In the recent WoW press tour, Watcher has announced that heroic dungeons in Warlords of Draenor will require a silver medal from the Proving Grounds in order to queue for random matchmaking. Their reasoning for the requirement is that Warlords heroics will be higher in difficulty than what we’ve been used to recently. If you enter with a pre-made group, there is no medal requirement. Warlords will also have normal mode level 100 dungeons (Mists didn’t have max level normals), which I am guessing will be similar in difficulty to Mists heroics. I am assuming item level will still have a minimum requirement, but it can probably be lower than it would need to be without the Proving Grounds medal.
There’s been quite the uproar over this, from both sides of the fence. In my opinion it is a good thing, but that’s only because it’s going to make randoms less frustrating for me. It also ensures I’m grouped with people who know the most basic principles of the game. I’m sure that I’m not the only one with horrific flashbacks of doing Cataclysm launch heroics in random groups. Good grief that was frustrating. I totally understand Proving Grounds are not something everyone wants to do, but I don’t think asking for 20 minutes worth of “tests” to be completed before you enter harder content with random people is too much to ask. You don’t even have to go anywhere, you queue right from any class trainer.
However, I don’t really think it is necessary for the requirement to be completed on every character, unless it’s a different role. For example, if you get a DPS silver on one class, then all future DPS toons are eligible. For those people who run with 10+ max level toons, re-doing the Proving Grounds over and over could get tedious.
- We will have Normal and Heroic versions of our max-level dungeons. (Note that we did not have Normal level 90 dungeons in Mists.)
- There will be no special requirement other than basic level/ilvl requirements on queuing for Normal dungeons or LFR.
- Level-up quest gear will get you into Normal dungeons/scenarios, and Normal dungeon/scenario gear will get you into LFR.
- Heroic dungeons will be more challenging than the Normal version (not brutally difficult, mind you — just somewhat more demanding).
- You will need a Silver Proving Grounds medal in a given role in order to queue for random matchmaking for a Heroic Warlords dungeon. If you form a premade group, you can zone in regardless and no such requirement applies.
If the content is harder then perhaps the gear we get from it may be able to stay relevant beyond the first 2 weeks of Warlords. That is exactly what happened to the 463 blues in Mists – they were useless the day LFR was unlocked.
The fact that Proving Grounds will not be required for LFR makes me think the gear from heroics could be better than — or at least on par with — LFR gear, which, frankly, would be incredible. I would much rather gear up a new toon with a few friends in heroics than suffer through an LFR. Though perhaps LFRs with reduced difficulty, or less individual responsibility, will be less tedious. Ghostcrawler called them “tourist mode” at BlizzCon and I hope that remains true.
I think the game desperately needs some challenging 5-player content that provides gear (Challenge Modes fit the bill, but it’s mostly cosmetic), so this is good news in my view. I sympathize with those who can’t do the silver, or have friends who can’t, but remember you can still go in the dungeons — just not with random people you’ve never met before.