This past Friday, the Healer Proving grounds were finally fixed and I decided to spend a little bit of time over the weekend to give them a spin. I have been pretty excited about proving grounds since they were announced, and was very disappointed when they were bugged shortly after being released, so I was pretty excited about going in and playing them finally. I think my favorite thing about proving grounds is that my success in them is wholly dependent on my individual performance and how I execute each challenge that is presented.
I went in Friday and snagged my “Proven Healer” title pushing into wave 48. Saturday morning I decided to give it another go, and went through two rounds with my first getting into 48 again and my second seeing 55. Not satisfied with that, I came in Sunday morning and did another round, this time making it into wave 63 before running into trouble that ended my run. Each time I reach a wave that surpasses my previous performance I find myself exhilarated and have to remind myself to stay calm and play smartly. Each time I fail, I think through what caused the wipe and how I could have done something differently to achieve a different result and look forward to getting back in there to try again. In other words…I’m addicted! I really enjoy that they make me look for solutions to new problems the further I get, which in turn I think makes me a better player. So far, the only downside to proving grounds is that it now takes me in excess of an hour to get back to the best point I reached in my prior runs and back to the challenge of pushing further into additional endless waves. Which can be a little cumbersome.
Since proving grounds are relatively new and require some out of the box thinking and tricks, as well as smart healing, I thought folks might be interested to see how I am approaching them. As such, I thought I’d share some things I’ve picked up over the past few days, in hopes that it will be useful to someone just getting ready to start on their own proven healer journey!
It really doesn’t matter what talent you opt to utilize in the first tier. But I do have some favorites in later tiers, a few that I’d consider “must haves”. Let’s go through them!
Tier 1 – You can really chose whatever talent you want here. I am a fan of Feline Swiftness, but I haven’t really found anywhere where your choice here will make a huge different.
Tier 2 – Ysera’s Gift. This talent is very strong for both the self healing it gives you, but also the healing it may randomly throw around to your party. The best part about it is that it’s free!
Tier 3 – Typhoon. This is a must. It is a very good interrupt throughout many of the waves, and will be essential to handling wave 8.
Tier 4 – Force of Nature. This is a must. I’ve never really been a huge fan of this talent…until now. The free healing, coupled with the ability to having them available to assist with conserving mana is going to be vital as you learn new waves and/or experience different challenges in later waves.
Tier 5 – Mighty Bash. This is a must. You are going to want to have as many interrupts as possible as you go into certain waves. I did play around with Disorienting Roar in this tier, but often found that the mobs were immune or it was ineffective. As such, Mighty Bash is going to be your best bet.
Tier 6 – Nature’s Vigil. I’ve seen some folks playing around with HotW in this tier for the extra intellect, but I really like both the short duration of the NV cooldown, coupled with it doing a little extra damage during really tough waves. This remains my talent of choice in this tier.
For glyphs I like to use Efflorescence, Regrowth and Fae Silence.
If you do nothing else, and you intend to do Proving Grounds seriously, the biggest piece of advice I can offer to you is to create a set of gear specifically for proving grounds. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that your gear is going to scale down to 463 once you enter proving grounds. You are going to want to change your gems and reforging for this, and it will cost you a small fortune to do this every time you enter if you are trying to navigate this with a single set of gear. If you are like me, and throwaway old gear as you upgrade it to heroic (or get a new tier), I might recommend utilizing the item restoration tool to reclaim old current tier gear or last tier’s gear. Remember that set bonuses will not work in proving grounds, so you can use any mish-mash of gear that is best suited for the job. The same goes for your legendary meta gem – it will not activate. As such, if you do nothing else, find an old helm and shove a non-legendary meta in it!
As for reforging and gemming is concerned, you will want to reach your 3043 haste breakpoint (you will be granted a 5% haste buff in the zone), and then focus on a mastery/intellect heavy build as much as possible. Zone into the proving grounds to determine your reforging and gemming needs so that you do not waste a lot of gold and gems trying to guess where your gear is going to be after it scales down. Your enchanting choices should mirror what they are now (with the exception of using mastery on your gloves if you are currently utilizing haste).
You will also want to make use to mana/spirit proc trinkets. If you still have your darkmoon card trinket lying around, it is a very strong option due to how it budgets after being scaled down. Horridon’s Last Grasp and the Dysmorphic Samophlange are also very good options.
There are a few things that I like to do before I get started with the very first wave, so I thought I’d go ahead and mention them! For starters, I always eat 300 food and flask before starting the event. If you make it past wave 60, you will need to reflask/food/symb – but your food and flask will last an hour, even if you wipe your attempts!
The next thing that I do is place raid markers in key locations. I like to place one where I stand to typhoon for wave 8, and I like to place one where wave 5 spawns. The reason that I do this is that if things get really hectic, and/or I get turned around, I can easily gain my bearings in the room. It may take you an attempt or two to figure out where you want to place them so that they are just right for you – but since they are a tool at your disposal, I see no really good reason not to make use of them!
