Cursed Skull is woefully underpowered

    • Cursed Skull is woefully underpowered

      The "artifact" weapon for Warlocks, Cursed Skull, is woefully underpowered compared to other staffs in the same magic school, and worse compared with other magic schools.

      The 'big' spell on the weapon, "Haunting Screams", at T4.2 (as an example) is a channeled spell that does 127 magic damage per second, for up to six seconds, and cannot be interrupted - it's got a decent range, I'd said about 6 meters. Additionally 2% of any player's health is added to the per second tick.

      So assuming someone just stands in the field for the entire time (you can't chase them with it on) and has a respectable 2,000 hit points, the tick is 167 damage for 6 seconds, or a total of 1,002 damage.

      In less than that same six seconds with a T4.2 Fire Staff, the cheapest staff to make in the fire school, (no artifacts, fewest materials) you can do:

      Pyroblast: 696 direct damage, plus 25 damage per second for 4 seconds, for a total of 796 damage (cast time 2 seconds)
      Ignite: 235 direct damage, plus 66 damage per second for 4 seconds, for a total of 499 damage (instant cast)
      Fire Bolt: 263 direct damage, plus 38 damage per second for 3 seconds, for a total of 377 damage (cast time 1.5 seconds)

      1,672 damage versus an ideal 1,002.

      And, you're not rooted in place during all this, have far more range, and your enemies position is irrelevant. Note, unlike the other warlock staffs, this ability of Cursed Skull has nothing cool in it to offset its weak and slow damage, like the Great Cursed Staff's 'Area of Decay' which removes HoT's and adds a DoT repeatedly, or the Demonic Staff's 'Field of Death' which prevents 70% of healing, is a DoT, and revels invisible players, or the Lifecurse Staff's 'Enfeeble Blades', which is a DoT and reduces attack power up to 50%. Unless you count that it can't be stopped - which who cares because by the time it finishes, you're already dead. The AoE can't touch other staffs as well.

      I've been advised that the level 40 spell unlock, 'Desecrate', which is a root + DoT, makes the 'Haunting Screams' playable, but I have not tested this myself - since this spell is on the other Warlock staffs as well, I don't see any reason why it would be special with Cursed Skull equipped versus other staffs. Oh did I mention the Cursed Skull is two-handed as well?

      The players have noticed this disparity in Warlock staff power, and the Cursed Skulls regularly sell for half or less of other artifact weapons in the same tiers from other schools. I wouldn't equip it if it was a non-artifact weapon, 1 handed instead of two, and cost as much as the cheapest Warlock staff of the same tier.
    • I think the weapon is fine as is, it has a niche use. The main reason most people don't use it is that it requires an armor build that is not the same as for any of the other curse staffs. Most of those run full cloth or maybe cloth-leather-cloth. But for the cursed skull you generally are going to be standing still in the thick of it, this means you want a bit more armor (leather or maybe even plate) and/or supporting cast that can work with you (lock down/healers/arcane).

      It's not like life curse where you can throw it on the mace and go let him do his thing. I'm okay with weapons have more specialized/complex use compared to weapons that are actually just bad (Quarterstaff looking at you).
    • I came across a cheap T4 cursed skull artifact and made a 4.3 cursed skull to try out in arenas. The DPS output is sad considering it's an artifact weapon. I can't see why anyone would use this over the other cursed staves which offer either better utility (demonic AOE heal debuff, great curse HOT removal, lifecurse AP debuff), or DPS (grudge+great curse E is a strong combo) or burst damage (1H curse death curse). It needs a buff for sure in the form of either vile curse application, healing debuff, maybe a silence or root?