‘Developer’s Note: Mundunugu’s Regalia is overperforming compared to other sets. This change to Gazing Demise should simplify the gameplay mechanic while reducing its damage output.’
Compared to other classes
Let’s disregard for a moment that the current era’s leaderboards haven’t been updated since patch 2.6.8 (when the Mundunugu’s Regalia set first went live), and that the Spirit Barrage build received a substantial nerf between then and now. These are the number of players who have completed a GR150 solo during era 13/2020-1 across all 4 regions:
June 23, 2020, patch 2.6.9 went live. Included in the patch notes was this change:
- Witch Doctor
- Spirit Barrage
- The Spectres from the Phantasm rune no longer benefit from pet bonuses.
Since then, no WD who hadn’t already cleared a GR150 has cleared one. None. Nada. Zero. Zilch. In fact, the highest clear post-2.6.9 (taking time zones into account) I was able to find by manually combing through all 4 softcore, non-seasonal leaderboards was a GR145 clear in October 2020 in the China region. In Asia, the highest post-2.6.9 clear by a player who hadn’t previously cleared higher with the unnerfed build was a lone GR145 (paragon 10671) clear in November 2020. In Europe, a single GR145 (paragon 8173) clear in December 2020. In the Americas, a GR141 (paragon 6655) in December 2020.
Of course, completing a GR150 isn’t the entire picture, and there may well have been clears higher than GR145 by WDs who had previously recorded an even higher solo GR, or clears I missed, but I hope this is illustrative of my point that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the players to get an accurate read of how SB is performing and consequentially understand Blizzard’s rationale for this nerf, which has led to a lot of ill-feeling among those who love the WD class that we are not being heard—that Blizzard isn’t understanding our point of view.
Compared to other WD sets
While yes, it is absolutely correct that the Mundunugu set is performing better than other WD sets, this is only because the remaining WD sets are so lacklustre by comparison. A couple of examples from trusted members of the D3 community, in case the feedback shared thus far in the forum isn’t sufficiently convincing:
Our only build on Bluddshed’s season 22 tier list above his 3rd tier was Spirit Barrage. For comparison, Necro had 3, and every other class sans DH (who are in a similar boat to WDs) had 2.
Maxroll’s solo tier list has Spirit Barrage as it currently stands in their highest tier, S tier, with the next highest rated WD build two tiers below it (B tier), which according to them are ‘up to 10 GRs behind S tier’.
Raxxanterax had WD as the 2nd weakest overall class in his season 22 tier list. He even commented, ‘For season 23 they [Blizzard] really have to look at the other sets, again really the only playable build for WD is Spirit Barrage.’ For his season 23 tier list, WDs have fallen to last place in Raxx’s view: ‘There isn’t a single good thing I can say to all the Witch Doctor players out there … They don’t have any role in any XP meta, they don’t have any role in the high meta, they’re really not desired in groups or anything.’
Blizzard has previously stated that their goal is for parity across builds/classes targeted around doing GR130 at 5K paragon. By targeting a class with a single build that is performing above stated expectations while other, stronger builds remain untouched, and all other WD builds lag behind, you’re not assuring WDs of your commitment to balance—you’re effectively telling us that WD isn’t viable.
So, to sum up: my issue isn’t so much that SB is getting a nerf (although I’m not thrilled about it). My issue is that the nerfing feels lopsided. SB was our best solo, group, speed, casual, and hardcore build. The other WD builds don’t come close. You’re cutting WDs off at the knees and not providing us with a feasible alternative to remaining competitive that isn’t just ‘play another class.’
A final note: I want to be clear that I’m not advocating for, nor do I support, nerfs to any class. Not Crusaders, not DHs, not Necros, no one. I’m merely attempting to illustrate that far from overperforming, WDs need significant buffs—not nerfs.