Diablo® III

Witch Doctor Pet Guide (Patch 1.0.4) - old

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This guide contains useful information about Witch Doctor pets, and how to strengthen them. Pets can be used to clear all difficulty up to Inferno Diablo.
It is divided into 2 sections, Basic Information (in this post) and Advanced Information (in the 2nd post). Feel free to suggest any useful information to be added.

Updates
24/08/2012: Added a sample build for defeating Inferno Diablo, in the Advanced Information section.
27/08/2012: Added a Full Stats Scaling List that lists what stats benefit pets. Also did tedious testing on Force Armor.
Added links to posts from people that have cleared Inferno Diablo, for people to have an idea what stats and build they need.
30/08/2012: Finally tested "Reduces damage from Melee attacks" stat. It does not benefit pets.
_________________________________________________

Basic Information
This section contains the basic information needed for beginners to understand pets and to form their own builds.

Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Pet Features
  • Stats That Benefit Pets
  • Skills That Benefit Pets
  • Stat Priority


Introduction
A key feature that separates Witch Doctors from other classes is that we can summon more permanent pets.

Witch Doctors can summon 2 types of pets, 3 Zombie Dogs (can be increased to 4 with Zombie Handler passive skill) and the Gargantuan.

Witch Doctor pets do not do a lot of damage. Their main strength is that they act as meatshields where they can take a lot of damage and keep enemies away from you.

If your pets are dying easily, this is because you are not gearing up properly. Pets also benefit from things that make you tougher, like armor, resistances and vitality.

Pet Features
  • Zombie Dog has 10,000 base life, Gargantuan has 30,000 base life at level 60.
  • Zombie Dog has 142 passive Life Regeneration, Gargantuan has 309 passive Life Regeneration at level 60.
  • Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan only take 10% from most aoe effects like Plagued, Frozen, Mortar and certain boss abilities.
  • Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan have Force Armor, which caps their damage taken (See the Advanced Information below for more information).


Stats That Benefit Pets
  • Keeps Pets Alive
  • Strength/Armor: Reduces damage.
  • Dexterity/Dodge: Avoids damage.
  • Intelligence/Resistances: Reduces damage.
  • Vitality/Life %: Increases life (pets gain % of player life).
  • Life Regeneration (must take Fierce Loyalty passive skill): Heals pets.
  • Increases Pet Damage
  • Intelligence: Increases pet damage.
  • Attack Speed: Increases pet damage.
  • Critical Hit Chance: Increases pet crit chance.
  • Thorns (must take Fierce Loyalty passive skill): Reflects damage to melee attackers (not ranged).
  • Bleed Chance will be applied by pets, but only Zombie Dogs with Burning Dogs or Rabid Dogs Runes.
  • Other
  • Crowd Control stats like Freeze, Stun, Blind, etc will be applied by pets, but only Zombie Dogs with Burning Dogs or Rabid Dogs Runes.


For a full list of stats that benefit pets, please check the Advanced Information section, under Full Stats Scaling List.

Passive Skills That Benefit Pets
  • Jungle Fortitude: Reduces damage taken by you and pets by 20%.
  • Zombie Handler: Increases pet life by 20% and adds an extra Zombie Dog.
  • Fierce Loyalty: Pets benefit from Life Regeneration and Thorns.


General Idea
Since 1.0.4, pets are more durable than you, thanks to their Force Armor. However, due to the nerf to CC procs, more mobs are now going after you. Bosses who used to be stunlocked to death, will now use their abilities more often. You will take more damage, and you will die more often than your pets.
This means that this time, more effort should be done to keep YOU alive instead of your pets.

Since pets are more durable, there are many variations of pet builds that can work. This guide will give you the basic pet build, pets that can survive and tank for you, while you do damage from a distance.

The general idea is to get enough stats so that both you and your pets can survive comfortably. Once you have achieved that, focus on increasing damage.

First, aim for armor and resistances to reduce damage taken by both you and pets. Aim for decent amounts but don't go overboard with it because it becomes more inefficient and expensive, and it is better to get other stats.

Then, aim for vitality or life % to increase your health. This is more for your own survivability than your pets, because armor and resistances alone will not be enough to keep you alive. If you find that you are not dying, then you can skip this.

