Proving Grounds level – Tarnished Silver

Proving Grounds

Your mother was a mudkip and your father smelled of elderberries!

About this Proving Grounds thing.

Enough time has passed that it’s safe for me to say, if you were gonna do Proving Grounds, you did it. Or tried like hell.

I can remember the first couple of weeks after Warlords of Draenor was released. I played my Warlock (specced as destruction) all the way to max level. I didn’t take my time, but I didn’t rush either. I moved along at a right good clip.

As I’m in a raid team in the guild, and I knew that when raids were formed depended on who and how many were at max level and relatively geared for it, I made an effort to hit those check marks.

The Legendary ring was sure to be the obvious one. I know at one point, our raid leader told me that if someone hadn’t bothered to get to the ‘collecting Highmaul drops’ stage of the Legendary quest, they weren’t serious about wanting to raid and didn’t need to show up.

No direct pressure, but you could see in guild who was advancing, who was knocking down those normal instances, and then who was hitting the heroics and gearing up with blues fast.

It was damn straight a competition, and the name of the game was “Who is the most dedicated about being ready to raid.”

To do the Legendary, you needed some drops from three heroic dungeons.

To get into heroic dungeons, you had to get minimum of Silver in the solo instance Proving Grounds as whatever spec you intended to queue as.

So. The Bar has been set, grasshopper. If you can’t get Silver, you might as well not bother showing up to raid, because you won’t ever get the Legendary Ring.

As soon as I hit 100, my Warlock was in the Proving Grounds, and while it took me 8 or 9 tries, I got my Silver. I was a fresh level 100, and I can’t recall the exact number but I think I was around iLevel 595 or so. I Tweeted it when I finished it, so I could probably go back through the twitter archives, but really, who cares? If I had a brain in my head I would have waited for more gear. It’s no accomplishment to succeed at being stupid and impatient.

But I did it, and I certainly knew that in the Proving Grounds your gear was NOT scaled up, but if you were over iLevel 615 your gear was scaled down to that point. I was proud of finishing it, and I was damn glad to never have to do that again because what a royal pain in the butt.

Still, done and done, time to get my buns in the dun(geon)s.

Ah, but the story doesn’t end with that. Sure, I went on to do the heroics, and to progress with the Legendary Rung quest.

But Cassie got to level 100 as well not long afterwards with her Enhancement Shaman, and tried for Silver.

And failed.

She didn’t say anything about hitting it, she did it, probably so she didn’t have me breathing down her neck.

But she went after it. Many times. MANY MANY times. And she failed.

She got so disgusted with herself and frustrated with the challenge that she got fed up with the game and walk away.

I believe she didn’t come back until the first Highmaul LFRs were open for a while, and we knew you didn’t need to have Proving Grounds Silver to enter it.

How’s that for a kick in the nuts? You can’t queue for heroic 5 person dungeons unless you ‘prove you can play your class’, but LFR raids with 19 other schlubs? Oh, no problem, go right on in.

Months this went on. Every once in a while, as her gear improved and I slid her some enchants and gems, I’d see her slip on and try it again. But those AoE groups with the heals and floating chasing traps were just too much at the end.

So what, right? No big deal. So what if you can’t do heroic 5 mans, you can’t do the Legendary, you can still raid in LFR.

Oh, but if you can’t queue for heroic 5 man dungeons, you also can’t ever complete the Inn quests that send you into heroics for drops. That means no Avianna’s Feather, no Leeroy, no Croman, none of those things.

That’s bullshit.

I started pestering her to let me take a shot with her character at it, let a fresh pair of eyes do the run.

At this point, I’ve gotten Silver on every character I intend to do anything with. I ran Proving Grounds as a Destruction Warlock, Beastmaster Hunter, Feral Druid and Frost Death Knight. I got Silver with all of them, and truthfully once I did it with characters that had 615 or better in every slot, it was a piece of tasty red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and a little frosting carrot on top.

Arrogant? Oh my yes. I was sure, absolutely positive, just let me take over your character, dear, and I’ll White Knight this battle for you.

Yeah, no fucking way.

What I found out was how unmercifully bullshit that fight can be on a stock UI.

That fight is so damn frustrating with a stock UI, especially when you know, not think but KNOW that you can do this easy on your own system.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a pro raider. Not even fucking close. See, I press buttons on my button bar instead of using tons of keybound macros on a pro mouse. Mouse key binds is the way to do it, where you don’t ever even have to look at a bar, you can use most of your key abilities right from different mouse button presses. Instant response. I tried it, just couldn’t deal with it.

