Pet Guide (Patch 1.0.4 to 1.0.5) - old

Witch Doctor
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Ah we maxed the thread! The new link is over here:

Patch 1.0.5 is here!

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.

11th September 2012: Pet damage is not based on weapon damage, but your character sheet dps.
Attack Speed % stat does not increase your pet attack speed. But since it increases your character sheet dps, pet damage is increased.

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

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).

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
  • 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.
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:!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
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: 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.

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.
  • Due to a limited absorb cap, very hard hitting enemies like Mallet Lords and Fallen Maniacs (exploding goblins) will still kill pets easily.

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).
Useful Links and Sources

Detailed Explanation of Stat Priority

Test Results

Example of Pet Builds That Can Beat Inferno Diablo

Patch Notes

Old Versions Of This Thread
I have been trying to move around stats to get more damage while still keeping my life regen at about 1600 or so and keeping my defensive stats up.

I recently acquired a Sky Splitter (legendary axe) with the following stats:
952.1 dps
217-504 holy damage
+44% damage
190 dex
183 int
10% attack speed
589 life regen
19% chance to smite enemies when you hit them (not sure exactly what this does)

Would it be worth using if I could then drop life regen from other items to gain more int, vit, all resist, or some combination of the 3.

Well since you've already bought it, yes that's a good idea. But I'm too lazy to specialize in gear that has particular stats and just get all gear with Life Regen.

Having trouble deciding on which rune to use for Spirit Walk and Swarm of Locusts. Would it be worth testing Severance for Spirit Walk. Right now it's a toss up between Jaunt and Healing Journey just wondering if anyone thinks Severance might be worth a shot. As for Swarm of Locusts it's between Pestilence and Searing Locusts. Kinda leaning towards Pestilence if it works the way I think it does. Does it make it spread faster? If so it seems like that would be better for Cyadea and large packs. Interested in hearing other peoples opinions on the matter.

I personally would pick either Jaunt or Healing Journey for Spirit Walk because it should be an escape spell, not for damaging.

Yes Pestilence will make Locusts spread faster. I think it is better than Searing Locusts because the problem of dots in Diablo is the same as in WoW. Mobs die before the dots run their full course, resulting in affliction warlocks doing "low dps" during trash mobs.

Pestilence will spread them faster and cause the dots to tick for more before they die, resulting in efficiency.

Yes it works great for Cydaea's spiderlings.
Hello fellow pet masters. Just wanna post a new build I just used to farm Inferno A3 -> A4 + Diablo.!adX!aYcaaY

It is based on me getting really drunk with my friends last weekend.

Corpse Spiders, Leaping: The beer bottles. Spiders are the broken glass shrapnel.
Acid Rain, Kiss of Death: The puke.
Locust Swarm, Pestilence: Bad breath. Bad smell spreads fast (hence Pestilence).
Pets: Represent my drinking mates. All pets are with poison based runes (Rabid and Big Stinker) to simulate their bad smell after too much to drink.
Jungle Fortitude: We can drink quite a bit.
Zombie Handler: More friends.
Bad Medicine: Puke and puke breath are quite disgusting.
Spirit Walk, Healing Journey: No drink related explanation. Tbh, it is to counter reflect damage.
Goodness, you have 4 Zunimassa pieces and 100k dps.
I bought a legendary Mojo for a pretty cheap price because it has +spirit barrage damage. The problem with that mojo is that I lost 8K of health. My old one does a bit less damage but it has +200 STR and +100 something VIT.

It turns out I am dying way easier with this new mojo and I've noticed a pretty big drop of my pet's survival with 8K less health.

Anyway, my point is I think VIT is so important for pet's health if you don't plan on stacking AR/Armor. With just 8K more health, I think my pets can survive 15-20% better on average.

I don't think 200 armor makes that much difference for my dog's survival because every hit is pretty much "absorbed" with my crappy defensive stats. lol Only health matters to them.
Yea, I have a lot to work on still.
09/05/2012 08:53 AMPosted by Peter
Goodness, you have 4 Zunimassa pieces and 100k dps.

Haha, thx. Tbh, this is my "Super Model" epeen gear. I sometimes prefer IAS and mojo as I like to run and gun a lot too. I am 100 P.lvl atm. I have cap mf and this is how I found most of my legendaries.
Will you look at my gear and tell me where I should start for upgrades. Just want to see other peoples opinions on what I should look for next.
09/05/2012 03:20 PMPosted by FallofKings
Will you look at my gear and tell me where I should start for upgrades. Just want to see other peoples opinions on what I should look for next.