Lastly, use Life Regeneration along with Fierce Loyalty (level 45 passive skill) to heal any damage done to your pets. If you are not high level enough to take Fierce Loyalty, use the Templar follower for his life regeneration.
The higher your damage reduction from armor and resistances, the less Life Regeneration you need.

Once your pets are surviving well enough, focus on increasing your damage, primarily by increasing your Intelligence.

So the only stats you need to look out for are Armor, Resistances, Intelligence, Vitality, and Life Regeneration.

Stat Priority
Stat Priority for Defense
1. Armor/Resistance
2. Vitality or Life %
3. Life Regeneration

Stat Priority for Offense
1. Intelligence

For an idea of what numbers you need, please see the Advanced Information section in the next post.
Edited by Peter#1403 on 9/5/2012 7:33 AM PDT
Advanced Information
This section contains more advanced information for extra reading.

Table of Contents
  • Sample Build For Inferno
  • Act 3 and 4
  • Inferno Boss Strategies
  • Diablo
  • Full Stats Scaling List
  • Force Armor
  • Bugs


Sample Build For Inferno
  • Act 3 and 4
  • Stats
  • Armor: 6000
  • Damage: 17000
  • Resistances: ~850
  • Maximum Life: 26000
  • Life Regeneration: 2000
  • Skills Link: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#WhUXYT!eag!bcabYc
  • Skills
  • Plague of Toads (Rain of Toads): Good long-range damage spell that can pass over obstacles like Waller walls.
  • Locust Swarm (Searing Locusts): Strong offensive spell for packs of monsters and certain boss fights where aoe is important, like Cydaea.
  • Spirit Walk (Jaunt): Almost mandatory skill for Witch Doctors to avoid death.
  • Horrify (Face of Death): Defensive spell used to keep packs of monsters away.
  • Summon Zombie Dogs (Burning Dogs): Burning Dogs aoe intended to grab aggro off monsters rather than bosses.
  • Gargantuan (Bruiser): Bruiser has a strong single-target damage. Stun also helps interrupt bosses.
  • Passive Skills
  • Spirit Vessel: Your training wheels. Much needed cushion to avoid death since you are more squishy than your pets. If you find that you are good enough to avoid death, you can replace this with another passive skill of your choice. Also reduces the cooldown of Spirit Walk and Horrify.
  • Jungle Fortitude: Picked over Zombie Handler because you also benefit from Jungle Fortitude's 20% damage reduction, but Zombie Handler only benefits your pets.
  • Fierce Loyalty: Needed to heal your pets through Life Regeneration.


Inferno Boss Strategies
Diablo
The sample build should allow you to defeat Diablo quite comfortably, thanks to high defenses and Spirit Vessel to save you from death once every minute. Most of Diablo's attacks will barely dent your pets and you should survive one or two hits.

Only 3 things will kill your pets during the Diablo fight.
  • The Flame Circle on the ground that damages your pets if they stay in it.
  • Your clone in the Realm of Terror.
  • The Chain Lightning Hose in the last phase.


With the amount of life and damage reduction, your pets cannot survive the Flame Circle. However, they can reduce enough damage so that if you quickly Spirit Walk away, your pets will respawn away from it and survive.

Use a combination of Spirit Walk and resummoning your pets in order to keep pets up most of the time.

Diablo will cast 6 Bone Prisons if not interrupted with CC like stun or freeze. Be careful with them, and use Spirit Walk if you must. The Spirit Vessel passive skill is a nice cushion to avoid death if you are careless.

For the clone in the Realm of Terror, it depends on what skills he use. Use Horrify to keep him off balance and kill him ASAP. Resummon your dead pets if needed.

For the final phase, Diablo will cast more than one Flame Circle at a time, cast Bone Prison quickly, and will also use the Chain Lightning. Again, use Spirit Walk and resummoning pets to keep your pets alive. Everything will be more hectic, so be alert.

