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Revisiting the WoW Ironman Challenge: Making Leveling Interesting Again

Posted Fri, Feb 28, 2014 by Mem

Draenei Flexing

Leveling in World of Warcraft has become a bit of a joke. Back in the early days of the game, leveling was a struggle. It took time, effort, and more than a few not-so-polite words along the way. Reaching max level was an accomplishment that left players with a sense of pride for overcoming the leveling challenge. However, things have drastically changed.


As mentioned above, leveling is a bit of a joke. Things have gotten easier, to the point where leveling is no challenge at all. Players can now breeze through in record time with little to no effort at all. While I understand that making it easier to some degree was necessary, it has, in my opinion, gone much to far. There is no struggle, no real investment, and no real feeling of achievement when max level is finally reached.


The WoW Ironman Challenge

If you are in the same boat as me and wishing that there was some way to make leveling a little more challenging, then I want you to know that there is hope. You see, World of Warcraft players are always looking for new and inventive ways to experience different aspects of the game, including leveling. Recently, while browsing the depths of the internet, I came across an idea that might just solve my (and many other player's) leveling blues.


The idea I am speaking of is called the WoW Ironman Challenge. This Challenge was put together by two World of Warcraft fans; Ironbraids and David Casagrande, back in 2012. This pair put together a challenge that at first seems simple; level from 1-85. Easy right? Wrong!


Rules and Regulations

You see, the catch behind the Ironman Challenge is that players must level in the most basic way possible. The rules set forth by the duo are pretty simple to understand, but do make leveling quite a bit more tricky. Check out the rules and regulations set forth to (legitimately) complete the challenge, as seen on the WoW Ironman Challenge website, below:


Level from 1-85 using the rules below.


  1. Only White or Grey gear. No Heirlooms of any kind.

  2. No transfer of gear, items, or money from any other character (yours or others).

  3. No gear enhancements, including gems, enchanting, and reforging. Class abilities are allowed (eg. Rogue poisons, Shaman imbues).

  4. No specialization, talent points, or glyphs. No pet talent points.

  5. No professions or secondary skills, except for First Aid.

  6. No potions, flasks, or elixirs except for required quest items.

  7. No food buffs or other external buffs (including buffs from items and other players).

  8. No groups or assistance from other characters, even if not grouped.

  9. No dungeons, raids, battlegrounds, or arenas.

  10. No guilds, except for level 1 guilds created specifically for the Ironman Challenge.

  11. No Refer-A-Friend.

  12. No addons which assist in combat and/or leveling (eg. leveling guides, Ovale).

  13. THE BIG ONE: No deaths. Character death for any reason disqualifies the character

The following are allowed:

  1. All class abilities, racials, and personal buffs.

  2. All mounts, bags, and non-combat pets.

  3. All quests, including holiday events and dailies (unless prohibited by some other rule, eg. Fishing and Cooking dailies).



As you can see, following these rules will complicate the leveling process just a tiny bit. No more breezing through levels and wandering about the world without worrying about death. Instead, players will need to constantly be on the alert and playing their best, to be able to complete the task, an idea that has been missing from leveling for some time. Without a doubt, leveling with this set of rules will be intense.


Tracking Your Progress

If you decide to take the plunge and participate in the challenge, you can head on over to the WoW Ironman Challenge website where you can type in your character's name and track your progress. Your character must be over level 10, not of the Death Knight variety, and visible on the WoW Armory to make use of this feature.


Once you have entered your character's name will be added to the list of “Current Challengers” that is viewable by all who visit the website. As you may have already guessed, the tracker uses the WoW Armory to make sure your character is following the rules. Characters that have thus far stayed within the rules have a green check mark beside their names. Characters who have not followed the rules earn a red X.


Don't worry if you feel like you can't follow all of the rules, the website states that the creators intend this to be a fun personal challenge and not a competition. If you break the rules, your character will still continue to be tracked, unless death occurs. Once your character has died, their name will be moved to the “Honorable Dead” section of the website to be forever immortalized. So take on the challenge however you would like, but try not to get yourself killed.


Ironman Challenge


Completing the WoW Ironman Challenge

So you may be wondering what happens when you complete the WoW Ironman Challenge. The answer is, you hit level 85. There is no achievements, titles, or any parades held in your honor. If you are looking for that, this probably isn't a challenge you will be interested in. What this challenge does give you is excitement, danger, and a sense of achievement that has been missing from the leveling process for quite awhile.


An Old Challenge Reborn

As mentioned above, the WoW Ironman Challenge has been around since sometime in 2012. I am in no way the first author to write about this challenge and many of you may have already heard of it. In fact, Blizzard even featured it in a blog post back then entitled; “Till Death Do You Part”.


How I missed out on this challenge when it was first revealed is beyond me, but somehow I did. So you may be wondering why I am writing about this now, so long after it's creation. You see, now that I have found it I believe it is time it gained recognition again. The Ironman Challenge is a great way to breathe some new life into what has become a rather boring process and as many players as possible should know that challenges like it are out there just waiting for them.


Will I be taking on the Challenge? I am seriously considering it and will probably do so in the very near future.. There are several new toons I want to level and this may be the perfect way to spice the process up. If you are interested in the WoW Ironman Challenge head on over to the official website or the Blizzard forums where a very helpful post resides full of FAQ as well as relevant (and useful) links.


Would you consider taking on the WoW Ironman Challenge? What other challenges have you come across or personally created for yourself? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!


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