Very good defensive wise. Your pets should also be pretty tanky. Your Life regen will ensure it.

My advice is to try to up your dps -> ~35k without sacrificing too much of your defense. Let's assume you dun wanna change to mojo. Some suggestions on how:

Amulet: Get one with intel, vit, crit chance (~5+) and crit damage (~40+).

Bracers: Get one with intel, vit, ARs and crit chance (~3+).

Helm: Get one with intel, ARs, crit chance (~3+) and socket/vit/both.

Rings: Get two with intel, crit chance (~2+) and crit damage (~20+). Might need to sacrifice your ARs (50 + 47) here. But trust me, your pets will still be tanky enuf and you will perform better since you will kill way faster.

Weapon: Get one/same one you have but with a socket. Put an emerald in. I know you already have a good 1 hander, but trust me on this.

Mojo: A good offense is also a good defense. Besides, your pets can tank for you.
Thank you for the answers. I will keep them in mind when i'm looking.

One more question while i'm thinking about it. Is inferno whimsyshire worth farming?
saw a post about the grin reaper helmet... pretty cool. it's 100% chance on cast to summon 2 skeletons (and turn you into a skeleton) for 5s... so it's up all the time. the skeletons don't do any damage whatsoever, but they do cast GotD, and the slow does have an effect... they can also cast horrify, but it doesn't fear anything.

they even carry over my firewalker ground fire effect (but still, no damage). looks like the firewalker boots do ~7k dps but the fire doesn't last long, so it's just for things standing next to you.

1) i went from 2k regen down to 1k after 1.04, and it's fine.
2) i suppose the "worth" depends on how the smite works... let us know how much dmg it does and how often it procs...
3) pestilence spreads faster. personally, i use searing because it's fiery, and i like fiery things.
4) healing journey is amazing for keeping pets alive in the most dangerous situations. if you're using fierce loyalty, it's a clear winner.

5) whimsy is like a3, except ponies run a bit faster. personally, i would just farm a3. at least until blizz changes the effect of MF on chests (and clouds)
The helm summon 2 skeletons cast any spell that you have choose in skill slot, but only the spell with slowing movement Enemy affected.Like Soul harvest , haunt(cast often) and grasp of the dead (cast often)

[quote="64897266948"]saw a post about the grin reaper helmet... pretty cool. it's 100% chance on cast to summon 2 skeletons (and turn you into a skeleton) for 5s... so it's up all the time. the skeletons don't do any damage that i can see, but they do cast GotD and attract some attention from other mobs. i'll be testing to see just how effective the skeletons are when there are big packs, given that the helm itself is pretty !@#$ty.
i think the helm might be worth it.. the skeletons do take a bit of aggro off of me... i also have my enchantress summoning angels..

the firewalkers don't appear to be worth it tho.
Yes, nice for Dot build, 2 grasp of the dead cast by skeletons, another 1 cast by own.
the little fetishes from gidbin do 9k dmg per hit, and they last 20s. procrate is decent.

omg. just found warriv's body. poor guy..

@kieron: well, their gotd doesn't actually do damage.
@Terihlon: Yes, i mean slowing mob and give you time to kitting them.
Grin Reaper doesn't have the best stats but the skeletons do actually help. As far as I have noticed from the minor testing I have done. Usually the skeletons just run around being stupid but if they keep stuff of you better could be worth it. Probably requires further testing.

This is my ultra cheap and ultra lazy WD tank pet build. No its not a typo I do 2k dmg (not 20k dmg). I spent a whopping 150k total for the gear I have. Priorities are pretty obvious. I used weapons to beef up my vitality because I am broke. I had to make comprises on gear along the way but everything has thorns and then I try to stack vitality, AR, life regen, life % and balance armor with AR.

The only gear I have left to 'upgrade' is my helm.

Using haunt for the life steal is interesting. It gives you 150life/sec per haunt it looks like if you spam it on lots of mobs you greatly increase your livability, but I have not verified it (doesn't update the character stats page).

I use Vex for the lols so substitute something fun for you there.

I just tanked inferno Gholm in a public game and thats as far as I have progressed thus far. There is very little skill involved. Half the time you can just stand by enemies (even some elites) and let your thorns do the work. Very boring and drunk friendly build.

Obviously not efficient at all without some DPS friends... so thats why I just join public games and let the glass canons do their thing while I tank.

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