Proving Grounds May Give World of Warcraft Players Additional Learning Environment
Ok, World of Warcraft players … have you ever said “I will learn to heal (or tank) when I hit 90” because you know that learning to do those crucial roles in randoms while you level is a less than ideal situation? Or, perhaps you have been a dps for a long time, and you have been asked by your guild to change roles, and you are nervous and not sure how to learn? Then you may be interested in a feature that is being planned for patch 5.4 – Proving Grounds.
(As always, I must note that anything you see in the patch notes may never go live. As of yet, Proving Grounds have not been implemented on the PTR, so only internal testing has occurred.)
Here is what little information Blizzard has given us so far about Proving Grounds:
Proving Grounds is a new feature for individual players to test and improve their combat skills.
- 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!
I believe this feature has potential, if it is implemented properly, and if people actually use it. I remember when I was first asked to start healing for raids, some years ago. I was very nervous, and had never even healed a 5-man. If there had been a place like the Proving Grounds where I could have gone to learn and practice, that would have been wonderful. I would not have had to put together a group of friends (this was before LFG), and I would not have had to worry about seeing them die. These days, yes, you can hop into LFG and get a group, but most players are not forgiving when it comes to people learning their roles, especially tank and heals.
One of the things that worries me about Blizzard’s proposal at this point is the “competition” aspect. I’m afraid that aspect alone will cause many to not venture into the Proving Grounds, for fear that they will not measure up to others. Perhaps Blizzard should consider having a non-competition mode.
Here’s another problem … will people use this feature? Those people who would benefit most from something like this, who should consider testing out a rotation or getting a feel for their timing, or simply learning what all their abilities can do, will they go to the Proving Grounds, or will they simply continue to hop into a group and hope they give a passable performance? I hope that people will use this feature, but I fear that it may only be used by those who don’t necessarily need it … those who have the proper instincts and don’t actually need to learn, only to practice a little bit.
I also wonder … if there are no rewards, will people care? Nothing has been said about any type of reward system, and I fear that the current player base will not take advantage of this opportunity for learning and improvement if there is no direct incentive to do so. It might be a good idea for Blizzard to consider similar rewards to Challenge Mode Dungeons, since this is somewhat similar.
Some people on the official forums have recommended that Proving Grounds be necessary for people to be able to run raids, but I’m not sure that is the answer to anything. Already, people are judged by their item level, with raiders turning away players with lower gear who might be better than their gear score reflects, and be an asset to the raid. I suspect that some people will want to see someone’s Proving Grounds scores to determine if they are good enough for their raid, and the game system would not need to make it mandatory on top of that. The success or failure of Proving Grounds may be determined more by the player base than anything else. I hope that people do not use it to create another barrier, when it should be used to bolster and strengthen players.
I have to admit that I have said more than once that I would love to learn a different role on a particular toon, only to never follow through on it. I hope that they do implement Proving Grounds, as I plan to use the feature to enhance my playing, and thus my enjoyment of the game. I hope that others will embrace this feature as well, and that the player base turns it into a positive feature rather than a negative one.