"I wander to places beyond imaginings, far from the jungles of my youth. My knowledge has grown vast. The people, they think me banished -- shunned to the end of my days. They say I defy the spirits. But I say no, I follow them. The spirits show me alone that the sky-fire is where the end begins. They say this must not be. I live to serve the spirits, so I go. There is none but me to answer the call."
— A Witch Doctor(src)
Most believe Witch Doctors to be figments of legend. Indeed, few outlanders have encountered a Witch Doctor in the flesh without losing their own. In truth, the role of a Witch Doctor is a hallowed one in Umbaru society, though only a few men and women can ascend to the position for they must possess both a history of battle and a talent for communing with spirits. The latter ability belongs solely to those born with the touch of the Unformed Land. The Witch Doctors are finely attuned to this realm and are able to train their minds to perceive this reality through a combination of rituals and the use of selected roots and herbs found in the jungles of their homeland. They call the state in which they interact with this other world the "Ghost Trance".
Witch Doctors frequently wear masks, hiding their identities. Through this, they are said to be an aspect of the spirits of the Unformed Land.
When a person dies, Witch Doctors feel what they suspect is the breath of life leaving their cooling body. And, when calamity or genocide sends hundreds to their graves at once, Witch Doctors can sense their trembling and shrieking from beyond. They cannot avoid hearing this—they must restore the balance between their world and the Unformed Land, or watch the torment of generations past for the rest of their lives...and forever after.
Witch Doctors are spiritual warriors who summon dead souls and crawling creatures to do their bidding. By surrounding themselves with a mix of conjured zombies and vermin, Witch Doctors are free to assault their enemies with exploding skulls, acrid poison clouds, and wasting curses. Through their connection to the Unformed Land, Witch Doctors are able to tap into mana. Although some Witch Doctors avoid melee combat in favor of augmenting their pets and crippling their enemies from afar, they are also more than capable of slaying weakened foes with their own hands. This includes the use of mojos and enchanted ceremonial daggers. Unlike common knives, these blades are honed towards one purpose – human sacrifice – and so they are well-suited to ending lives.
The Witch Doctor is classified as a "dark class," or "pet class." Their tribal culture reflects the combat capabilities, as most of the skills are grim and outworldly in nature. They draw on Mana for their abilities. Mana regenerates slowly, so Witch Doctors have to choose what abilities to cast with care, resulting in bursts of immense damage. Unlike most of the other classes their main resource, Mana, increases in maximum capacity at every character level, gradually increasing their ability to unleash a lot of damage at enemies in a quick initial burst before falling back and letting their pets finish the job.
Witch Doctors have six class sets in game:
- Manajuma's Way (60 minor weapon set, 2 items)
- Zunimassa's Haunt (60 full set, 7 items, 6 are required to complete it)
- Raiment of the Jade Harvester (70 full set, 6 items)
- Helltooth Harness (70 full set, 6 items)
- Spirit of Arachyr (70 full set, 6 items)
- Mundunugu's Regalia (70 full set, 6 items)
The Witch Doctor's specialized skill sets are categorized as Terror, Decay, and Voodoo. Many of the Witch Doctor's skills bear some resemblance to those of the Druid and Necromancer. Witch Doctors rely heavily on Damage over Time skills and summoned pets, as well as curses that destroy their opponents' ability to fight back (and humiliate them as well). Pets are a good way to keep engaging enemies without the cost of using Mana. An advantage of this skill system is that the Mana pool allows the Witch Doctor to use multiple, powerful abilities over a short period before the mana is depleted.
Witch Doctors are also able to cast debilitating abilities on their enemies, actually being the best class in Crowd Control: they can Hex, Fear, Confuse and Slow enemies in large numbers. Combined with pets who shield their master, a Witch Doctor can kill a horde of enemies without ever casting a damaging spell.
