Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Leveling 1 to 60 Strategy Guide

Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Leveling 1 to 60 Strategy Guide by Uberstein

I will play around with every rune and passive on my journey to 60, but will probably revert to this strategy or something close to it. I included methodology and commentary at the end.

This is not meant to be a guide, since there are still lots of assumptions. But I used this strategy during my first playthrough of the open beta weekend and had a blast, and compiling this also caused me to use skills/passives that I had previously neglected. Feel free to critique and post your own.

Skill Build from Level 1

Level 1 (1.2 attacks/sec) http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/simple-knife

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Levels 5-6 (1.4 attacks/sec) http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/stone-knife

Level 7

Level 8

Level 9

Level 10

Levels 11-12

Level 13

Level 14

Level 15

Level 16

Level 17
2 mana/sec deficit

Level 18
1 mana/sec deficit

Level 19
1 mana/sec deficit

Level 20

Level 21

Levels 22-24

Levels 25-26

Level 27

Levels 28-29

Level 30
*Fetish Sychophants can replace Spiritual Attunement for a small damage loss, giving more tanks

Level 31

Level 32

Levels 33-36

Levels 37-39

Levels 40-43
4 mana/sec deficit

Level 44-45
7 mana/sec deficit

Level 46-47
9 mana/sec deficit

Level 48
11 mana/sec deficit

Level 49
12 mana/sec deficit

Level 50
11 mana/sec deficit

Levels 51-53
7 mana/sec deficit
*Big Stinker can replace Pile On for a small damage loss, giving a tank + second element

Levels 54-56
*Humongoid can replace Pile On for a small damage loss, giving a tank

Level 57-60

Helm sockets: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/chipped-topaz
Weapon sockets: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/chipped-ruby

To do the most sustained damage versus an average of 5 monsters without running out of mana

-Damage is fun
-More damage = more kills = more experience, loot, and content cleared
-Good offense = good defense (dead monsters [usually] can’t hurt us)
-Mana neutrality makes magic/gold find gear easier to equip

Levels 1-4: The Beginning
Not much room for diversity here, and it should only take 10-15 minutes anyway. I think Poison Dart vs. Corpse Spiders is a wash at this level, with the math slightly on the spider side if targets are snared with Grasp of the Dead.

Levels 5-16: The Pyromancer
Now mana needs to be watched, switching between Corpse Spiders and Firebats as needed. The low mana cost of Spiders really shines now, as it allows for more Firebats than a Poison Dart build. Soul Harvest is a part of every build after level 9. I’m not a big fan of Rabid Dogs and Sacrifice and they are small damage gains here, so they can be swapped with a situational skill if the dogs are dying too quickly. Follower skill choices are based on what would help me and the Templar most often. Interesting fact: for levels 13-39, each build contains Physical, Fire and Poison damage (not intentional).

Levels 17-20: The Meleemancer
I hate Plague of Toads just as much as everyone else, but the math is on the side of Explosive Toads at this level due to (1) Swallow Your Soul removing Toads’ mana deficit, and (2) Spider Queen’s super-cheap AOE damage taking the place of Leaping Spiders. Note that the toads do not explode for AOE damage. Toads basically require melee range for optimal effect, so hopefully the Templar’s skills help melee survivability during this awkward phase. Gruesome Feast is a part of every build for the rest of the game starting at level 16, and the melee theme will help with health globe pickup until +radius gear is found later. The Scoundrel makes a brief appearance starting at level 20 due to the availability of his Anatomy +crit aura, which adds more benefit at this point than the Templar’s Inspire skill. The rest of his skills are forgettable, so they are picked based on what helps everyone’s defense.

Levels 21-36: The Lepromancer
For the rest of Normal mode and the beginning of Nightmare, manage mana by switching between Firebomb and Leperous Zombie as needed. Rabid Dogs are finally replaced by Wall of Zombies at level 28. Blood Ritual does well in passive slot #2 in the early levels, is changed to Pierce the Veil when many skills are essentially mana-free, and returns later due to Locust Swarm’s big mana cost. Spiritual Attunement makes a comeback at level 30 (max mana is higher now) and Fetish Sychophants is not far behind it if tanks are needed.  At level 25, the Enchantress replaces the Scoundrel for more damage, and at level 30 gets the full skill set that she will have for the rest of the game. While this is a damage strategy, the Enchantress also adds great defense, especially when paired with a Gargantuan.

