Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Leveling Guide – Fastest Way to 60 and Inferno
Important: If you want to learn the best ways to make gold I highly recommend you visit this site to learn how to maximize your farming, increase your gold making with your professions, and learn the secrets to making 5,000+ gold an hour.
What's in this Guide
After soloing my way to Inferno on my Witch Doctor, I have a lot of helpful information to share with other Witch Doctors who want to get to Inferno as fast as possible.
* Elective Mode
This guide was built using Elective Mode. Meaning I had the ability to put whatever 6 skills up that I wanted from any tree.
To turn Elective Mode on go to Options -> Gameplay -> Interface and check the Elective Mode box.
This will allow you to put any 6 skills you want up making it easier to level to 60.
* Should I Focus on Making my Minions Stronger or Me?
Unless you’re playing in a co-op game I think it’s going to be necessary to use your minions in the harder levels to tank and take hits for you. I would try to balance between buffing your minions and yourself and see how it goes. If you’re playing in co-op you don’t really need minions to take the hits because other players can and can focus entirely on yourself. To get to level 60 the fastest solo I recommend you go full on buff toward your minions
* Which Follower Should I Use?
Depending on what your configuration is will depend on what follower you want to use. The Templar is what is commonly used to get to 60 because it can heal, save your butt, and buff you. The Templar is also a Melee combatant using swords so he’ll be up there distracting enemies as well for you.
The other two options are an Enchantress or a Scoundrel.
The Scoundrel is essentially a Demon Hunter using a Bow and can help keep enemies snared and away from you as well as providing buffs at the higher levels.
The Enchantress is like a Wizard and will use magic to charm, protect, and help you control enemies that will be using magic on you.
For leveling through Normal and possibly Nightmare, I found it didn’t really matter. But whichever one you pick make sure you keep it equipped by pressing the “F” key or by clicking their icon in the top left. Don’t be afraid to give them really good gear you can always get it back. They can add as much as 10% of your damage or more as well as providing helpful tools to counter a lot of fights. In the later levels if you plan to solo you might find yourself swapping them around.
* The Auction House
Every so many levels you should go to the auction house and buy the best primary and off-hand weapon you can for a good price off the auction house. You don’t have to have a lot of money to get a really good weapon just make sure you use the maximum buyout filter when searching. A single weapon can be the difference between whether or not you’re going to be able to get through certain areas and it will also save you a lot of time, so spend the gold on it.
* What Stats does my Witch Doctor Need?
Intelligence and Vitality. Do not forget about Vitality as you will need it to survive later in the game. After that I would grab anything that increases your mana pool and mana regen.
Intelligence will increase your damage but there are also stats that can directly increase your damage as well.
* Skill Progression
* Act 1 Normal
- Levels 1-8
For levels 1-8, my primary skills were Poison Darts with Rune of Splinters when it was available, Firebats, and Summon Zombie Dogs.
You’ll get through levels 1-8 rather quickly. Essentially you hide behind your zombie dogs and hit enemies with poison darts, when they get close enough to AoE then you AoE them with Firebats.
Any other skills you want to put up didn’t really matter at this point.
- Levels 8-14
For these levels my primary skills with Zombie Dogs with Rune of Rabid Dog, Soul Harvest, Firebats with Rune of Dire Bats, and Poison Dart with Splinters.
The same strategy, you hide behind your Zombie Dogs, only this time with Soul Harvest you can get a HUGE buff by using it on enemies, if you get 5 stacks of Soul Harvest on you and then use Fire Bats with Dire Bats Rune you just annihilate everything. This is the strategy I used to get through all of Normal Mode, it does massive damage.
Zombie Charger I wasn’t to thrilled with but I had it up. With Soul Harvest and Dire Bats you don’t really need anything else except Poison Darts for solo targets or when you run out of mana.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 1
This is random footage I recorded and stuck together then sped up 4x as I progressed through Act 1. You can see Firebats and Poison Darts in Action. At one point I used Plague of Toads but I found it just took away from my Firebat time so I gave it up.
