Blizzard recently announced they were thinking of gating the new 5-Man Heroic dungeons in Warlords of Draenor behind a Silver in the Proving Grounds equivalent. Now, this was qualified with the idea that Heroic 5-Mans would be a fair bit more difficult than they are today. As difficult as Cataclysm’s 5-Mans? I certainly hope so, but we’ll see about that.
However, interestingly enough there’s a bit of a vocal backlash to the Silver requirement, and specifically from some higher-end raiders/proponents of the WoW community. Matthew Rossi, of WoWInsider, and Crepe, an MVP on the Blizzard forums both bemoan the idea that it’s a gate, it’ll require extra work on their parts, and that it is meaningless.
When heroic dungeons inevitably STILL have all the same problem players, I'm going to mock the whole "get a silver to get into heroics" idea
— Matthew Rossi (@MatthewWRossi) February 22, 2014
Matthew Rossi in particular suggests that the real problem in random dungeons are the jerks: the folks who go on auto-follow, who pull and intentionally wipe, the folks who are well-geared but the sit on their arses. I don’t disagree with him, or Crepe for that matter, but I think the pair of them are conflating two issues that do need solving. They forget the lessons that Cataclysm taught us.
Think back to a little dungeon known as Stonecore. The very first boss, Corborus, was quite the challenge for most people who walked in unprepared. I remember taking a full two hours trying to complete Grim Batol the first couple of times because, well, half my party may have been quick levelers, but they certainly weren’t good at their class.
|Gaze upon him and despair. Or at least, watch your damn feet!|
Don’t get me wrong: wiping is A-OK, if you’re exploring the mechanics and trying to get a handle for how things work, that’s totally cool. But making the same mistakes over and over again, and just not getting it are pretty annoying, or dealing with those well-meaning folks who are good at staying out of the bad, but they still only manage 30k DPS in ilvl 530 gear.
And that’s what the gating for Silver is trying to solve for. The beginning of Cataclysm was a huge wake-up call for a lot of folks, and many of them decided to say screw it and left the game. Blizzard is already aware that throwing together random parties you end up having to make allowances for less communication and the absence of that gelling period that a guild group would have gone through, so by ensuring a sufficient level of skill, it at least advertises that you aren’t ready to just walk in there.
While Crepe does bring up a good point that we’ll just out-gear the heroics eventually, Blizzard can then later take the requirements down a notch. Things can and do get patched, and most requirements in-game are not forever. They’re also correct that if implemented poorly, it could end up being a significant amount of work: ~20 minutes per spec today, and if you have to do it on every alt… but that could be solved if you only had to do it once per spec across your account. And perhaps the gating mechanism could be removed if you manage to actually complete the Heroic 5-Man in a guild group (where the Proving Grounds requirement doesn’t exist). Sure, someone could get their guild to run them through and still not be ready for random-time, but I argue that the gate is less about actually preventing them from queuing, and more acting as a large warning sign to folks.
But as Mr. Rossi says, that doesn’t solve for the people flagrantly violating Wheaton’s Law. It’s not supposed to. Blizzard would suggest that the Kick system is supposed to be there for that, but frankly, that system as it exists today isn’t sufficient. Chain-pulling to prevent the combat timer from expiring, kick limitations being applied to the kicker, not to mention a kickee cannot be kicked too many times in a short period of time (I still don’t understand the reasoning behind that, Blizzard). There are too many loopholes which make social enforcement of that system not work.
My point being, however, is that in my opinion folks need to be careful of what they’re asking for and what they aren’t asking for. Conflating the two issues doesn’t address either of them, and I for one believe both must be addressed, and it will take two different systems/approaches in tandem to get them both. They’re independent problems, with likely independent solutions.