One of the better ways for your Death Knight, or any other tank, to learn tanking skills is through the Proving Grounds, introduced in patch 5.4. It’s a safe place to experiment with rotations, dealing with multiple targets, reforging to get the most out of your gear, and so on. No one will know whether you took one try or 100 (or more) to get your gold achievement.
If you can get at least a silver achievement on your Death Knight (or any other character,) then you’ve probably got a clue.
In fact, Blizzard agrees that the Proving Ground is a good test and it looks like they are at least considering making the Proving Grounds a requirement for random groups in Warlords of Draenor. There were some recent interviews with Blizzard Devs on this topic.
MMO-Champion has some details:
(Re: Heroics) “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.”
Proving Grounds will be updated for Warlords of Draenor and Blizzard wants to expand its functionality. It will be used as a prerequirement for raids. For example, players will need at least a silver medal in the Proving Grounds to queue in a (random group) dungeon. If you want to play in an instance with your friends or your guild, no problem, but if you want to join a random group you will have to prove that you know how to handle some mechanics of the game.
This should be ready for Warlords of Draenor. Blizzard hopes it will improve the experience of players in LFD and LFR, and each player in the group should have the minimum knowledge required to fight the bosses.
They make it sounds pretty definite, but launch is at least 6 months away so we’ll see. Note the remark “should be ready.” It seems simple enough to implement, but I’m not writing the code.
Why the requirement? Remember that all players, regardless of level and experience will have the chance to insta level one character to 90 and might be able to buy additional levelings (at maybe $60 a pop.) Naturally this bring up the question of endless streams of freshly 90 noobs entering the dungeon system. It looks like the Proving Ground requirement is an answer to this concern.
I like the idea or the Proving Ground requirement, how about you?
Blood Tanking the Proving Grounds
So in what might be the first in a series, here are a couple of videos of Blood Death Knights tanking their way to a gold rating in the Proving Grounds. Also see our Blood tanking guide, with stats, gems, enchants, rotations, and far more detail than what’s below.
Talents (as shown in the second video)
You will be tanking groups, mostly, so pick talents appropriately.
- 15 Roiling Blood helps to spread your diseases
- 30 Lichborne renders you immune to certain effects for a time. You can also use it to heal yourself.
- 45 Asphyxiate stuns a target
- 60 Death Pact – sucks to be a minion. Absorb his life to heal yourself.
- 75 Runic Corruption – for more runes over time. Passive, so one less item on your bar.
- 90 Remorseless Winter slows enemies and stuns the trash.
- Anti-Magic Shell – more magic damage absorbtion.
- Death Grip – More range for better grabbing.
- Outbreak – removes the cooldown, but uses runic power.
- Tunnel vision will kill you.
- Keep aware of what’s eating your healer
- Learn to anticipate the next wave
- Position mobs as necessary, kiting has its uses.
- Watch for the fire and incoming stuns
- It’s occasionally possible to keep the mobs in their own fire.
Gems and Gear
First off, your gear is scaled down to 463. Normal gems won’t be scaled down, since they’re lower level than that, though Sha gems and legendaries probably are. If you have two pieces of gear, equal except for slots, the one with the most gem slots will win as you will have a net gain of stats.
You will want 7.5% Hit, 15% Expertise, and then Mastery ever everything else. Here’s the gemming from the third video. Anything that gives you more Mastery is a good thing.
Consider this to be your initial stat priority: Mastery > 7.5% Hit > 7.5% Exp > Dodge/Parry > Haste
- Expertise + mastery in the red sockets,
- Stamina + Mastery in blue and
- Pure Mastery in yellow. Gives you a little more room to breath without cd’s up.
- Didn’t have any Haste.
There is a reforger in the grounds, so you can experiment with priorities.
This make Blacksmithing a more useful profession than most others as you can load two extra Mastery or Expertise gems (640 points total) instead of just Str.
Blood Dk Tank earning Gold in the Proving Grounds.
Just a nice and methodical job of keep it all under control. He uses Remorseless Winter instead of Gorefiend’s Grasp for the control and stuns. He does a very nice job of keep threat through the whole thing. His healer only complains a little bit. 😉
Another DK in the PGs
Similar to the above, but with no discussion or tips. Just tanking.
Endless Blood DK Tankage
40 minutes and 59 waves. The author thinks he could have done better.