In an effort to increase the success rate of early Warlords of Draenor heroic dungeons, Blizzard has established Silver Proving Grounds as the test of heroic-dungeon-ready players. In order to queue for the new heroics, you must first prove that you have what it takes to heal under pressure. (It’s also worth noting that if you want to dual queue, as a healer and as a dps, that you must beat both versions of the proving grounds. So no skating by on your healing or dps chops alone!) To speed you through the solo scenario and get you into those Heroic dungeons, here’s a quick guide to picking up your own Proving Yourself: Silver Healer achievement, and if you’re interested, caring on into the Proving Yourself: Gold Healer achievement as well.
Tier 45: Call of the Elements – More healing streams, capacitors, and groundings, oh my!
Tier 60: Echo of the Elements – Unleash Life for everyone!
Tier 75: Rushing Streams – for keeping those standing-in-BFE ranged topped up (yes, even the NPCs are designed to do it!)
- I preferred Unleashed Fury because the overwhelming majority of healing in PGs is single target (and UL+HS with a UF buff can pack a punch when you need it most)
- I was successful in using Elemental Blast for Gold PG, but I found it difficult to keep up the EB buff while maintaining a mana conservative rotation. (Meaning, if I wanted to create a little extra time for EB casts, I had to use more HS, which negated the benefit of the additional spirit provided by EB)
- Cloudburst Totem was the most useful talent by far, because the additional healing during AOE can be helpful (and when you get to Gold/Endless it’s a good way to deal with Hive Singer + Conqueror waves, allowing you to focus on tank healing and splash heal the group)
- High Tide was not that successful, because the ranged NPCs typically stood at max distance, so CH through the tank or melee would not bounce
- Storm Elemental Totem was brilliant at running about and not contributing
- Glyph of Healing Wave
- Glyph of Healing Stream Totem
- Glyph of Cleansing Waters (for Silver/Gold/Endless)
When I completed the trials on beta, my specs within the Proving Grounds (which includes all raid buffs) were:
- Intellect: 3,772 / Spellpower: 5,541
- Regen: 6,582
- Crit: 15.87% / Mastery: 67.12% / Haste: 11.48% (+5% raid buff)
- Multi: 17.23% / Versa: 3%
I used an Intellect Flask with Spirit food, and predominantly Mastery enchants on my items. Trinkets were Tharbeck’s Lucky Pebble (on-use Mastery) and Voidmender’s Shadowgem (on-use Crit), because those were the best trinkets I could find. As with the Proving Grounds in MoP, your exact stats aren’t what will make or break your success–PG’s are about execution and your ability to prioritize healing.
** Getting the achievements on Live servers, I had significantly less stats than on beta. I was in 606ilvl, with 2,679 Intellect, 1158 Spirit, 8.43% Crit, 60.19% Mastery, and 19.59% haste. So don’t despair if you’re not in a ton of normal-mode items.
Rules of Thumb
- Maximize your Unleash Life casts. Meaning: use them often, use them with Healing Surge, and if an Echo proc is about to expire, use UL + Riptide for the boosted hot
- Mitigation is always greater than healing. So, use the tools in your arsenal to prevent and mitigate damage:
– Use Grounding Totem to absorb Fireballs and Pyroblasts from Flamecallers
– Use Capacitor Totem to keep Hive Singers locked down
– Wind Shear every single cast you can
– Use Spirit Link Totem for tank damage reduction
– Make dispelling a priority
- Keeping Earth Shield up on the tank should be a priority. Refresh it every time there’s a lull in the action, and if it falls in between your UL cast and the HS you have lined up, then stopcasting, recast ES, then cast HS. (This is because the 20% additional healing from ES is multiplicative, resulting in even more healing from Unleash Life/Unleashed Fury for the same mana).
- Drop Stone Bulwark Totem before AOE damage waves, because it will be healing that you won’t have to do on yourself.
- Be familiar with the spawn locations. Getting the jump on waves with Flamecallers and Hive Singers is essential, and knowing where the next wave is spawning so that you can proactively move in that direction is helpful for cutting off damage before the enemy NPCs have a chance to dish it out.
The introduction to Proving Grounds, the start trial’s goal is to get you familiar with the pacing and structure of Proving Grounds. It will introduce you to some of the types of mobs that you’ll be fighting and show you the two primary spawn locations for waves. Here’s what you’ll be facing:
- Wave 1 – Small Ripper (right)
- Wave 2 – Large Ripper (left)
- Wave 3 – Small Hive Singer, Small Ripper (right)
- Wave 4 – Large Hive Singer, Large Ripper (left)
- Wave 5 – 2 x Large Ripper (right), followed by 2 x Small Hive Singer (left, but will move into the middle)
The basic premise from Mists for each NPC remains the same, so if you took on MoP’s Proving Grounds, there’s not much that’s new in the way of mechanics. Rippers are the punishers of the bunch, handing out large amounts of damage on your tank, while Hive Singers deliver AOE damage. Both can be mitigated through liberal use of Capacitor Totem, and the Hive Singers themselves necessitate sharp interrupts. (It’s okay if some Sonic Screeches get off, but you want to limit them as much as possible).
