Sometimes we don't feel like relaxing anymore. To eat croissants for breakfast and run cozy dungeons. To go fishing with our guildmates. To let the soothing gunpowder fumes of battlegrounds waft around our noses or to pick herbs.
Now and then we crave death and destruction! For despair and pinching underwear! After an uncomfortable WoW evening of frustration, micromanagement and tantrums! Guessed right: We're talking about self-imposed challenges, which are generally liked to be called "challenges." These involve leveling a character to level 60 while adhering to a specific list of restrictions that make the leveling process significantly more difficult. Why limit yourself when the goal of the game is to make your precious numbers grow? Simple: because you want to challenge yourself more than is possible or even planned in the current gameplay of World of Warcraft (buy now 14,99 € ). Then there's the wait until the next major content patch.
More suffering! More fun! More Challenges!
Since patch 9.2 is bound to be a while in coming, players will have to find other ways to pass the time in the Shadowlands. The Classic servers may tempt you with their more standard tricky Siren Song, but we say NO! Instead, grab a brand new character and put them through hell. We present to you the absolute hardest WoW Challenges out there. Our only criteria is that it has to be fun and exceptional. The "Ironman" and "Tinman" challenges are so well known by now that they should practically be selectable as a game mode in WoW, but for the sake of completeness we'll mention them in the following anyway.
Instead, we devote ourselves to concepts such as the "Nomad Challenge", in which you are not allowed to use an auction house, flight masters, portals, rest stones, chromie time or quest addons. Long journeys want to be planned and are reminiscent of the dreaded "Ironforge Run" from Classic - only in a much larger world. That's not enough for you? How about the "Barbarian Challenge", where you'll have to avoid big cities and rely on leatherworking to craft your gear. No helmets. Just axes. No fast travel. A single push-up after every kill, because your arms get heavy. Still not enough? Then tackle the "Boar Challenge", where (like in South Park) you level up exclusively with the help of boar mobs in different zones - we'll also tell you the best route. Get out your bite wood (for a long time) and clench your fists, because these challenges will give you the good pain you've been looking for! Dangerous Situation: If you create an Ironman, you tremble for your character in every fight. Wearing only white gear is extra tricky. Source: buffed
Well known, popular and now standard: The Ironman and Tinman Challenge
Among the challenges, the Ironman Challenge is one of the pioneers of the first hour. The great-grandfather of WoW challenges is now so well known that it belongs to the standard repertoire of every challenge lover. For newcomers, however, here are the official rules, which you can read in their full version on wowchallenges.com:
- You may not die. If you die, either delete the character or stop playing it like an Ironman character - you only have one life, so use it wisely.
- No items that have a better quality than "white". This includes enchantments. Yes, this is hard. No, heirlooms do not count as "white".
- No talents. This just means you can't give points; if you want to change your specialization, you can do so without a problem.
- No professions. None at all. Zero. No, no cooking or fishing either.
- No potions of any kind. Non-witchers may not use health stones.
- No to little help: You must solo at least 75% of all kills yourself.
- No instances allowed. This includes, but is not limited to, dungeons, raids, battlegrounds, and arenas.
- No buff food. No XP buffs of any kind (we mean you, monks). No buffs from other players.
The Challenge is still popular because it's crisply difficult without making you jump through particularly many extra hoops. You just drop a few things and the game gets harder. If you don't fancy the massive restrictions but still want to experience a bit of a Classic feel with better graphics and a bigger world, simply choose the so-called Tinman Challenge. Here, the tone is friendlier and better suited for Challenge newbies taking their first steps into the big wide world of challenges. Just stick to the standard Ironman rules with the following changes:
- Deaths are allowed. Knock the dust off your clothes and move on.
- Talents are allowed.
- Potions are allowed.
- Buff food is allowed - but still no buffs from other players.
The two Challenges are old news and provide the basis for various simple modifiers you can use to spice up your Challenge run a bit: In the "Working Man Challenge" you use the Ironman rules, only here you are allowed to perform professions and complete the associated quests. The Green Man is allowed to equip green quality items, as are players in the Bloody Thirsty Challenge - but only four quests may be completed here in total.
You'll get the rest of the experience points you need by killing NPCs. So far, so entertaining. Any of the challenges mentioned here can easily be undertaken by beginners; always assuming you get yourself a steely nerve suit and a comfortable stress ball. But that's not what we're here for. We're here to pull the whacky stuff out of mothballs, so tighten your full-face helmet!