++ Skeleton King Fight on Normal
Keep your Zombie Dogs up as much as possible, Soul Harvest the Adds as they spawn for Buff, use Firebats to Destroy the adds and even attack the boss, when you run out of mana use Poison Darts.
++ The Butcher Fight on Normal
For Passive Skills I had Jungle Fortitude up for this fight as it let me take 20% less damage. The strategy is similar. Soul Harvest the boss, stay back and keep your Zombie Dogs on him. Make sure you note the healing well incase you need it. Use Firebats until you’re out of mana and then Poison Dart while avoiding all the stuff that can kill you in the fight.
* Act 2 Normal
- Levels 14-22
My primary skills for this level range was Spirit Walk, Soul Harvest with Siphon, Poison Darts with Dire Bats, Haunt with Consuming Spirit, and Gargantuan with Humangoid.
I made use of Grasp of the Dead up with Rune of Groping Eels as well but not for long.
My passive skills were Blood Ritual and Spiritual Attunement as my second when you get a second passive skill at level 20. For boss fights I gave up one of those to use Jungle Fortitude. I did try out Gruesome Feast as it looked promising however I just didn’t like relying on the health globes for it to happen.
I found Spirit Walk to be extremely helpful when going in for a Soul Harvest and getting away from enemies fast or just to get away from enemies or bosses.
Haunt I am not so sure about I used it to stay alive a few fights but it gets dropped.
Of course, I had gotten rid of Zombie Dogs for awhile to use my Gargantuan by itself, but later on I ended up using both Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan after I got Zombie Handler at level 24.
So you can decide what you want up but those are my primary skills for this area.
++ Random Gameplay From Act 2
You can see how well Fire Bats literally destroys everything with Soul Harvest in this footage. I also had Grasp of the Dead up with Rune of Groping Eels but that was because I didn’t really have any other good alternative. It can be useful in slowing enemies to keep them away from you.
At about a minute through the video I’ve got my Gargantuan out instead of Zombie Dogs, but you can have both out if you like.
++ Belial Fight on Normal
My skill setup for this fight is Poison Darts with Splinters, Fire Bats with Dire Bats, Spirit Walk, Soul Harvest with Siphon, Haunt with Consuming Spirit, and Gargantuan with Humongoid.
My passive skills are set at Blood Ritual and Jungle Fortitude.
Soul Harvest the adds and kill with Firebats. Use Spirit Walk to get around faster and to avoid things. Keep your Gargantuan up to tank, and Poison Dart when you’re out of mana. Simple. Just avoid the mechanics in the fight, don’t stand where Belial is going to hit you and get out of the way of his exploding phase.
* Act 3 Normal
- Levels 22-29
For most of this phase my skills were Poison Darts with Spined Dart (for mana regen), Firebats with Dire Bats, Gargantuan with Humongoid, Summon Zombie Dogs with Rabid Dogs (switched back in for more tanks), Horrify with Stalker (this gets replaced at level 29 with Spirit Walk and Honored Guest for mana regen), and Soul Harvest with Siphon.
My passive skills were Zombie Handler and Pierce the Veil. I didn’t much like Pierce the Veil so I swap in Jungle Fortitude, especially for boss fights.
Zombie Handler lets you have 4 Zombie Dogs and gives all your pets 20% more health.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 3
Still the same strategy. Fire Bats/Soul Harvest. Except now to get mana back I use Poison Darts with Spined Dart and I also have 4 zombie dogs and a gargantuan to take some damage for me. I have added Horrify just to fear things off of me but didn’t find much use for it.
I tried Zombie Charger again but honestly it’s a waste of resources when you’re doing the above strat and interferes as I found a lot of skills I would have otherwise used, just interfered and slowed me down instead.
++ Ghom/Siegebreaker Assault Beast/Cydaea Fights on Normal
These fights are so quick that I just put them back to back on one video. The strategy doesn’t really same, I didn’t even have Jungle Fortitude up for most of them. You just handle them like you would any champion mob but stay back away from them and play the mechanics.
For Ghom you stay out of his poison and soul harvest his adds.
Siegebreaker Assault Beast stay away from his wildly swinging attacks.
