Skill Calculator: Witch Doctor PVP Build

As stated previously, we’re going to be posting PvP builds using the talent calculator and the most up-to-date information there is. And what better way to kick off this segment than with a build from what appears to be the most underrated class in PvP at the moment. Working to disavow that notion, I present to you a Witch Doctor PvP build that I feel shows some great potential and explain my logic.

Here we go!: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#kdUaVh!ZWf!bbaaYc

First Slot:

Skill: Wall of Zombies
Runestone: Unrelenting Grip (Golden)
Explanation: This is your general crowd control ability, setting up walls to block your opponent’s movement, while the golden runestone adds a slowing effect on top of the movement blocking. This should make kiting a breeze.
Possible substitutions:
Skill: Grasp of the Dead – Cost: 53 Mana, Cooldown: 8 seconds – “Hands reach out from the ground slowing enemy movement by 50% and dealing 50% weapon damage per second as Physical for 8 seconds.
Runestone: Desperate Grasp (Golden) – “Reduces the cooldown to 4.5 seconds.” Or: Unbreakable Grasp (Obsidian) – “Increase the slow amount to 64%.”
Explanation: About the same idea, but I feel the movement blocking of the wall will be more beneficial in most situations.

Second Slot:

 
Skill: Hex
Runestone: Hedge Magic (Golden)
Explanation: Hex is a no-brainer here, a complete disable that actually INCREASES damage taken? Yes please. I picked the golden runestone to add even more utility to the skill, taking them out of commission while healing yourself at the same time, can’t beat it.
Possible substitutions:
Runestone: Jinx (Alabaster) – “Increases the damage taken by hexed targets to 90%.”
Description: Increasing the damage bonus on hex to a whopping 90%, use this if you don’t feel you need the healing.

 
 
 

Third Slot:

 
Skill: Spirit Walk
Runestone: Healing Journey (Alabaster)
Explanation: Your ‘get the hell out of dodge’ ability for when things are getting too hot for the fragile Witch Doctor. Lets face it, you’re probably in dire straights when you need to pop this ability, so the healing component with the alabaster runestone isn’t going to hurt.
Possible Substitutions:
Runestone: Jaunt (Indigo) – “Increases the duration of Spirit Walk to 10.0 seconds.”
Explanation: You lose the healing component but make Spirit Walk useful for kiting as well as escaping.
 
 

Fourth Slot:

 

Skill: Poison Dart
Runestone: Snake to the Face (Alabaster)
Explanation: Besides having just about the coolest name of any skill in the game, this ability will provide consistent DoT damage with the possibility of a 3 second stun. This combined with Spirit Walk and Zombie Wall should be able to get you much needed distance on those pesky Monks and Barbarians while chipping away at their HP.
Possible substitutions:
Skill: Horrify – Cooldown: 20 seconds – “Don a spectral mask that horrifies all enemies within 12 yards, causing them to run in fear for 5 seconds.”
Runestone: Stalker (Alabaster) – “Gain 50% increased movement speed for 4 seconds after cast.”
Same idea of creating distance from your opponents, but this time by fearing them and giving yourself a speed boost. Possibly more reliable, but no DoT damage.

Fifth Slot:

 
Skill: Firebats
Runestone: Hungry Bats (Indigo)
Explanation: This will be your bread and butter for dealing damage. The indigo runestone basically turns this ability into Bonespirit from Diablo 2, and we all know how powerful Bonespirit was.
Possible substitutions:
None. You need this.
 
 

Sixth Slot:

 

Skill: Gargantuan
Runestone: Big Stinker (Obsidian)
Explanation: This big guy will be your tank to soak up some homing type spells, along with providing consistent damage from melee and the added poison DoT from the runestone.
Possible substitutions:
I feel this is really your swing slot, if you’re out there shrinking heads and you find your have a weakness to a specific class or build? Slap something in here to help you against them. However if you like the idea of having a pet here, you could try…
Skill: Zombie Dogs – Cost: 176 Mana, Cooldown: 60 seconds – “Summon 3 zombie dogs from the depths to fight by your side.”
Runestone: Life Link (Indigo) – “70% of damage taken is absorbed by your zombie dogs.”

 

Passive Skills:

First Slot: Vermin – “Your Plague of Toads, Corpse Spiders and Firebats abilities do 20% more damage.”
Ups the damage of your hungry, hungry bats.

Second Slot: Rush of Essence – “Spirit spells return 200% of their Mana cost over 10 seconds.”
Spirit Walk now breaks slows, heals you, and restores your mana. Hell yeah.

Third Slot: Death Trance – “Reduce damage by 20% whenever you are below 50% of your maximum life.”
Damage reduction when you’re under 50% HP. Seems like this one was made for PvP, a safe choice.

Possible substitutions:
Pierce the Veil (“All of your damage is increased by 20% but your Mana costs are increased by 30%.”) and Tribal Rights (“The cooldowns of your Fetish Army, Big Bad Voodoo and Hex abilities are reduced by 25%.”) could slip in this build easily, but watch your mana if you chose Pierce the Veil. If you have Zombie Dogs in your swing slot, Zombie Handler (“You can have 4 Zombie Dogs out at once. The health of your Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan is increased by 60%.”) might be a good idea.

*Remember folks, this is build is based on beta skills that are subject to change, and until we step foot in the arena this is all merely theorycrafting. However if you have your own badass Witch Doctor PvP build feel free to share it in the comments!

