Iron Man Spotlight

santaI wish you all a Merry Christmas (or whatever it is you celebrate or don’t). Please be safe and enjoy the season. We will catch you all in the new year with a new episode of the podcast on January 9. Until then, enjoy Winter Veil and this Iron Spotlight with Deidreven!

1/ Tell us a little about yourself – the player behind the characters!
I am a teacher IRL. A few of my students over the years have played WoW, so it’s been a fun way to connect with some of them. I have a wife and two daughters. One just became a teenager so I just bought my first shotgun 🙂 I’m 45 years old. The reason that I mention my age is that I’ve found very few people under the age of 40 seem to stick with the Ironman challenge. Something about being old I guess gives us the patience we need for this. Plus I think Ster’s jokes drive away the younger ones. (Actually they drive away pretty much people of all ages).

2/ How long have you been playing WoW?
I have been playing WoW since WotLK came out. I’m thinking that makes about 7 years. A friend of mine introduced me to Diablo a long time ago, and that eventually led me to trying WoW. Spent quite a bit of time raiding in the past, but now I’m pretty much just doing Iron stuff.

3/ How long have you been participating in the WoW Challenges and how did you get started?
Before the Ironman challenge started, back in WotLK, a warrior made it to 80 without dying. He didn’t have any rules on himself like the Ironman, but it was still a big deal. He was written up about on the forums and many of the blog sites. For those of you who leveled back then, you’d agree that it was much more difficult to level then, then it is now. So it was still very impressive that he did it. (Side note on this warrior that Irons can feel for. He made it to 80 and never died. He had engineering as a profession and used some kind of speed boost from engineering in Dalaran. Well it defected, shot him up in the air, parachute didn’t work, landed and died!! After he was already at 80 without dying!) Anyways, seeing this guy accomplish this gave me the idea to try leveling without dying. My main toon is a Pally named Neverdied. He tried, and failed, that challenge. So when I heard about this challenge when it first started, I was hooked right away. There was initially no board or anything to track people. When the first board got made, a guy named Kripparian was the first one to 80. He was a pretty well known hunters at the time, so it got some publicity for the Iron Challenge. I think I was like the 10th person to finish the Ironman.

4/ What type of WoW Challenge toon do you like to play? (ie – Iron Man, Blood Thirsty or Pacifist)
I’ve tried all 3 of the challenges. Been lucky enough to complete the Ironman challenge a few different times since the beginning. I currently have a Pacifist at around 25 and my Blood Thirsty toon is around 75. Iron is definitely more fun for me. The other two challenges, especially Blood Thirsty, can get quite boring.

5/ What class/race have you tried and what do you find has been the best for you so far?
I’ve tried every class but DK, and like most irons I usually stick with Nightelf for Shadowmeld. Hunter of course has been the easiest, but throughout the last couple expansions, different classes have been viable choices. I’ve enjoyed most all the classes. In MoP priest was very easy and fun to level.

6/ What are you planning to level next?
I’ve always enjoyed the leveling process, even on regular toons. I have lots of higher level alts, and that has carried over to this challenge for me. Currently I’m working on my lvl 75 Blood Thirsty hunter. For the regular ironman challenge I’m working on a lvl 79 rogue, lvl 69 hunter, and a lvl 65 druid. I play all of them on and off. The challenge can get boring at times for me, so having the variety is great. Plus I always have rested xp, and if one dies, it isn’t quite so heartbreaking because I have other high level toons to play. I have other classes between levels 30 and 50, but I rarely play those.

7/ What is your fondest WoW Challenge toon memory?
Probably being the first monk to finish the challenge. I told my daughters after I did it that I was the only person in the world to do this challenge on a monk. Anytime in life you can say you are the only person in the world to do something, it is kind of cool. My daughters thought I was the coolest dad ever 🙂
Also, the creation of the iron guild has been great. I love the friendships formed and comradery built from being in the guild and going through this challenge with other people cheering you on.

8/ What was one of the worst or embarrassing ways you’ve died as a WoW Challenge toon?
Most frustrating was my lvl 87 priest during MoP died to a D/C when he was 2 ½ levels away from finishing. That is especially frustrating because priests were actually very easy to level for Iron during MoP. I have since went back to them and they are much harder now.

Most embarrassing was when I had been leveling some horde alts on regular toons. I came back to Iron on my alliance toon and immediately flew into Thrallmar (the horde city) on Hellfire Peninsula and couldn’t figure out why they were attacking me  That has to be up in the record books of dumbest ways to die.

9/ What zone do you think is the most unfriendly to a WoW Challenge toon?
Most of the old irons would agree that Redridge is tough. I encourage all new irons to go to Loch Moden instead and skip “Deadridge” altogether. Hellfire Pennisula is also tough because it’s the first place in Outlands. Outlands is tough overall for irons and this is the first taste people get of it.