Popular Witch Doctor skill combinations include:
- Zombomancer (Zunimassa's Haunt + The Tall Man's Finger + The Short Man's Finger + Gargantuan + Summon Zombie Dogs + Zombie Handler + Midnight Feast + Fierce Loyalty + Mask of Jeram + Tasker and Theo + Enforcer + Grasp of the Dead + Wilken's Reach + Deadly Rebirth)
- Harvester (Raiment of the Jade Harvester + Locust Swarm + Poisoned Spirit + Piranhas + Soul Harvest + Creeping Death + Quetzalcoatl + Haunting Girdle + Wormwood + Pox Faulds + Ring of Emptiness + Lakumba's Ornament + Vile Hive)
- Death Eater (Grave Injustice + Pierce the Veil + Piranhado + Rain of Toads)
- Ghost Runner (Jaunt + Horrify)
- Fetishist (Fetish Army + Fetish Sycophants + Slam Dance + The Gidbinn or Starmetal Kukri or The Dagger of Darts + Zunimassa's Haunt + Carnevil + Poison Dart + Belt of Transcendence)
- Helltoofgudd (Helltooth Harness + Wall of Death + Grave Injustice + Jeram's Bracers)
- Hexxus (Acid Cloud + SuWong Diviner + Toad of Hugeness + Helltooth Harness + Ring of Poison + Piranhas + The Grin Reaper)
- Spiderman (Corpse Spiders + The Spider Queen's Grasp + Spirit of Arachyr + Hex + Firebats + Coils of the First Spider + Staff of Chiroptera)
- Chickenator (Angry Chicken + Manajuma's Way + Spirit of Arachyr)
- For detailed guides, visit Icy Veins Witch Doctor section
"What I like the most about the witch doctor is I really felt like the team was unified in the vision for that character, so when I got to animate it, I had so much information to pull from that I felt it happened naturally."
— Nick Chilano, senior animator(src)
It was quickly agreed during development that the Witch Doctor should be quirky, creepy, and a little scary. Feathers, body paint, and painted wood were settled on as the class's base materials. Developing the Witch Doctor's large mask was a turning point in its development, and remained an iconic component of the character design.
The Witch Doctor was not designed to be a replacement for the Necromancer. Developers have stated that if there was ever to be a playable Necromancer class for Diablo III, the presence of the Witch Doctor would not prevent them from implementing it. According to Jay Wilson, a key difference between the classes is that the Witch Doctor is more inclined to deal direct damage than the Necromancer, which aside from specific builds, was pet heavy. The desire to distinguish the Witch Doctor from the Necromancer meant that it took awhile to develop the class's abilities. As there was a desire to add the Necromancer post-release, the Witch Doctor's skills were designed to avoid overlap.
Known Witch Doctors
- Guwate'ka (elder priest)
- The Witch Doctor may be partially based on its Warcraft counterpart. Blizzard Entertainment has indeed admitted that they like to "steal from themselves." The class bears resemblance to real-world Voodoo practitioners, most likely Haitian, though the male character speaks with an African accent.
- The shaking hand of the male witch doctor might also be due to the cannibalistic tendencies of their culture. The booklet with the game mentions that fallen warriors are eaten for their strength, and a symptom of Kuru, a prion disease which can be caused by cannibalism, is shaking. Note: The Female witch doctor does not shake as the males do.
- While other classes usually have only one such item, the Witch Doctor has the majority of their Body Armors applying a distinct face paint. Helltooth Harness set goes as far as applying tribal war paint across the Witch Doctor's entire body.
- The male Witch Doctor was voiced by Carl Lumbly, while the female was voiced by Erica Luttrell.
- The Witch Doctor appears in Heroes of the Storm.
- A mini-figure based on the Witch Doctor's appearance in Heroes of the Storm was released in May, 2015.
- The female Witch Doctor appears to be wearing a brass neck coil, just like the long-necked Kayan people.
- The Witch Doctor has been mentioned as a possible class for Diablo Immortal.
- Writings of Abd al-Hazir: Witch Doctor
- Heroes of the Storm, Witch Doctor Lore
- Witch Doctor, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2013-11-01
- Heroes of the Storm, Witch Doctor Warbanner
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- 2014, Most Popular Witch Doctor Builds The top Diablo III Witch Doctor builds and skills at level 70 in Reaper of Souls. Diablo Somepage, accessed on 2014-06-30
- 2017-01-25, Diablo 3 Post-mortem with Jay Wilson Part 3. Diablo.net, accessed on 2017-02-19
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