The relevant part of the description of the druid's Wild Shape feature says:
- You choose whether your equipment falls to the ground in your space, merges into your new form, or is worn by it. Worn equipment functions as normal, but the DM decides whether it is practical for the new form to wear a piece of equipment, based on the creature’s shape and size. Your equipment doesn’t change size or shape to match the new form, and any equipment that the new form can’t wear must either fall to the ground or merge with it. Equipment that merges with the form has no effect until you leave the form.
Let's assume there's a cursed item, that makes its user smell like garlic (passive effect) and also lets him change outfit, but only to something Lady Gaga has publicly worn (activated effect).
A druid attunes to this item and then uses Wild Shape to transform into a housecat.
- Can he choose to let the item just drop to the floor and then walk away, eventually breaking the attunement?
- Can he choose to let the item merge into the new form, temporarily suspending all effects?
- The third option - wear the item and retain all the effects - seems like the default one in this case.
It seems like the first option makes cursed items way less of a problem and is probably not intended. Compare that with identify that could also easily nerf the cursed items, but deliberately doesn't.
The second option, with temporarily suspending all effects, seems powerful but reasonable. Cherry-picking effects doesn't make much sense since it's hard to say what is a blessing and what is a curse.
On the other hand, if all the effects are suspended then is the curse suspended too? Can the druid then spend a short rest in wild shape to unattune from cursed item? That doesn't look reasonable if available at low levels. Doesn't seem to be a problem at my table (gritty realism), but could be a problem in more vanilla rulesets.
The only passage about cursed items I could find says (DMG, p. 138-139):
Most methods of identifying items, including the identify spell, fail to reveal such a curse, although lore might hint at it. A curse should be a surprise to the item’s user when the curse’s effects are revealed. Attunement to a cursed item can’t be ended voluntarily unless the curse is broken first, such as with the remove curse spell.
It seems "can’t be ended voluntarily" most likely talks about a mechanic for ending an attunement on short rest, and not some sort of compulsion.
So, how does Wild Shape interact with cursed magic items?