Proving Grounds is a feature that was added with Patch 5.4, which released on September 10, 2013. This feature was created for individual players to test and improve their Player verses Environment (PvE) combat skills. Here is the basic overview of Proving Grounds for Wowwiki.com:
- At the Proving Grounds, players may undertake trials, designed for Damage, Tank, or Healer roles.
- It provides a great opportunity to learn how to Tank or Heal, without the need of a group.
- Each trial is available in four separate difficulties: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Endless. Harder difficulties include more difficult and varied enemies.
- Endless mode allows you to test your mettle against increasingly difficult enemies. Compare your best scores to friends and guildmates!
Now that I dropped my cut and paste skills on you, it’s time to dive into what this whole blog post is about. In a recent Warlords of Draenor developer interview, Ion Hazzikostas said this interesting sentence. “Proving Grounds will be updated and expanded, making it a requirement to queue for random heroic dungeons.” [Source] This one sentence has sent most of the World of Warcraft community into a frenzy. I wasn’t going to take the time to write my opinion on the topic because I thought that it wasn’t a very big problem.
Boy was I wrong. I keep seeing Tweets about it on Twitter, and even people talking about it on Facebook. The forums are over run with rage, and people crying out for change. But I’m here to voice a less than popular opinion that will probably get me flagged as an elitist.
Proving grounds were put into the game in order for players to have a chance to learn how to play a spec or class in a closed environment. This environment is NOT what normal scenarios, or dungeons are like, but its a good understanding of how your class works out. You can learn about to play that new class or spec without people telling you that your bad, or don’t know how to play the game. And you can do it on your own time.
Having problems with Proving Grounds? The good news is, just like challenge modes, your gear is scaled to an item level of 463. So if you are a 496 or a 567, you become a 463 with no benefits from the legendary meta, or legendary cloak.
The proving grounds are a place for you to prove yourself against the mechanics where you are the only person to blame. RNG (Random Number Generator) is not to blame, since RNG is the same for everyone. It doesn’t make you a bad player because you can’t do it the first time. The first time I ran the damage proving ground silver on my Death Knight, I didn’t get it. I tried again, and made it a little bit further, and then I finally got Silver.
The reason I like this change is it proves that the people you are randomly grouped with in a dungeon or Looking for Raid have a basic understanding of their class. Proving Grounds teach you to move out of bad, maximize your offensive/defensive cool downs, and how to execute them quickly.
This doesn’t effect pre-made groups, such as guild runs, but it only affects the Random Looking for Dungeon que’ed groups. So if you are running with guild mates, or trade chat groups, this is not an issue.
I like to share the story of my guild’s Garrosh 10 man normal kill. We attempted him over 104 times before we got the kill. Every person on our raid team had to have perfect execution of their raid assignments in order for us to be successful. I believe our first kill took us 13 mins to kill him, and most of our attempts were at least 10 minutes long. We spent week after week just wiping on him over and over again for 3 hours a night. It took time, patience, and practice in order to kill him. And when he finally died we had a great sense of accomplishment. Can you imagine wiping on the same boss for 3 hours straight and then logging in the next night to do it all over again? The 9 other people on my raid team didn’t have a problem with it, even though it crushes the spirit more and more every pull.
We put our time in, and we finally got to see him fall to his knees. Only to turn around the next week to start wiping on Heroic Immerius. But we did it.
In order to see the content, players need to put in the time. Right now players aren’t required to know what’s going on during the fight before the fight starts. They go into the fight blind, and just go with the flow and get made when the group doesn’t go as well as they expected. With Blizzard requiring a Proving Ground Silver Medal in order to use the system, it eliminates the argument that the person doesn’t understand the basic mechanics of their class/spec. It also shows that they put their time in the Proving Grounds, just like I did, in order to be inside the dungeon/raid. But it doesn’t solve the issue of griefers, afk’ers and jerks.
I have always been a fan of gating content, not to prevent people to see it, but to make it so the content doesn’t get eaten up so fast that its boring the next week. If raiders could just jump right into heroic raiding, who would do normals? If you could magically get to max level without questing, who would actually quest anymore? If you could have the best set of PVP gear for a arenas without doing some Battlegrounds, who would do BGs?
Adding this requirement to the random que feature just means if you don’t like it, find a guild or a group of friends that doesn’t require the achievement to continue. When I was running Flex Raids at the start of this tier, I didn’t require that people had cleared Throne of Thunder in order to come along. I said bring a good attitude, have a 496 item level, and stick with me for 3 hours and we will kill bosses. And guess what? We killed bosses with people who had never raided before, who never did a single Looking for Raid, etc. Just last week I brought a warrior who had a 556 item level along for our raid because we were short a DPS. He had 4-5 normal bosses kills, but had done the fights on Flex difficulty. Needless to say he stuck it out with us for two nights, and we ended up getting him his Garrosh kill, title and new mount.
If having an achievement, or an item level prevents you from finding a group for the content you want to do, find another group that’s willing to take you. But know that you will have to put the time in order to progress with the content. Don’t expect a carry. Don’t expect them to keep you around if you are not doing your job.
Just like in real life, if you want something, work hard for it. Some have to work harder than others, but it doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means you have to work harder!