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September 29, 2013

The Resto Shaman Guide to Proving Grounds (Endless)

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Written by: Vixsin
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Healers who spent their time in Mists of Pandaria searching for that ever-elusive “triage” need not look any further than the newly-introduced Proving Grounds to get their frenzied healing fix. Set in the Temple of the White Tiger, in Kun Lai Summit, the Proving Grounds solo scenario teams up healers with a group of NPCs to battle with waves of enemies equipped a variety of healer-targeted abilities. To cap off the Bronze, Silver and Gold achievements, which you’ll need to complete in advance of putting this guide to good use, is the “Endless” trial, which is exactly what it sounds like—endless waves of mobs that get better at killing you with every wave. If you and your NPC team manage to polish off 30 rounds of baddies, a new title, <the Proven Healer> will be yours, along with … this NEW CAR!!! Okay no, not really, this isn’t “The Price Is Right”. Sorry.

ANYWHO, to help lay the groundwork for Triage, The In-Game Experience, I put together some tips for you adventurous Resto Shaman out there, about builds, glyphs, best practices, and the waves themselves. Hopefully you find it useful as you set about to prove that your raid team is easily replaced by a series of AI-driven processes, who are actually coded to stand in fire. (hehe) So enjoy! And if you have any specific questions that I haven’t addressed in the various sections of the post, hit me up in the comments, and I’ll do my best to help out.

 

Build

For PG Endless, your focus is going to be entirely on getting the most amount of single-target healing on your group for the least amount of cost. Playing conservatively is going to be necessary because there will be some waves where you will not be able to avoid spending ½  - ¾ of your mana pool on that pull alone. So, your build is going to be the most mana conservative one out there:

  • Tier 15: Stone Bulwark Totem. 1 GCD for a crapton of absorb healing. Also useful for getting a Bleed to fall off immediately.
  • Tier 30: Completely open. I didn’t find any of these talents to be all that particularly useful. (Earthgrab will, unfortunately, not stop mobs from burrowing).
  • Tier 45: Call of the Elements. Remember: mana conservation is the name of the game. More HST’s and SBT’s = better.
  • Tier 60: Ancestral Swiftness, for the 1-minute instant-cast OR Echo of the Elements, because, free healing. (I went with AS on my first one, because I knew there would be a couple times where the tank would get beat down, and with no tank CD, Restos are a little bit at a loss).
  • Tier 75: Rushing Streams. There’s no contest here.
  • Tier 90: Unleashed Fury. Although I did use Primal Elementalist for one of my PG Endless run-throughs, using UF was actually much easier on my mana because it meant that I could power out an HS when a tank was getting trucked (read: Conqueror waves) or use UE+HW for a powerful but mana-conservative heal.

In terms of stats, I went with a high Spirit/Crit build, with a little more Mastery than I usually favor. I dropped as much Haste as I could, knowing that the speed of my heals wouldn’t be an issue.

 

Glyphs

Keeping with the triage healing theme, your glyphs are likely going to be focused on getting more healing for less mana:

  • Glyph of Healing Wave. Yes, seriously. HW is a great mana-conservative heal and with this glyph, you don’t have to worry about healing yourself.
  • (Unglyph) Glyph of Riptide. There’s no need to blanket the group in RT’s and you won’t have the mana for it anyways.
  • Glyph of Chaining. Yes, still serious. Because you’re not going to be able to interrupt every AOE ability, having a group heal is going to be hugely beneficial. Your mage may creep towards melee as your rounds continue (mine actually stood in melee on a couple pulls), but the hunter remained steadfastedly at ranged the entire time, so standing in between the 2 groups will assure you get all injured targets taken care of, quickly and easily.
  • Glyph of Totemic Recall. If you want to ease the mana burden on yourself, get comfortable with using this Glyph to recall your Healing Stream Totem before its 15-sec timer expires. You get a substantial amount of mana back for your efforts and get HST’s insanely powerful throughput (esp. given Rushing Streams) for free. In fact, one macro will do it all for you:
    • /castsequence reset=16 Healing Stream Totem, Totemic Recall

Your first use of the macro will drop HST, and your second use (within a 16-second window) will recall the totem. After 16-seconds, the macro will reset back to HST, which will display on your bars in grey (like any CD that is actually on CD) until it is able to be used again. I’ve been using this for pretty much the entire expansion and can’t emphasize how beneficial the mana is when you’re really strapped for it.

