World of Warcraft's next content update, Patch 5.4, will introduce a new solo activity called Proving Grounds. The goal of Proving Grounds is to prepare players for group content like dungeons and raids.
The Proving Grounds are located at the Temple of the White Tiger in the Kun-Lai Summit. You can access the scenario by talking to an NPC or to your class trainer. When you enter the Proving Grounds, your gear will be scaled to a certain level just like with Challenge Modes. You won't be able to out-gear this challenge; you have to know what you're doing.
The exact challenges you'll encounter in the Proving Grounds depend on what role you chose: healer, tank, or DPS. Here's the run-down on what each role will face:
- Tank: You will be tasked with protecting an NPC from oncoming waves of enemies, which will test your tanking skills in various ways. Fear not, though—a friendly NPC will assist by healing you and damaging the enemies.
- Damage: Sometimes you just have to go it alone. You'll melt the usual faces, while handling a variety of mechanics including interrupting heals, chasing down runners, timing cooldowns, avoiding harmful mechanics, and more.
- Healer: Four NPCs will join you to form a full party. It will take a special healing touch to keep your friends alive, as you work together to face the challenges of attacking enemies.
This is the sort of thing that any MMORPG needs. In World of Warcraft and other games of its ilk, leveling simply doesn't take a lot of skill. You spec for DPS and plug away for hours and hours. This makes for a rude awakening at level cap when the games throw more sophisticated group content at you. If you leveled by yourself, you're not going to have any clue on how to tank or heal. This scenario will give you a safe place to test out your skills.
"You won’t need to worry about death or taking durability damage," Blizzard says. "Food and flasks will last their full duration, but leave your potions at home – you won’t be able to use them here. You’ll also have access to various amenities within the Proving Ground such as Vendors, Soulwells, repairs, and Reforgers."
The Proving Grounds aren't just for newbies, though. Like Challenge Modes, they're a high-score competition for advanced players. There are three initial difficulty levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Once you've beaten Gold, you can play Endless mode. Endless pits you against wave after wave of enemies, each more difficult than the last. The longer you last, the higher your score will be. The game will track the top performers.
Patch 5.4, the fourth major update to the game since Mists of Pandaria's launch, is currently on the public testing realm and should arrive later this summer. The patch also includes a new raid called "Siege of Orgrimmar," Flexible Raid Difficulty and new cash shop items.