously easy class to level up ever, also worked like a charm on hardcore yesterday for the Guardian season journey step. I've updated the first post to reflect this "brain freeze" I apparently had on Friday. Thanks everyone!