Beta – First Attempt at the Proving Grounds mark II

Today on logging onto the Beta I noticed that my Garrison was offering me a quest to go and try the Proving Grounds and perhaps more importantly offering me a new and shiny weapon for completing the Bronze wave in any of the disciplines. Despite the fact that I’m playing the Beta with no addons and no proper keybinds, I thought I’d go and give it a shot. As a Holy Priest wearing mostly the bits and pieces Blizzard give you for making a level 100 Premade, Bronze was extremely easy. I have no idea if it’s tuned correctly but my mana didn’t go below 75 percent and I barely cast any solaces at all. In fact I felt slightly guilty taking the weapon because if I played like that in a proper group setting I’d feel rather guilty. On the positive side, the NPCs felt better at moving out of bad but unfortunately they were equally good at moving out of my sparkling disco floor too.

I didn’t have time to look at the Silver level, the one which Blizzard have stated everyone will need to enter Heroics through the Looking for Group mechanism but if it’s just a step up from Bronze I really think that the Healing Proving Grounds should be in the grasp of anyone who has healed at least a leveling dungeon on their healer. However hopefully tomorrow I’m going to make time for trying the Silver and seeing just what it’s like, especially in comparison to the Proving Grounds currently in game.

Turning completing Bronze into a quest with a useful reward for brand new level 100s is I think a brilliant idea. Now it should become one of those things you do on reaching the leveling cap, just like doing the Arena Scenario for the Blue weapon was almost compulsory at the start of MoP on every new character. I do wonder though if there should be a quest for completing the Silver and Gold versions too, just as that added incentive to those who feel uncomfortable with the idea of the Proving Grounds. I haven’t run any dungeons at the level cap yet as I haven’t been the most diligent Beta tester recently but in terms of the items I have seen, this weapon is by far the highest item level coming in at lv 610 with over a 100 more spell power than the one which Premades get.

In the Alliance Garrisons, you can collect the quest from Lieutenant Thorn, Mission Specialist so I imagine that in the Horde Garrisons, you pick it up from her opposite number.

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Day 26: A Screenshot A Day

Today’s prompt is “Curve” and I’ve chosen to interpret that as a “learning curve”.

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I entered the Proving Grounds torn between self doubt and over confidence. I thought it would be a walk in the park, after all I’ve been playing a Healer now for more years than I care to mention and yet at the back of my mind a tiny goblin sized voice whispered away. As it turned out, perhaps there was more “proving” to be done that I expected. I made a choice not to see how other Monks were doing it which led to quite a bit of experimentation on my part, something which with hindsight I’m glad of. In the end I had to reforge my stats quite a bit as well as change my talents and am probably stronger as a result of that. I’d also forgotten exactly what some of my tooltips said (the joys of not doing anything more serious than random battlegrounds and questing) and this forced me to start thinking about my cooldowns, my spells and all the utility my class brings.

In short, I found the Proving Grounds to be frustrating, annoying, addictive and somewhat maddeningly awesome. I’m so close to getting “You’re doing it wrong” and the silver dps challenge as a healer and I want to at least get Bronze for Tanking too. In the meantime I’m working on Endless with my first try getting me the achievement for over 10 rounds which I know is nothing in the grand scheme of things but to someone who is facing their first “proper” raid since the start of Cataclysm this weekend, every little confidence boost helps.

In case anyone else is struggling as a Mistweaver, the secret of my success (once I’d got a reasonable amount of spirit) was these happy little curvy balls. Wonderful for pre-positioning under the Hunter and Mage as well as brilliant for clearing “chomp”.

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Also Xuen is well worth it, not only for helping to clear annoying packs faster but for teaming up with your serpent statue to help with the healing. Leg sweep in my experience is also better than the ring of peace and chi brew used every time it was available got my mana under control to the point that I ended on 70 percent mana. Also don’t forget that we can disarm and kick so something which shows enemy name plates and their buffs, debuffs and cast bars really helps.

In the end my first proper reforged go with spirit was the slightly stressful zombies lurking behind trees and werewolves in the bushes walk in the park I’d first envisioned.

I’d also recommend adding “Chomp” as a custom debuff to whatever raid frame addon you’re using.

If that happens to be Vud’ho, go to debuffs -> custom  and then type “chomp” into the window and set it up accordingly. Personally I had it changing the whole bar to a disgusting shade of brown which had my subconscious itching to remove it before the rest of my recognized what was going on.

What I love about the whole concept is that there is always going to be room for improvement, always another wave to survive and that it allows experimentation with spec, with spells and indeed with alts in a private space where the only ego which can get bruised is yours.