Tunnel Vision: Challenges for fans of single-track entertainment.
Do you ever get an insatiable craving for a challenge that's not only tedious and difficult, but also extremely monotonous? No problem, there's a challenge for that too! Collectively known as Tunnel Vision, challenges drastically limit the number of XP sources allowed for leveling up. This makes the path towards 60 an absolute marathon, training your ingenuity and knowledge of spawning NPC objects and game mechanics. Let's go! LIVE TO WIIIIN! TIL YOU DIIIIIE! Grab a shotgun and climb to the maximum level just by killing pigs! Source: buffed
LIVE TO WIN: The Wild Boar Challenge
We all remember that one South Park episode. If the whole thing means nothing to you, you now have a homework assignment: watch the episode "Make Love, not Warcraft" and then read on. Seriously, this thing is funny even if you don't have much else to do with the show. Back again? Then move on: in the episode, the guys grind their characters to max level by killing a total of 65,340,285 boars. Not entirely lazy, players immediately set to work recreating the whole thing upon the release of Classic WoW. First place went to player Dr. Five, who was the first to get a Dwarf Hunter to level 60 in mid-2020 by exclusively killing different types of pigs.
You don't have to make the challenge quite that grueling, as you'll have a few key advantages on the retail servers without making the challenge too easy. Firstly, you'll have a much larger selection of leveling areas to choose from. This has the advantage that you won't get bored, because if you only get pigs in front of your shotgun, at least the view may change. On the other hand, thanks to the chromie time and the various expansions, you have the opportunity to find the right pig at any time. We also don't understand why Blizzard didn't consider a decent boar progression when designing the zones.
The rules of the Boar Challenge are as simple as can be: you may kill anything with a pig face on it. That includes live pigs, undead pigs, demon pigs, and upright walking pigs. That's right - you can also slaughter your way through the local spiny liver population if you wish. In terms of equipment, you're allowed to put on anything you can pull out of the pigs, no matter what quality level it is. Talents are allowed, as are found potions and food. Prohibited are all professions except cooking, as well as entering dungeons and using the auction house. One bright spot: Collaboration with other Boar Challenge heroes is explicitly allowed! After all, you are emulating your great idols. Oh, and very importantly, the song "Live to Win" by Paul Stanley must be playing in the background during the entire challenge, or it won't count. No killed NPCs until level 60: If you level as a pacifist, you'll be happy about every little vein of ore you can use to pad your experience points account. Source: buffed
Hippies to the Front: The Pacifist Challenge
The Pig Challenge is too easy for you? You really want to suffer mental pain while you climb the ladder of success rung by rung? Then try the Pacifist Challenge. As you might have guessed, you can't kill anyone here - no NPCs, no players, no small animals. Nothing. Oh, and before we forget: Of course, all Ironman rules still apply here, meaning you can't choose talents, use potions, or use outside help. The only exception is that you can take up any profession in the world. Note: Just because you choose Leatherworking does not mean you can kill. Once you die, the challenge is over. So if you've ever wanted to know how a commoner would feel with only one screen life, you've come to the right place. Try doing your job when you live in a world with hyper-aggressive fauna, omnipresent bandits, demons and war zones. Now you know how NPCs must feel.
To complete the journey towards level 60, you'll need to get resourceful: Your first option is simply exploring foreign lands, as this will allow you to get through at least the first few levels quickly. The second big source of XP is, of course, the professions, which will reliably get you to max level - if you can avoid the hazards along the way. Remember, the only thing you can't do is kill. Control abilities or a shot across the bow with Frost Novaor similar skills are explicitly allowed. Does that still fall under the dictionary definition of "pacifism"? Of course it doesn't. Is it the only way to get to level 60 without going insane? Yep.
By the way, the famous pandaren "Doubleagent" is NOT a valid pacifist, because while he levels mainly via professions - he does pet battles on the side, which he redeems with his faction-free pandaren, and that's forbidden by the rules. Don't get us wrong: Doubleagent defiantly has the patience of a saint and also never leaves the Pandarian starting area.