Cydaea you soul harvest her adds and just stand at range and fight her.
++ Azmodan Fight on Normal
I went into this fight with all the same skills except I have Jungle Fortitude in place now and I’m using Spirit Walk with Rune of Honored Guest (unlocked at level 29) this gives you mana regen and the ability to move around.
Avoid his ground spells and move when his fireball is in the air and you’ll win this one just as easy.
* Act 4 Normal
- Levels 29-30
Yes, I kind of beat the game earlier than most people do I guess, don’t worry if you’re higher level when you get here.
Since there aren’t any level gains except 1, at level 30 you get a new Passive Skill you can put up. I chose Spirit Vessel soley to reduce the cooldown on my Spirit Walk. It had some other cool things about it too, but that’s primarily why.
With the addition of Spirit Vessel as a passive skills none of my other skills really changed for this act.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 4
Same setup, same skills still.
++ Iskatu/Rakanoth/Izual Fights on Normal
Just threw these three into one video as well because they are really short fights.
My skills are the same as above.
++ Diablo Fight on Normal
Same skills again. Rotate the fight while in Heaven between the two healing wells and stay away from your clone in hell, let your pets do the tanking. Don’t get stuck in his cages and avoid his fire when it hits the ground.
At this point I beat Diablo on Normal after 6 hours and 33 minutes into my Witch Doctor and you can see that at the end of the video below.
* Act 1 Nightmare
- Levels 30-36
I started off this act with the exact same skills as Normal, I made one change with Poison Darts and I put it back to using Splinters instead of restoring mana. This allowed me to do more single target damage when my mana was out.
I also added the Templar as my follower and made sure to select his skill that would help regenerate my mana.
I tried using Corpse Spiders with Widowmakers to regenerate mana but I found it rather annoying. I don’t know that I’ll use Corpse Spiders or Plague of Toads anytime soon as a primary skill.
One change I have been playing around with at level 33 is Locust Swarm with Rune of Devouring Swarm instead of Spirit Walk for my Mana Regeneration and a bit more AoE Damage. This seems to be okay although it’s rather short ranged and annoying to get going, I may keep it.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 1 Nightmare
Same skills mentioned above you can watch some of them in action.
++ The Skeleton King/The Warden/Queen Araneae Fights on Nightmare
These fights are all compiled together because they are short. There is no significant strategy change for any of these fights from Normal mode.
++ The Butcher Fight on Nightmare
No Strategy change on this fight either cause the skills are the same.
* Act 2 Nightmare
++ Levels 36-42
I started this act off with the same configuration as Act 1. I have incorporated Locust Swarm full time at the start.
At about level 40 I noticed the Zombie Dogs just weren’t cutting it anymore. I dropped Zombie Dogs out entirely which means I also moved my passive skill out of Zombie Handler and I put it into Fetish Sycophants. With using Poison Darts so much this seemed nice to create little fetishes to buffer myself from enemies damaging me. Sometimes I had as many as 6 running around.
In place of Zombie Dogs I swapped in Acid Cloud but this had limited use. I swapped in Spirit Barrage then with Rune of Phantasm, this seemed to help a lot in the dungeons where enemies were stuck in bottle necks. You could drip Spirit Barrage down and it would help AoE enemies. I also used this to long range enemies on different levels when I could (if I was upstairs I could see enemies downstairs I’d drop this on them if it’d let me).
++ Random Gameplay from Act 2 Nightmare
++ Maghda/Zulton Kulle Fights on Nightmare
Maghda: Zombie Dogs are in place to take damage as speed bumps. Zombie Handler, Jungle Fortitude, and Spiritual Attunement are my passive skills.
Zulton Kulle: Spirit Barrage is up instead of Zombie Dogs which means I have Fetish Sycophants, Jungle Fortitude, and Spiritual Attunement up as passive skills.
++ Belial Fight on Nightmare
You’ll see a switch here. Skills are, Poison Dart, Firebats, Spirit Barrage, Soul Harvest, Big Bad Voodoo, Gargantuan. Passive Skills, Fetish Sycophants, Jungle Fortitude, and Spiritual Attunement.
