Saturday, February 23, 2013

And the Ironman Challenge Continues...

Well, it's that time again. The time where a new expansion has been out long enough to evoke longer stretches of boredom while playing my mains. Dailies wore out their welcome months ago, raid finder hasn't produced a drop for any of my toons in weeks and one can only do so much pet battling before their brain explodes. So I find myself once again picking up where I left off with the WoW Ironman Challenge last summer.

For anyone new to this blog, last year when things got dull at the end of Cataclysm I decided I'd give the Ironman Challenge a shot. Here is a quick recap of the rules (Full list of rules and current challengers can be seen at

Level from 1-85 using the rules below. (1-90 now that the level cap has been raised.)

Only White or Grey gear. No Heirlooms of any kind.
No transfer of gear, items, or money from any other character (yours or others).
No gear enhancements, including gems, enchanting, and reforging. Class abilities are allowed (eg. Rogue poisons, Shaman imbues).
No specialization, talent points, or glyphs. No pet talent points.
No professions or secondary skills, except for First Aid.
No potions, flasks, or elixir  s except for required quest items.
No food buffs or other external buffs (including buffs from items and other players).
No groups or assistance from other characters, even if not grouped.
No dungeons, raids, battlegrounds, or arenas.
No guilds, except for level 1 guilds created specifically for the Ironman Challenge.
No Refer-A-Friend.
No addons which assist in combat and/or leveling (eg. leveling guides, Ovale).
THE BIG ONE: No deaths. Character death for any reason disqualifies the character

A quick history of my Iron toons (the Ironsteves):

For this challenge I added a little twist of my own in addition to the above rules, and that would be that most of my experience was to come from killing rares. (You can see all of my Ironman related posts by looking under the label WoW Ironman Challenge on this blog.) I made it to level 52 with my first toon Ironsteve, an undead hunter. I died when I accidentally clicked an Alliance flight master (d'oh!). I deleted him and re-rolled two more Ironman toons (Ironsteve the troll druid, and Ironstevo the undead lock). Ironstevo quickly overtook Ironsteve in levels, gaining most of his experience from finding treasure chests once reaching Outland and finished the challenge in early June of last year. You can read the post where I re-caped his journey here: WoW Ironman Challenge Complete!

I haven't touched either toon since then, but I decided that with a new level cap and not much else to do right now it would be a perfect time to dust both of them off!


Greetings! ~From Ironstevo and his trusty meat-shield Belnak
A lot has changed since I've last touched the iron-toons. When I had been participating in this challenge previously talent points had not yet been re-vamped. Ironstevo had a whole wealth of spells and abilities at his disposal (although none of them ever hit hard). Now that most spells become available once you choose a spec post-mop, Ironstevo has been left with the bare-minimum to work with. If you look at the UI below, you can see what Ironstevo has been left with. I pretty much only ever use buttons 1-5 with him now.

Soul Fire used to be Ironstevo's "big hitting" spell pre-mop. Corrupton, Agony, Immolate, Drain Soul...these were Ironstevo's bread and butter. Well now Ironstevo has been left with only one dot, Shadow Bolt and not a whole lot else. Ironstevo's rotation currently looks something like: Curse of the Elements, Corruption, Shadowbolt/Fel Flame/Drain Life (I like to switch up these three spells to keep it interesting) until the target is dead. It's slow going, but the voidwalker does a much better job at holding threat now and deals a fair amount of damage (he hits harder than poor Ironstevo). Ironstevo also noticed he got a lovely new racial ability called Touch of the Grave which deals about 40% of his dps and heals him for a hefty amount when it goes off. Between the new racial and Ironstevo's blue marshmellow shield it makes up for a lot of lost dps.

Another change that is quite nice is Ironstevo's mana pool. Now that mana pools are dependent on level instead of intellect, Ironstevo is sitting at a hot 100k just like the big boys with actual gear at 85! He can now last a heck of a lot longer without needing mana! Ironstevo even dinged level 86 a couple of days ago while doing his Love is in the Air dailies and was pleased to receive another 20k to that mana pool, and an extra 18k hp. 18k may not sound like a lot, but for an ironman toon it's a pretty big spike!

Ironstevo enjoying some holiday quest experience
Ironstevo received most of his experience from 85 - 86 by continuing to find treasure chests throughout Northrend. This amounted to most of his experience. Holiday quests, the daily quests A Way to His Heart... and Tending the Garden (LOVE this daily), and occasional Argent Tourney dailies accounted for the rest of his experience. The amount of xp chests give him only went down slightly when he dinged, so I have a feeling most of his experience will be coming from the same place at least until level 87. After that I've got literally everything available for Cataclysm content, as I've done no Cataclysm questing on him at all. Ultimately whatever I decide to do though, I'll be taking it slow n' steady.


Ironsteve the druid is still around (and alive) as well. He's been following Ironstevo's footsteps using rares and treasure chests to get to where he is now. That is actually ALL he does for xp besides the occasional holiday quest. He's been spending a lot of time killing the various mobs in Swamp of Sorrows and Blasted Lands each day.

Ironsteve finds a treasure chest in Swamp of Sorrows
Ironsteve was also pleasantly surprised when he dinged level 60 to learn that he could continue killing rares for only slighty less xp than he was earning at 59. Last year when Ironstevo hit level 60 the mobs all began to give only 10% of the amount of xp they gave before hitting 60. I am fairly confident that with this welcome change Ironsteve will be at least level 62 or 63 before hitting Outland (assuming he is still alive then).

Ironsteve dinging the big 60 right in Garrosh's face!
The iron druid has changed quite a bit just as Ironstevo has, but for the most part I am really liking the changes. Everything gets killed in kitty form. I generally start out a fight with a wrath, moonfire, rejuv then hop into kitty form where I rake, mangle until 5 combo points and then ferocious bite (popping out of kitty to rejuv when needed). Each tick of rejuvenation is worth about 25% of Ironsteve's health, it's an honest to kittens lifesaver. <3

Anywho, that's where my Ironman toons stand at the moment. Stay tuned for updates, and for anyone who has never tried this challenge before I highly recommend it - it's a lot of fun! ^-^


  1. Got to keep this post from Ironsally or she'll start pestering me. I will see if I can get her to 90 though at some point.

    I hadn't even thought about the mana, that should be nice. Best of luck Ironstevo! Ironsally will be watching you all the way!

    1. Yeah, the mana thing was a real nice change for sure.

      If only health scaled the same way... =P