So my UI had button bars on it, and I click on those buttons to cast abilities. I have carefully thought out macros and I do have things like rain of Fire on mouse buttons so I can easily click and drop out there on the field of battle, but most of the time I’ve got my attention split between the battle and the cooldowns on my button bar.

It is what it is. At least I don’t keyboard turn.

But I do everything I can to maximize my screen real estate. I use ElvUI because by default it puts my buttons al nice and tight at the bottom, frees up lots of screen, and puts my health and casting bars on the bottom left and my target on the bottom right. I can see my casting bar for making sure I’m queuing up my abilities the instant my current cast goes off, and I can see right there in bottom center the casting bar of my targeted enemy and below that my focus target.

If my target or focus target starts casting, I see it instantly in my prime field of view and can cast my Interrupt macro that beings with a /stopcasting and then fires off the interrupt right after. No delay, because I’m slow enough that I can’t possibly wait for a cast to go off, it probably took me a half a second to react once the bad guy started casting in the first place.

So with my UI, I can look at the center of my screen and see all the key data about my targets, most especially when they’re trying to get that damn heal off, and I can slam the shit out of them and interrupt it easily.

Not so with a stock UI.

The health and casting bars are way the hell up at the top left corner. I never look up there, I CAN’T look up there, I cannot process information from the very top left plus the moving battle in the middle AND the button bars at the bottom. Not happening. I can flip from middle to bottom and back, but not middle to top to middle to bottom to middle to oh fuck he got off a heal. Son of a mudkip!

I tried to do it with Cassie’s Shaman, and I don’t think I got past wave three the first time.

That was a wake up call.

“Okay, fuck this, that’s how it’s gonna be? Fine.”

I made sure everything was gemmed, enchanted, went to Icy Veins and checked for recommended macros and glyphs, aoe strategies, made sure every possible useful talent and ability was on the bar, food buff, good to go.

I prepared for war.

There was actually an ability she didn’t have on her bar that she wasn’t using. Just didn’t make it to the bar when they changed something over the last year.

So I tried again.

And again.

I went at that miserable piece of shit instance nine or ten times, getting ever more pissed off because I could NOT get used to where you had to look to see spell casts by the enemy.

I’m talking swearing at the screen telling it to kiss my big furry butt and getting ready to quit the damn game myself. It shouldn’t ought to be that damn hard to unlock a fucking heroic 5 man instance. I’ve done them plenty of times now; there are some stone idiots in those. If they could get through it, what the FUCK is wrong with ME?!?

But I finally got close enough, popped cooldowns and blew everything I had, and triumphed. And damn, did it feel good.

It also felt ridiculous. The only reason, the ONLY reason that was so miserable was because of the way the stock UI is laid out to provide information.

Dealing single target damage, fine, doing some AoE while hitting single targets hard, okay, moving and scooting out of the way of those stun globs while still doing DPS, fine, but moving and doing strong single target and also AoE and also dodging stuns and ALSO watching a cast bar at the top left so I can respond to a heal and interrupt it in time?

Just kiss my furry butt, man. You want to make us ‘learn how to play’, change your UI to help us identify the damn caster getting off a heal.

You know what would have helped? An option of setting a mob’s outline to glow or pulse red when they began casting a heal. It wouldn’t matter who the hell you had targeted or what their cast bar looked like if any enemy that started casting a heal began pulsing with a bright red glow. A simple mouseover macro tied to a left thumb button and you could quickly mouseover them and pop an interrupt.

Oh, would that trivialize the challenge of interrupting?

I respectfully submit to you my opinion that if the challenge lies in using your shitty UI to be able to tell who is casting or what it is they’re casting, and a UI that better conveys critical information in a tight space negates that challenge, the challenge is crap.

Still. It felt very good to finish that for her, so we can do heroics together and open the rest of the game for her to do if SHE chooses, and not feel blocked because she can’t interrupt a damn heal fast enough while dodging stun balls.

I hate to say it, but it’s true. I know it to be true.

If I had to play the game with the stock UI, I’d quit. I wouldn’t enjoy it after being able to play using a UI laid out by someone who had some sense. Someone that looked at the increasingly difficult raid requirements and realized we needed better access to information to speed up response times.

I’ve been using ElvUI too long. I just didn’t know how bad the default really was for SEEING things.

I can’t help feeling sorrow for anyone that uses the default UI, has tried like hell to do the Proving Grounds, and has failed.

It’s not you. Dear lord, please believe me, it’s not you. I know it must be frustrating to see other people get it done, but it doesn’t mean you suck.

It might just mean that you aren’t playing with the same advantages as others. You might still be foolish enough to think that everything in the game can be done by a reasonably experienced gamer using stock WoW user interfaces without macros or addons.