I swapped in Big Bad Voodoo with Rune of Jungle Drums to get a little extra burst damage in for this fight when he changes into his final form.
The fight is the same, avoid all of his stuff on the ground and don’t let him hit you and you’ll be just fine!
* Act 3 Nightmare
- Levels 42-47
My skills stayed the same here. Spirit Barrage, Soul Harvest, Locust Swarm, Gargantuan, Poison Darts, and Fire Bats with passive Skills of Fetish Sychophants, Jungle Fortitude, and Spiritual Attunement. Only swapped in Big Bad Voodoo for hard rare fights or boss fights.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 3 Nightmare
++ Ghom/Siegebreaker Assault Beast/Cydaea Fights on Nightmare
Ghom: Exact same strategy as normal, avoid poison on the ground, soul harvest his ads, and hit from range.
Siegebreaker Assault Beast: Same strategy, stand back so he doesn’t hit you with his melee attacks, and gun him down with Poison Darts.
Cydaea: For this fight I have up Big Bad Voodoo with Slam Dance, Fetish Army with Devoted Following. This is for more burst damage for this fight. I kept Soul Harvest, Poison Dart, Firebats, and Gargantuan. My passive skills I added Gruesome Feast with Jungle Fortitude and Fetish Sycophants.
++ Azmodan Fight on Nightmare
One thing I want to point out is that I had such low vitality in this fight that a single fire ball would kill me if I stood and let it hit me. I don’t know if you’ll have this issue but it’s vital you get out of the away of his fireballs for sure.
I have the same skill setup as I had for Cydaea just to burn him down faster.
* Act 4 Nightmare
- Levels 47-50
I was only level 48 when I beat Diablo on Nightmare but because you have to be level 50 to start on Hell you will need to go back and level to 50 if you aren’t 50 when you finish.
Most of this act was done with Big Bad Voodoo, Soul Harvest, Fetish Army, Gargantuan, Poison Darts, and Firebats, essentially the same skill setup as Azmodan Fight. This was because I encountered more rare and hard spots I had to use these big burst cooldowns to get through.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 4 Nightmare
++ Iskatu/Rakanoth/Izual Fights on Nightmare
Iskatu: Normal setup mentioned above, I had some problems getting stuck with adds trying to attack him and almost died. Remember the act 4 bosses go down fast. I could have sat closer to the Health Globes and avoided near death.
Rakanoth: Same setup, popped all cooldowns and didn’t move. Use health potions if you need them. You can see all the fetishes in this one.
Izual: Same setup, but you still have to move away from the frozen orbs on the ground or you will probably die. I also had to resummon my Gargantuan.
++ Diablo Fight on Nigthmare
This is the most unique fight of my Witch Doctor career so far. Immediately upon trying him I decided I didn’t have close to enough Vitality. I went to the Auction House and Bought a bunch of gear with Vitality on it for this fight even taking damage hits in some circumstances. I found socketed pants and chest pieces and loaded them with Vitality Gems. I went from about 5,000 hp to about 18,000 hp. Even though the fight was slower I was able to actually live for it.
My skills significantly changed as well. You’ll see Zombie Handler and Summon Zombie Dogs reappear. Spirit Barrage with Phlebotomize for health regeneration.
The key to this fight is to summon all of your pets at start but keep in mind as you’re going through the fight that you do not want to try to keep all your pets up at the same time because when Diablo drops his Fire on the Ground they will all die and you will have no tanks. So what I did was between Fetish Army, Summon Zombie Dogs, and Gargantuan. I made sure at least 1 was up all the time but I didn’t hurry up and summon all of them when available. When one would die I’d summon the next. I believe this tactic maked a huge difference in the fight.
I beat Diablo on Nightmare at level 48 with 13 hours 55 minutes on my profile time total. It took 7 hours and 22 minutes about to go through all of Nightmare, but now I have to get 2 more levels to go to Hell to meet the level 50 requirement.
