Disease Mechanisms in PvE?

Part of the pre-announced Death Knight’s abilities include using the disease debuff quite liberally. I’m wondering how that will play out in PvE (obviously I don’t hold my breath, bosses will probably be immune to most of it).

Diseases in WoW are an interesting mechanism. One of them even made headlines and rose to prominence far outside the MMOG milieu, when patch 1.7 introduced Hakkar’s Corrupted Blood with a coding oversight leading to it being spread to capital cities by mischievous players. What makes it quite unique is that beyond debilitating effects you’d get from other debuffs like poisons, disease also spreads around, usually to nearby allies or party members for instance.

I’m curious how Blizzard is going to handle this aspect (if they include it at all). Assuming it spreads to nearby allies on a chance per hit, the most interesting question is how threat will be dealt with. Let me explain:

A DK main tanks, and uses a disease debuff on the primary target. A couple of seconds later, the rogue’s hit triggers contamination, and the debuff spreads to another mob. The disease aggro could be attributed three ways:

  • To the DK who cast it
  • To whichever player who caused it to propagate
  • To the mob which was infected before

The first option would basically give the DK tank some means to increase his multimob aggro for AoE tanking. Therein lies danger, though, for the DK in a DPS role risks overaggroing. In short, it would place part of the DPS side of the class in a similar bind than retribution paladins pre 2.4, generating uncontrolled and unpredictable aggro.

The second option is even worse in the sense that it would transfer uncontrolled add aggro to softer targets than a DK.

The last option would be interesting to say the least. Imagine a scenario where the aggro generated by a spread disease gets highest on the newly infected mob’s list. You’d suddenly end up with a hostile NPC going after one of his own. There lies chaos (probably fitting the constantly shifting DK lore best), and it would probably be good for a couple of laughs.

I wonder which way this will get implemented. The only certain thing is that if the disease doesn’t discriminate and jumps also back to players, it will quickly  become a waste of an ability.

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2 Responses to Disease Mechanisms in PvE?

  1. megan (28 comments) says:

    Incoming Bind on Pickup and STD jokes for Trade Chat.

  2. Gwaendar (217 comments) says:

    You bet.