There was a lot of talk about the possibility of people using the proving grounds as a "skill check" for pugs before 5.4 came out. Many wondered, myself included, if this could be the next best way to get people for your group. I can not speak for the community at large but from what I have seen so far it doesn't seem like that is happening.
I stalk open raid often, even have seen a few people I have on my blog list posting there and was tempted to join their pug just to get to know them even if they would not know it was me. Like one person on my list was pugging a ToT run the other week. I actually clicked on his name and was about to whisper him to join when someone in guild asked me to help them with something and I went to do that instead. But enough about open raid, lets get back on task.
In all that time I spent there looking around I have yet to see one person ask for proving grounds achievements for an invitation. Not even a bronze or silver. I must say I have been surprised. I thought that the community would jump on proving grounds gold as the new gear score or item level. I was wrong or was I?
Maybe it is the fact that so few people have even attempted proving grounds which means so few people have gold could be the reason not many are asking for it as a requirement. When most classes have less than 1000 people that have received a gold, at my last check a couple of weeks ago, you are seriously limiting yourself in who you can have join your pug if you require someone to have a gold to join it. Could that be the reason we do not see people asking for it?
I know on my 10 man team there are only 3 people have gotten a gold so far, but it is not really their fault because most have not even tried it. Of those 10 people only 5 have even tried it, 3 got gold and 2 got silver. The other 5 have never even tried it.
I am one of those people that got a gold and I must say that one of the people that only got a silver is leaps and bounds a better player than I am. So why did he not get a gold? Because the proving grounds is not a test of skill, it is a test of problem solving. He is more skilled than I and I am a better problem solver than him.
I only tried it three times and might have gotten a gold on the first try if I had actually looked up anything about it before time. But I like to try things out first and then look them up. I used my stampede on the small sha in round eight, I believe it was, thinking it was the last round and when I did get to the last round I had no cooldowns so I just missed it, as in 3% just missed it.
That stampede would have been what I needed. It was not even needed for the small sha, I only used it because I thought it was the end. The second try I let one of the shades blow up because tab target sucks and even when I was spamming it, it would not switch to it and I could not find the plate to click on it manually. As such, it went boom and so did I. Third time tab worked and I saved my stampede and it went down quickly with time to spare.
After doing gold it occurred to me, this is why no one is asking for proving grounds, it doesn't really prove anything other then I know how to do some problem solving and pick target priorities. In a raid environment that is rarely ever an issue. The strategy is straight forward, targets are decided before time, all there is really is in a raid is an execute phase where you need to pull of the predesignated strategy.
I am not saying that the proving grounds is easy, it is not. I am not trying to take away from the people that have done it. I know I would not be able to do gold on any of my other damage dealers so it is not like it is push over easy where anyone can take any character and do it without being at least half way decent at it. What I am saying is that it really is not a measure of skill. A measure of knowledge of your class? Yes. A measure of planning out targets and abilities? Yes. But a bang bang representation of how you will do in a raid? Not even close.
The only people I have seen mention proving grounds in open raid are those trying to sell themselves to get into a group. It is still a good selling point. I am sure me saying PG gold hunter LF Flex 4 will go over better than just saying I am a hunter looking for it. But I don't see why anyone would make it a requirement.
However, with that said, I do think silver should be a requirement, along with item level, to even be allowed to step into the LFR. Silver is easy enough that even if you are half clueless about your class you can eventually push your way through it but it is hard enough that if you are half clueless about your class it will take you a few attempts and hopefully teach you something about your class in the process.
A proving grounds silver should be a marker for LFR as I see it. Bronze is useless as any sort of judgement because you do not even need to know your class to get a bronze and gold is useless because it doesn't tell you anything that silver already doesn't and that is the person has a basic understanding of some of the abilities of their class.
I might have been expecting a lot more LF groups asking for golds but I was wrong and after doing the PGs I know why I was wrong. It is because a gold really is nothing special when talking about raiding, at least as a damage dealer, when you never have to worry about taking any damage yourself and never have to worry about anything fighting back. There is no way to die, just fail. Pass or fail mechanics are something you can just keep trying until you get it right. There is no difference between me that it took 3 tries, someone that got it on the first try or the guy that spent the entire weekend and 20 hours of attempts to get it right. Looking at the gold achievement we are all equally skilled because we all passed, eventually.
The proving grounds are a good training tool. That guy that spent 20 hours doing it will surely be a better player having went through the effort of doing it. He will have learned movement, how to use some abilities he might not have used before, when to burn, how to burn, target selection, and many other little things many of us take for granted. So proving grounds are a great place to learn, if you are willing to put in the effort to do so. But they are not a good source of judging talent. Not even endless mode.
With that said, the hunter that managed to get gold in tanking, now that shows a special type of talent. I am really impressed with that. But even at that, it is more an issue with problem solving and how to deal with various different things. Just like the bad damage dealer will sooner or later learn how to do more to get gold, he learned how to tank on his hunter to get gold. More power to him for putting in the effort to do so. But getting the tanking gold on a damage dealer does not mean he can play the roll of a tank in a raid just the same that getting a gold as a damage dealer does not mean someone is capable of playing the role of a damage dealer in a raid. Hence the reason it is not asked for by the people assembling groups.
What do you think the proving grounds could add so it would actually show a level of skill for raiding, something to be used as a marker?
I would add some counters for some real numbers that mean something, like how many bananas where thrown and how many you were hit by? Maybe adding ground effects that do damage to the person and show how often the person is hit as a percentage? Then make achievements for the lowest percentages. So a 0% and a gold combined might actually mean something.
I think if they added data, real data, stuff you can sink your teeth into, you could read a lot more about a persons skill or ability in playing their class in a raid environment. So while I expected to see a lot of people asking for proving grounds achievements to join their raid, I was wrong, they are not asking for them, and after doing it, I know exactly why. A gold does not mean you are a good raider.
What do you think of the proving grounds? Hard or easy.
Do you use it to judge others? Do you think people should?