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Where They Hid WoW

May 7, 2014

Dear Reader,

We old dogs like to complain about how WoW has become “ez-mode.”  We like to gripe about how “back in the day” pulling two normal mobs while out questing might have meant death, or about how “chain pulling” was unheard of in our “glory days.”  In short, we like to flex our saggy old gamer muscles and talk about how tough things were back when.

Of course, a lot of that is exaggerated, and some of the rest is mis-remembered.  Memory does that; it skews things the further way they are in the past.  Terrible things become only mildly bad, or even heroically endured (look at wars), and mildly good things become greater the more the stories are told (like the fish that got away).

So when I decided to “help” (the quotes are because rarely in this guild am I helping anyone; they’re more often carrying me) the guild by filling an empty dps spot in our Sunday challenge mode runs, I was pretty surprised by how tough they were.

This was the WoW I remembered.  This was where it had been hiding.  All the old paradigms were back: slow spells, zero room for error, cc’ing, off-spec responsibilities, absolutely required teamwork.  Yes, there’s chain pulling, but here the chain pulls are simply a means to an end: more challenge.  And beating some of the timers was tough.  My group barely got the Mogu’shan gold; we were staring the last seconds in the face when the boss finally went down.

That sort of challenge has always existed to some degree in the heroic mode raids, of course, but I can’t commit to any kind of schedule like that, what with my bedtimes changing semester to semester and my play habits waxing and waning with little warning.  Here was something bite-sized, something a quick heroic run could teach the strategies to followed immediately by the challenge mode runs.  If you only had a half hour, well, that might even be time for two.

At any rate, it was a lot of fun, and has certainly put something on my radar to accomplish before the end of the expansion.

That said, I figured since I could contribute to gold runs that I should go ahead and try the proving grounds.  They debuted during an off period for me, so I never really paid them much attention.  Since “timed” challenges were becoming ever present, I figured I’d try my hand at it.

Not surprisingly, I had no trouble at all with bronze or silver and one-shotted both with no preparation.  Then I got to gold, and now I hate proving grounds.

I felt like the challenges associated with silver were pretty appropriate for raiding.  Having to move during some phases, having to interrupt, directional attacks, sure.  I can dig it.  But for whatever reason, I simply cannot get the hang of the gold mode.  I’m not sure if I’m too old, too stupid, too uninformed, or just not practiced enough, but I feel like the gold challenge has a lot less to do with raiding than silver did.  Completing gold feels like it would prove that you learned how to beat the gold proving grounds, nothing more.

Perhaps that’s just sour grapes on my part, and it’s likely I’ll keep chipping away at it over the next few weeks, but right now I just don’t see the connection.


Stubborn (and only silver)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2014 3:49 pm

    My way of looking at Proving Grounds:

    Bronze = You know the basics of your character
    Silver = You know how to play our character decently
    Gold = Take the next step, start learning the encounter and how to adapt your character to it.
    Endless = You’re very good at learning the encounter, and knowing how it will play out.

    Basically, Bronze and Silver are reactive. You play your character well in reacting to events. Gold and Endless are the next step up where you have to shift to being proactive, predicting what will happen and playing your character accordingly.

    • May 7, 2014 5:24 pm

      I agree with Rohan. I got Endless Waves 30 on a hunter (TwilitSoul @ Black Dragonflight), but only with extreme concentration and knowing what was coming and being prepared for it. You have to know each wave and be fully “in the zone” for thirty minutes straight. My hands were shaking a little every time I got to wave 28ish.

  2. May 7, 2014 6:06 pm

    Glad to see you enjoyed these. I got linked here on Monday after we ran them and was pretty curious to see what you thought of the CMs. Personally they remind me a LOT of BC heroics with timers and I think its really cool. Almost certainly my favorite piece of new content in MoP. Having to chain CC and really utilize your entire groups tool set again is incredible.

    Apart from my atrocious monk tanking in Scholomance we did very well in the others. Even if we were kind of cutting it close in Mogu’Shan Palace. Wait until you do Siege of Nizaou Temple or Stormstout Brewery. There are some nail biting moments in both which make them extremely fun.

    • May 7, 2014 6:07 pm

      Hey…if you guys ever need a dps, I am a Proven Assailant and all. I won’t hold you back D:

  3. May 8, 2014 3:40 pm

    I’m stuck on Gold, myself. I’ve been chipping away at the healer proving grounds and find myself running out of mana by round 8 and and then things just go downhill. However, I do enjoy the challenge and trying all the different talents that may or may not make a difference. And it was a blast to do the achievement for completing a proving ground in the wrong spec. Like others have mentioned I think the biggest difference is you need to plan for future waves pretty far in advance and know what’s coming in each. Something I haven’t quite mastered yet.

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