Diablo® III

Pet Guide (Patch 1.0.5)

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
7/11/2012: Created this thread.
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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.

Zombie Dogs do not do a lot of damage, but the Gargantuan hits like a truck. However, the main strength of your pets 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).
  • The Gargantuan no longer procs special effects like Life on Hit and CCs like stun. Only Zombie Dogs with the Rabid Dogs (0.1 coefficient) and Burning Dogs (0.05 coefficient) runes can proc special effects.


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 (Pet Damage is based on your character sheet dps, not your weapon 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
  • CC stats like Freeze, Stun, Blind, etc will be applied by pets, but only Zombie Dogs with Rabid Dogs (0.1 coefficient) and Burning Dogs (0.05 coefficient) runes. The Gargantuan has no coefficient and cannot proc.


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 15%.
  • 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. However, please note that high dps builds are more effective than a tanky pet build. But if you just want to have fun and like pets that survive, the tanky pet build is a viable build.

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 11/17/2012 1:00 AM PST
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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 (Monster Power 0)
  • 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 15% damage reduction, but Zombie Handler only benefits your pets.
  • Fierce Loyalty: Needed to heal your pets through Life Regeneration.


Inferno Boss Strategies
Diablo (Monster Power 0)
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 (Note: Pet damage is based on your character sheet dps, not your weapon damage)
  • Intelligence: Yes (through increasing your damage)
  • Attack Speed: Yes (through increasing your damage, doesn't increase pet attack speed)
  • Critical Hit Chance: Yes (through increasing your damage AND increases pet crit chance)
  • Critical Hit Damage: No
  • 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.
  • 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.

110,000 * 0.5 * 0.5 * 0.85 (Jungle Fortitude) = 23,375

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

23,375 - 10,000 = 13,375 remaining damage.

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

13,375 - 10,000 = 3,375.

You are left with 3,375 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 + 3,375 residual damage = 5,875.

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
None reported at this time.

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.
Show what changed since the patch (Patch survival guide).
Add new pet builds?
Edited by Peter#1403 on 12/25/2012 11:17 PM PST
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Useful Links and Sources

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

Test Results


Patch Notes


Old Versions Of This Thread
Edited by Peter#1403 on 11/13/2012 4:44 AM PST
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I changed up my gear a little bit with the sycophants build. The build is almost the same. I dropped leeching beasts for burning dogs and dropped pestilence for searing locusts. As far as gear goes I dropped the Gidbinn/off-hand for a Maximus and re-equipped my Wailing Host. The point is to have a variety of summons instead of just fetishes. With this setup I have 2 demons from Maximus (my enchantress has one to), fetishes from Sycophants, and skeletons from the legacy of wicked dreams set rings. I don't think I like it any more or less than using the Gidbinn version so I will probably just file it away under something else I can play from time to time.

@agentj73 I sent you a friend request in game since I couldn't respond in the last thread.

Anyone else in this thread that wants to add me in game can.
Edited by FallofKings#1473 on 11/7/2012 5:37 AM PST
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it doesn't.


It doesn't? while Reflects Damage reflects pet damage to us? That seems unfair... --"


blizz acknowledged this. they're going to change it next patch so pets don't kill you :)


my weap has life steal! no trouble with reflect other than the fact that i won't have the regen to counteract OTHER effects on top of it.

as for SOJ.. i really don't know. :( ...


LOL sorry - don't know why I didn't notice that. Ofc now you have changed your gear completly ;) Never thought you'd get rid of that maximus.

Right I'm trying Blazing Spiders based on this thread http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/7004034025?page=1 They really do seem to hit harder than Ghost Bomb, at least on single targets.
I still can't kill a goblin on MP5 unless I'm extremly lucky and corner it right away and even then it's a struggle, and that's with almost 100k dps..... Only reason I see for this is, that I don't have any nukes but instead have a build that does steady dps over some time. So for me MP5 it is, as I use Goblins as a dps benchmark and I hate the fact they get away and steal my loot.

I do MP5 only for key runs and ubers - normal item/xp runs are done on mp2 or 3 for speed, gives most xp/hour.

Who can kill the goblins and what mp setting/dps and build do you use/have?


i switched some stuff up so i can push 130k with SH and GF ... so if I have the buffs, i can kill the goblins... and i clear a lot faster than with maximus... i'm still playing around with things.. i am sad that i don't have double maximus anymore. i think the solution will be to acquire a much better maximus.. but right now, i'm too poor.

mp5 seems to be a good pace.. but mp6 or 7 is more interesting... killing 2 or 3 elite packs at a time, as i run around trying not to die.. and attracting attention from other groups :/
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Peter thank you for your ongoing effort with this guide. All relevant info regarding jungle fort is showing 1.04 numbers.

