Witch Doctor skill archive

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This page archives original versions of Witch Doctor skills that were changed during development. These are archived for future curiosity and reference. This page is not to be updated with current info; see the Witch Doctor skills article for the latest information about these skills.

The Witch Doctor's skills were first revealed in October 2008, at Blizzcon, when only about ten were usable. They were shown again, in much-expanded form at Blizzcon 2009, when most were enabled. The biggest changes occurred at Blizzcon 2010, after all the passive skills had been moved to the Witch Doctor traits, this removing all passive skills, while freeing up space for more active skills.

See the skill article for further details on how the tier systems evolved and the skill system in general.

Blizzcon 2010 Skills to Traits[edit | edit source]

The biggest change to the skills came in Blizzcon 2010, when the new non-tree skill tree was debuted, with all of the passive skills modified into various traits.

While there were no new Witch Doctor skills in the build (unusual, since the Wizard, Barbarian, and Monk had numerous new skills), quite a few were removed. Many of these were turned, more or less directly, into Witch Doctor Traits.

Here's how the Witch Doctor skill trees looked prior to Blizzcon 2010. Many of the skills remain, though most are modified in various ways.

Blizzcon 2010 Changed Skills[edit | edit source]

Pre-2010 Soul Harvest.

The only Witch Doctor skill that changed notably, while remaining in the game (and not becoming a trait) was Soul Harvest. Prior to Blizzcon 2010, this skill was a sort of nova attack that damaged monsters with "black magic" while returning mana to the Witch Doctor for every enemy it killed.

At Blizzcon 2010 the description had changed completely, and the skill was now a sort of magic damage buff/warcry, boosting the Witch Doctor's magical damage based on how many enemies were in the immediate area.

Blizzcon 2010 Description: Gain X% increased spell damage per enemy within X feet for X seconds."

Soul Harvest Stats[edit | edit source]

The stats as of Blizzcon 2009, before the skill changed form entirely.

  • Rank: 1/5
    • The Witch Doctor Draws out the life force of nearby enemies causing 1-2 black magic damage and restoring 3 mana per energy drained.
    • Mana Cost: Unknown
  • Rank: 2/5
    • The Witch Doctor Draws out the life force of nearby enemies causing 3-4 black magic damage and restoring 6 mana per energy drained. (A)
    • Mana Cost: Unknown
  • Rank: 3/5
All your life are belong to us.
    • The Witch Doctor Draws out the life force of nearby enemies causing 5-6 black magic damage and restoring 9 mana per energy drained. (A)
    • Mana Cost: Unknown
  • Rank: 4/5
    • The Witch Doctor Draws out the life force of nearby enemies causing 7-8 black magic damage and restoring 12 mana per energy drained. (A)
    • Mana Cost: Unknown
  • Rank: 5/5
    • The Witch Doctor Draws out the life force of nearby enemies causing 9-10 black magic damage and restoring 15 mana per energy drained. (A)
    • Mana Cost: Unknown

(legend (A) = Assumed)

Pre-BlizzCon 2009 Zombie Tree[edit | edit source]

The Plague Skill Tree was renamed "Zombie Skill Tree" at BlizzCon 2009 to reflect a more Zombie-related theme.

Locust Swarm[edit | edit source]

Locust Swarm.
Skill witchdoctor locustswarm icon.gif

Changed prior to BlizzCon 2009.

This projectile emits a spray of green insects which swarm over anything in close range, like flying piranhas. The locusts deal poison damage, and have the ability to jump from one infested monster to other nearby targets. (They do this with a green swooshing graphic, as seen here.

Each Locust Swarm seems to last for a set amount of time, but this duration is extended as they swarm to additional targets. It's possible for one swarm to spread to numerous targets, if they are in close proximity.

Locusts that pass over the Witch Doctor's minions, Mongrels for instance, will turn the minions green while granting poison damage to all attacks, for as long as the minion persists. (Or until a different skill hits the minion, granting it a different sort of bonus damage.)

Plague of Toads[edit | edit source]

Changed prior to BlizzCon 2009.

This skill works like a short-range, Charged Bolt of amphibians. In the Blizzcon demo 3 toads were tossed out with each casting. They hopped forward, spreading out slightly, but homing in on targets if any were in range. Their homing wasn't very good; they never changed direction or made a sharp turn, but if a target was roughly in front of the Witch Doctor, at least two of the toads were sure to leap into it.

Plague of Toads. Full shot here.

