Preheat: Really the Bigwigs vs. DBM thing comes down to having a partner in our corner. There is no scenario where we could have the level of support with BigWigs that we received from Mystical with DBM because we will never be the focus of the people who develop it. Sometimes, you have to forge your own path even if it upsets people. The decision to go with DBM was a bit of a risk at the time, but I don’t think it could have gone better. We look forward to working with Mr. DBM in the future!
Siory: Historically, we’ve used BigWigs because it’s cleaner-looking out of the box and, most importantly for me since I’m the only one here who modifies boss mods for us, it’s much easier to modify than DBM. The reason that’s an important point is because boss mods absolutely need to be modified, particularly for encounters that were never tested publicly.
By using BigWigs though, we were always at a tactical disadvantage. BigWigs is a good boss mod and no flame to them, but their primary contributor for Mythic encounters is Justwait from Method. Not surprisingly, Method internally runs a much more up-to-date version of BigWigs and historically has not released any modules at all for final bosses until after they have secured that kill because why would they want to give the competition an advantage they’ve made for themselves? Up until this tier, we have been willing to take that loss on the chin for the ease of modification because we thought doing the modification internally was worth the familiarity of using BigWigs over the unfamiliarity of attempting to migrate to something else.
Siory: The 21st raider approach was used by us in the Eternal Palace as well when Max sat for Za’qul since at the time the fight was easily handled by a single tank. Conceptually, it’s a very simple and logical strategy. By being freed from worrying about the concerns of actually playing their spec and role within the raid, the 21st raider can focus on making calls and directing the play of others. There are some fights where the encounter is scripted enough that the 21st raider doesn’t have much to do once the overarching strategy is laid down. There are also some fights that are spread out and chaotic enough (Destragath would be an example from this tier) where Max would rather be in and hands on so he can see things playing out with full control over his own target and camera instead of relying on being able to find PoVs with that information among the raiders.
Siory: Having a direct line of communication with Blizzard is obviously invaluable for reporting bugs and fixing other issues. Obviously, they don’t provide any hints about encounters and even factual statements about how things work usually only come after a problem arises. The story of N’Zoth runs much deeper than I think anyone at Blizzard is willing to admit right now. Reloe and Mystical shared some of the details about that on twitter that conflict with Ion’s own statements about the fight.
Regarding what happened, most of it stems from a structural issue with the design of the fight itself. The lack of any action of any kind from Magni and MOTHER after clearing out the Heart Chamber made it difficult to discern just how the fight was supposed to progress. Even after killing the Voidspawn Annihilator the two of them just sit there stunned. That’s when we began exploring other avenues.
The first thing we tried was just healing through the 9.5s Eternal Torment spam he would do while the Heart Chamber was active instead of actually going to the Heart Chamber. Healing through that damage was trivial in HPS terms, though still finite due to mana. That was the pull where we got him to 25% and he put up the shield and shortly thereafter Blizzard hit the panic button: they despawned the boss for the entire region and applied a hotfix that increased the damage of Eternal Torment in that phase by 300% and making him spam it every 2.5s. They likened it in their communication to when Method was trying to heal their way through Thok’s intermission back in Siege of Orgrimmar.
Obviously at that point they wanted us to go to the Heart Chamber, but Transcriptor logs of that pull showed him regaining the shield and spawning a second gateway with a different Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) from the first one, which is why this happened. That canard of a second gateway is what informed the development of our strat over the next couple of days since we mistakenly assumed that was actually part of the fight and Blizzard wasn’t about to tell us differently.
We also experimented with staying up in the Heart Chamber indefinitely to see what would happen. For several minutes nothing happened while the boss merrily went about his phase 2 ability cycle. Eventually Blizzard had enough of that too and hotfixed the Thought Harvester tank special to have an infinite range so they could kill us in the Heart Chamber. As silly as it seems, it’s actually a good fix because, in theory, anyone that could clear out the Heart Chamber could sort of AFK and just kill the boss with Warlock’s Absolute Corruption.
It was only the next week after the reclear where we were able to legitimately push the boss to 25% and still expected a second unique gateway spawn (or at least a reactivation of the existing one). We had even altered our strat with Evoke Anguish to keep the gateway clear because of this. However, when we got there, nothing happened, no shield, no gateway, no roleplay, and the boss kept doing phase 2 abilities in a way he hadn’t when we had gotten there by cheesing the Eternal Torment the prior week.
It was at that point I sent a pretty angry email to them about the fight and heard back the now infamous (at least internally here) that it was a script logic bug. Supposedly, N’zoth was intended to shield and produce a gateway at 25% as a backup plan for guilds in the future having enough DPS to kill him in the 153s it takes for the first gateway to spawn. However, according to Blizzard publicly anyway, the script bug had been making him do this at 25% in addition to the 153s timed spawn of the first gateway. Because of the info Mystical shared in his tweet, none of us really believe that, but it’s also unlikely you’re going to get a more detailed answer from Blizzard. After that though, it was at least clear where the goal posts were for the fight. Get the boss to zero before he enrages and casts Evoke Anguish.