Levels 37-53: The Spectromancer
Phantasm is a higher-damage and more mana-efficient “nuke” for the rest of Nightmare and the beginning of Hell. Pierce the Veil has a short comeback due to the abundant mana of Rush of Essence, Widowmakers, and Rain Dance. But at level 40, Vision Quest becomes the most efficient mana regenerator for the rest of the game and changes everything. No alternating between a “primary” and “secondary” skill for awhile: just spam Phantasm in-between cooldowns for a minimal mana deficit that will likely be covered by gear at this point. With Vision Quest, Rain Dance is no longer useful in a Spirit Barrage/Zombie Charger build because the extra mana can’t be spent fast enough, so it switches to Jungle Drums for a short while (which had little benefit previously when switching between a primary and secondary) before changing to Slam Dance for the rest of the game. I don’t like Burning Dogs, but it’s cheap background AOE damage and the fire adds a second damage element for 5 levels. Big Stinker is preferred over Humongoid for its poison damage at level 48. Grave Injustice offers better damage than Rush of Essence at level 50, and paves the way for 100% uptime on Provoke the Pack at level 51.

Levels 54-60: The Ursamancer
Zombie Bears is now the main nuke for the rest of the game (in this gear profile). Its high mana cost requires switching with a mana generating skill again, which is Widowmakers until level 57 when Draining Spirit takes over (Draining Spirit was already a better damage/mana tradeoff than Widowmakers before the recent buff to Haunt, and is only more so now). Note that for the purposes of calculation, Haunt can be treated like an AOE skill whose duration is divided by the number of monsters in the area. Pile On does slightly more damage than Humongoid here, so Pile On would be the ideal choice for group play while Humongoid is used during solo. Hopefully Diablo is so big that all 3 Zombie Bears can hit her, but even with 2 bears it hits like a truck.

Level 60

To show my methodology for creating a level 60 damage build, I included 3 examples below. I have found that the variables that have the most effect on damage builds are attack speed and kill speed, so I designed builds using attack speeds of 1, 1.4 and 2 attacks/second, and showed what happens when kill speed dips below a certain point.

Other variables like weapon DPS, +%Witch Doctor Damage, or crit% affect all damage builds equally. Regarding Intelligence: in the 1.4 attack/sec example, I found that 20,000 base Intelligence was needed before the next best damage skill (Fetish Ambush) became better than a 5-stack of Soul Harvest. So I used an arbitrary Intelligence number (3000) in the level 60 calculations, but could have just as easily used 10k or 15k and the build would have been the same.

For each build, I start with the top damage build I could find assuming mana and life were infinite, and then changed one or two skills/passives at a time (showing the damage loss at each stage) until my mana deficit is zero. Finally, I add a Gargantuan tank, which is usually a minimal damage loss.

Level 60 (1.4 attacks/sec)
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/veil-piercer or
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/sovereign-staff with 40% faster attack

Top damage, 218 mana/sec deficit

23% damage loss, 54 mana/sec deficit

22% damage loss, 0 mana deficit if Haunt cast every 3.7 seconds

Switch Grave Injustice to Blood Ritual for better damage if kills/sec < .48

Level 60 (1 attack/sec)
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/sovereign-staff or
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/doom-hammer with 11% faster attack

Top damage, 147 mana/sec deficit

25% damage loss, 6 mana/sec deficit

For tank: 2% damage loss, 10 mana/sec deficit

Switch Provoke the Pack to Pride for 0 mana deficit if kills/sec = .48

Level 60 (2 attacks/sec)
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/veil-piercer with 43% faster cast

Top damage, 243 mana/sec deficit

21% damage loss, 71 mana/sec deficit

20% damage loss, 0 mana deficit if Haunt cast every 3.2 seconds

Switch Grave Injustice to Rush of Essence for better damage if kills/sec < .56

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