The Voodoo That I Do

Originally, we had planned on releasing full coverage over many different topics with the beta but with the limited amount of game play, this would have exhausted all of our material very quickly. Instead, we have decided to go more in-depth in each area to give better coverage. I will be starting off with detailed play throughs with each class to give you guys a glimpse into how each class feels and plays. I have already done this with the Demon Hunter if you would like to read up on that one here. This time, we will be focusing on the - Witch Doctor Witch Doctor.

The Witch Doctor is a mixture between a summoning class with a bit of mid-ranged magic abilities. Being able to do both equally as well, players will not be forced to choose either focus. With that said, I did focus on the summoning aspect of the Witch Doctor. However, whether you choose to kill your foes with zombies, fire, or poison, the Witch Doctor is a fun class to play.

Mana is the Witch Doctor's resource. Mana functions similarly to the way Mana acted in Diablo II. It is a large pool that will increase as your character's level increases. Higher level skills and more powerful skills will cost more Mana than lower damaging spells. After exhausting your Mana, the globe will slowly refill back to full; different from arcane which fills much quicker. The Witch Doctor also has many skill and passive options that will help him keep his Mana replenished and not have to wait for it to slowly refill itself. From my play through with the Witch Doctor, all but one skill had cost so little Mana that I was actually able to spam any skill indefinitely. I am sure at higher levels this will not be true but for the beginning, it is practically unlimited. However, once the resource was emptied, it was very damaging to wait for the globe to refill itself, especially when fighting the Skeleton King. Managing this resource and finding ways to rebuild it quicker will definitely be a key strategy to playing this class.

More specifically are the skills that use Mana to be cast. Starting off, players are given two spells to use. The first is - Zombie  Dog Zombie Dog which is the first of two permanent summons that the Witch Doctor has. Changing significantly since its first version, the Witch Doctor will always cast three zombie dogs that will follow you around for your bidding. The AI has been greatly improved since Diablo II and you no longer get angry when you see your summons walking blindly into the corner of a room. They see, fight, and kill anything in the vicinity of them. Personally focusing on the summons, I used this skill for most of the beta to help me plow through the larger mobs. The second skill you get to start off with his - Poison Dart Poison Dart. It is a nice ranged spell that I used for awhile as a basic attack from afar. The next skill obtained is - Plague of Toads Plague of Toads which releases a group of toads with poison damage. However, the skill is difficult to use because their pathing is unpredictable and very short range. Given that I was trying to keep my distance, I found this skill of little use. - Grasp of the Dead Grasp of the Dead was the next skill you obtain. The skill slows movement down of enemies. Given the third slot by this point, I used it on the monsters to help slow them down so that my zombie dogs could attack them easier. However, at such a low level, the movement speed reduction did not make a very big difference. - Haunt Haunt was the next skill which is a ranged single-target DoT. Haunt was useful to cast on a few monsters while the zombies dogs went after the group. The nice thing about the skill is if the monsters die while still having the DoT, the haunt will transfer to the next monster. This allowed you to cast it only a few times but it was still effective with some monsters dying really quickly. I ended up using this as my right click for most of the beta. - Zombie Charger Zombie Charger is the next skill you get which is a short range zombie that rushes in front of you for a short distance attacking anything in its path. However, given is very short range and myself staying away, I rarely used the skill. - Hex Hex followed which summoned a Fetish Shaman that would run around turning monsters into chickens. As far as using it for CC, it was pretty ineffective because it was only one monster at a time when there was usually five to ten. However, the nice part about the skill is that the chicken'd monster does not break out when damaged and actually takes more damage when changed. When used on champion and harder monsters, it helped to drop them quickly while they were unable to do anything. - Corpse Spider Corpse Spider is a temporary summon that released multiple spiders that attacked nearby monsters. Although I wanted to focus on any summoning, their temporary state made it insignificant for the few skill slots I had available. - Horrify Horrify became your "Oh Shit" button when surrounded by large groups. A quick way of avoiding a quick death. Once more skill slots are available, I could imagine it being very useful. However, the beta has only three to four slots making skill choice very important and I didn't end up using it that much. The last skill I got was - Firebats Firebats, a short ranged AoE that attacked anything in front of the Witch Doctor. The range was actually surprising large and the damage by level was impressive and became my main attack. It mowed down most monsters within seconds. However, because it is a channeling spell, it was the first time I actually saw my Mana drain. There are a few more skills that are available for the beta but I did not get to a higher level... yet.

I also unlocked one passive slot by level ten. I chose to use - Vermin Vermin which made my Firebats even stronger and skipped - Circle of Life Circle of Life which would have given me Mana for each Health Globe picked up. While I look forward to seeing what other passives I will pick for future builds, this was all that is available in the beta.

The look and feel of the Witch Doctor was amazing in my opinion. Starting off, I really enjoyed the voice acting for the male Witch Doctor. Not too overdone, it definitely gives you the feel of this tribalisitic character. His gear equally matches this feel. With the same gear looking different on each class, the Witch Doctor's gear was great at looking strong while keeping the minimalistic look of the Witch Doctor. I also enjoyed at one point where the character falls down when entering Tristram Catherdral. While most classes do so with agile or strength, the older Witch Doctor actually looks like he is falling giving him this cohesive feeling.

Overall, I loved playing as the Witch Doctor. I planned on playing this class first and he was the character I selected when I first logged in. Starting off with my Zombie Dogs, I enjoyed the summoning aspect of the class, saving me from having to click on every single monster to kill it. I was also able to find a good mixture of skills that allowed me to keep my distance. The odd part about the class is that you can choose to stay away with many skill choices or getting into the fray with the multiple close-ranged skills. The Witch Doctor really allows you to have a wide range of viable builds to match your play style. I found myself able to stay away while still being in the action while my zombie dogs chowed their way through the mobs. As mentioned earlier, once I had Firebats and my Mana actually drained, I found running out very debilitating. King Leoric was especially tough when he took out my minions and I found myself without Mana and just having to stay away until it refilled. I planned on this class being my favorite and so far it has not disappointed.

You can watch Force play through as a Witch Doctor as well.


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