A slight step up from Bronze, the Silver trial will introduce you to two new mobs–Flamecallers and Aqualytes–and build on the abilities and damage patterns that were present in the previous trial. You’ll be facing more mobs and an increased number of waves:
- Wave 1 – Large Ripper (right)
- Wave 2 – Large Hive Singer + Small Ripper (left) drop cloudburst
- Wave 3 – Small Flamecaller + Small Ripper (right) [some overlap with 2 in terms of kill timing]
- Wave 4 – Large Flamecaller, Large Ripper (left)
- Wave 5 – Large Ripper + Small Hive Singer (right), then Large Flamecaller (left)
- Wave 6 – Small Aqualyte + Large Ripper (right)
- Wave 7 – Large Aqualyte, Small Flamecaller (left)
- Wave 8 – Small Hive Singer + Small Aqualyte (right), then 2 x Small Ripper + 1 Large Flamecaller (left)
The key in this Silver trial is not to fall behind in healing, because the waves are designed to snowball as your NPC dps struggles to clear the wave. (It’s worth noting, I had waves bleed into eachother several times, even during Silver). Now, normally the challenge of not falling behind would mean that you want to mash your heals harder, but when it comes to Proving Grounds, remember: mitigation > healing. So, think proactively and know which totems are going to help you in which waves. Likewise, prioritize interrupts over everything else, followed by dispels (if you miss a dispel the NPCs will chastise you!), then healing. You can use your elementals to get a little bit of extra dps in on the mobs, but in the end, there’s nothing fancy that you need to do to pick up your achievement–just stick to smart decision-making and you’ll be on to Heroic dungeons in short order.
Bonus Round: Gold Trial
For those of you who are feeling particularly feisty and are interested in proving your mettle beyond Silver, the Gold PG’s (and thereafter the Endless challenge) await. Here’s how the waves look:
- Wave 1 – Large Flamecaller + Small Ripper (right)
- Wave 2 – Small Hive Singer + Large Aqualyte (left)
- Wave 3 – Small Tunneler + Small Hive Singer + Small Ripper (right)
- Wave 4 – Large Tunneler + Small Ripper + Large Flamecaller (left)
- Wave 5 – Small Tunneler + Large Aqualyte (right), Small Hive Singer + Small Flamecaller (left, after about 15sec into the wave)
- Wave 6 – Small Conqueror + Small Ripper + Large Ripper (mid)
- Wave 7 – Small Conqueror + Small Hive Singer + Large Tunneler (right)
- Wave 8 – Small Conqueror + Large Flamecaller (left)
- Wave 9 – Small Flamecaller + Large Conqueror (far right), Small Aqualyte + Small Hive Singer (center, after about 10 sec into the wave)
- Wave 10 – Large Conqueror + Small Tunneler (mid), Small Flamecaller + Small Aqualyte (rear, after about 20 seconds into the wave), Small Conqueror + Small Hivesinger (right, about 30 seconds into the wave)
You’ll be dealing with the full gamut of mob abilities in Gold, including a few that you didn’t see in previous trials:
- Tunnelers will apply a bleed (Chomp) which can only be removed by healing the afflicted NPC to above 90% HP – Hots are generally not sufficient to counter this debuff, so you will need to apply direct healing. Dealing with this debuff ASAP is critical to minimizing the damage it deals; the longer you let it remain on a target, the more healing you will have to invest to remove it.
- Conquerors will Enrage, which will increase tank damage by a metric crapton. It cannot be purged, so you will have to heal through the increased damage, with the help of Capacitor Totem for stuns and Spirit Link Totem for damage reduction.
In Gold, you’re also going to be pressed to use your cooldowns (whereas in Silver, I was able to get by without using any). So, I’d recommend considering using CDs on the following waves:
- Wave 1-2: Healing Tide Totem (to conserve mana)
- Wave 6: Spirit Link Totem (to deal with Conqueror and potential overlap with wave 5)
- Wave 9: Healing Tide Totem
- Wave 10: Bloodlust /Heroism + Ascendance
Finally, with no special mana tricks (like recalling totems or using Telluric Currents), you will have to use a mana conservative approach and really rely on eking out every little bit from the tools at your disposal. Sometimes it might seem counter-intuitive to drop a Grounding Totem when you really want to heal, or stopcasting a HW to interrupt a Sonic Call, but it’s those decisions which will ultimately result in the kill.