Roleplay: Themed Challenges for Masochists
There are those of us who either don't really care for the standard challenges ... or have simply conquered all the normal challenges already. For those exceptional individuals, we have a few special treats in store that are not only challenging, but can also change your view of the game (at least a little bit). We're talking about the so-called Theme Challenges, of which there are as many as your imagination allows. Important: Unlike the previously mentioned challenges, there are no "official" rules or even a website where you can compete with other players. This is simply your ambition. The Lord of the Rings Challenge is particularly crunchy and lengthy. Cool thing: If you're smart, you can cut corners and shave hours off your best time. Source: buffed
Speedrun to Mordor: The Lord of the Rings Challenge
Originally designed by well-known WoW content creator Nixxiom, the LotR (Lord of the Rings) Challenge is not directly a leveling challenge. Instead, you set a clear goal that you must reach as quickly as possible. At the end, you type /played in chat window, take a screenshot to prove it, and try to beat your time next time. The basic rules are as follows: You must find the "one ring". The first ring you get from any source is the famous Sauron ring, which of course you must not put on. The ultimate goal is to transport the ring to "Chain Island" in Blackrock and drop it in - that is, clear the item. Pick up your /played evidence and restart your run. So far, so understandable.
The rules for all runs should sound familiar: When you die, you delete the character. No potions, professions, dungeons, or auction houses. Also, you may not use mounts; after all, the Fellowship also consisted the Ring only of angry wanderers who happened to misplace their horse-use manual. Cooking is explicitly allowed! After all, you'll have to keep your first and second fry. As far as item upgrades are concerned, you may ONLY upgrade your weapon; everything up to green weapons is allowed. Where it gets really interesting is when you choose your race and class, because there are certain special rules:
- Warriors may wear any armor that is white or gray. No rings, amulets, or trinkets.
- Mages may wear a robe of white quality that they have quested or looted.
- Hunters may use potions that they have looted or obtained from quest.
No other classes are allowed. As far as races are concerned, there are also certain restrictions, because here we also orient ourselves (very roughly) on the Lord of the Rings:
- Gnomes may only choose warriors and put on the "one ring".
- Dwarves may only choose warriors and put on the FIRST blue helmet they find.
- Humans may choose warriors or mages and put on the first necklace they find.
- Blood elves may only choose hunters, but may not use their companion. You may use the first blue ranged weapon you find.
In general, Nixxiom probably just wanted to create a nice, unprecedented challenge, but what came out is, in the end, the roguelike mode that Torghast always wanted to be: there is no persistent progression, all classes are fundamentally different, the challenge is bludgeoningly hard, and there is a definite end point. Have fun traversing the Burning Steppes - with these rules and permadeath breathing down your neck, the journey will indeed feel like a vacation in Mordor. With the Nomad Challenge you also challenge yourself, of course ... On the side, however, you play a much slower, relaxing WoW. Source: buffed
Decelerate: The Nomad Challenge
Admittedly, none of the challenges are really "fast", but the Nomad Challenge forces you to slow down so that you get to know the game from a completely different perspective. Here you'll also reach level 60 in a special way, but permadeath mode is optional. Generally speaking, heirlooms are off limits, as is equipment obtained from quests or the auction house. Participation in dungeons, battlegrounds, and warfronts is also prohibited. As a nomad, you are self-sufficient, so you will only equip what you have built or looted yourself - professional items and the use of potions, meanwhile, are explicitly allowed as long as they do not come from someone else. Build your own armour!
One of the most important points of the Nomad Challenge is the absolute ban on mounts, reststones, portals, and fast travel abilities. All of a sudden, the world gets really big again and you have to make proper travel arrangements: If you want to cross the Devastated Isles or Pandaria on foot, you'll regularly face mountain ranges and deep canyons that present real obstacles for your wanderer. Most of the quests in the Storm Peaks are far away and can only be admired from the ground. If you wish, you can ask passing adventurers to briefly charge the Nomad Adventurer and fly it to the quest location - but only once a week and only short distances! Have fun with the descent afterwards. Bonus points if you make the journey towards level 60 without using Questhelper. Also, if you really want to sink into the world, get the "Storyline" addon, which turns quest NPCs into real conversation partners.
Only the Tough: The Barbarian Challenge
The time has come dear readers: If you've been able to complete all the challenges so far without any problems, if you've dragged countless characters to maximum level under the most adverse conditions, you may find your master in the Barbarian Challenge. Here we take the roleplaying approach of the LotR Challenge to its logical conclusion and invest ourselves in the challenge as much as we limit our character. The Challenge originally came from X random YouTube comment that was turned into a challenge by YouTuber Nixxiom. Over time, however, the challenge evolved and became more and more embellished until it became ... excessive.
