Gamer Gating

I have played the new Warlords of Draenor now since release date.  Suffice to say that Blizzard did an amazing job with the new expansion except for a single instance (scenario) which has divided the WoW community.  The contention here is whether or not having the Silver Proving Grounds to allow you to queue for Heroic Dungeons  is a legitimate means of indicating player performance and ability.  There are not many positives to the Silver Proving Grounds other than it does teach you how to play your character(s).

First and foremost, this is not new content.  It is old content re-badged to make the scenario scaled to 100.  If you have done this in Mists of Pandaria expansion, you will have to do similar fights again to obtain silver proving grounds.

The proving grounds is not account wide.  You will have to complete Heals, Tank or DPS specialisation on EVERY character you have to be able to queue for that character’s specialisation.  So if you are a Tank primary spec and DPS secondary spec, you will have to do both specialisations up to silver proving grounds if you want to queue for Tank or DPS on that one character.

It is a solo instance, scaled up to 615 ilvl (or down if you have higher gear level), and timed.  If you do not have area of effect spells, buffs or can produce massive damage quickly, you may find this incredibly difficult.  This is particularly hard on melee DPS.  You take no damage from the mobs, they are just spawns and therefore not teaching you any mechanics relating to what dungeons and raids throw at you.  The idea of doing a solo raid for something Team orientated is mind boggling.

The harshest criticism I have of this is the gating of players who have a disability.  If you do not have the motor skills to complete this without assistance, you have basically ended the game as this is intrinsically tied in with your garrison.   I believe Blizzard has a duty of care to ensure that people who are unable to complete this on their own, should be able to invite a friend or NPC to assist them.

I am also astounded by the insensitivity of people on the Blizzard (and other) forums.  When a person asks for assistance, they are told by other players that the solo instance is easy, that they don’t know how to play, they are bad, labelled as a player (I) wouldn’t play with, the Silver Proving Grounds should be harder … The list of bully boy tactics and elitist snobbery could go on.  Suffice to say this does not bode well for who Blizzard are trying to attract and keep if their forums are so badly policed.  My suggestion to any player who is attempting or seeking advice in soloing the Silver Proving Grounds is don’t bother with the forums for advice.  It will only serve to reduce your confidence in your ability to play.

Another issue that seems to have surfaced is the payment of players (whether it is in game gold or real money) to run their character through the Silver Proving Grounds.  It just proves to me that the proving grounds is a giant money pit for the unscrupulous player or gold seller.  It is easy to transfer your character from one player to another, have them run your character through the scenario, and transfer it back.

So this article begs the question, have I succeeded in the proving grounds?  The answer is no.  It is not that I am not a bad player, I would consider myself competent.  The fact is I do not believe that the Silver Proving Grounds should set the benchmark for running heroic dungeons.  It has never been done before, so why now?  It has created a game that is now inaccessible to some, frustration to many and a group of elitists that otherwise would be on other MMORPG’s moaning about how bad WoW is.

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