* Act 1 Hell
- Levels 50-53
I highly recommend that if you don’t have life steal on your weapon that you consider getting it. Things are going to become a little bit more difficult to stay alive. Your pets are going to be almost completely useless except for boss fights we’ll still use them as a buffer or speed bump to slow the boss down. You’ll notice that you’ll start making use of more and more skills for more complex situations.
I started off the Act with Poison Darts, Firebats, Haunt, Soul Harvest, Locust Swarm, and Gargantuan. Near 53 I switched to Big Bad Voodoo (needed this to get through some of the elite packs) instead of Haunt.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 1 Hell
++ The Skeleton King/Queen Aranea/The Warden Fights on Hell
The Skeleton King: Same strategy, soul harvest adds. Haunt is up for damage with rune that restores life.
Queen Aranea: I noticed if you stood on the opposite side of the square in the middle she wouldn’t charge at you to attack you and you can hit her with Poison Darts. Zombie Charger was added
The Warden: Cake walk just like other fights.
++ The Butcher Fight on Hell
Skills are Poison Darts, Zombie Dogs, Spirit Walk with Rune of Healing Journey, Big Bad Voodoo, Fetish Army, Gargantuan. Passive skills are Zombie Handler, Jungle Fortitude, and Fetish Sychophants. Basically I wanted as many burst abilities and pets as I could get up to buffer him away from me. Spirit Walk is very important it helps you get out of his charge or the fire while healing you so you can make it to a healing well.
* Act 2 Hell
- Levels 53-57
I recommend if you’re looking to advance through game smoothly that you just repeat act 2 until you’re level 60. Then when you’re 60 you can buy level 60 gear from Inferno modes which usually doubles your damage with just a weapon. If you progress through like I did, you’ll end up around 57 I think if you’re soloing.
Spirit Walk has been added to my primary skills and is very useful in escaping and healing enemies. I start off with Big Bad Voodoo to clear elites in dungeons it was extraordinary. Soul Harvest went away and I added Zombie Charger with Rune of Zombie Bears which you get at level 54. This replaced Firebats and Firebats is put on the shelf and probably will not reappear. Zombie Bears Rune makes Zombie Charger your Primary Area of Effect mass mob killer. With Locust Swarm running around on enemies using Rune of Devouring Swarm to gain some mana, it’s a lethal combination. Spirit Walk away if you start taking damage.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 2 Hell
++ Maghda/Zoltun Kulle Fights on Hell
Maghda: Zombie Dogs are in Rotation again.
Zoltun Kulle: Spirit Walk, Fetish Army, Locust Swarm, Soul Harvest, Poison Darts, and Zombie Charger. Spirit Walk to get away from stuff, Fetish Army for boost, Locust Swarm I used and kited his Guardians at start, Soul Harvest is for the buff and health emergency I had the rune in that one to steal health.
++ Belial Fight on Hell
Most people have a lot of problems soloing Belial but they shouldn’t because it’s one of the easier fights to do since you don’t have to kite him around once he goes into form.
I went into the fight with Poison Dart with Splinters, Zombie Charger with Zombie Bears, Spirit Walk with Healing Journey (restores health), Gargantuan with Restless Giant, Spirit Barrage with Phlebotomize (restores health), Soul Harvest with Siphon (restores health). You can see 3 of my skills are based on health restoration.
Passive Skills are Spiritual Attunement, Blood Ritual, and Jungle Fortitude.
The key to this fight in his last phase is to not stand still. So what you’ll find is I’ll shoot one series of poison darts or use one skill then I’ll move several feet over and do it again. Never stop, that way you’re already moving and don’t have to react to some of his hits.
Zombie Chargers in the corner will get you through the first phases because they destroy everything.
When he is doing his Breath spray you can stand there for a bit and run Zombie Chargers into him.
The hardest part of this fight is when he plants his tentacles into the ground and launches poison all over it. Most of the time you can keep moving and run through a path if you can’t and one explodes on you it’s not end of story, just make sure you notice where the health globes are and get ready to use a potion as you run through. Try to save Spirit Walk for this skill he uses and you’ll breeze through it.