Plant my mushroom at the start point and let it start to tick up charges while I am taking care of everything else listed above. You won’t likely be blooming it in round 1, so don’t worry about it getting full as there will be plenty of time for it to build charges, I just like to give it a head start! I also activate harmony and place a three stack of lifebloom on myself, so that it’s only one GCD to get it swapped over to Ortos.
I always double check to make sure that I have changed my gear, spec and glyphs so that I don’t start an attempt and realize half way through it that I’ve forgotten something important! I also make sure that I have all of my macros in order and talents that may have changed placed in the proper position and with the proper binds. Most importantly Bear Form and Faerie Fire. Also, don’t forget to grab a healthstone! It will save your life.
And last, but not least! The very first thing I do when the encounter starts is toss my Symbiosis on Ortos, the warrior.
Tips and Tricks for Each wave
The last thing I thought I’d do is give you any tips/tricks that I’ve picked up along the way for handling each wave. Since all ten waves are always the same, I’m just going to list them as 1, 2, 3 etc. The tips and tricks are largely the same every wave – but you may have to get creative in the later waves for handling the ramped up damage. Additionally, some of these will take practice to perfect. Don’t be afraid to utilize some of the earlier waves to figure them out! It is much better to wipe in wave 9 than 29 as you work through something. Lastly, don’t hesitate to experiment and find things that work for you! There is no “right” or “wrong” way – and just because something works for me, doesn’t mean it is going to work well for you!
Notes/Best Practices for Every Wave – Always pop a couple of treants at the start of every wave. I tend to always do two, but will blow all three on wave that I know will be particularly brutal. The damage is always going to be front loaded, and will die down later in the waves as the DPS kills things. Don’t hesitate to pop one mid-wave as well, if things are hectic. Treeants are amazing mana savers and will offer a lot of smart healing on your group!
Think ahead to the next wave when using Iron Bark. What I mean by this is that if you know that you are going to need it at the very start of the next wave, don’t pop it halfway through your current wave unless you absolutely need it. You will have it available every wave – but use it smartly. I can say that I don’t always utilize it every wave, simply because I know I’m going to need it at a certain point in the subsequent wave. That being said, using it right at the start of a wave is never a bad point to make use of it. And you should never hold onto it if it’s going to save someone and help you get into the next wave.
I tend to Nature’s Vigil on large packs and waves with Hive Callers. Almost always in wave 2, 4 and 8. Which means it will also be up for wave 6 and wave 10.
Stand with the tank and rogue. This helps put you in your own efflorescence as well as puts the tank in range for any healing that Ysera’s Gift might toss his way.
Wave One – This wave is pretty simple to work through. There are a few things to be wary of, the damage to the tank and interrupt the flame caster if you’d like to help mitigate some damage – but since he’s a minor one, not strictly necessary. I tend to pop two Treants here, three if my mana break was short and I’m worried about falling behind in later waves. Don’t hesitate to pop your mushroom to clear bleeds or top off the tank.
Wave Two – This is going to be your first wave with a hive singer. The key to every hive singer wave is to lock down the hive singer as much as possible. To do this, start the wave in bear form and faerie fire to silence the very first cast. I start this wave by popping three trees in the 3-4 seconds before the wave starts and tossing Iron Bark on Oto to make sure that I am not going to lose the group while in bear form. It will be imperative to have a good hot key for both bear form and faerie fire – as well as an easy way to target the hive singer quickly and be able to see his cast bar clearly. For the next cast, use Intimidating Roar, followed by a bash for the next cast, another faerie fire and then a typhoon. You can keep this guy locked down almost completely while the DPS kill him. Be sure that you roar while the hive singer is in the group, and use it as an interrupt (as opposed to a fear) so that he’s not feared away from the damage. If you want to use tranq in this wave, do it early or it won’t be up for wave five. However, I found that I was able to keep the hive singer locked down early in the wave and that I favored blooming my mushroom to top off any casts that got off. Keeping a Rejuv rolling on the hunter who will be out of range of mushrooms, with a swiftmend as needed, will keep him sufficiently topped off in most circumstances.
Wave Three – There is nothing overly exceptional to note about this wave early on, just be sure to keep up with the bleeds that go out. In later waves they will tick very hard and it will be important to keep them under control. Use mushrooms to quickly top them off as possible. The hunter will be the hardest person to manage, so don’t be afraid to SM or HT him. Additionally, the tank will take a fair amount of damage here so be sure to top his bleed off as soon as it goes out so you don’t become overwhelmed with the bleed damage. I usually will pop 2-3 of the treants here, and try to roll them as needed to keep up with the multiple bleeds until the first tunneler/ripper is down.
