In each patch there is something that catches my attention and gets me to focus. In 5.4, it was Proving Grounds.
I went in there all cocky and sure that this was going to be a breeze for someone with my experience. Turns out that the Gold level dps was a good challenge. I actually ended up reforging, changing talents, and flasking up to finish it.
I only did it as assassination so I can’t give any specific tips about combat (is anyone playing combat?) or subtlety strategies.
- I did find myself energy starved at certain times. Most of the mobs are level 91-92 (except the Sha in the last two waves), so you can get away with not being hit-capped at 7.5%. There is a reforger in the scenario instance. I reforged some of my hit away to haste to help my energy regen.
- Always get a Rupture going, even if just 1cp, for the energy return (Venomous Wounds).
- MARKED FOR DEATH IS OP. Once I made sure that Marked for Death was hotkeyed, the scenario got much easier. Remember that the cooldown on Marked for Death resets if your target dies in under a minute. ALL of the targets there last less than a minute (except the Sha), so you can start each mob with 5 combo points for great burst.
- Potions are disabled, but you can use a flask and food buff.
- Your gear is going to get scaled down to level 463. Tier bonuses don’t work. Meta gems don’t work. For that reason, feel free to equip different gear than you would normally wear in raids, as long as its itemized well, gemmed, enchanted, and higher than 463. Don’t feel the need to keep your tier sets together or that high level trinket you got from SoO if you can find something lower level with a better proc.
- Target the Banana Tossers first. I used Cloak and Dagger to jump behind them, hit them with Cheap Shot, then Marked for Death for a 5cp Rupture. Then I burned them down ASAP.
- When you have a group of little virmen, you can leave them for last. However, when you run past them you can Fan of Knives once or twice to get some poison ticking while you take care of other targets.
- The only spell that you need to interrupt is the heal that is cast by Mystics. The Amber Weavers conjure Amber Spheres, but they can help you if you maneuver right. The Amber Spheres encase and stun whatever they hit, whether its you or one of your targets. Whatever is encased takes extra damage. If you can maneuver it to hit one of your targets, then you can burn it down more quickly.
- The small banshees die really fast. When they spawn you have to turn and get them, but you can stay on your current target for another second or two to either finish it off, or refresh Rupture to keep ticking while you’re attacking the banshee.
- You’ll see little damage-buff items spawn. In the gold challenge, one spawns after wave 3 and one after wave 7 or 8. I encourage you to save them both for wave 10. If you need them to get past earlier waves, then you’re probably not going to have the dps to finish the last wave, anyway.
- The last wave is hard because the Sha has a shield up most of the time that is reducing your damage by 75%. When he drops the shield, use all of your damage cooldowns. If you’ve saved the damage buff items you should use one of those as well.