“…is when death becomes an afterthought.”
The good: Sound design.
The bad: Slow reload speed.
Conclusion: Worst Exotic hand cannon.
Hand Cannon (Primary Weapon)
Talent Upgrades Tree
Bonus to range, stability, and movement speed when aiming down sights.
Greatly reduced recoil. Significant penalty to range.
Rapidly landing precision hits will return one round to the magazine.
This weapon can be drawn unbelievably fast.
THE FIRST CURSE
Precision kills while aiming down sights grant increased range and stability until the next reload.
Increased recoil. Boost to range.
When held, this weapon grants +2 character Agility.
Less recoil. Penalty to Impact.
Reload this weapon quickly.
It’s hard to imagine what The First Curse could have done to deserve its lot. Bungie usually puts a little something extra into their Exotics, but this Hand Cannon might be the first example of an Exotic weapon that simply has no real value in Destiny. This is not to say it doesn’t work – but wielding it is a singularly unpleasant experience that really bears a proper breakdown. So, we’re going to take you to hell and back in reviewing….The First Curse.
If you haven’t got it yet, follow the steps in this Exotic Quest Guide.
Woah, look at that Impact! …and look at that RoF. Yes, The First Curse belongs to the High Impact/low RoF subclass of Hand Cannons. It’ll hit like a truck, but you’ll have time to set your watch while you wait for that second shot to be available. Among Exotic Hand Cannons not called The Last Word, The First Curse sports the worst base Range, at 32.
Low RoF Hand Cannons are often given greater base Ranges, so this is a disappointment. Its Stability of 12 is the second worst of any Hand Cannon in the game, beat out only by a couple of Rares. Finally, its ammunition management is pitiful; the gun has 8 rounds in a magazine, and the third worst reload speed of all Legendary Hand Cannons, behind only the Ill Will and the Zaouli’s Bane.
Oh, its Aim Assistance is 90. That’s the best among all Hand Cannons, tied with The Water Star and Zaouli’s Bane.
At first glance, Dead Eye seems like a smart Intrinsic perk to give The First Curse. The gun offers more Range, Stability, and Movement Speed when ADS. In practice, the buff to Range can’t really be quantified; it’s nearly impossible to test Range when hip-firing, and actually impossible to toggle an intrinsic perk to test the base stats against the buffed stats. Any increase to base Stability on a low RoF Hand Cannon is similarly underwhelming, as your gun will never really get out of control, even firing at the maximum rate.
Nevertheless, this one is probably more noticeable than the minuscule increase to movement speed when ADS. Dead Eye raises the question: why didn’t Bungie factor these stat increases into the gun’s base stats?
For ballistics, Smooth Ballistics is the best option. It may seem smart to shore up the weak Stability, but you’re never going to make a sizable enough dent to see performance skyrocket, so making the most of that built-in Aim Assistance is a better use of the slot. Range is the most important stat on almost all weapons at the moment, so best to play to the game in its current state.
The first distinct perk is a welcome addition for a precision-oriented weapon. Triple Tap will refund one round to the magazine for every three quick headshots. With the low RoF, this means you’ll have to hit three in a row, but this can artificially extend your magazine to 11 if you are dutifully plugging away at skulls, or putting DPS on a boss. It won’t fix the Reload Speed, but it’ll prolong the time before you need to – a good perk.
The middle column as usual presents a few little boosts to take it from “awful” to “not-as-awful”. Quickdraw and Lightweight are average, and not really worth your time. You could select Lightweight, and see at least an appreciable buff to your movement speed in tandem with Dead Eye, but to call that a “build” would be stretching the definition of the word. Single Point Sling would have made more sense for that, anyway.
Really, the only serious option is Speed Reload. No matter how well you perform with this gun, you’re going to be reloading at the same maddening pace, so even this tiny buff is a godsend in the grand scheme of things. And with only 8 shots in the magazine, you’ll be reloading more than you’ll be firing before you know it!
We round off our tour-de-suck with the namesake The First Curse perk. Following any precision kill, the rest of the rounds in the magazine will extend to further distances and maintain a tight spread when traveling. It has to be said that this perk does exactly what it says. You’ll notice the Range extension, and as Patrick’s video review demonstrates, how close the rounds are grouped even when fired at the maximum RoF.
Frankly, it’s still not enough. Even taking advantage of Triple Tap, you’ll have at most 10 rounds before you’re forced to reload and wipe your buff. What’s, more you can’t switch weapons while it’s active, or you’ll eliminate it before you can even utter your own curse.
You can see what Bungie was thinking. “Oh, The Last Word is fast-firing, and excels in PvP. We’ll make a slow-firing twin that’s built for PvE!” It was a nice thought, but the execution was shoddy.