You poor, poor deluded soul.

15 thoughts on “Proving Grounds level – Tarnished Silver

  1. So, um. Maybe you aren’t differentiating between the stock UI and the DEFAULT stock UI but it’s possible to add cast bars to enemy nameplates in the Combat section of the Interface options. You can even add the spell name. I switched back to the stock nameplates a couple of years ago after many years of TidyPlates and haven’t had much of an issue since I can get a similar level of detail even with the stock UI nameplates without the occasional quirks that TidyPlates would provide. You can even specify whether to see cast bars for only your current target or all nearby targets with nameplates showing so you have the option to watch for a healing being cast by a non-targeted mob.


  2. As someone who uses the Stock UI, and is a clicker and Keyboard turner, I found getting Silver Proving grounds on my hunter absurdly easy. I just aoe’d the shit down. Hunters I think have it easy for Proving Grounds, IMO.

    On my rogue, not so much. It took FOREVER to finally get it. I had to get my gear score way up above what was needed for heroics and go in with a few raid buffs before I finally got it. IT SUCKED.

    On a different note, I know a priest who got the Silver Tank rating.


  3. I did silver with stock UI, but… I also did it before they disabled the Legendary cloaks. And I have not even bothered to level another toon to 100 yet.


  4. I have a love-hate relationship with proving grounds. I hate it because it frustrates me but I also love it for that same reason. Guess I can’t back down from a challenge. After many weeks of on again off again practice, however, I finally managed to snag 30 rounds on Endless and that damn Proven Assailant title, so now I don’t have to go back in again if I don’t want to! Huzzah!


  5. I made a conscious decision early on to only use the stock UI. I want to take the game design for what it is, not what it gets modded into. That’s just my approach, though, and I do well understand that there are solutions to these things that Blizz just doesn’t want to fix. I’m a bit annoyed that they don’t, but then, I see the business case for offloading that particular bit of development to fans who do it on their own. It makes sense to leverage that sort of free labor.


  6. I am a stock UI user. Not sure why I haven’t added a custom UI but I guess I am just set in my ways hehe. I remember getting so frustrated at how difficult some classes were for dps silver while others were a breeze. I agree that the stock UI does not help in that regard. I remember my jubilation though when i finally got my first dps silver. I accidentally ran near a mob when I had a stun bubble chasing me and it stunned the mob instead and I could destroy it then. Or when i had the aoe pack and it was taking me forever until I realized that if i let them stand in the fire they go down fast. The healers were the worst though. I got to that I would just focus on them first and hope I would still make time. So much pain….so many failures gaahhhh


  7. Its not just the stock UI being a problem. Its because you’re also a clicker.

    Stock UI + Using Key Binds = OK!
    Custom UI + Clicking = OK!

    Stock UI + Clicking = OH GOD WHY?!

    Both are equally terrible things to do as far as in game performance goes. Having to do both would make content extra challenging, I agree. But they are also things people can fix for themselves.. with a bit of effort.


  8. You can move the health bars for you/target/focus using the default UI – right click on each and there is a menu option to unlock them, then drag them wherever you like.

    Within our guild we noticed a definite disparity between classes in terms of how easy they found things. I recall our shamans having problems as elemental for DPS silver, but same players achieving Endless Healer in their resto spec.

    Joar, we found Glyph of Silence was a big help for Shadow Priests in PG.


  9. The thing that has frustrated me the most with the Silver Proving Grounds has been how different it has been on different classes. I’ve played a warlock my entire time in WoW. Not that I’m an outstanding warlock or anything, but I feel like it’s a class I know fairly well. But it was much harder for me on my warlock that it was on my death knight or on my hunter. Insanely easy on both. Hardly had to think about it. On the warlock, it took several tries. Pain in the neck. It seemed oddly designed if there would be that much difference in how different classes performed.

    I still need to try it on the shadow priest, but I’m guessing that one might be a bit challenging as well.


  10. I found healing proving grounds a lot easier than dps, though that might be mostly due to having healed a lot more in content. I found silver easy as a healer but dps took me multiple attempts and that was using a custom UI. I can very well believe it’s a lot more difficult with stock


  11. Is DPS Silver really that hard?

    I’ve only done Healing Silver in WoD, but I did it with the stock UI. I thought it was just right. Basically, if you could not finish Healing Silver, you would have real problems healing a Heroic 5-man, unless everyone else out-geared Heroics significantly.


    • It’s not, in fact it’s absurdly easy. You don’t even need a cast bar, just look at your screen and when the Jinyu mob moves and his hands glow bright green you hit your interrupt.
      The top arena players all use the default UI as well, this is just PEBKAC.


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