In this installment, I’m going to cover the last class, the Witch Doctor. I must admit: I was a little skeptical about playing this class at first, but once I started on the path down to mingle with the Skeleton King, I soon realized that this is the easiest class to play out of the entire group. In fact, it’s safe to compare the Witch Doctor to a Summoner: a being that can summon monsters to do its bidding while casting ranged spells from a safe distance. The Witch Doctor is set up to do that from the beginning, equipped with a Poison Dart "Physical Realm" ability that’s launched by blowing through a straw, and a Summon Zombie Dogs ability, which should explain itself: a Support ability that conjures up three zombie dogs that attack at will.
That said, the Witch Doctor is a nasty opponent from the very moment he/she steps onto Overlook Road. There’s no real learning curve, and unlike the other four, it doesn’t take a load of leveling up in order for the character to begin to show its true potential. Still, as the Witch Doctor grows in experience, its arsenal of abilities grows ever so much more interesting. So far it’s gotten to the point that I can’t decide which abilities to stick with as a default, as they’re all so interesting and fun to use.
As it stands now, my Witch Doctor wields the Brutal Two-Handed Club of Flame. I chose a melee weapon because I wanted to use abilities other than the default Poison Dart. I may eventually revert back to the Poison Dart, but to be honest, it feels somewhat cowardly to stand from a distance and fire off ranged weapons. I suppose I’m more of an up-close-and-personal kind of guy who also likes to conjure up allies in order to take down the enemy.
On the abilities front, I’ve kept the Summon Zombie Dogs because they’re just too useful to set aside. As the secondary active skill, I’m using Corpse Spiders, which is essentially a jar of spiders I throw at the enemy: it breaks, spiders come out and bite the opponents, and then die. Plague of Toads is relatively the same, except these deadly reptiles deal 12 to 17 points of poison damage and then die. There’s also Grasp of the Dead, which will summon hands from the ground, slowing enemy movement and dealing 4 points of physical damage per second for 8 seconds. Between these three, I’m having a hard time settling on just one as my secondary ability.
Given that my Witch Doctor is now at level 8, I also have an unlocked third ability slot. For now, I’ve chosen Hex, a Support ability that summons a Fetish Shaman for eight seconds. This Shaman will hex enemies into chickens who in turn cannot perform offensive actions. Like I said before, the Witch Doctor has interesting abilities that many Diablo fans will really enjoy.
Like the Magician, the Witch Doctor relies on mana to use the special abilities. And like the other characters, the Witch Doctor’s ability set is broken down into three categories: Physical Realm, Spirit Realm and Support. My character’s Poison Dart, Plague of Toads, Zombie Charger (I’ll have to try that one out) and Corpse Spiders are all Physical Realm abilities -- I have five more still to unlock. The Spirit Realm abilities include Haunt and Horrify, with four still remaining locked. Finally, my Witch Doctor’s current Support spells include Summon Zombie Dogs, Grasp of the Dead and Hex, with four additional abilities remaining to be unlocked.
As previously stated, the Witch Doctor is probably the easiest to master out of all five, followed by the Barbarian and the Wizard. The Monk is probably more difficult to use than these three because he/she is somewhat hands-on when it comes to tackling enemies, but doesn’t have the stamina of the Barbarian class. The Demon Hunter can be difficult simply because he/she uses two separate sets of skills that rely on two separate energies. Instead of one whole globe of mana, the Demon Hunter’s reservoir is split in half, thus each side is depleted quicker than if they consumed the entire container.
So there you go: we’ve covered the basics of all five classes. With that out of the way, we can take a look at some of the game’s basic features, beginning with forging. However, due to the original size of this installment, I decided to make the forging and auction house portion a separate, fifth installment of our Diablo 3 Closed Beta hands-on coverage. Stay tuned... it should be published shortly.
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