When the toads found a target or after several hops (covering about half the screen) they exploded in splats of green acid, which dealt poison damage to the enemy. Toads also left behind puddles of acid on the ground, which would damage monsters that stepped on them.

Like all of the spells in Diablo III, this one has a great sound effect, with the toads making their "ribbit" noises and wet slapping sounds as they hop forward. The animation is excellent as well. The toads really look like they have weight and mass as they gather themselves to leap, and land with a little thud after each spring.

It's not known what skill runes will do to this skill, but a multi-strike rune seems a good bet to increase the number of amphibious attackers.

Spider Statue[edit | edit source]

Changed prior to BlizzCon 2009.

This skill was first seen at Blizzcon, and has not yet been featured in a screenshot. It's essentially a trap with a small damage radius. When cast a small statue appears out of the ground. From it spiders emerge, and swarm over nearby monsters, dealing poison damage. Monsters take more damage per second the longer they remain in range.

Pre-BlizzCon 2009 Spirit Tree[edit | edit source]

Skull of Flame[edit | edit source]

Changed prior to BlizzCon 2009.

Firebomb Skill Icon
The Skull of Flame (formerly known as Firebomb) allows the Witch Doctor to lob a sort of fire grenade projectile, like a molotov cocktail, to any spot on the screen. The burning skull tumbles end over end in mid-air, and explodes with a burst of flame when it lands, dealing fire damage to anything in the immediate vicinity. It also sets targets aflame, and they take continued damage from the fire for several seconds. There are fires left burning on the ground after a firebomb detonates, but these do not seem to deal damage to, or set fire to, targets that walk through them.

During BlizzCon 2008's Diablo 3 Class Design Panel there were shown some ways to improve a firebomb through the use of skill runes.

  • A Hydra Rune (named multi-strike before) causes the flaming skull to bounce on the ground like a rock on a pond, bounding and creating multiple explosions as it skips.
  • A Force Rune (named power before) boosts the damage, and creates a firewall-like effect where patches of flame are left on the ground, scorching all monsters in the vicinity.

Like several other Witch Doctor spells, the flames from this one will spread to the Mongrels, adding fire damage to their attacks.

Sequence of Witch Doctor casting Skull of Flame.

During the Denizens of Diablo panel at the 2008 WWI event, the D3 team spoke at length about the development of the Firebomb skill and how it's one of the skills that best describes what makes the Witch Doctor tick. A partial quote:

Originally it was a sort of fireball spell; when cast it traveled in a direct line from the WD to the target and would hit anything in the path. It exploded nicely. Explosions are cool. Everyone likes them.
Problem was, not really problem, but we've all seen that kind of Fireball spell before. The artists came back said we didn't imagine him that way. We saw Firebomb as more of a physical magic. Like concocting some alchemical recipe in a skull and hurling that, and it explodes.
Once it was a physical projectile designers liked that. It became a physical thing to throw, could go over walls. Become different tactics and use. Great example of how art and design can work together to iterate to make cool skill.

Mass Confusion[edit | edit source]

Mass Confusion being cast on Goatmen.

Unchanged since BlizzCon 2009.

This curse-like mind control attack summons a blue spirit where ever the Witch Doctor places it. The spirit confuses some of the monsters from a range, causing an aqua-colored orb to appear over their heads. Confused monsters seem to lose their AI, and they mill run around more than usual. They may also attack, or be attacked by other monsters. They are not the WD's minions though, and are not under his control, so he can kill confused monsters just like any other monster.

Soul Harvest[edit | edit source]

Soul Harvest

Unchanged since BlizzCon 2009.

This skill creates a nova-like ring of blue smoke around the Witch Doctor. All targets within the ring are damaged, and if the damage is enough to kill them, their souls (white/blue ghosts) swirl into the air, then down into the Witch Doctor, where they add to his or her mana. The radius of the skill is not very large, so monsters need to be nearly in melee range to be affected.

This is a useful tool to finish off multiple weak enemies, and to replenish the Witch Doctor's mana in the process. It's not a very cost-effective spell to use as a regular attack, since the damage isn't very high, and the WD has other skills that can hit multiple enemies at once for more damage, and at a lower mana cost.

Firebats[edit | edit source]


Changed prior to BlizzCon 2009.

This inferno-like spell shoots forth a spray of flaming bats that scorch any monsters in range. The spell keeps firing for as long as the mouse button is depressed, and it can be aimed in any direction by moving the mouse. The screenshot here shows the range; it goes that far, and no further. Click to see the full screenshot.