Full Stats Scaling List
Do Stats Benefit Pets?
  • Stats That Improve Defense
  • Strength: Yes (through increasing armor)
  • Dexterity: Yes (through increasing dodge)
  • Intelligence: Yes (through increasing resistances)
  • Vitality: Yes (dogs gain 35% of player life, gargantuan gains 50%)
  • Block: No
  • Dodge: Yes
  • Armor: Yes
  • Resistances: Yes
  • Missile Damage Reduction: Untested
  • Melee Damage Reduction: No
  • Stats That Improve DPS
  • Intelligence: Yes (through increasing your damage)
  • Attack Speed: Yes (increases pet damage pet hit)
  • Critical Hit Chance: Yes (increases pet crit chance)
  • Critical Hit Damage: Untested
  • Thorns: Yes (Must take Fierce Loyalty Skill)
  • Bleed Chance: Yes (Only for Zombie Dogs. Must use Burning Dogs Rune). Each separate Bleed also stacks and does not overwrite one another.


Can Pets Be Healed? (must take Fierce Loyalty Skill)
  • From Stats
  • Life Regeneration: Yes
  • Thorns: Yes (Only for Zombie Dogs. Must use Leeching Beasts). Thorns count as THEIR damage. Be warned that the amount healed from Leeching Beasts will be reduced from 50% to 10% in Inferno mode. Note: Does not require Fierce Loyalty Skill.
  • Life Steal: No
  • Life On hit: No
  • Life Per kill: No
  • From Abilities
  • Firebats + Vampire Bats Rune: No
  • Haunt + Consuming Spirit: No
  • Spirit Barrage + Phlebotomize: No
  • Spirit Walk + Healing Journey: Yes (Life Regeneration stat is boosted temporarily)
  • From Passive Skills
  • Blood Ritual Skill: Yes


Force Armor
Patch 1.0.4 gave Witch Doctor pets a buff called Force Armor, which is similar to the Wizard's Force Armor.

What it does is it caps the damage taken by your pet at it's base health in a single hit. So for Zombie Dogs, their base health is 10,000. Force Armor will cap their damage taken to 10,000. This amount can be further reduced by your armor and resistances.

Force Armor will only activate if mobs are doing 10,000 unmitigated damage (end of Hell and Start of Inferno difficulties). It is indicated by the "absorb" words appearing on your pets.

Formula for Zombie Dog Force Armor
Damage Taken Per Hit = Force Armor Damage Cap + Remaining Damage after absorption*

Force Armor Damage Cap = 10,000 dog base health x (1-Damage Reduction % from Armor) x (1-Damage Reduction % from Resistances)

Remaining Damage after absorption = Damage Taken - 10,000 from Force Armor - 10,000 from Max Amount Absorbed (same as pet's base health)

*Amount Absorbed was not mentioned in the Witch Doctor Preview, but it was theorized to exist due to zombie dogs not surviving certain hard-hitting monsters like Mallet Lords in Act 4.

Here are my test results on how I determined the absorb cap.
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6368778294?page=18#342

Example of how Force Armor reduces your incoming damage
Lets pretend that your dog will receive an unmitigated raw damage of 110,000. This amount is not reduced in any way.

You have the following armor and resistances:
Damage Reduction From Armor: 50.00%
Damage Reduction From Resistances: 50.00%

First, your armor, resistances and Jungle Fortitude will reduce the 110,000 damage.

100,000 * 0.5 * 0.5 * 0.8 (Jungle Fortitude) = 22,000

Then, Force Armor will cap 10,000 of that damage.

22,000 - 10,000 = 12,000 remaining damage.

Finally, Force Armor will absorb up to 10,000 of the remaining damage.

12,000 - 10,000 = 2,000.

You are left with 2,000 remaining damage, which will fully hit your dog.

The 10,000 damage capped (not the one absorbed) will be further reduced by only your armor and resistances (not abilities like Jungle Fortitude).

10,000 * 0.5 * 0.5 = 2,500.

The final damage taken by your dog is:

2,500 Force Armor damage + 2,000 residual damage = 4,500.

Force Armor Problems
As great as Force Armor is, there are some problems with it.
  • It is weak against "small rapid attacks", mentioned by a blue.
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6397850360#2
  • Due to a limited absorb cap, very hard hitting enemies like Mallet Lords and Fallen Maniacs (exploding goblins) will still kill pets easily.


Bugs
  • Zombie dogs spawned from spells like Circle of Life and Big Bad Voodoo - Boogie Man, will not have Force Armor if you do not also have the Summon Zombie Dogs spell on your spell bar. This results in them dying pretty quickly.
  • Life Link and unruned zombie dogs do not have Force Armor.