Cheers
Edited by Zekromancer4#1728 on 11/7/2012 6:39 AM PST
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The LoH from the Blackthornes set ammy and pants has helped out more than I expected. Between the 2 I only have 879 LoH but with 2.08 attacks per second it is enough for me to not have to worry about reflect damage at all.
Edited by FallofKings#1473 on 11/7/2012 12:11 PM PST
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Hey Fall I didn't see your invite in game so I added you. I am trying out your gear set for the fetish build, but I've modified the skill load out. I was playing on Act2 MP5 in the Vault and I was able to easily kill two packs of elites at the same time on two separate occasions. It's not the quickest farming build, but with so much LoH and with 2.4 APS while in BBV, I dont even get close to dying. Add on top of that +22k life from health globes lol.
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Id love to make some new friends and learn more about the witch doctor pet builds. I am on a budget can anyone tell me how I did?

Also add me if you want to farm stuff.
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Peter thank you for your ongoing effort with this guide. All relevant info regarding jungle fort is showing 1.04 numbers.

Cheers


Oops, updated, thanks.
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Id love to make some new friends and learn more about the witch doctor pet builds. I am on a budget can anyone tell me how I did?

Also add me if you want to farm stuff.


decent start... how high can you go in MP?
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what's the proc on bruiser rune on guargtuan?"
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I've been following Peter's threads for a bit. I think I've finally learned enough empirically to maybe add something to the discussion.

I'm very casual and my main goal right now is relaxed play in higher MP without actually paying attention. My first attempt is a tanky WD with high life regen / thorns and mediocre DPS. I farm keys on MP4 solo or with friends and never die, rarely feel threatened and I'm happy with the pace. The problem is MP5+ where my pace drops dramatically.

My (probably unoriginal) observations so far:

-Thorns is a useless stat. Even in lower MP. Even with Leeching Beasts. I plan on phasing it out of my gear in lieu of more DPS and MF.

-Layering LoH over high life regen is very effective.

-Rain of Toads is awesome. Hits in different rooms where the pets are tanking. Hits over walls. (Experimenting with Corpse Spiders...)

-Pets make many skills that do area damage more viable; Phantasm, Grasp of the Dead, Acid Cloud etc

-Pets make many skills that do PBAoE more safe; Soul Harvest, Cloud of Bats, Mass Confusion

I would love for a Patch to fix thorns. I really wanted to make it work. Maybe it should scale with MP somehow? Replace the static damage returned with a reflected amount a la Paladin Thorns aura? Don't know :(
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I'll get back on that, I can farm MP1 super easy but I am guessing MP4. I've seen so many posts about how MP1 is the best farm spot, I just figured id stick with that. Still looking for people to run with if anyone wants to add me for some runs. deadrook#1525

Also gear advice is most welcome, thank you.
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I'll get back on that, I can farm MP1 super easy but I am guessing MP4. I've seen so many posts about how MP1 is the best farm spot, I just figured id stick with that. Still looking for people to run with if anyone wants to add me for some runs. deadrook#1525

Also gear advice is most welcome, thank you.


mp1 is cool if you don't care about keys. if you want to farm ubers, you'll want to see how hard you can make it without slowing down too much.. also, the MF/GF/XP is pretty great.. gotta say.
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Bugs
None reported at this time.

What about the bug of the life link and the no rune? They were supposed to not apply force armor? It's been fixed? Does that mean summoned dogs with circle of life without having the dogs skill have force armor now?
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Bugs
None reported at this time.

What about the bug of the life link and the no rune? They were supposed to not apply force armor? It's been fixed? Does that mean summoned dogs with circle of life without having the dogs skill have force armor now?


Life Link is fixed. My dogs can survive with it now.

I haven't tested no rune and the dogs spawned from passive skills, but I assume they fixed it together.
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Great information posting here for future referalls.

Also, not sure would want to make build entirely on the pets. A balance is better imo.


It's true. My guide is now more of a legacy, and not as needed as in the past. But I keep it alive for new WD players who don't understand why their pets are dying.
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Great information posting here for future referalls.

Also, not sure would want to make build entirely on the pets. A balance is better imo.


it's for people that intentionally rely entirely on pets.. because they like pets.
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