The bat animation is very nice, with a sort of swirling tornado of them appearing above the Witch Doctor, then funneling down and out into combat. The bats are not on fire overhead, and are only ignited as they pass the WD's hands and strike the monsters. The WD in the image to the right has just released the mouse button, since the bats are still flying out and burning, but there aren't any visible flying down from overhead. There's a nice sound effect with this one as well, as the bats screech and chitter, with a burning, crackling sound over the top of their cries.

If you like bats, don't think of them as being incinerated in agony; think of them as eager volunteers to help the Witch Doctor rid Sanctuary of evil.

Pre-BlizzCon 2009 Voodoo Tree[edit | edit source]

Horrify[edit | edit source]

Unchanged since BlizzCon 2009.


Rank: 3/5
A spectral mask that horrifies all enemies in proximity, causing them to run in fear.
Mana cost: 10
Radius: 20
Fear duration: 1-2 seconds.
Mask duration: 5
Rank 4 duration: 5

Horrify the enemy
This curse-like spell works like the Terror curse (or the barbarian's grim ward skill), but functions almost like an aura; causing any monster near the WD to flee in fright. Monsters in range are overcome with fright and immediately scatter, running away from the WD. The skill works by summoning a frightening spirit, which appears above the WD and screams and shakes its arms at the monsters. Presumably, any monsters that come into range while the horrify spirit is active are affected by it, essentially making the WD a moving object of terror. This limits the skill as well, since it can't be cast on individual targets, or cast a great distance from the WD.

There are 2 durations; how long each individual fright lasts on afflicted monsters, and how long the frightening spirit remains over the WD's head, capable of horrifying or re-horrifying anything that comes into range.

The hover text for this one was seen in the WWI movie, and is reproduced to the right. This skill, like all active skills at that time, only allowed 1 point to be added to it at the Blizzcon 2008 demo. How many points will be allowed in the actual game remains to be determined.

Wall of Zombies[edit | edit source]

Unchanged since BlizzCon 2009.

Wall of Zombies

Rank: 4/5
Zombies erupt from the earth to attack your enemies.
Current level: 4
Zombies attack for 15 damage.
Next level: 5
Zombies attack for 15 damage.

The wall shreds goatmen.
Wall of Zombies
This skill works much like the Necromancer's bone wall; causing a straight line of obstacles to erupt from the earth. Not merely obstacles though, this wall is made of zombified creatures who claw at and deal damage to any monsters who come into range. Monsters attack the wall, so this isn't hard to do.

The wall zombies seem to be very powerful in the WWI gameplay movie, ripping dozens of Moon Clan goatmen to shreds in just seconds. The skill is level 4 though, as revealed by the hover text, so likely it would be much less powerful at level 1. When tested in the Blizzcon 2008 demo, this skill was fun, but far less damaging than it was in the WWI movie from a few months earlier. With one point in Zombie Wall, the zombies were able to kill a few of the skeletons that attacked it, but the wall was of more use as a shield or a target for enemies; a sort of stationary "tank" that drew their attention and allowed the Witch Doctor to move into range to effectively use her offensive skills.

It's not known if it can stop the advance of larger monsters, who might just step over it or crush it; every monster so far seen near the wall has attacked it.

Summon Mongrel[edit | edit source]

Changed prior to BlizzCon 2009.

Fire and regular mongrels.
Summon Mongrel

The Witch Doctor summons a mangy zombie dog which attacks the target like one of the D2 Druid's wolves. Mongrels are not great melee fighters, but they are quick on their feet and serve as fairly sturdy tanks, allowing the Witch Doctor to use her attack skills to devastating effect.

Mongrels pick up the characteristics of the Witch Doctor's attack spells, and they may be enchanted with fire or poison, adding that elemental damage to their regular attack. Mongrels that are so enhanced take on visual characteristics of the spell, as you can see with the flaming and regular mongrels in the screenshot to the right.

Mongrels are valid targets for the Sacrifice skill, and will detonate when chosen, dealing substantial damage to nearby targets.

Sacrifice[edit | edit source]

Changed prior to BlizzCon 2009. This skill causes the targeted Mongrel to explode, dealing substantial damage to any enemies in the area. In the BlizzCon 2008 demo the skill was not called "Sacrifice Mongrel," but just plain "Sacrifice." This seems an indication that it will work on all sorts of minions, not just Mongrels. No other minions have yet been revealed, but it's a safe bet that we'll see more in the future.

Sequence of Sacrifice cast on a mongrel.