Wave Four – You can start this wave off by utilizing a faerie fire on the caster in the back. If you don’t get it silenced right away, it’s not the end of the world – but helping to lock it down early is helpful. The tricky part of this wave is that you have two of the debuff mob alive at the same time, which means you will have two debuffs out and often only be able to dispel one of them. The trick to this wave is to dispel smartly, and if given the option leave the debuff running on the hunter, yourself or the mage so that you have the chance to miss doing AE damage to several members of your group. In later rounds this can hit fairly hard, so make sure you pre-hot anyone who is going to take the hit from it and top them up very quickly so they don’t die from any subsequent damage. I also like to bloom my mushroom if the debuff is going to hit the melee group.
Wave Five – This wave can be tricky, and is all about handling the hive caller. The most important piece of advice that I think I can give is to be in position and ready for the spawn. Have your treants up in advance of the spawn and make sure you are in range of the hive caller at the very start so that you can lock it down for as long as possible. Handle locking it down much the same way as you do in wave two – and if the rogue and warrior are doing a good job, I have managed to make it through this wave without it getting a single cast off, although that is rare. As soon as you are out of your big interrupts, utilize tranq on the next uninterrupted cast – and then try to keep as many of the subsequent casts locked down with Fae Silence as is feasible. I like to hit the tank with Iron Bark going into my tranq so that if he takes a pummeling while I’m tranqing it’s not as bad. I also bloom my mushrooms pretty freely during the wave as needed. The hardest part about this wave is that it also has a tunneler – and if you get behind on the bleed and let too many unchecked sonic casts go off, you are going to have a very hard time keeping up. With that in mind, don’t hesitate to be a little aggressive taking care of the bleeds as they go out!
Wave Six – The good news is that if you’ve made it through wave fix, six is going to seem like no big deal! There is nothing overly exciting or new happening in this wave.
Wave Seven – The toughest part about wave seven is the two big warriors who enrage together and hit like a truck. Time your Iron Bark to go either just before Oto casts Sheild Wall or just as Shield Wall is wearing off, and don’t be afraid to use a mushroom bloom to top off Oto if needed. Once they have finished their enrage it’s pretty smooth sailing.
Wave Eight – Getting control of this wave is 100% about positioning and minimizing early casts from the flame guys. As wave seven ends, I pop all three of my treants so that they are up at the start of the wave, because I’m going to be spending the first few seconds after the spawn doing no healing at all. Before the wave spawns, I make sure that I’ve positioned myself (on one of those pre-determined markers that I set up before the start!) in such a way that I am both behind the wave when it spawns and angled such that my typhoon will hit every add. As soon as the flame guys start casting, I typhoon them towards the tank. I then immediately Fae Silence the one furthest away from the tank to bring it in, followed by bashing the next furthest away as I move into the group. By the time this is done, the DPS have at least one of the casters dead and are well on their way to the next.
Wave Nine – Similarly to wave five, this wave will be all about handling the hive singer. The most important piece of advice that I can give you is to be in position for the first silence before the wave starts. It will be quite a bit away from where wave eight is ending. Follow the same interrupt sequence that you do for wave two and five – opening up with a Fae Silence. Again, pop your treants going into the wave, before the spawn happens and make your primary focus the interrupt on the hive singer. At some point, you will not be able to continue to interrupt, so pop tranq. I like to bloom my mushrooms coming out of the tranq here if necessary, as Oto is usually taking very high damage and it helps top him up.
Wave Ten – Good News! You made it past wave nine! This is almost a “gimme” wave, having only three mobs to kill. I will open it up silencing the mage and keeping him locked down to be a little less of a threat. If I can catch the debuff guy before he gets into the group, I’ll use intimidating roar to fear him. The giant tauren will require an iron bark and some healing, but you will have time to help DPS him down if you are worried about the timer. Basically, if you’ve made it through wave nine, you will make it through ten!
Mana Break – You will probably run a few seconds into your mana break before the last mob is dead – and sometimes I don’t always drop combat quickly – so make sure that you are mashing your water button to fill up as soon as you can. Do drink to full, even if the next wave is starting. As soon as your mana is 100%, pop three treants quickly to help you catch up on any healing you might be behind with and restack life bloom. I will also preemptively move my mushroom, so that it’s in place for wave one again. Past that, it’s basically rinse and repeat, perfecting your strategy on each wave and figuring out new tricks to deal with the increased damage!
If you are a more visual learner…
If reading the above wall of text sends you into an unintended nap, and you’d prefer to watch and listen, Hamlet has posted a very good Narrated Guide Series that I’d encourage you to check out if you have a proclivity for visual learning! He goes from Bronze to Endless Wave 30 and offers some of his own tips and tricks throughout.
I hope that this was helpful!
As I said earlier, there are always multiple ways to skin a cat, and you may find something that you like and works better for you (and I’d love it if you shared!). Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new things. Proving grounds are a lot of fun, and I encourage everyone to go in and give them a go! If nothing else, try for that Proven Healer title, because you will learn a lot and become a stronger player on the journey there.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions! Good Luck!