New levels of the Proving Grounds are available in Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire, promising potential gear sets for those willing to brave the new ether dungeons. In this article, we’ll be covering the method to upgrading the Grounds, along with a discussion of how reliable the mat drops are.
Upgrading the Proving Grounds
To take advantage of the new levels of the Proving Grounds, first you have to build them. This involves getting enough Proving Grounds blueprints to upgrade the building. These come from packs.
It takes 60k blueprints to upgrade the Proving Grounds from level 1 to level 7, and the packs have a variable amount of Proving Grounds blueprints. So you’ll want to wait until one of the packs with 30k blueprints shows up, ideally, if you want access to all 7 levels of dungeons.
The gear sets available per level ,with ether costs per hit, are:
- Hunter’s Gear Level 2 – 50 ether
- Gunslinger’s Gear Level 3 – 60 ether
- Sentinel’s Gear Level 4 – 70 ether
- Arbiter’s Gear Level 5 – 80 ether
- Winged Assassin Gear Level 6 – 90 ether
- Aranea’s Gear Level 7 – 100 ether
The main question most people are going to have before they take the plunge on upgrading the Proving Grounds is, how reliable are the gear drops?
As observed so far, the gear drops irregularly and at lower quality levels from the normal enemies and first and second bosses. However, the later boss monsters in the dungeon drop multiple level 4 (blue) mats for the gear sets. This follows the method introduced originally with Aranea’s Dungeon.
This makes getting eventual gearsets a lot more reliable than with chests, although you will still have to buy Ether packs to go for the gear. The cost can still be substantial, but the increased reliability will be a draw to many players. With four run-throughs on average to finish a yellow set, you at least have a target goal as opposed to the randomness of the chests.
This new upgrade pairs particularly well with the new Mythic Forge building, given that new mats are needed to upgrade old gear to higher quality levels. Additionally, the wider availability of gear from this source makes those sweet full set boosts in the Forge a lot more attainable for most players.
It’s possible that new levels will be added over time as new gear-sets are introduced or cycled; possibly including the (very good) recent Undertaker and Grim Reaper sets.
Whether or not you should go for the Proving Grounds versus other packs (building or research packs, for instance) will depend on what your goals are in the game and where you are. This feature is likely to be most useful for those players above t4 where progress is very slow and expensive (compared to gear costs), or for lower-level trap players who want to get better gear. For players who still have the space and inclination to level higher, your pack money may still be better spent on gear packs or the ever-more-frequent rss reduction packs.