Things to Do
Gonna use a better Force Armor example, mention number of hits before pets die, not counting life regen. Shows the durability of Force Armor.
Add a list of monsters that will overcome Force Armor and give pets trouble.
Edited by Peter#1403 on 9/4/2012 5:33 AM PDT
Useful Links and Sources

Detailed Explanation of Stat Priority
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5594214282?page=2#28

Test Results


Example of Pet Builds That Can Beat Inferno Diablo


Patch Notes


Old Versions Of This Thread
Edited by Peter#1403 on 9/4/2012 5:32 AM PDT
I look forward to joining the pet community as I regear my WD. Former crit damage, crit bear vq build that has lost a ton of top end dps potential.
Sticky requested. maybe if a CM would pop in the Class forums once in a while we could get some seriously helpful guides like this Pinned.
25 Human Paladin
0
Posts: 220
I've been enjoying my WD cc build and am up to level 57 in hardcore.

Just a couple quick question pertaining to the WD and 1.04 patch notes.

Under Gargantuan:

"Weapon damage increased from 25% to 100%, but can no longer trigger procs"

Will Big Stinker still proc our cc abilities?

Secondly for Summon Zombie Dogs - Burning Dogs it states:

"Proc coefficient has been reduced from 1.0 to 0.05"

Does this mean they proc more or less often and how will this effect our our stuns, freezes excreta?
I've been enjoying my WD cc build and am up to level 57 in hardcore.

Just a couple quick question pertaining to the WD and 1.04 patch notes.

Under Gargantuan:

"Weapon damage increased from 25% to 100%, but can no longer trigger procs"

Will Big Stinker still proc our cc abilities?

Secondly for Summon Zombie Dogs - Burning Dogs it states:

"Proc coefficient has been reduced from 1.0 to 0.05"

Does this mean they proc more or less often and how will this effect our our stuns, freezes excreta?


Speculation, of course, since the patch isn't complete yet, but I think it is safe to say that no, Big Stinker will NOT proc CC abilities (which sucks). There is a chance they mean that regular attacks no longer proc, but the AOE from the Big Stinker rune is completely unaffected by the patch, but given the massive nerf to Burning Dogs, that seems extremely unlikely.

Which brings us to your other question.

A 1 proc coefficient means that any ability has a full (1, or 100%) chance to proc every time the source of damage ticks. For example, if you have 3% chance to fear, then every time a burning dog's aura ticked an enemy for damage, there was a 3% chance that the enemy would be affected by fear.

A 0.05 coefficient means that any given tick of damage from the source is much less likely to trigger the on-hit effects. I believe that this would translate as 0.05 * 3%, or 0.15% chance per tick of aura damage for the fear to trigger. So again, a major nerf.
It does look pretty steep on paper, however with the new greatly increased proc rates of certain dog-spawning passives (Circle is up to 30% from 5, for example) it should be possible to return to the 'old' overall proc rate with some build adjustments. Gear shouldn't be affected in most cases (would depend on pri/sec choices), though, since you'll still want the status effect abilities thereon.

Basically, it seems that they made it so that if you want tons of procs you need tons of pets, although that does seem at odds with the Gargantuan losing the ability to proc anything. On the other hand its damage is going up to 100% of ours, which is a huge increase in output and may actually increase dog survivability even more than the procs were by basically doubling our killing rates. We'll have to see, of course, as a Garg with BS could crank out a huge number of CC procs in a short period when facing large spawns.
You can't have tons of pets, since the cap, even with Circle of Life, is either 3 or 4 ZDs at a time. I guess Fetish Sycophants is a possibility... any idea what the proc coefficient is for them?
From last thread:
08/21/2012 02:07 AMPosted by weesheng
You're missing my point. It's not the % passive damage on the field that I am talking about. It's the gimped DPS figures that most pet doctors have as they go to extreme lengths to ensure dogs survive. 36% is decent, it's when you only have 12K paper DPS, and you think that's viable, is when I really think a mindset change is needed.

