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Starym

On N'Zoth's Mythic Race Bugginess, Limit at 4.7%

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With the many bugs N'Zoth has experienced and we've all seen during the race to World First, a lot of people have been commenting on how bad or how poorly tested the raid has been and I wanted to talk about it a little, give some historical context and try to see if it really is as bad as it seems. We've seen plenty of bugs in Ny'alotha, both the mob and programming type, but is the raid really that buggy compared to previous ones?

I'll just give you the TLDR right up front: not really.

Before we get into it however, Complexity Limit did get the boss down to 4.7% (and remember, the boss probably dies at 1.4%)!

So why is everyone saying the raid is really problematic? Obviously the fact the race is being streamed is a huge factor in this, as we're seeing everything that's happened directly, but this was also the case for the past few raids as well, and it's never been this bad, right? Wrong. The thing with N'Zoth's bugs is that they're VERY visual and obvious: the boss being despawned by Blizzard, the giant shield appearing at 25.5% several times, the gate being clickable, the boss suddenly not putting up the shield and Limit just pushing past 25.5% randomly without any notice.

Obviously these are all bugs (or a giant attempt to hide the fact there was a whole other Mythic only phase that was removed because it wasn't working, but I'll leave my tinfoil hat off for now), but are they really that bad in terms of the race? Limit's GM and raid leader Max seems to think so:

But he's right there in the middle of it, getting really frustrated at these crazy obvious issues, so it's understandable he'd slightly overreact. Obviously a real issue is Blizzard's inability to properly communicate what's happening with players in time, but that's not really what everyone is focusing on.

Now, I've been covering the raid progress race since Cataclysm, followed it privately before that, and actually participated (and won) in Vanilla and Burning Crusade, so I do feel qualified commenting on how things were in the past. Obviously it's not fair to compare Battle for Azeroth to something like Vanilla, but this does evoke memories of C'Thun, who was literally unkillable until a random hotfix made him a complete pushover and he died on the very first pull after it. So would it be fair to compare to Burning Crusade bosses then? Also probably not, but again, let's do it anyway - Illidan had MANY fixes mid-fight, also with very little communication, as Kungen was literally tanking the boss from a safe Tauren-melee-range distance ignoring an ability, when he was suddenly destroyed mid-pull when the extra range was removed. Kael'thas was completely unkillable on purpose because Black Temple wasn't ready yet, and his blood was needed to enter it, so Blizzard felt it would be awkward for us to complete the BT attunement and then wait weeks for the raid to actually come out, so he was just fixed when the raid released. I could go on through the expansions, but let's just head to Legion and my major point.

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Kil'jaeden came in before the advent of streaming and was a very tough boss, much tougher than most people know, in fact. As Method progressed on him, hotfixes were coming in every other day, and the boss was literally unkillable for a significant amount of time, with many, many hotfixes coming in, both stealth and official ones. Here's Justwait on the matter from the end of race Method interview and, keep in mind, these are just some of the fixes that were applied:

Quote

Justwait: There were a lot of fixes throughout our KJ progress, sadly because of the holidays in the US (4th of July weekend) it took them longer to implement than we'd hoped and halted progress a lot.

Friday 7th:
- Armageddon Rain Armageddon now ticks for ~418k on mythic (from ~670k)

Monday 10th:

- Wailing Reflection Wailing Reflections spawn on tank deaths.
- Focused Dreadflame Focused Dreadflame reduced to 15,600,000 (from ~30,000,000).
- Erupting Reflection Erupting Reflection HP reduced to 156600000 (from ~170000000).
- Wailing Reflection Wailing Reflection HP reduced to 288144000 (from ~304000000).
- Hopeless Reflection Hopeless Reflection HP reduced to 33000000 (from ~40000000).
- Armageddon Rain Armageddon now spawns 8 small and 2 large missiles on mythic (down from 10 small).
- The knockback of Rupturing Singularity Rupturing Singularity has been reduced ~5% on Mythic.
- There is more space between Armageddon Rain, Rupturing Singularity Rupturing Singularity, and Erupting Reflection spawning in p1.
- There is more space in between abilities on the first intermission.

