Diablo 3 Witch Doctor

Witch Doctor Links:

Witch Doctor Guides

Witch Doctor Builds

Witch Doctor Inferno MF Build

Witch Doctor Inferno Belial Build and Strategy

In Depth Witch Doctor Pet Guide

Witch Doctor Pet Scaling Beyond Nightmare

Inferno Butcher Kill in 25 Seconds

Witch Doctor Pet Scaling Research

Witch Doctor Overview by FM:

Rather than make this a complete review that might include my build, gear, etc, I'm just going to talk about the interesting points.
The witch doctor's resource is not as straight forward as it seems like it should be. I mean its just mana right?

The mana cost on your spells, and your total mana pool, go up every level. This has two effects:
1) Attributes that add mana gets less useful - this is a really minor issue 2) Your mana regeneration gets slower and slower

The second point is what I noticed. There seems to be an expectation that you will add some mana recovery to your build, whether its from runes or gear. I think adding a small amount of +mana on hit will be sufficient for my build, even if they don't count each aoe target as a hit.

I thought locust swarm was going to suck, but paired with a slow two handed weapon, 5 stacks of soul siphon, and the rune that makes it spread to 2 targets it is AMAZING. Its like setting everything on the screen ON FIRE. It seemed like it would jump up to 15 yards away, so enemies didn't even have to be close or bunched up for it to work - some enemies really scatter far apart though, but I would just use poison dart/haunt on those. It has great synergy with the passive that reduces enemy damage when affected by poison and even has decent damage per mana for bosses. My approach to most situations was soul siphon, grasp of the undead, locust swarm, pick up loot. Pepper high health enemies with haunt and add poison dart to taste.

The gargantuan, which I named Francis, did much better than I thought it would. Francis only died about 6 times on normal and most of that was to some really bad rare/champion group. There were only two bosses that killed him and even then it took long enough that I could recast him. My problem was noticing I needed to recast since I wasn't used to him dying. Dogs, on the other hands, die often. I don't see myself taking them without taking sacrifice.

Haunt was great for champions, rares, and bosses. The survival passives, particulary the one that lets you cheat death every 90 seconds, were very useful - I never died in normal, but the cheat death passive kicked in several times and saved me. I did have a lot of health from vitality and +health from orbs though (I had around 2k life at the end of normal and +450 health from orbs).
Soul siphon continued to be overpowered throughout normal, but I can see how the proximity it requires could be a problem in latter difficulties. At level 30 5 stacks would take my dps from 220 to 420, which was nuts.

Acid cloud was dissapointing. I tried to make it work, but locust swarm was always much better for aoe.
Locust swarm and haunt are great for times when you can't stand still. The short range on locust swarm sucks, but keeping poison up for 8 seconds per cast to reduce enemy damage (with the passive) is helpful.
I played with a buddy, who played a barbarian. He and I bought the first Diablo when it came out not knowing what it really was, then took 2 days off to play Diablo 2 lan style, then yesterday off to play Diablo 3. This game did not dissapoint. I got bored with saying 'wow look at that' in vent after doing it for ten hours.
Also, in the 15 hours we had we only spent 3 hours not playing due to server issues, which I thought was pretty awesome for the release day of such a popular game. As a final vote of confidence, if someone told me I had to pay $15 a month for D3 I would without even thinking about it.

Witch Doctor Overview:

Witch doctors are spiritual warriors who summon dead souls and crawling creatures to do their bidding. By surrounding themselves with conjured zombies and vermin, witch doctors are free to assault their enemies with exploding skulls, acrid poison clouds, and wasting curses.

The ability to infect, slow and terrify their enemies gives witch doctors unprecedented control over a battlefield. They can manipulate opposing attacks and movements with debuffs and crowd control spells, rendering enemies easy prey for hungry pets. Witch doctors can also lay down fields of fire and venom that slowly leech life from advancing foes.

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.

Witch Doctor Lore:

I came upon this rare display as I ventured deep into the interior of the dense Torajan jungles that cover the southern tip of the great eastern continent, in the vast area known as the Teganze, with the goal of seeking out the tribes that reside there. This area is extremely secluded, and heretofore unseen by foreign eyes. I was fortunate to befriend the witch doctor I saw in battle, and, through him, his tribe: the Tribe of the Five Hills.

The culture of the umbaru of the lower Teganze is fascinating and perplexing to those hailing from more civilized walks of life. For instance, the Tribe of the Five Hills frequently engages in tribal warfare with both the Clan of the Seven Stones and the Tribe of the Clouded Valley, but these are matters of ritual and not of conquest. I had heard tales that these wars are waged in order that the victors may replenish their supply of raw materials for the human sacrifices that their civilization revolves around, and when I timidly asked my hosts more about this topic, I must admit their laughter made me fear for my safety. However, through stumbled attempts at communication of such complex topics as what constitutes heroism and honor in their society, I gathered that only those taken in battle are considered worthy of the ritual sacrifice, much to my relief.

Upon further discussions with my hosts, I discovered that these tribes define themselves by their belief in the Mbwiru Eikura, which roughly translates to "The Unformed Land" (this is an imprecise translation, as this concept is completely foreign to our culture and language). This belief holds that the true, sacred reality is veiled behind the physical one we normally experience. Their vitally important public ceremonies are centered upon sacrifices to the life force that flows from their gods, who inhabit the Unformed Land, into this lesser physical realm.

The witch doctors are finely attuned to this Unformed Land 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. They call the state in which they interact with this other world the Ghost Trance.

Alongside the primacy of the belief in the life force and the Unformed Land, the second most sacred belief of the tribes is their philosophy of self-sacrifice and non-individuality, of suppressing one's self-interest for the good of the tribe. This idea, so foreign to our culture, struck me as something I wished to delve into much more deeply.

Unfortunately, there was intense social upheaval among the tribes due to an incident involving their most current war (inasmuch as I could discern in the ensuing bedlam), and the charged atmosphere warranted my quick departure before I could ask anything further of my hosts