Greetings, ladies and gentleman!
Last week, Season 3 of Diablo III ended, a new patch was released bringing forth a host of new changes and additions, and Season 4 began just before the weekend hit. Among some of the additions were new difficulty levels (Torment VII to Torment X), the introduction of a new area called the Ruins of Sescheron, which is where you will find the largest addition to the game called the Kanai Cube. Now, I don’t want to go into any of the big features. For today’s post, I just want to cover the (many) changes that were made to Witch Doctor in the newest patch, and the experience that I had logging into Diablo III last Wednesday. It was a weird day, full of a lot of excitement, a dash of surprise, and a teaspoon of confusion. Join me as I recount my experience.
The Witch Doctor Gets Some Love
When it comes to Diablo III, the most exciting part of a new patch are the changes made to the characters that I play. More specifically, I am talking about my main character, the Witch Doctor, who received a TON of changes this patch. So many changes, in fact, that the number of lines used to list them all outnumbers the number of lines used to list the changes made to the other five classes combined. It’s insane! The changes were numerous in number, many were slight increases in effectiveness, while others were complete reworks of old abilities, and all of them are welcome changes. Here are some highlights from the patch notes.
The damage type on the Ghost Bomb rune has been changed from Fire to Cold.
This is one of the smaller changes made to the Witch Doctor, but one that I thought needed to be done. While the ability is basically unchanged, the damage type of the specific rune now matches the appearance of the ability. Many of the Witch Doctor’s abilities that involve spirits or ghosts tend to have a relation to Cold damage, or, at the very least, give the appearance of cold. This rune also works nicely with the newly added Iceblink Legendary Gem.
Acquiring stacks of Soul Harvest no longer removes any existing stacks, and instead adds to the them. Newly acquired stacks of Soul Harvest will replace any stack with the shortest duration.
Finally, the building of Soul Harvest stacks makes sense! I was so happy for this change, because Soul Harvest has been one of my main abilities for a long time. Before this change, it was a pain in the ass to cap on stacks, because I had to make sure to hit five enemies each time I cast the ability just to cap out on the buff. This was a worthless spell against a single target like a Rift Guardian, because you couldn’t maintain more than a single stack of Soul Harvest. Now, everything is right with the world. Reaching and maintaining five stacks of Soul Harvest is much less of a hassle.
The Soul to Waste rune has been reworked. Through this rune, each stack of Soul Harvest also grants 5% movement speed.
This is another one of those great changes that I have been benefitting from this patch. Since transitioning to the new stacking mechanic was so easy, I can maintain the five stacks of Soul Harvest longer, and maintain 25% additional movement speed from this rune.
Wall of Zombies has been removed, and replaced with Wall of Death. Many of the runes have been changed to drastically alter the function of this spell.
I must say that I never saw this coming. The developers completely revamped the Wall of Zombies spell and provided Witch Doctor’s with some new options for ability synergies. While I never found the Wall of Zombies ability to be that amazing, regardless of what rune was used, the new options are WAY better. The rune that I was instantly drawn to was the “Communing with Spirits” rune, which went well with my Ghost Bomb and Haunt abilities (even though the Haunt rune I have used for many months was changed to deal Fire damage… dumb…). In any case, this is my new go-to ability, because it looks cool, it has a shorter cooldown than the Pirahnado ability I was using before, and with the Grin Reaper helm I can have three Walls of Death active at all times. I’m having fun with it.
Fierce Loyalty (Passive)
As always, this passive grants 30% movement speed while a Zombie Dog, Gargantuan or Fetish are following the Witch Doctor, and while out of combat. However, the Witch Doctor will now retain 15% movement speed bonus even during combat.
I went back to using this passive after the patch, and realized that combining this with the Soul to Waste rune makes my Witch Doctor move crazy fast! I also have some movement speed on my boots, which helps push my character’s movement speed close to 70% while fully buffed and out of combat. That’s nuts!
Returning to Rifts
After getting situated with my new ability set up, I jumped into my first Greater Rift of the new patch. It was a rank 20 greater rift, and I was astonished by how quickly I was able to complete it with my Witch Doctor. I don’t recall being able to clear greater rifts at that speed. None of the abilities that I was using received damage buffs from the patch, but I was still mowing down enemies at incredible speed. I ended up unlocking up to greater rift rank 27 through this run alone. I thought it was pretty impressive.
I found out afterward, that a couple items my character was wearing received a buff from the patch. My Witch Doctor had been wearing two pieces of the Helltooth Harness set, and the 2-piece set bonus is actually pretty incredible. This new set bonus causes select abilities (of the list I was using Ghost Bomb, Zombie Dogs, and Wall of Death) to apply the Necrosis debuff which Slows, deals 1500% weapon damage every second, and causes afflicted enemies to suffer 20% more damage from all sources, for 10 seconds. I attributed the speed of my clearing a rank 20 greater rift to this change. The 4-piece and 6-piece set bonuses from the Helltooth Harness set are also pretty amazing, and now I have a goal to work toward for my Witch Doctor character.
Well, that’s all I have to say about the Witch Doctor changes. I decided to stream the night that I first experienced the new patch changes. If you want to check that out, you can find the archived video over here. I had a lot of fun discovering some of the new build options that would be possible for my character. Now, all I have to do is work my ass off to collect the full Helltooth Harness set, and slowly progress further in greater rifts. I made a Crusader for Season 4 that I intend to see progress much further than my Demon Hunter character from last season. I managed to get the Demon Hunter to level 70, but I didn’t end up earning very many paragon levels or doing very much with greater rifts. We’ll see how well I do this season.
Have you been playing Diablo III lately? Did you start a new character for Season 4? Are you still waiting for more significant additions to be made? Join the discussion below. 🙂
To see the complete notes for Patch 2.3.0, click here for the related blog post.
For more Diablo III content, be sure to head over to my Twitch channel. I don’t have a schedule set, yet. My plan is to stream Wednesdays and Fridays, and to eventually migrate to other games. Please, join me in my gaming adventures.
Also, if you have any questions, or have some ideas for topics you’d like me to cover, you can leave a comment below or head over to my shiny semi-new-ish Contact page.
Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.
War Fist out.