Time to Rethink Curses

June 10, 2009 at 12:47 pm (Raiding, Warlock)

One of the changes in Wrath that had a number of warlocks /wristing was the “normalization” of debuffing – that is to say, the spreading around of debuffs to different classes, making what had previously been very distinct debuffs equivalent (and non-stacking).  I honestly never saw what the angst was about this.  Frankly, when there’s an unholy death knight, or a boomkin, in the raid, I’m happy I don’t have to deal with Curse of Elements.  Yes, it was annoying that our CoE (the first, the original!) had to be talented to be equal, but that’s not a legitimate complaint about game design – it’s pique.  It’s also no longer the case, as of 3.1.

The same is also true of Curse of Weakness, a spell that doesn’t stack with certain warrior and druid abilities.

That said, sometimes the curses have to be dragged out.  And here is one point where the current design disadvantages warlocks.  Our curses are not merely debuffs – they’re also part of our damage rotation (even as Destruction, Curse of Doom is part of the rotation on boss fights).  For Affliction warlocks, Curse of Agony is a significant part of their DPS – affliction warlocks, however, are classically the “best” debuffers among warlocks.  Malediction used to boost CoE, and Frailty boosts CoW.  But the warlock has to gimp his/her DPS  for the good of the raid (always the right choice when necessary, to be sure, but annoying), a choice which isn’t forced on the classes with comparable debuffs – boomkins and unholy death knights apply their CoE equivalents passively as a side effect of their attacks.  Boomkins and feral druids toss Faerie Fire on the mob, and it’s not replacing some other spell in their rotation – it’s fire and more-or-less forget.

The problem isn’t the debuff curses, the problem is Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom.  One solution, it seems to me, is to change those two spells – make them no longer “curses”, but straight-up DOTs like Corruption, so they’re part of the warlocks’ rotation regardless of whether the warlock is on CoE duty.  Whether the new spells “Agony” and “Doom” stack or not, I don’t much care (it would be a buff to our DPS, which admittedly, we probably don’t really need right now).  They could merge the spells, or do away with Doom altogether and I wouldn’t be unhappy (though if they get rid of Curse of Doom, Destro should get a tiny damage boost to compensate, as it would be a DPS nerf – Agony requires too much work in an already busy rotation, so it’s a net DPS loss for Destro.)

Another solution is a bit more radical, but interesting – keep CoA and CoD, but drop the others.  The debuffs applied would then be applied as part of Curse of Agony.  I’m not sure how one might do this mechanically – perhaps something akin to a paladin’s Auras or a death knight’s Presences?  A warlock has Auras of, say, Weakness, Elemental Vulnerability, Demonic Tongues, Exhaustion, etc.  And depending on which aura the warlock has on, the applicable debuff is applied passively when Curse of Agony or Curse of Doom (perhaps one unified spell “Curse”?) is applied.

Any thoughts?


1 Comment

  1. Warlock Q&A: Just noticed « Fel Deeds Awake! said,

    […] 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm (Uncategorized) Nothing in there about curses.  Why does our key debuffing utility either not get used (because it overlaps everybody […]

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