I like what they did with the pets. Like many others, I was always a fan of the Fishymancer and was looking forward to playing the WD as a similar class. That lasted until about the Skeleton King in normal when my dogs all died in about one cleave.
I'm happy to be able to try out the pets again after the patch goes live.
I have mixed feelings about Vision quest though...My WD currently uses the vision quest passive and one of the things that I liked about playing him with the strategy it took in order to ensure I actually had enough mana to use my damage spell by having skills on cooldown.
Yes it was feast or famine, but overall it actually provided some skill to play the class. Maybe I'll like it more when I actually start seeing how Vision quest operates in 1.04, but currently the changes to Vision Quest receives a thumbs down from me. (It also FORCES me to change skills since I don't currently have a single skill that actually activates the increased mana regeneration for vision quest....I'm one of the few Witch Doctors that doesn't use splinters). So much for skill diversity!
I completely agree that any change that isn't strictly damage related will take time to determine the impact to the changes, and also agree that the WD seems to have had the biggest overhaul (compared to the other classes).
My point was simply that although the verdict is still out on the change to vision quest, I liked the strategy/(user skill) that was actually required to play the build effectively and am disappointed (upon just reading the preview) how my style of play will be required to change as a result of the patch.
It seems that for most classes, it comes down to two things...the first is the gear grind (or using the AH) and second is having the correct skill set-up. Since many people just use cookie cutter builds, both of these things reduce the "challenge of the game" as there aren't a LOT of aspects that make it a skill based game.
Yes, I use a cookie cutter build for my wizard (blizzard + hydra + piercing orb) with defensive skills: diamond skin, force armour and teleport (fracture rune), but I like the skill involved of being able to kite effectively while dealing damage.
The WD set up that I'm using provide a decent requirement of skill (IMO) while at the same time allowing me to actually do some damage and kill packs (although I'm not in inferno...just Act 1 Hell).
Since Vision quest (and as Shagsbeard mentioned) mana overall has received massive changes, I can't continue to use the same build/strategy I had been using before and as a result I have mixed feelings about it since it eliminates one of the aspects of the build I actually enjoyed.