The concept behind the challenge is living as a downtrodden wilderness barbarian. You live far away from cities, fend for yourself, and fight with big two-handed weapons that show off your swelling muscles. Translated, this is what it means:
- Permadeath. When you die, you delete the character.
- No auction house, no heirlooms, you know the routine.
- No dungeons, battlegrounds, or even group play in the open world.
- No fast travel, no rest stones, no flight masters, and no portals.
- Here's where it gets interesting: You have to play a weapon warrior!
- You can only wear leather gear! Barbarians despise weakness.
- No chest armor, helmets, capes, or gloves! Barbarians don't understand the use of armor any more than they understand the concept of warriors who live past 30. Jewelry is allowed, Conan looks like a jewel wearing shopping queen on many old book covers.
- Homemade armor only! You can't trust the Fisher Price gear of civilized people and your enemies.
- Stay away from big cities! No capitals, no settlements with more than three buildings. You may only sell meat and hides - cooking is allowed.
- War mode is activated! The wilderness is full of murderous dangers that civilized people can only dream of.
- After every enemy you kill, you do one push-up. Yes, you! Not your character. The day is long, the axe is bare metal, and your arms grow heavy. You can't do push-ups? Lean against the wall with both hands and do a "stand-up". Any kill. No exceptions.
- Talents allowed. What? Why are you looking at us so blankly? We're not sadists, after all.
Should you actually get this character to level 60, we salute you. Even if you take all the quests allowed (remember: no big settlements!), by max level you'll most likely do more than 10,000 pushups, spend a lot of time running from overpowered PvP enemies, and grill more meat than on all of your characters combined. Say goodbye to your equipment: In the Helheim Challenge, you block an armor slot after each death - it must remain empty from now on. Source: buffed
Losing sucks: The Helheim Challenge
You're still here? What are you still doing in the browser? Close the thing, create a new character and torture it, go! There was still nothing in it for you, you say? You want a challenge so unpleasant it'll make your toenails curl for generations to come? That's your wish, are you sure? All right. We'll help you. We'll help you, but don't say afterwards we didn't warn you. Lash down your bitewood and follow us into the "Extinguish Your Own Fun Challenge!"
Okay, the name is admittedly intimidating - rightly so, as it turns out. Known to you as the Way of Shame Challenge, or the Helheim Challenge for short, this is considered one of the most unpleasant challenges since the invention of Ironman Mode, as it requires you to watch your character slowly deteriorate. The basic rules are those of Tinman Mode, meaning you can die, use talents, buffs, and food. Still banned are all weapons above white grade, dungeons, battlegrounds and so on, you know the masochist shopping list by now.
What makes the Helheim Challenge particularly nasty, however, is the death rule: to wear a mark of your shame forever, after your first death, you select a slot on your character where they can no longer wear gear. The next death adds another slot. Then another. And another. After a few deaths, it gets harder and harder to get any victories at all, until you're wandering around Azeroth practically naked and scared, and ... Die. If you lose your last slot, the character must be deleted and, in keeping with the name of the challenge, enters Helheim - the afterlife of the dishonorable dead.
The whole thing is exhausting, depressing, and leaves a stale taste on the tongue. We were strongly tempted not to clear the character afterward, but to buff him up with heirlooms and play him at max level just so he could catch his breath at least once. Either way, when you get a Hel Challenge-ravaged character to max level according to the rules, we bow to you. You guys are more suffering in World of Warcraft than we are.
One-legged, uphill and through boiling lava
No matter what horrible fate you have chosen for your Challenge character, in the end it's the journey that counts. By the way, we like to keep a record of our honorably fallen heroes in a character graveyard, noting the level they reached, where they died, and how they died. Before we dismiss you, we'll give you one last tip: Try the whole thing even if you shudder at the idea. Don't underestimate the motivation and immersion that comes with each step being your last. Oh, and of course we're looking forward to your own challenges! Keep them coming, the more difficult and wacky the better. We salute you, doomed ones of Azeroth. May your fists be forever closed around white items.Support buffed - it only takes a minute. Thank you!
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