- Were you looking for the Monk skill Breath of Heaven rune effect Circle of Life?
Circle of Life is a Witch Doctor passive skill unlocked at Level 10. It grants a chance that a zombie dog will emerge from the corpse of enemies that die near the Witch Doctor. The range varies; it is 12 yards at base, but is increased by equipment that adds to the Witch Doctor's gold pick up range. As the Witch Doctor does the majority of his killing at well out of melee range, adding to the radius in this way is very useful.
<skill class="WitchDoctor">Circle of Life</skill>
- The maximum number of dogs the Witch Doctor can have at one time is three (or 4 if he has Zombie Handler enabled).
- If the Witch Doctor has a runed version of Summon Zombie Dog enabled, the dogs summoned by Circle of Life will match the rune type. Otherwise, Circle of Life summons the basic zombie dog.
This is one of the more powerful passive skills, as it can largely replace the need for the Summon Zombie Dog skill, effective giving the Witch Doctor another active skill in the bargain. There are some difficulties to consider, though.
- The 5% chance to summon a new dog is tiny, especially given the very small radius of effect. The Witch Doctor has to be practically in melee range of his kills, which is dangerous for a low hit point mage-style character. Using equipment to add to your gold pickup radius, thus increasing the radius of this ability, is very helpful.
- On the other hand, that close range issue only lasts until the desired number of Mongrels have been summoned. Once there are two or three dogs for protection, the Witch Doctor can back up to his usual spell casting range.
- This skill generally does not create new dogs quickly enough to work well with Sacrifice. A WD who wishes to blow up his Mongrels regularly will probably want the ability to resummon them directly.
- On the other hand, this skill can cause new dogs to be summoned even during the lengthy cooldown (60s) of Summon Zombie Dog.
No synergies with any active skills or other Witch Doctor passives are known.
Passive skills have had a long and storied history. When Diablo III debuted at the WWI 2008, skill trees included passive skills, much like in Diablo II. In 2010, it was announced that passive skills had been renamed traits and separated out from active skills. At the July 2011 Press Event, Blizzard announced that passive skills were once again in the game, replacing the traits system.
Circle of Life was not seen until it showed up in the Diablo III beta as a level 10 passive. Circle of Life was redesigned with a completely new effect later in the beta, and was also moved to level 12. When passives were reorganized for Beta Patch 14, Circle of Life was moved to level 13, and then dropped back to level 10 for Beta Patch 15.
It seems likely this skill was changed in order to vary the Witch Doctor's play style a bit. Much like the changes to Soul Harvest, both those skills grant powerful bonuses, but only if there are enemies very near the Witch Doctor. This encourages the WD to move closer to enemies and out of his usual longer, spell-casting range.
Circle of Life's original function:
Effect: Gain 10% of your maximum Mana whenever you are healed by a health globe.
Lore: "Life is nothing more than flesh and blood to you. How empty your world must be!" - Seera the Weaver