Maximize Pet Health and Durability
Witch Doctors rejoiced when patch 1.0.4 was unveiled to be giving our zombies a bit more life and defenses. This portion of the Witch Doctor Gear Guide is going to focus on how to take advantage of the defensive internal systems that determines how many hit points your pets have. One thing that was changed is that pets benefit from your own health pool so stacking vitality and percentage life gear can quickly make both you and your pets more durable. This is never a bad thing but having health by itself isn’t what makes your pets super tanky! Pets benefit directly from your armor and resistances as well.
So how should you maximize your defenses without breaking the bank? Unlike the Wizard who can pick a few pieces of gear to load up on defenses stats and leave everything else to offense, the Witch Doctor needs to find a mix of stats on each piece of gear because we really want to be as tanky as possible because then our pets will be virtually indestructible. One thing that most players underestimate is the importance of armor which means that you can usually find items with high armor for relatively cheap. Armor is a flat reduction to all incoming damage so you should get as much of it as possible. To supplement your armor you need to grab some resistances which further reduces damage after armor soaks it up. Not only does this system work for you but also for your pets at the exact same rate. So if you have 5,000 armor your pets do too! Try to aim for at least 1 all resist for every 10 armor and no more then 2 all resist for every 10 armor. If you find that you have more then 2 all resist for every 10 armor then you need to pick up more armor.
One of your first priorities to help give your pets a little boost in staying power is to grab vitality and + %life gear. You can see that my Witch Doctor has around 60k health because it helps me be able to stay and fight and my pets don’t die very easily and i’m in Act 2 Inferno. Vitality is important to have on all of your gear in as high of a quantity as you can afford without sacrificing too much intelligence or other offensive stats. After the Offensive breakdown I will go into detail on which stats you need for each gear slot.
Offensive Witch Doctor Gear Guide
Now that you have read the defensive Witch Doctor Gear Guide lets take a moment to focus on Offense. As with Wizards you’ll want to pick up as much intelligence as you can afford to boost your DPS and resistances. To truly boost your DPS up you will need to add in critical hit chance and damage gear alongside increased attack speed. Increased attack speed benefits your signature spells greatly by allowing you to cast more of them quickly and in the case of fire bomb with flash fire rune (my personal favorite) you’ll notice a ton more bombs being fired out with only a 10% attack speed increase. You should aim for around 30% or higher critical hit chance but if you have 30% and there are other offensive areas where you’re lacking then focus on those first before going higher with your crit chance.
Offensive Skill Priority: Weapon Damage -> Critical chance = Critical Damage -> Intelligence -> Attack speed.
Per Item Witch Doctor Gear Guide
Helm: Obviously get a helmet with a socket so that will narrow down your pool of items a great deal. Look for a helmet that has both intelligence and Vitality. The ideal helmet will also have %life (12 maximum on helm) as well as some all resist and armor to go with it. If getting both armor and all resist on this slot is pricey then try to grab one with just armor and supplement it with higher resists on other pieces of gear.
Shoulders: Typically I use the shoulders as a opportunity to maximize defensive stats because the only offensive stat we need that can roll on the shoulders is intelligence. Vitality is important on the shoulder with a percentage of life of at least 9% but you can get as high as 12% on this piece as well. All resist and Armor is our next target on this piece of gear and if you have the budget or find a under priced piece of gear then grab some intelligence but don’t worry about it on shoulders if you want to keep your costs down.
Amulet: This is going to be one of your most expensive pieces of gear because you need to have high critical hit chance and damage and there is also the option of popping attack speed onto it as well as intelligence, vitality, all resist and/or life%. For a bare minimum find a amulet with 40%+ Critical damage and 7%+ Critical Hit chance and either intelligence or Vitality whatever you need most to supplement your stats.
Chest: Your priority on this piece of gear is going to be pumping up your base stats. For those on a budget find a chest with high vitality, low intelligence, 3 sockets, armor (OR) all resistance and life%. If you’re not on a budget then you should get all those stats with high intelligence as well. Then pop in as high level topaz as you can afford to boost your intelligence up further. Zunimassa’s chest piece is a nice set piece for witch doctors and has all these stats on it so if you’re rolling in the dough or you get lucky with a drop then you should be sitting pretty.