10/ What advice would you give to anyone wanting to try a WoW Challenge toon for the first time?
If you want to just come, have fun, and enjoy the journey, then pick any class/race you want and have fun with it. Join the guild on Wyrmrest Accord and have fun chatting and sharing the experiences of your journey.

If you really want to actually finish the challenge, then like I said earlier, I would definitely encourage any new iron to be a Nightelf Hunter. They are so much easier to play than any other class.

Also, be patient, throw your pride out the window and say no to quests you are unsure about. The second you feel things are getting bad at all run, don’t stand and try to fight it out. And ask questions. One of the great things about this challenge is the people and how willing everyone is to help one another out. Ask away and someone will be able to help you.

11/ Can you give us three helpful tips or tricks for doing a challenge?
When you get to the higher levels, ask a veteran iron about repeatable daily quests that are available. These are great sources of XP when you get to the tougher higher levels.

If you are a hunter, use this macro: /tar “petname” /cast misdirection
You will not lose agro with that, which is especially nice on some of the minibosses you will face.

Always left click NPCs. Many irons have died from the accidental right click on a NPC that will fight back.

Achievement_level_100Over the past two-three weeks, we’ve had TWO new Iron Champions!

  • Asyluun, a long-time Iron Veteran, earned his Level 100 badge on November 20th 2015. This is his second Iron, his first coming at Level 90 during Mists of Pandaria.
  • Boneless, the first Horde character to make it to 100 this expansion, is also a PETLESS hunter. Boneless belongs to Lyssan, another Iron Veteran and joins his 3-time Iron Lyssan at the top.

Asyluun was gracious to answer some of our questions during the past week. You can reach Asyluun on Twitter at @Asyluun.

Tell us a little about yourself – the player behind the characters!
I am 51, Married , in the finance industry living in Melbourne Australia

How long have you been playing WoW?
I Started in September 2007

How long have you been participating in the WoW Challenges and how did you get started?
It would have to be around the 3-4 years that I have been trying the Ironman challenge

What type of WoW Challenge toon do you like to play? (ie – Iron Man, Blood Thirsty or Pacifist)
I prefer the Iron man challenge, no patience for pacifist, blood thirsty would be too boring

What class/race have you tried and what do you find has been the best for you so far?
I have done mostly hunters which I like the most, I have tried paladins where I have gotten a couple to the 60’s

What are you planning to level next?
I am not sure, after I got my hunter to 90 when that was the cap then another hunter to 100 I normally take a break from levelling an ironman toon.
I may try some other classes but after all the effort I have put in to get to 100, I would like to take a break maybe get a scout to 100 in prep for Legion

What is your fondest WoW Challenge toon memory?
Obviously getting to 100, however its more being online for new Ironman just starting out and answering there questions

What was one of the worst or embarrassing ways you’ve died as an WoW Challenge toon?
Rolled a new Draenai Paladin , went a hit a lvl 1 moth then dc’d …came back dead /time played 2 min

What zone do you think is the most unfriendly to a WoW Challenge toon?
I would say redridge or as we call it “Deadridge” so many irons have died there, too many dangerous quests

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to try a WoW Challenge toon for the first time?
Just enjoy the challenge, I see too many newbie Irons agonise over the rules, oh and avoid roguesters bad jokes

Can you give us three helpful tips or tricks for doing a challenge?
– If you have second thoughts about a quest/ mob trust your first instincts
– Be familiar with the quests you are doing, a bad surprise can be fatal
– Wait till full health when vendoring health pots , if you click one you won’t use it

FerreskyyeFerrenysDresses2Today we move our spotlight over to Ferre. She is one of the elite Iron Challengers we have…  she has hit max level on FIVE Iron characters: an Iron Druid (Ferrenys) from Cataclysm, Mists and Warlords and also an Iron Priest (Ferreskye) from Mists and Warlords. She’s the only person (so far) to have two max level Irons in Warlords. She was gracious enough to answer all of our questions (many, MANY thanks for that)!

Q&A with Ferre
WC: What can you tell us about the player behind the characters?

Ferre: I’m female, a retired scientist & consultant living in the Pacific Northwest.

WC: How long have you been playing WoW?
Ferre: I’ve been playing since January 2005, a couple months after the launch of vanilla WoW. I got my 10-year subscriber orc figure from Blizzard last fall – hard to believe it’s been that long.

WC: How long have you been playing the Iron Man challenge and how did you get started?
Ferre: My first Iron (Ferrestella) started on Valentine’s Day in 2012. I was devastated when I lost her at  61 to a naga in Zangarmarsh. But I was definitely hooked on the Ironman Challenge – leveling high enough for druid flight in Outland felt amazing. So I kept going.