 

Tools at the Ready + Good Practices

Before you get into the waves of mobs, there are a couple beneficial tools to make sure you have ready to use through the course of the encounter:

  1. Wind Shear – you can and should interrupt on CD. You can spend 5,640 mana to interrupt a cast or 2-5 times that amount healing the damage that it did.
  2. Capacitor Totem – drop one every wave. Same concept as Wind Shear, only at an even cheaper cost. Stunned mobs do no damage! If you’re in a pinch, use CotE to snap reset your totems and get another Capacitor +HST down immediately.
  3. Restorative Amber – you will get a brief amount time to drink after Wave 10, Wave 20, Wave 30 (and every 10th wave thereafter, if you want to keep going). Restorative Amber is the fastest way to fill your mana bar, so it’s worth the added cost to pick some up from the Klaxxi.
  4. Spirit Flasks. You will be strapped for mana during Endless PG, so aim for Spirit.
  5. 275/300 food. I went with Spirit, since I have a veritable crapton of it stockpiled for this tier’s progression, but you can certainly use Intellect food. Because your food and flask aren’t scaled down like your gear is, these are very valuable stat boosts.
  6. You can’t use mana pots during PG’s, so don’t bother.
  7. Swap out your helm to something without the legendary meta (since it is disabled in PG’s, just like legendary cloak procs and tier bonuses). Revitalizing Diamond was my choice (same as CM’s).
  8. Use your Fire Elemental to help out on damage on AOE waves. Especially use Earth Elemental on to help your tank out in a pinch (since Earth Ele will taunt non-boss mobs).

Likewise, there are a couple of overarching rules/practices that should govern your choices with every wave:

  1. Interrupted casts = mana saved. Seriously, interrupt A LOT. (Did I mention this yet? lol) Key things that you absolutely need to interrupt: Sonic Blast (from Hive-Singers) and Invoke Lava (Flamecaller).
  2. Think of Ascendance as a mana conservation tool. You don’t need to do max throughput with it in PG’s–use it with HW to save mana and heal the group.
  3. Get bleeds off of targets ASAP. The longer a target remains sub-90% with Chomp (applied by the Tunnelers), the more mana and time you’ll have to invest in removing it. Remember to add “Chomp” to your raid frames!
  4. In triage, players don’t need to be topped through direct heals. If an NPC has an RT hot and there’s no AOE going out, don’t spend the mana to top him—let the hot do it.
  5. Mana Tide early and often.
  6. Hang out near the tank, in melee, for two good reasons:
    • To drop Capacitor Totem
    • To drop Spirit Link Totem when Conquerors (which is your only Tank CD aside from Earth Elemental)
  7. When dispelling, think about positioning. There will be a couple waves with double Jinyu Aqualytes, who will apply a debuff called Aqua Bomb. Not only does the debuff do damage while it’s on a target, but if it expires without being dispelled it will do additional AOE damage to nearby players (8-10 yards) and knock them back. So, your dispel priority should be:
    • Rogue or Melee Mage (my NPC mage loved to stack on the tank)
    • Tank
    • Hunter (who will always be away from the group at range) or Ranged Mage
    • Yourself (because you can simply move out of the group and drop SBT to mitigate the damage)

 

The Waves

With the improvements made to the NPC AI in a post-patch hotfix, your waves of mobs should have a smooth progression with little to no overlap from one wave to the next. But, keep in mind that with every wave that spawns, the hostile NPCs will gain a stack of a buff called Endless Wave, so each wave will hit progressively harder. So here’s the shorthand version of what you should note about every wave:

Wave 1  Flamecaller +    Ripper x2  Be ready to interrupt the Flamecaller, who will Invoke Lava          immediately upon spawning. Be efficient with your mana—you  should spend the absolute minimum on this wave.
Wave 2  Hivesinger +  Aqualyte+Ripper  Focus on interrupting the Hivesinger and use Capacitor. Again,  mana conservation is key. Use Ascendance to stabilize if  multiple Sonic Blasts go out.
Wave 3  Tunneler x2 +  Ripper  No interrupts this wave, but focus on getting Chomp bleeds off  immediately. Hope that a tunneler chooses you so that you can  SBT+RT and drop the bleed immediately. This should be a wave  you can recover mana on.
Wave 4  Aqualyte x2 +  Flamecaller  Interrupt Flamecaller immediately on spawn, and get into melee  range to drop a Capacitor. Remember the dispel priority above.  Use HTT to save mana.
Wave 5  Conqueror +  Hivesinger +  Tunneler  Focus on interrupting the Hivesinger. The tank will be taking  additional damage when the Conqueror enrages. Use SLT if  necessary and Earth Elemental.
Wave 6  Aqualyte +    Flamecaller +  Tunneler +  Ripper  Interrupt the Flamecaller and use a group stun ASAP. This  should  be a mana recovery wave (slightly).
Wave 7  Conquerors x2  + Hivesinger  Interrupt the Hivesinger as often as possible. Use Capacitor for  the stun even though the Conquerors are immune. Use HTT if  necessary. If you do your job locking down the Hivesinger, this  should be tank damage only.
Wave 8  Flamecallers x4  + Ripper  You’ll only be able to grab one interrupt on Invoke Lava at the  start, but Capacitor totem is a great way to keep these mobs  locked down. Use CotE to get out another AOE stun on this  wave, along with an  extra HST. The goal is to make it through  this wave using as little mana as possible, because you’re going  to need it in the next two. Use Fire Elemental to speed things up.
Wave 9  Hivesinger +  Tunneler +  Aqualyte  Lock down the Hivesinger as much as possible. Because he’s a  large NPC (and thus has more HP) he’s going to be up for a  much longer time. Use Ascendance to help counter the raid  damage.
Wave 10  Conqueror +    Flamecaller +  Aqualyte  Focus interrupts on the Flamecaller, and have both SLT and HTT  at the ready should things start to go badly. Earth Elemental  should also be back up, if your tank’s HP starts to get low.

After Wave 10, you”ll get a quick moment to drink and then it’ll be back to Wave 1. Remember, these waves will get tougher with each cycle, but the same interrupt and mana usage goals apply every time. Knowing which waves to spend mana on and which waves to save it on is going to assure that you make it through to the end. (Well, actually it doesn’t end at Wave 30. But as soon as Wave 31 popped for me, I dropped the mic with gusto and declared, “BOOYA” before letting all my NPCs die glorious complete-lack-of-throughput deaths!)

 

In Closing …

As a last bit of advice, I’ll add … Proving Grounds is meant to be a challenge for all players because it employs the same “even playing field” approach we’ve seen in Challenge Modes. So, if it takes you some time to find your footing and get back into triage healing or to understand the damage patterns of each of the waves, don’t worry about it. I didn’t step in PG’s on Day 1 and cap out Endless immediately. I let a tank die, I let a mage die (of which I’m particularly proud), I blew my mana too quickly, and in some PG excursions, was way too stingy with the mana I had. So, stick with it, refine your technique, and I’d willing to bet that <the Proven Healer> will be your calling card in no time.

Best of luck to you!






41 Comments


  1. Tiberria

    Grounding Totem used on cooldown on the waves with Flamecallers is also highly useful, because it gives you essentially an extra fireball/pyroblast interrupt every 25 seconds. I found myself dropping it about 5 seconds ahead of the wave spawning, so it would be back up sooner, and so I could let it soak one of the first wave of casts, then be able to use Capacitor as soon as it did.


  2. Hey Vixsin!
    Great info! I was able to make it to wave 48 on my best try :) woot woot. Some helpful tips on removing the debuff “Chomp” is: Having HST down and a riptide on the target will almost always get the non-tank targets beyond the debuff threshold, allowing you to focus on the tank with simple healing waves.

    Man, thank god for Capacitor Totem, we’d be doomed! :) I wish this guide was out when I was grinding this out. Kudos!

    - Radicals


    • Wow, Wave 48! You overachiever. ^_^

      And absolutely agreed about Capacitor; it makes so many of the waves that much less painful when you can completely lock down the casters.


  3. Thank you for this! I have attempted the PGs a little but got stuck on the gold level. I’m excited now to give it a shot again. :)


  4. Iku

    You can use Hex on Rippers to force your party to engage other enemies first, which is extremely useful, especially on wave 8. In my experience, this should take priority even over the initial interrupt and AoE stun. There’s nothing more frustrating than your whole party focusing on that Ripper and leaving you alone to deal with the four casters.


  5. Altam

    This is great! I hit ‘Gold’ a while ago without too much effort and I was about to start the ‘Endless’ proving grounds to see what I’m made of. I guess it’s all about finding a good tactic that also fits your playing style? I will have to see how far I get by trial and error, but it’s comforting to know that there is an amazing guide from your hand, as always, waiting for me to guide me further where and when I fail :)


  6. Klievhelm

    Thanks for the guide. It’s good to see so much of our utility toolkit come into play, along with a totally different healing model than we face in current raids. I need to bust out the earth elemental more, and get used to capacitor on every wave too. Do you heal the earth elemental when it’s up, or just let it absorb a few hits? I’ve never been sure what its mitigation is.

