Ironman is a recently released type of play for Runescape. Unlike Quests and Minigames which let you play differently for a few minutes to a few hours, Ironman is a complete play choice. An entirely different life choice, if you would.
Characters who choose to be Ironman upon creation(for you cannot become it later, only at creation) are bound by special restrictions. Unlike most restrictions, these are actually intended to enhance the play experience. Pretty much anything that normally requires interaction with another player(s) is disabled, or in some cases restricted. Most notably is the fact that you cannot trade nor use the Grand Exchange. In the beginning these restrictions might not seem like much, but if you’re used to freeplay(meaning, normal Runescape style) you will notice how severe they actually are once you outgrow your bronze armor. Normally you’d go to the Grand Exchange to purchase some iron, steel, mithril, etc. In Ironman, you can’t. You must make all your gear yourself.
That’s right. You want full Rune? You have three options:
Fight the monsters that drop pieces,
Find NPCs which sell the pieces,
or raise your Smithing level to 85+.
You want Full Dragon? I hope the helm is worth 2,000 Mithril dragon kills to you.
You see, Ironman isn’t just a set of restrictions, it is an entirely different playstyle. While most Runescape accounts focus on collecting money or total levels, Ironman gains nothing or very little from that mindset. Instead, Ironman accounts are more goal oriented. Total levels don’t mean much, but certain levels in certain skills do when they help you reach your goal. For instance, while normal characters buy cheap food to train combat, Ironman accounts must train their fishing up to the level needed for their desired fish and then train their cooking alongside it.
Ironman also sees the first time Jagex has created a literal End Game. Hardcore, Ironman. As if going it alone wasn’t challenging enough, you can also choose to go solo all or nothing. If a Hardcore Ironman dies the account is permanently dead. At total level 1,000 and 1,600 Hardcore players may buy an extra life to allow them to die two more times, but that’s it. There is also the ability to pay to make a Hardcore character soft, turning them into a normal Ironman. Note that this is a permanent change, you cannot reverse back to Hardcore.
If you like the thrill of each battle being your last, Hardcore Ironman may be what you’re looking for.
If you’ve had enough of the Ironman restrictions or advanced your Ironman account really far but want to play normally now then you can purchase the ability to change into a normal account. As with the Hardcore change, this is permanent.
Well, there are a few reasons. Some people feel the game is too easy these days, and I would tend to agree with them, while others simply want a new challenge. I think Ironman answers both of these pretty well.
Of course if you’re one who is driven by competition there is always the fact that both Ironman and Hardcore Ironman have their own unique Highscores. Hardcore accounts that die or are changed into Softcore remain on the hardcore Highscores with the levels they had at the time.
Ironman really is a different playstyle. That is something I think really needs to be stressed to any thinking about doing it. If you’re not up to doing everything yourself and playing the game entirely solo, I suggest you don’t create an Ironman character.
Personally, I’ve found it to be a bit too restrictive and in some cases poorly implemented.
For one, Ironman accounts can see all items on the ground as normal, but can’t pick them up. This becomes a huge annoyance should you be killing cows or chickens while someone else is. Since Ironman accounts can’t pick them up, they shouldn’t be able to even see them. It only makes sense, and it would make things easier for the Ironman.
Secondly and along the same lines, you can attempt to trade with anyone, and the screen will even popup, but both players will be unable to put anything into the trade because one is an Ironman.
This next point goes along with the trading one: Let Ironman Accounts trade with one another. This would make the mode much more exciting. Players could still choose to go completely solo, but if someone wanted a rune longsword without grinding 91 Smithing then they could find another Ironman who had already trained their smithing high. This would give Ironman a feel akin to some of the old days, which would also be a welcome thing I believe.
The idea of a Hardcore Ironman brings the thought of something else to mind; Hardcore normal Runescape. Although I have never been a fan of Hardcore, I know a large quantity of people like the concept. A Hardcore RS would likely be very popular and would also have a side-effect of being a slow item sink.