I firmly believe BigWigs with it’s “emphasize” feature and minimalist alert philosophy is better than DBM, but I’ll share the differences you’ll truly find, but on a basic level they fulfill the same duty. If you haven’t tried BigWigs since Mists of Pandaria you haven’t seen the latest version. Prior to this version I would have been in the DBM camp.
The main thing between Deadly Boss Mods and Bigwigs is their approach to alerts. BigWigs is minimalist and gives you information. What you do with it is up to you. This allows your group or guild to come up with their own strategies. DBM tells you what to do. Hopefully if you use DBM your strategy confirms to your raid’s strategy. Subtle, but important difference. A classic example is how alerts for DBM vs BigWigs occur on Blackhand in Blackrock Foundry. DBM might say “move right” when you have the bomb yet the guild’s strategy might be bombs left/marks right. In this case DBM is actually conflicting with your raid’s strategy. BigWigs might just say “Bomb on you.” Also the sounds the two use reflect the minimalist versus “I’m a child and need to be told what to do” style. My opinion is DBM has a habit of dramatizing all alerts. This tends to make people start ignoring them. I refer to this as “the boy who cried wolf” syndrome. When that important alert does come they’re so used to ignoring them all because DBM dramatizes them that they ignore that important one as well. While I used DBM for years I believe I’m an advanced enough player to make my own decisions given information so I gravitate to BigWigs. I encourage others to think likewise.
Bigwigs accepts all DBM broadcasts so you don’t miss out on pull timers or anything else. It also will transmit pull timers to DBM and BigWigs users so DBM users won’t miss out.
The single coolest thing is “emphasize” in BigWigs. Let’s say you die to a mechanic every time or there’s so much chaos you miss an important event. It happens. Maybe you need to taunt or use a raid cooldown for some special ability. Go into the settings for the encounter and select “emphasize.” It has a countdown for the ability visually and audibly. It *can* flash your screen. It puts the ability in bold block letters. I used it for tanking the Dark Shaman in Siege of Orgrimmar just to prevent me overlooking certain things with all the chaos in there. It allows concentrating (tunneling) on other aspects of a fight without having to focus on the deadliest parts. I can’t miss an emphasized alert. These are mechanic by mechanic so you can tailor your alerts as you need them.
BigWigs doesn’t disable itself if presented with a newer version. Apparently if DBM is out of date too much it disables itself until updated. I can’t confirm this yet, but I believe the underlying issue is people are using alpha/beta versions so the release version users keep getting their boss mod disabled or people aren’t updating their boss mods and shame on them. I can see their desire for forced upgrades, but I think an annoying message each use would be a better solution than completely disabling the boss mod.
Here’s a guide I found on youtube for setting it up:
Remember the UI/Addon golden rule: Only show things that “you need to know about or need to react to.” If you have to ignore something either turn it off or find a different solution