Proving Grounds

Apparently there was a bit of a discussion the other week about a blue comment saying that in the next expansion, a Proving Grounds silver medal will be required to do heroic dungeons via the dungeon finder. I don't have much of an opinion on this as I'm only really interested in a "decent human being" filter if anything, and that's something that Blizzard will never provide. As far as random hoops to jump through go, they could have picked something worse to force people to demonstrate their skill.

I do feel that this whole thing has given me an excuse to actually talk about Proving Grounds though, which are once again a feature that's new in Mists of Pandaria. I have to admit that my first impression of them was very positive. I think that it makes sense to give people a challenge against which they can test themselves to practice their skills, and since Blizzard seems to have given up on the idea of levelling being supposed to teach you anything, having a substitute at endgame is better than nothing.

I managed to get the bronze healing medal easily, and only failed once on the silver one as I forgot to heal myself at a crucial moment the first time around. The behaviour of the NPCs I had to heal was both true to real life and amusing. My favourite moment was when two of them got into a discussion about my dispelling, with one of them urging me to dispel faster, while another took my side and stated that I was clearly already doing the best I could.

After that, I thought I'd switch to feral and try the dps challenge next. I managed bronze without too much trouble (though it did take me a couple of attempts), but silver soon had me running up against a wall. The bugs that conjure amber globs just forced me to lose too much dps time dodging their conjurations and I inevitably ran out of time. I got up to the last wave several times, but failed that one every time. Sometimes I also randomly failed on earlier waves again, as I just couldn't get enough clearcasting procs and had to helplessly watch the timer tick down while I was unable to do anything but auto-attack.

I've gone back to re-try the challenge several times now, but having to start on wave one on every attempt gets tedious quite quickly. It's like having to deal with the trash on ye olde Battle for Mount Hyjal, only without the banter and camaraderie. The inconsistency of my own performance is also frustrating, what with the random failures on earlier waves when I have no energy. I can't help but think that the whole challenge would be so much easier as a ranged class, or even just as a melee class that isn't designed around doing a large chunk of its damage via a long-lasting DoT that requires some build-up (and is therefore completely useless in Proving Grounds).

With that in mind, I can't help but think that - while not terrible - this isn't going to be a very fair bar to measure people against in Warlords of Draenor, unless they drastically change the design of some of these challenges in the expansion. Or maybe my continued failure is just another way of WoW telling me that I'm not good enough to play it anymore.


  1. I ran into about the same problem as you did for DPS. Heals was easy, I one-shot everything through Gold on my Holy Paladin, but then again, I've been Holy Paladining since Wrath pretty well non-stop.

    For DPS, it's more a puzzle than anything. Put a mob between you and the amber bug, let the mob get amber'd, mob takes extra damage and whomp him down. Repeat. Note you can hit the amber bug with his own attack if you run around him quickly. But yeah, took me 5 tries to get Silver, and I'm pretty decent at DPS. I think the puzzle aspect could be toned down and instead put puddles of goo that damage you and/or reduce your DPS instead of having to figure out which mob to hit with the amber.

    1. Yeah, I did figure out the basic idea of how to handle the amber globs, but the range of the "explosion" seems quite large, so if I don't run far enough away I'll still get encased in addition to the mob itself (and lose dps time either way).

      I think "puzzle" is the right word for that particular aspect of the challenge, and why it feels so misplaced to me. It's just not an intuitive part of doing dps. And while I don't mind puzzles, having to fight through seven waves of mobs every time I want to try a different approach is annoying.

    2. Yeah, to not get encased you pretty much had to be at the very edge (or further) of he hit box of the mob you're trying to encase. Annoyingly touchy.