Oh I see what you're saying, and i never said people should always prioritize survivability over damage.
To the contrary, I'd say DPS numbers are as important as your armor/resists. Sure, our damage won't be incredible anyway due to how pets attack, but there's always some balance to take into account. I always expect to sacrifice vitality stacking for armor or resists, and I'm reducing my dex to maybe help account for the life regen I'm shooting for. But I'd try my best to not sacrifice too much DPS for survivability. Stacking Int also increases resists also, so it can somewhat take the place of AR. The biggest reason that I didn't try stacking int so much before was because pets were super flimsy. Another big question I have now, is whether or not to keep a shield for the higher armor and lower damage cap, or pick up a mojo for faster killing power. Bleed stacking isn't nearly as effective now unless they MASSIVELY boosted bleed damage, so I won't be keeping it up. Decisions decisions.

08/21/2012 10:05 AMPosted by Marruk
You can't have tons of pets, since the cap, even with Circle of Life, is either 3 or 4 ZDs at a time. I guess Fetish Sycophants is a possibility... any idea what the proc coefficient is for them?

Fetishes can only proc if you use the ambush rune, where everything you hit is a 1 proc coefficient. Otherwise, nothing.

But, I think rain of toads still has the same proc powers. Which is odd
Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan have passive Life Regeneration

I read about this last night but what is this about? These two pets now have innate life regen? And how much? 1% is probably it but that is still not bad if you combo it with Loyalty and Blood Ritual.
I was thinking about Rain of Toads and main reason I figure they kept it 'as is' was simply because its, more or less, a channel. Sort of anyway. Granted base skill isn't but you have to, more or less, spam it to keep it going. Also doesn't have to huge an AoE and most there efficiency's are based off AoE size (aka, how many you can hit on avg) and weather its a channel skill or not.

Basically to make it worth wild you have to be stationary. Dogs you don't, and you can have 4 fire dogs out at once which with the new survival can, potentially, be around for a damn long time being a continous non-stop proc check. All while you do other moves that also do proc checks (like Acid Cloud of aforementioned frogs).
Peter you can add in:
Pet HP/ Max Hit = Amount of hits a pet can take before death.....not including health orbs and regen.

I'm sure some smarty will come up with the equation adding in regen but health orbs would be impossible.
Edited by Cognus87#1684 on 8/21/2012 10:28 AM PDT
Thanks for the Guide!

I'd like to design my WD to be a Pet Doctor, and am still progressing and leveling him. If you check out my profile, what suggestions would you make for me to change/do ?

I don't believe I can currently determine reduction from resistance in order to do the calculation.
You can't really factor in health regen to number of hits which is why we say 'not counting regen'. Why? Well if your pets facing off 5 things at once that's 5 hits in the same time frame. Regen doesn't go up 5 times. Thing you maybe fighting takes nearly 2 seconds to hit again, it may hit multiple times per second.

It's one of those 'to many variables' to actually come up with some solid number that works for situations as each situation is different and constantly shifting its conditions. So best you can do is total number of hits, not counting regen, ultimately. That or some perfect '1 vs 1, monster hitting 1 per second always'.... which never happens.
Folks I can't play the game yet because for some reason some of us can't update the game.

It's also pretty late here so I'll update and try the game again tomorrow.
holy shat!, zombie dog had proc coff of 1 before? never knew it was that op.
You can't really factor in health regen to number of hits which is why we say 'not counting regen'. Why? Well if your pets facing off 5 things at once that's 5 hits in the same time frame. Regen doesn't go up 5 times. Thing you maybe fighting takes nearly 2 seconds to hit again, it may hit multiple times per second.

It's one of those 'to many variables' to actually come up with some solid number that works for situations as each situation is different and constantly shifting its conditions. So best you can do is total number of hits, not counting regen, ultimately. That or some perfect '1 vs 1, monster hitting 1 per second always'.... which never happens.


True, but someone out there bored enough will try lol. EHP Calc for dogs I see in the future.
And the game is actually up an hour early? WTF?
08/21/2012 11:35 AMPosted by d35366
holy shat!, zombie dog had proc coff of 1 before? never knew it was that op.

yea, and it hit twice per second. So the per second coefficient was 2.

Folks I can't play the game yet because for some reason some of us can't update the game.

It's also pretty late here so I'll update and try the game again tomorrow.

I assume there are sooo many people trying to get the new patch and log on at one time, the server might be bogged to hell.

I'm also gonna update my stat post in a little while.
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