Reading The Ancient Gaming Noob's recent post, he goes into how he nabbed DPS Silver, no problems, and then proceeded to get trounced by the Heroic dungeons. Similarly, I recently healed Heroic Slag Mines for some guildies of mine, and while I love them dearly, after wiping on Roltall six times I had to break it to them they did not have the DPS to kill the boss (despite being nearly 630 ilvl each). Roltall is a DPS race, if you don't kill him fast enough, the entire platform covers with fire and ain't no one healing through that.
But since we queued for that random 5th player, they all must have had Silver PGs in their roles. So where's the disconnect?
Clearly Silver isn't actually doing what it's supposed to: ensuring that folks who are queuing for random dungeons meet a minimum bar where they can be successful in a group where skill levels are not guaranteed and communication is at a premium.
Make no mistake, current Heroic 5-mans are difficult. They're not Challenge Mode difficult, sure, but they're nearly as difficult as Cataclysm Heroics were. Those of us with a lot of experience raiding probably cannot fairly judge the relative difficulty of dungeons, as once you've seen a few expansions worth of content, everything starts to look recycled. It's simple to break down fights into older fights as a proxy and use known strategies/coping techniques.
But for those who are not that experienced, it's a wake-up call, and not a pleasant one. If Silver was supposed to show you are prepared, well, enter Illidan's infamous quote. At least, not in its current incarnation.
Gold PGs currently might be a tad too difficult as a gate for Heroic 5-Mans
So let's say Blizzard made Silver more difficult, or upped the requirement to Gold. Some folks already struggle with Silver, and only get through because someone else points out a flaw in their strategy (often around the use of interrupts and/or stuns if my experiences are any indication). This is currently a failure on Blizzard's part for not giving enough feedback in PGs to show why you failed. Currently it is left as an exercise for the player, and many players don't have the skills yet to break down why they goofed. Heck, I've seen Mythic-level raiders who've subbed in our raid on occasion give completely incorrect and off-base wipe analyses, so it's no wonder that players who already struggle with Silver cannot figure it out.
And sure, one could argue that they need to do the research outside the game, the same as the rest of us have, but to me that's a failure in game design. The game should give you enough feedback to figure out what happened and such that you can tailor a new strategy from there. Now, this is probably far too big for raiding/dungeons, but for PGs that have a very scripted, controlled environment? Should be completely doable.
Of course, another argument from there is if they get used to the game telling them, it's a crutch that doesn't exist elsewhere so they may be lost in dungeons, but frankly, I think the WoW design team needs to start somewhere.
I also think that Proving Grounds currently don't provide enough mechanics. Where's the bad on the floor that's so prevalent in most dungeons? Something that deals you damage and reduces your DPS? Perhaps more interesting techniques like Line of Sighting casters, or anticipating a big attack on your tank and pre-casting a heal to line up after the attack lands? The PGs provide a prime opportunity for teaching, not just testing, and I think if Blizzard wants to continue to use them as an effective gate, they need to up the quality of each test.
So currently, no, I don't think Silver Proving Grounds are a good gate. Their difficulty is not in tune with Heroic 5-mans currently, and they leave newer DPS players with little recourse but to look up the puzzle solution if they can't figure it out--Healing is less a puzzle and more about cooldown usage, but stuns/interrupts definitely make it much easier; I cannot comment on Tanking.
They're not a bad gate--better than no gate, I think, so from that perspective they've improved things by keeping the truly unaware/unprepared away from an environment where they and everyone around them would be frustrated, but they could definitely be better. #WorldOfWarcraft, #GameDesign