* Act 3 Hell
- Levels 57-60
Sometimes you beat this act you can be level 59, othertimes people are level 60 in Act 2. I went ahead and purposely redid some quests so I could get 60, it makes progressing at this point a lot easier because the equipment at level 60 is a lot better than 59.
I started this act off with Spirit Walk, Gargantuan, Locust Swarm, Soul Harvest, Poison Darts, and Zombie Charger. I used this setup until I hit level 60 then I finished the rest of the act.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 3 Hell
++ Ghom/Siegebreaker Assault Beast/Cydaea Fights on Hell.
Ghom: For Ghom I have the same setup as I did while leveling to 60 above because I was only 58 when I fought him. The fight is exactly the same strategy as other acts.
Siegebreaker Assault Beast: Same setup, I’m level 59 in this one. Spirit Walk is an absolute must to avoid his melee attacks and stay away from him.
Cydaea: By the time I fought her I was level 60 and my skill setup changed. I started using Horrify instead of Gargantuan with Rune of Ruthless Terror for mana regen. It’s not really necessary for this fight but I didn’t switch my build because I had 5 stacks of the level 60 gold/treasure buff on me from killing elites before.
The most major change is to Poison Darts, I decided to swap to Rune of Flaming Dart which deals 160% weapon damage in one blow instead of the 3 darts at 60% each.
++ Azmodan Fight on Hell
With about 26,000 health if I got hit by his fireball I would die in one hit everytime it seemed. Avoid the fire ball in the sky when it lands on the ground. My skill setup is exactly the same as the Cydaea fight. I have 5 stacks of treasure buff on me and you can see at the end he drops 4 yellows from this kill.
* Act 4 Hell
- Levels 60
So I’m already 60 for Act 4 Hell I’ve been 60 since Act 3, but with my first character I was only 59 or so in Act 4 so if you aren’t level 60 yet, you might want to think about getting it unless you’re having an easy time blazing through.
My skill setup does not change through Act 4 Hell not even for boss fights. On Diablo I switched to Poison Darts with Rune of Splinters but it didn’t really help, not even sure why I did it, I guess I thought the effect was cooler. Poison Darts is just your no mana ability, so if you have mana and you’re using it, you’re doing something wrong and it will show here in Act 4 on boss fights that take forever if you’re trying to poison dart them down.
I had thought about switching out my Horrify for a Gargantuan but I never did because changing skills removes the level 60 treasure buff you get that stacks 5x and I was enjoying that.
++ Random Gameplay from Act 4 Hell
++ Iskatu/Rakanoth/Izual Fights on Hell
Iskatu: I locust swarmed all his adds and tossed out a few zombie chargers. I refused to move away from where he would spawn because you need to be there to hit him so when he spawns in I hit spirit walk which heals you and makes you kind of invulnerable for a bit and I unloaded my Zombie Chargers with Rune of Zombie Bears on him and killed him.
Rakanoth: This fight is normally quick and easy, however, he has a charge that was killing me in one hit and hitting me for over 26000 hitpoints. So what I had to do was go to the Auction House and buy gear with Intelligence and Vitality on it. I took about a 5000 damage hit overall but got my life up to 43000 hitpoints. I told you earlier that these end modes are about surviving. I beat him with 5000 less damage but 17000 more hitpoints.
Izual Fight: I had a hard time with this one too, I used Spirit Walk to get away from ice and away from Izual if you use the circle holes on the ground you can run around them and keep him away from you while shooting across. You want to avoid him until your mana and cooldowns are up then run in to him spirit walk and unlease zombie chargers then get away again.
++ Diablo Fight on Hell
This is the same fight, use the mechanics and don’t try to tank him. I did this without a pet by going back and forth to the two healing wells, but its essential to avoid fire on the ground and his cages or it won’t be good. When I got put into hell and had to fight my clone I just tried to fear him. Zombie Chargers do a lot of damage so use spirit walk right on top of Diablo and let him have it but then get away when spirit walk is going to run out. Very simple if you follow the mechanics. Keep moving!
Important: If you want to learn the best ways to make gold I highly recommend you visit this site to learn how to maximize your farming, increase your gold making with your professions, and learn the secrets to making 5,000+ gold an hour.