Range is king in PvE and PvP; the higher your range, the greater distances at which you can fight, and the more security you have in picking your engagements. An Impact monster like The First Curse is excellent for 1-shotting red mobs, and even Vandals and Acolytes can’t stand up to a well-placed precision shot. After doing that, you’ll have some lethal accurate ammunition to spend on the rest of the refuse in a room.
The problem is, it’s not sustainable. Much of The Taken King features encounters in which you’re inundated with enemies, including Psions that are multiplying before you even get a chance to shoot them!
These battles demand flexibility and a weapon that can keep you in the fight. With shifty and agile foes, it can be difficult in the best of circumstances to activate Triple Tap, so this perk is really only practical in boss fights. Still, even there, the eventual reload hurts overall DPS to the extent that Triple Tap is like trying to glue a gaping wound shut. That reload will also let your enemies deploy turrets, shields, set up behind cover, clone themselves, or menace your allies; Hand Cannon gloves are a must if you plan on taking The First Curse into endgame content.
Dead Eye is basically a compensatory offering to put The First Curse on a more level playing field with its competition. Even still, with no Range-based perk in the middle column, it’s doubtful that The First Curse can even hit Ace of Spades range without the benefits of its own ‘The First Curse’ perk. When this perk does proc, we must be fair and admit that it finally puts The First Curse in a functioning range. But it just feels like a cheat, as you’re often only 7 slow blasts away from needing to repeat the whole ordeal again just to create a reasonable weapon.
With no real draws for PvE, we are left with a weapon that just does a lot of damage with a bullet. In much of low-level PvE, surprisingly this can be enough to take care of business. Unfortunately, with zero sustainability in ammunition management, no X factor perks like Firefly, and the state of Hand Cannons being what it is, it’s a poor choice for a PvE weapon.
It’s even worse in PvP. Being unable to kill anything with even minimal Armor investment in less than three….slow…shots, The First Curse is already at a massive TTK handicap. The serious Impact might disorient an opponent, or provide a nice immediate chunk of damage for a teammate to clean-up, but you will not be winning firefights against Pulse Rifle users. Readily available competitor Hawkmoon does only a hair less damage with Aggressive Ballistics, and has a greater base Range, Magazine Size, Stability, Reload Speed, and 3 magic bullets that turn two headshots into a death sentence.
2.0 has also doomed this archetype of high Impact Hand Cannons. Bungie has introduced bullet bloom that has limited the effective accuracy of all Hand Cannons. If the HC in question is being fired at its maximum RoF, bullets will begin to veer off target to the point where it can be difficult to even hit the target you’re perfectly aiming at. Stupidly, this nerf does not discriminate between High and Low RoF HCs – both will become inaccurate when firing quickly – but this hurts low RoF HCs to a much more significant degree, as they already have to spread their massive Impact over a slow RoF.
Yes, even with their inherently slow RoF, Bungie has ensured that RNG aim will dictate your success if you’re trying to overcome your weapon’s weakness. This means that, on top of needing 3 slow shots to kill, you’ll need to pace yourself even further if you want to even be sure that your shot is going to go where you point your gun.
The First Curse requires a precision kill, which requires at least three bullets. This means in PvP, you’ll at best have 5 shots to take advantage of it. Until then, you’re walking around with a gun whose base stats are outstripped by many Rare quality weapons.
High TTK, low Accuracy, unreliability, and easily obtained competitors that do everything better. You could see success with it, but you would almost certainly see greater success with almost any other weapon. It would need to have pre-nerf effective range to have any niche in the meta.
If you like The Last Word, you’ll probably like this one – because it’s a reskin with different colors; a bona fide dud. You get the same nifty gun flip on switching weapons or reloading, but you’ll probably feel guilty for having that much swagger when wielding such a piece of junk. The sound design is solid too, borrowing the satisfying pop of the Ace of Spades.
The weapon needs more playtesting, because any of its potential roles are conflicting or easily done twice as well by readily available alternatives. This is a one-trick-pony that poorly attempts to prioritize range and range alone, in an environment in which Hand Cannons have been squeezed into irrelevancy by nerfs.
On top of this, it is ultimately undone by its abysmal Reload Speed and Magazine Size. In the Crucible, its RoF/Impact class gives it the least competitive TTK among HCs, and this is a death sentence. If Bungie eventually returns Hand Cannons some of their luster, The First Curse would be at least average. For now, it is the worst Exotic weapon in Destiny.
Thanks for reading our Exotic Review for The First Curse! For PvP this weapon earns a 5.7/10 and for PvE a 6/10.