There’s been a lot of talk about the Proving Grounds silver medal being necessary to enter random heroics in Warlords of Draenor, and until now I’ve been trying to wrap my head about the idea. I didn’t want to have an opinion on this “heated debate” but I do have one. Just not one I particularly like.
I made some comments on Twitter about it, but I deleted them because it was brought to my attention that they could be interpreted differently than what I meant, and I didn’t want that. You might think it’s not such a big deal, and most of the time I agree, but some debates are more important than others, in my opinion anyway. The no-flying-’til-6.1 made me chuckle, and I don’t really give a damn about that and don’t understand why people are getting their panties in a bunch over this, but the Proving Grounds thing is another story.
When I first heard about it, my first reaction was annoyance. For the first time in my WoW experience, I felt like Blizz was telling me I needed permission to have access to a part of the content. Then I thought, well, with all those fresh level 90 newbs roaming the land, we kinda need something like this or it would be utter chaos. Heroics can be really hard, especially at the beginning of an expansion, so those people who have never participated in dungeons need some kind of training to be able to participate and pull their weight in group content.
So in theory, yes, I think a silver medal in Proving Grounds is a very good idea. It will make everyone’s life easier.
But in practice, it’s another story. See, I’ve been playing WoW for seven years now. My second character ever was a priest who’s been a healer for most of her life. I’ve tried all the healing classes over time, except for the monk, and throughout the years I’ve healed heroic dungeons and raids without much difficulty. I know I’m not the best healer there is. I often forget my cooldowns and probably don’t handle mana regen as well as I should. But I’ve successfully healed for years now. So I felt very frustrated when I tried my hand at the healer bronze challenge and failed*. After succeeding at the tank bronze challenge. When I’ve tanked maybe twenty dungeons in the past seven years.
The dps challenge on my hunter was fairly easy, and I won the silver medal on my first try. But my hunter is my main. It’s the character I play the most. I have many hunters of different levels, a lot of them at 90, and I try hard to be the best hunter I can be because it’s my favourite class. There’s room for improvement of course, and there are tons of better hunters out there, but I’m working on it.
My healers? Not so much. For me, healing is a distraction. It’s something I do when I’m bored with the long queues. It’s something kinda fun that I grow bored of pretty quickly. I don’t love healing. It’s not a passion like hunters are. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I can’t beat the healer bronze challenge. But for years, I’ve been used to getting away with being a mediocre healer with no real downside. And what truly bothered me, I’ve come to realize, is that now I have to take a long hard look at how I’ve been handling this game the last few years, and admit I am not as good as I could be at it.
So my problem is not really with the Proving Grounds thing. It’s with myself. I have work to do if I want to heal random heroics in the next expansion. Now the question is: do I work hard and improve at other classes/roles other than hunters, or not bother at all and stop playing classes I’ve enjoyed in the past but are not my one true passion? I have no answer to that question as of now.
I think it’s unfair to pin my problems on something that clearly is necessary for the well being of all players. In the end, I’d rather have to work a little harder, but be assured that when I step in random heroics, it will be with people who want to be there, and are supposed to know what they are doing. This doesn’t protect us from jerks, of course, but it’s a step in the right direction.
*As you can see from the above screenshot, I finally managed to snag the bronze medal with my disc priest after a couple more tries, but barely, which means I’ll need a better strategy if I ever try the silver challenge.