Iron Man Challenged is so popular, I hope Blizzard adds it as an official option when rolling a character one day. It seems like it would be an easy thing to add, just tick a box and you can’t equip uncommon armor, enter instances or BG or learn professions… Oh and when you die your character is dead forever. Official integration would lead to a few ‘convenience’ features, like an official leader-board, and the ability to mail all your gold from your dead character to one of your living toons. Heck, it could be as simple as having the title “Iron <name>” on all new toons that is then lost the first time you die or equip an uncommon/rare/epic item.
The best time to have added a leveling challenge would have been right after Cataclysm. New leveling content and an incentive to run it in a new way. Perhaps if they rework the level content again (unlikely) they will add it. I think they are close to making boosting level at the beginning of an expansion so cheap and easy as to make leveling in the old world irrelevant.
I was checking out the leader boards they have at wowchallenges.com. Their other challenges are really interesting too. Along with variable levels of the Ironman (such as Tinman) They have a Pacifist and Blood Thirsty challenges.
Pacifist has gotten a lot of attention from Polygon’s series “World of Peacecraft” staring the gnome rogue Raandyy, and before that the extreme efforts of the pandaren shaman Doubleagent. In the past, I’ve said that Pacifist should be a separate ‘class’. I say that because I think it’s the easiest way to make a character that does not have the ability to attack. As a class they could get a low level sprint and some kind of aggro reducing ability. Lorewise they could be cast as Merchants, leading to them being unfriendly/neutral with the opposing faction.
Blood Thirsty is challenging (all grinding mobs, no quests), but it feels like it’s missing something. If Blizzard added something akin to Blood Thirsty, I think they would have to amp it up. They could making it starkly the opposite of pacifist and put you are at war with BOTH Alliance and Horde. Those characters would need to have their own starting zone. Story wise, they could lump all those characters together, like remnants of the Twilight’s Hammer, or make them unique per race, like Leper Gnomes and Grimtotem Tauren. Something that puts them on the outside of society story wise. There are certain places that tweaks would need to be made so that these characters could get around the world, like up to Northrend.
The biggest challenge I see with making these philosophically, is that they can not join groups or guilds. Not being able to party up puts these type of characters at odds with the social nature of the MMO. That being said, I don’t think anyone would play a challenge mode as their main. I would love to see some new ways to play baked right in as an option.