I’d read about the challenge… somewhere? I’m not even sure where, but I convinced a couple of friends to try it too. It turned out not to be right for them, but I’ve been playing irons ever since. Not too many months later, I decided (for a variety of reasons) to stop raiding Firelands. The iron play style was compelling enough that it was worth most of my focus.

WC: You have TWO Level 100 Irons, a Druid that has THREE Iron titles (cata, mists, warlords) and a Priest that has two Iron titles (mists, warlords). I’m pretty sure this puts you up there in true Iron Elite status. What do you remember when you hit max level FIVE TIMES with your characters?
Ferre: The most memorable is definitely when my druid Ferrenys dinged 90 on 2/18/2013. I’d planned it to happen at a turn-in for a Love is in the Air valentine’s holiday quest in Darnassus, and invited friends. Six or seven of them were there with me in the Temple of the Moon to celebrate (she was the 2nd lvl 90 iron). It really summed up a lot of what I love about the challenge – it’s a personal thing that you do alone, but it’s also a community of friends.

Getting the same druid to 100 – finishing by completing Birchus’ quest chain in Gorgrond – was as much relief as exhilaration. She’d been questing in Draenor since lvl 98 and it was starting to get hard to find quests I could do safely. It was a very similar feeling when my priest hit 100, also doing that quest chain – and it was harder for her since it took longer for her to kill things than it had for the druid.

Actually I have another druid who hit lvl 90 during Mists as well. That one was for backup, in case something unfortunate happened to my other druid once Warlords launched. It was also my relearning how to play after I’d been away from WoW for 7 months due to medical issues. She’s still 90, but I’ll level her slowly as time allows.

WC: Did you intentionally pick a Druid & Priest to level as an Iron Man vs. the more popular Hunter and why?
Ferre: My first character in vanilla WoW was a NE druid. After a few years raiding with a mage as my main, I transferred her and raided with her as Resto from ICC to Firelands. I probably have more druids than any other class – I just enjoy their versatility. And I learned more about being a druid – using all my forms and skills – by playing Iron druids than any other way.

I tried a monk, but it didn’t feel quite right. I’d played shadow priests from time to time, mostly solo alts, so I thought it would be worth a try. And I have to give a nod to Lyssan for proving that it was very possible to have a successful Ironman priest.

I’ve never played many hunters. I recently got a regular hunter to 100 after she’d languished in the early 80s for years. I don’t dislike them –  I enjoyed that latest leveling experience, but I don’t pretend that I’m terribly good at it. So I’ve just never tried an Iron hunter.

WC: What are you planning to level next?
Ferre: I’m leveling a rogue this time (currently 33). One of the things I loved about the druids (and missed on the priest) was the ability to stealth/prowl. Yes, it makes questing easier/quicker since you don’t have to kill your way in and out of some situations. And it’s just fun. i’ve leveled regular rogues and am really looking forward to seeing how far I can get with the Iron.

I do have a lvl 34 Iron mage, but she was started back in Cata, when she had a much better set of skills. As it is, mages have retained a great sets of defensive and utility skills, but little dps. So it’s all about cc and kiting your target while avoiding taking many direct hits (no shield & cloth armor). I figured I’d have a batter chance with the rogue.

WC: What is your fondest Iron Man memory?
Ferre: Hitting 90 on Ferrenys (see my description of the party we had in Darnassus to celebrate it). Some of the people who showed up for that are still my guild mates, others were people who’d tried their own Ironmans but decided it wasn’t for them, including my husband’s hunter. One reason I chose Darnassus for the final quest turn-in was that it was a place that friends could get to easily on their low-level characters.

WC: What was one of the worst or embarrassing ways you’ve died as an Iron Man?
Ferre: My two monk attempts died in pretty embarrassing ways. The first one was one-shotted by a Nesingwary camp guard on the first day those guys were made lvl 90. She had tab-targetting something that was chasing her into the camp and yeah… dead. My second monk died of greed. I was exploring Northrend at 69 by flying around. Occasionally I’d see a treasure chest that looked unguarded enough to stop for it. Well, I misjudged respawns once – which is all it took to be dead in Zul-Drak.(At 69, yeah i know… that why i say it was just greed and stupidity.)

LyssanThere have been WoW Iron Challengers since Cataclysm and really only a handful of Victors, however, the original incarnation of the challenge site was more of a listing site instead of what we are trying to do here: show-casing the Iron Man Challenge community that was built and continues strong today. My recent appearance on Leeta’s Behind the Avatar made me think having a spotlight on some of the folks in our community would be a great thing, especially when times are lean. I’m expecting a lull in Iron activity when 6.2 drops… but that’s okay…  once folks are bored with that, they’ll come back looking for a challenge again.