Thursday 14th:
- Darkness of a Thousand Souls Darkness of a Thousand Souls damage reduced to 520000 (from 864600).
- Intermission 2 had some visual bugs with the Rupturing Singularity Rupturing Singularity (Not really affecting our strat).

I really could go on and on, with Azshara receiving plenty of tuning as well, but you get my point. Sure, N'Zoth's issues aren't just simple tuning and numbers, but that's his real problem, he certainly is the most flashy boss we've seen issues with in the race. It's definitely more evidently frustrating for players to hit a literal wall with the boss despawning, a whole mechanic disappearing with the shield and them being generally confused as to what is going on and what kind of strategy they should plan. But in reality, even a 5-10% nerf on an ability, or the MASSIVE ones you can see with KJ above is just as bad for the race. The hindrance and amount of time wasted on KJ compared to N'Zoth was certainly higher for the Legion boss, but ok, he wasn't streamed so that's understandable. But the streamed bosses, ever since G'huun, have also had massive stealth changes never noted in hotfixes and again, the outrage just wasn't there. This is simply because a number getting smaller, either on the boss HP or on damage abilities just isn't as obvious as the giant eyed tentacled blob shielding or disappearing.

The fact that the final boss does not get tested on Mythic is always going to cause issues. Personally I much prefer it that way, as it makes the raid more exciting - perhaps less fair, as the first guild to get to any fight will ALWAYS suffer, that's how it's been since the game started, but it's a worthwhile tradeoff IMO, as we can see just how quickly the tested bosses fall.

In closing, to reiterate my point: yes N'Zoth is quite weird, maybe even had a scrapped final phase, but realistically, his issues for the WF race are just flashier and more obvious than previous ones and, in my opinion at least, he's not really more problematic than most previous endbosses. Blizzard certainly needs to work on its communications with the leading guilds, tuning should always be transparent, but things aren't quite as bad as some people think.
 

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None of this level-headed logic will prevail against the overwhelming desire to destroy Battle for Azeroth on every front.

Blizzard fans, entitled after years of nostalgia, have absolutely turned on Blizzard. They haven't yet realized the real issue is the bottom-line-driven gaming industry that Blizzard/Activision is forced to compete within. Scheduled layoffs, In-Game Shops... these are apart of every studio and every game. 

Did Blizzard come up short with BFA? Sure, there was a decent amount of missed potential. I think that can be said about most expansions, with few exceptions. 

It did however have:

  • An expansion-long Old God plot line (N'zoth is essentially introduced in Stormsong Valley, don't @ me), culminating in the release of the final Old God into our realm. Not only is N'zoth featured throughout BFA, his story has been building since Cataclysm in less-than-subtle fashion. The end boss fight featuring both Deathwing and Azshara was a fitting touch. Mechanically, the fight operated much like the previous two Old God fights, bugs and all.
  • A rock solid set of dungeons primed for keystone play, including the mega dungeon of Operation: Mechagon.
  • 4 full scale raids and 1 short raid. Uldir was a solid first raid (as they go), Dazar'alor was one of the best ever, Crucible was fun & challenging, Eternal Palace had a crazy Azshara fight, and Nya'lotha is every bit the twisted horror filled with endless minions that we could have anticipated. 
  • A plot line directly resolved by YOU, the player character, with (minor) player agency experienced for the first time.
  • An entertaining and rewarding set of systems that were appropriately integrated into the core experience - i.e. Islands, Visions, Assaults, Emissaries.
  • World-class cinematic storytelling, including the first to ever feature a gnome.
  • Increased capacity to utilize multi-core processors.
  • Seamless in-game voice chat functionality (works great, by the way).
  • A necessary Auction House revamp.

I, for one, am not that disappointed when you look at the whole thing.

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I get that they've all been buggy but what I don't get is how you have an internal raid team test them and they're still buggy.

 

I don't understand that.

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