Belt: Grab a belt with intelligence and/or vitality with all resist armor and life%. You can grab this item relatively cheap if you’re patient and keep checking the auction house. The belt I have has 100 intelligence and vitality, 60 all resist 250 armor bonus and 5% life and I got it for 250,000 gold. Be on the lookout for under priced items!
Gloves: Another expensive piece of gear your priorities should be Critical chance -> Critical Damage -> Intelligence/Vitality -> Armor -> All resist -> Attack Speed. Try aiming for gloves with 7%+ crit chance, 40%+ crit damage + a base stat and armor as your first piece of gear for this slot. Add on the other stats later when you have more money to play with.
Bracers: Supplement your stats and grab some crit with this item slot. Aim for crit chance of 4%+ with intelligence, armor and all resist. Add in vitality if you need more hit points or you just have money to blow.
Rings: On a budget get one ring with intelligence, crit chance and damage and another ring with vitality, crit chance (and damage if you can) and life%. As you get more money get these stats on your rings: Crit chance -> Crit damage -> Intelligence/Vitality -> Life% -> All resist -> Armor -> Attack Speed.
Legs: Another opportunity to increase your base stats. To start with grab some pants with good base stats and 2 sockets and as you get more money upgrade to pants with at least 150 to both stats as well as 70+ all resist and 300+ armor bonus. These are the only stats to worry about on pants making them one of your most affordable gear slots.
Boots: Movement speed of 12% is your primary focus. Lots of witch doctors would disagree with me on this because you’re not gonna be kiting but when you’re using spirit walk and you have 12% move speed you will notice a tremendous speed difference which will allow you to move through enemies to position for soul harvest and to grab health globes to keep your pets alive and tanking in clutch situations. Thats why you must have it on your boots. Next grab vitality and intelligence and worry about all resist and armor when you have money to blow. An upgraded pair of boots for me will cost at least 20 million gold because I am not willing to sacrifice the 12% movement speed even though I could easily get better base stats and all resist/armor without the movement speed. Just saying!
Weapon/Off Hand: You can go either with a one hand weapon and mojo or two handed weapon but personally I like the attack speed on the one handed weapons. Still if I were to find a really awesome roll on a Skorn or something Id be using it. Either way you want critical damage maxed out on your weapon or as close to possible (100% on one handers, 200% on two handers) and a socket. Look for a weapon with high intelligence and vitality (up to 300 on one handers and 600 on two handers). On your mojo grab critical hit chance, intelligence and vitality and of course high damage. If you can swing it also get mana regeneration as we don’t really need much mana with our pet builds but it can’t hurt to have.
Secondary Statistics On Witch Doctor Gear Guide
You may be saying “Hey what about life on hit?”. Well personally I just don’t see the need for it with the new pet mechanics and its so expensive that I just wrote it off but if you like that mechanic or have a build based on it then I suggest that you pick up as much of it as possible from rings and amulet so that you don’t need to overload your weapon with it at start. Amulets and rings are expensive with life on hit but not nearly as expensive as decent life on hit weapons can be. Pets don’t trigger LoH effects so just keep that in mind if you have a heavy pet build.
Thorns/Life Regen build lots of people are going for the fierce loyalty passive and building tons of regen and thorns damage which is cool but I would like for it to be play tested a great deal first. If you want to go this route though you will need to take a look at what gear has these options on it and truly prioritize your stats. If you want to rely on a large chunk of your damage coming from thorns then you can probably sacrifice a small amount of intelligence and crit hit/damage in order to stack the regeneration and thorns damage but again you’re putting your dps in the hands of your pets. In fact if I were going to build straight thorns I would focus on everything that made me tanky first because I could win wars of attrition. Then I would supplement my own dps. Let me know how you build your gear for this set up and what your skill build is so I can play test!
Strength: You can build up some strength into your gear for increased armor for you and your pets but it is by far not a priority. We’d rather build armor up from the bonus armor mechanic. However if you’re in need of an armor boost you can grab witch doctor items that roll with strength really cheaply on the auction house so grab a helmet for example that has 200 strength and bonus armor to boot. Again this is just a tertiary stat to think about.