I would like to start off this series by shining the Spotlight on Lyssan… the first Iron Challenger to hit Level 100 in Warlords and not only that but this is the THIRD time this same character has achieved an Iron Man level, doing it twice before for Cataclysm (85) and Mists of Pandaria (90). Lyssan hit 100 (on December 14 2014) before the WoW Challenges site was up, so you may not have heard the news but that doesn’t mean we can’t highlight the achievement now. Lyssan’s newest challenge is to level up a Petless Hunter!

Here’s my Q&A with him (please go easy on the criticism, it’s my first time doing a Q&A).

Q&A with Lyssan:

WC: How long have you been playing WoW?

Lyssan: I started playing WoW in 2007, right before Burning Crusade. I’ve been playing on and off ever since.

WC: How long have you been playing the Iron Man challenge?

Lyssan: I was attracted to the Ironman concept since it started as an idea on the battle.net forums around 3 years ago. My first Ironman toon, a paladin, died at level 42 in Eastern Plaguelands. After that I played several other challengers among which a Warrior that ended her run at level 79 in Dragonblight, a level 81 shaman killed in Zul’Drak (both are still the highest level in their class, as far as I know) and of course the priest Lyssan who is still alive at level 100. I am now playing a hunter variation that doesn’t use a pet at all – currently level 71.

WC: Your character, Lyssan, is the first Iron Man to hit Level 100 but also has three Iron Challenger belts… do you remember what you were thinking when or feeling when you hit 85, 90 and 100?

Lyssan: Getting to 85 was pretty hard. I felt good but I was also motivated to try again in the new expansion. I started the 85-90 trip a couple of weeks after MoP launched and getting to 90 was exhilarating. One of the reasons was that the Ironman community was, much as it is now, very active and supportive during that time. In contrast, leveling from 90 to 100 felt a little bit anticlimactic. Most of the interest for the challenge was gone, official tracking website was not maintained, there were only a handful of people (the “usuals”) active on the forums and also the game felt easier than before. It was a bit of a letdown, I must admit.
(as a trivia, Lyssan has 22 days, 4 hours of /played time across three expansions).

WC: Did you intentionally pick a Druid to level as an Iron Man vs. the more popular Hunter? (as an aside, I KNOW Lyssan is a Priest but Druid popped up in my head because of the link colours I use on the site… I will likely be changing that soon).

Lyssan: Lyssan is a priest not a druid but the reason I went with the priest was that until that point I haven’t previously played a priest at all. I was not sure how far I could go in the challenge especially that the overwhelming majority of the ironman community thought priest was hard – with no pet, no cc, no armor. It turned out to be a challenging and fun choice.

WC: What is your fondest Iron Man memory?

Lyssan: Two days after I reached level 90 as the first Ironman to do so, I received a letter in the mail from somebody who created a toon on my server just to congratulate me for the feat. That felt pretty good.

WC: What was one of the worst or embarrassing ways you’ve died as an Iron Man?

Lyssan: I’m pretty cautious and I don’t die very often but sometimes that is not enough. The worst way to die has to be my level 83 horde rogue who fell to her death during the quest The Drakkensryd in Storm Peaks. For those that don’t know this is a quest that takes place around a Storm Peaks mountain and requires you to jump from drake to drake using a harpoon. Sometimes the quest bugs out and your drake despawns before you can get to another one which means certain death – unless you are a priest (or a mage … I think).

WC: What made you decide to try the Petless Hunter?

Lyssan: I like hunters. My first ever WoW toon was a night-elf hunter (original, I know :)). But I always thought hunters are a little less challenging for Ironman (especially since they got their fully spec’d pet). So, I thought, maybe a hunter without a pet would make it more challenging. And I was right – it is more challenging and very fun to play.

WC: Do you find Petless Hunter significantly more difficult than going in as a regular Hunter?

Lyssan: A petless hunter still has the full hunter kit, mobility and DPS – the only thing missing is the meat shield to keep the mobs occupied. the most important thing is positioning and having room to kite. So, yes, it is more difficult but nothing that you can’t overcome with skill and game knowledge. I have never used Ice Trap and Concussive Shot in so many different ways before – it’s very fun to play.

WC: Do you think the Petless Hunter is more viable than other classes? Like, say Warrior?

Lyssan: Absolutely. Comparing it to warrior is a little unfair because currently Warrior is “almost” impossible to play (I say “almost” because I still think it’s possible but extremely hard and tedious – whoever takes a Warrior to the end line deserves a medal for patience). But I would venture to say the petless hunter is easier than other classes like Mage or Shaman. Can definitely make it to the end line.