    I found building a separate gear set with old gear really helped me customize for spirit/crit. I was debating going for the 3800 haste threshold, but doesn’t seem feasible at that gear level, so I dropped it all. I’ve made it past wave 10 now, which was a big hurdle, and I think I can make it to 30 with some work. Staying focused for 30+ min straight is also its own challenge.


  7. Shamannigans

    I wouldn’t say that Rushing Streams is far and away the best talent at level 75. Conductivity is surprisingly good for endless, especially when paired with the TC glyph.


    • The main objection that I have to using Conductivity in Endless is that that level of group throughput really isn’t necessary on the large majority of waves. With proactive interrupts and stuns, the AOE damage going out was relatively light. (e.g.: HTT was hitting about 50-60% overhealing per drop).

      So, given that HST is 1) smart healing, 2) conducive to single-target burst, and 3) entirely free given the use of Totemic Recall, I would strongly recommend it over the strains associated with HR uptime.

      Granted, this is a personal preference (as all my posts are), so I’m sure there are a number of ways to plow through Endless that I haven’t even addressed.


  8. Shinji

    I can only manage to get gold but I can’t even get past endless wave 10. I will try ur guide when maintenance is over!


  9. What trinket would you say are BiS for this currently?


    • Because I used Spirit food and flasks, I wanted to stick with Int baseline + Spirit proc trinkets to make sure that my throughput was up to snuff. So, I went in with my current trinkets equipped–Horridon’s and Samophlange–but you could easily use Spirits of the Sun or Relic of Chi-Ji to the same effect. (Chi-Ji is actually something I used consistently during PTR testing, since it has a really high stat allocation for its ilvl).


  10. Lightning

    A guildie of mine linked me here when I was struggling to get past wave 15, this guide helped me re-think the way I was approaching PG. Happy to report I hit wave 35 today, thank you very much for the help!


  11. Harpoa

    Just a tid bit i found that dropping stormlash totem on the 6th 16th 26th ect waves to make sure that everything was burned down before the double conq wave spawned.

    Also Klaxxi amber is great for mana recovery at before wave 11,21,31 ect.


  12. Javaman

    This guide was great, I did Zero research and got hung up (OOM on gold) I didn’t realize you had rework your gear and meta gem, got through gold 1st try, now on to endless, and I too will bow out with a mic drop on head of the dead mage, and yell “for the love of god ICE BLOCK next time!” at 30…

    Thanks for the Awesome site and the amazing insight to the Totem Wielders….


  13. Qooxxy

    This was kinda a funny read ;)


  14. Chombi

    For Resto Proving Grounds, which socket is more valuable, red socket(int/spirit) or yellow socket(int/crit)?


    • If you’re trying to choose between two pieces of gear, I would say to go with the one with more spirit and/or crit. Because your ilvl will be scaled down, you really are going to need all of the regen that you can get.


  15. Morish

    Thanks for the tips vix, managed to get up to wave 44 on my first try after reading your guide :)


  16. anakiin

    I would like to ask,what was your gear? and what is the stats priority i need to have ?


    • I went in with a mish-mash of T15 and T16 gear, with around 18k-19k spirit before it was scaled down. (I’m afraid I didn’t record the “Before” and “After” for my stats–sorry!). As I mentioned above, I was prioritizing Spirit, then Crit, then Mastery, and reforging out of haste as much as possible.


      • Knitetn

        I love this blog :)

        I got myself to wave 12 or so on my own (weird, since I’m a better DPS and a better tank than I am a healer (on other characters), and i can’t get past wave 8 on either of them… sigh), and am looking to aim at wave 30 now and will be using this post to help me ^^

        I’m trying to figure out the best gear I’ve got to work on this (I figure better gear choices can’t hurt). Is the best strategy to take as many spirit/crit pieces as I’ve got, then prioritize pieces with crit + something else and then reforge any haste to mastery? I’ve been struggling with figuring out how to prioritize pieces, and whether to aim for any particular haste breakpoint (the 12.5%ish one, for example), or just ignore that and go down lower if I can? For the metagem- the intel/crit one or the spirit/mana pool one? For cape – the legendary (since it’s got 3 stats + a gem socket) or go for a standard 2-stat cape? Mainhand+offhand (cos then you can put an intel enchant on the off-hand), 2-hand or whichever gives me more crit and/or spirit?