Gearing Up for PVP: The Real Money Auction House and You

 

Since the announcement of the Real Money Auction House, strong opinions have surfaced from every corner of the globe. Blizzard is sanctioning the sale of their virtual property and hosting the service through their site!? What a outrageous thought! Or is it?As we continue salivating at tiny morsels of Diablo 3, many of us think back to its predecessor. Diablo 2 was a fantastic game but it was not without its flaws. For many of us, the worst parts of the game were the byproducts of the third party companies whose only goal was to make money from the game. Be it spamming, item duplication, account hacking or the like, these companies did everything they could to turn a quick profit- without even a thought at the consequences of their actions. After all, it isn’t their game and there are countless others that can be exploited for profit after this.

So, what does this mean for Diablo 3? Well, as they continue work on the next installment of their best franchise, Blizzard is determined not to allow history to repeat itself. The Real Money Auction House is the first step to combating these issues. Since Blizzard will be hosting these services, they can prevent anything that may have long-term damaging effects on the game. And the best part? The community controls the economy as we once did in Diablo 2. This isn’t to say that the third party websites aren’t going to be working D3 like a full time job, as there is no use kidding ourselves. However, paired with the online-only access that the game will require, botting can be kept in check- limiting the farmers to only being as productive as any of us would be with a case of Mountain Dew and a stack of Hotpockets.

I, for one, am rather excited about the new AH. Aside from being able to make a little cash with nothing but some time invested, gearing up for PVP will be considerably easier. With randomized drops, farming for specific items is nigh impossible. However, if you get some amazing item that you don’t need, finding a buyer is as simple as listing it and walking away. Additionally, should you decide to change classes and want to quickly acquire all new gear, sell what you’ve got and buy what you need.

What are your thoughts? Are you for or against the currently announced version of the AH? How do you plan on using it? Post your comments here!

Community Site Updates: Skill Calculator and Info Galore!


For the first time, maybe ever, Blizzard has released information about one of their games before it was datamined. The official Diablo 3 community site was recently updated with information on the classes (overview, skills, background, unique equipment, and armor progression), items (common, crafted, legendary, and set), and even a Skill Calculator that is complete with runestone effects for each ability.

While there is a disclaimer at the bottom of the page stating: “Note: Content is not final and is subject to change at any time.”, all these updates are very exciting even though they only contain what is currently in the game’s database.

Browsing all of this information is sure to put a smile on your face as there are quite a few references to previous Blizzard games, especially Diablo 2. However, if you are anything like us, most of your time will be spent building the perfect PVP build with the Skill Calculator- even if the information may change before release. We are also going to start posting theorycrafted builds explaining our skill and runestone decisions as well as discussing situations in which to use them, so be sure to check back soon!

Good News: The D3 Beta Is Extended! Bad News: No 2011 Release Date.

It is true. Blizzard will be extending the length of the Beta, allowing for more people to experience it. However, this is due to the fact that Diablo 3 will not make the end of the year release. It is not yet known if this means that any other content will be added to the beta or if PVP will be accessible before launch, but we can always hope. In the meantime, be sure to opt in for the beta.

The official statement by Mr. Morhaime on the Diablo blog was:

“We commonly use the term “soon” when referring to Blizzard releases, because we know that no matter how hard we’re working to reach a target, we’re not going to compromise and launch a game before it’s ready. For Diablo III, we were aiming to launch by the end of 2011. As we’re announcing globally today, our new target for the game is early 2012.

While this news might not be a complete surprise, I know that many of you were hopeful that Diablo III would ship this year. We were too. However, this week we pulled together people from all of the teams involved with the game to decide whether we felt it would be ready before the end of December, and we grudgingly came to the conclusion that it would not. Ultimately, we feel that to deliver an awesome Diablo sequel that lives up to our expectations and yours as well, we should take a little more time and add further polish to a few different elements of the game.

The upside of today’s announcement is that we will be running the beta test longer than we initially planned, which will allow us to invite more of you who have opted in.

For those taking on the Diableard challenge, we salute you — and now fear for your well-being and personal hygiene. We hereby issue an official reprieve to all Diableard participants, including Blizzard employees, if you want to trim or otherwise manage the lower half of your face. We’d still love to see your beardly achievements, and we look forward to seeing more of your efforts as we move into 2012, but not to the detriment of your workplaces and significant others.

Thank you everyone for your support and anticipation for Diablo III. We’re still moving ahead at full pace, and we’ll be keeping you fully informed of any news and developments here at Diablo3.com, including the specific release date when the time comes, so stay tuned.”

The Diablo 3 Closed Beta Has Begun

Diablo 3 Beta Access

 

Did you wake up on Tuesday the 20th to the ominous clouds covering the sky? Or maybe you noticed that instead of milk in your cereal there was a dark red, semi-coagulated liquid? No? Well, surely you weren’t oblivious to the demons picking the flesh off the bone of your annoying neighbor. The signs are here. Pay them heed for the Diablo 3 closed beta has begun!

The excitement was rampant all over the interwebs. The press NDA has been lifted and we are now being barraged with every ounce of information from, well, the first hour and a half of the game. But the excitement is justified. We’ve only been waiting a decade for this, after all, and the game looks and feels great.

To opt into the beta, log in to your Battle.net account and click the Games & Codes section of your Account Management page. Then select the Beta Profile Settings option from the drop-down menu. You’ll be prompted to download the System Check beta opt-in application. Running it will opt you in to the Diablo III beta. If your system specifications changed since you previously opted in, you can run the System Check application again to update your information. It should be mentioned that you need to have at least one Blizzard game license attached to your B.net account to be eligible.

If you already opted in but have not been selected, there is still hope. The beta will occur in phases and Blizzard will be doing giveaways and promotions to pass out more beta invites. My advice is to follow the official Diablo twitter and facebook accounts and buy lots of coffee. Remember, you can sleep when you’re dead.

Good luck!