        Thanks a lot!


        • 1. I wouldn’t worry about haste breakpoints–reforge and gear out of haste as much as possible. Speed isn’t an issue for Proving Grounds.
          2. I went with the Revitalizing Primal (Spirit+Crit effect).
          3. I kept the legendary cloak since it has a larger stat budget than any other cloak.
          4. For gearing, I swapped out as many of my haste pieces as possible, favoring those with Spirit/Crit or Spirit/Mastery. (I wouldn’t worry too much about gear–so long as you’re not a pure haste build, you should be okay).
          5. I also used a Spirit Flask and Spirit food, just to up my regen as high as possible. Glyph of Totemic Recall was a godsend, since it essentially ensured that all my HST’s were free.


  17. Xerczies

    Awesome guide Vixsin,

    Only started the PG last night after stumbling across this guide yesterday. It takes quite a bit of practice when first starting out in endless but in 4 tries (maybe 2 more fails in between where is screwed up cooldowns) managed to get from waves 10->14->17->25. Just need to push to that 30 tonight.

    Thanks for the guide


  18. Shellfish

    I love your blog vixsin, it has been more than helpful in my shaman adventure. I personally loves them and have 2 at level 90 and another at 88.

    After a 4 months hiatus, came back to the game and i went to do proving grounds today after reading abt your guide last night.

    Its super helpful although i still stuck with using capacitor glyph instead of chaining. I also brought bandages with me, you can use that in there as well thought i mentioned it here. I chuck a bandage at the hunter and that seem to do the trick alot of times.

    I got to wave 28 in first few attempts but i have to say that mage npc is really annoying. So close yet so far :s


  19. This guide is priceless, thank you.
    Still stuck on wave 26 but have revised my gearing and build.

    Can I please ask what your stats were once scaled?


    • Unfortunately, I didn’t have the foresight to screenshot my stats once they were scaled. I can say that prior to gear scaling, I was at 18-19k spirit, with a crit-mastery build.


  20. Shockerz @ The Maelstrom

    Hey bro, managed to get endless rank 30 in 2 hours after getting gold healer ach thanks to this guide.


  21. Xikkz

    I hadn’t bothered with any PG’s since they were added, but was bored last 2 days ago and figured I’d work on them.. Managed to get Gold Tank/DPS on my alt DK(though gold tank took a few tries, hesitant to go for Proven Defender..but man thats a nice title)…

    Then figured I would give the ole Healing toon a go, Managed to 1 shot all through Gold, then kept getting to 17ish on Endless, before I quit for the night. Then last night..I tried again and on the first attempt I got ~to~ wave 30, but sad to say the tank died RIGHT AS HTT came off cooldown. Subsequent attempts only saw me averaging to waves 18-25.. I’m so close..but still feels so far. But once I get it..it’ll be nice to rub the fact that my alt shaman has it, and none the other healers in my guild have it ^_^

    Also, <3 your guide, reading it before I ever jumped into Endless helped so immensely.

    (And sorry for the, ramblish post)


  22. Gingervitis

    Thanks to your guide I got this in about 6 attempts.

    The biggest hurdle for me was round 5/15/25. The tank took so much damage I was having trouble keeping up with him and trying to deal with the Hive-Singer damage/interrupts. I just realized I *needed* to save HTT for this wave and boom, only took one more go after my wave 25 failure and got it!

    One thing I found to help immensely was using Glyph of Telluric Currents. Especially for the end of waves were the tank damage is much more predictable and can be handled with just RT and HST, helping the dps out and getting mana back saved my skin for mana management. I managed to get through waves 11-20 starting with 15% mana. Not sure if that would work for everyone but it worked for me.


  23. Craisy

    Downed this today thanks to your amazing guide! After reading this I gave it a shot last night and failed twice – both times due to being too stingy with my mana. Logged in this afternoon for another try and 1 shot it!

    Really big emphasis on your Crit/Spirit reforge… it was the best advice and really helped my regen. I used HST, chaining, and HW glyphs, and also EotE (for the first time ever). SBT is great as well, but as a AS user i mostly forgot to keep it on cd.. oops.

    Also for any fellow dwarf shamans out there, remember your racial clears the bleed =)


  24. mademoiselle

    Are you that once long ago Vixsin (Alliance Priest) Displaced guild – Firetree?



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