Bad news, folks: Once you’ve made your way through your own faction’s basic ground mounts and the array of options available in Outland, you’ve largely exhausted the supply of factions that will offer you tons of mounts just because they like you. The closest you’ll get is the Argent Tournament, which offers lots of mounts but a relatively long grind for most of them, even if you’re already exalted with your home factions. Past this point, count on doing reputation grinds for only a few mounts at most.
However, the bite doesn’t feel as bad in Northrend, in no small part because Dalaran and Argent Tournament quartermasters will sell you Commendation badges for the Argent Crusade, Ebon Blade, Kirin Tor, Sons of Hodir, and Wyrmrest Accord in return for 16 justice points. Each badge gives you 520 reputation, and it’s a great way to bleed off extra JPs you’re sitting on, if spending lots of time in Northrend isn’t on your to-do list.
Oh, Green Proto-Drake. You drove so many people insane during Wrath, including me. Blizzard’s removed some of the more frustrating parts of trying to get this mount, so nabbing a green drake is (usually) less painful these days.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The little gorlocs offer not a mount but the chance at a mount by way of a Mysterious Egg once you’ve hit revered. Getting to revered is pretty straightforward: Quest in Sholazar Basin, get to the point that you’re offered The Part-time Hunter by Tamara Wobblesprocket, and afterwards the nearby wolvar will offer you Playing Along. The chain will introduce you to the Oracles as well, and then you’ll get the chance to pick a faction in A Hero’s Burden.
You can switch between the Oracles and the Frenzyheart at any point by killing Artruis the Heartless and choosing whether to save the gorloc or wolvar NPC held hostage. From there, it’s dailies, dailies, and more dailies, until you reach the reputation level required to purchase whatever you want from the factions’ respective quartermasters.
Gotten to revered? Congratulations! Here begins the RNG-palooza that getting the green drake usually entails. However, you’re luckier these days in that Blizzard’s bumped the drop rate somewhat and also decreased the cooldown time on the egg to three days, rather than the week it was for most of Wrath. Buy a new egg every three days until you get your drake.
Sons of Hodir
The Sons of Hodir were among the first priority for players new to 80, given that they were the only way to get Wrath-level shoulder enchants if you weren’t a scribe. Apart from that, they’re also notable for offering a series of dailies with rather interesting titles.
The quest chain to reach the Sons starts with They Took Our Men! at K3 in the Storm Peaks and will eventually dump you on their doorstep with honored reputation. At this point, your options for getting to exalted are threefold: Dailies, turning in Everfrost, and turning in Relics of Ulduar. The latter are going to be difficult to find on the auction house now that Northrend’s largely emptied, but you’ll pick up quite a few if you’re questing your way through Storm Peaks anyway. Everfrost Chips, by contrast, will be the hell of a lot easier to run across now that most of your competition has departed the continent. And, if all else fails, you’ve always got the mildly suggestively-named dailies or commendation badges.
As an aside, the quest chain to get to the Sons will also introduce you to the Hyldnir (necessary for opening their daily rewarding a possible mount; see below) and what was quite possibly the single most popular quest in the entire expansion, The Drakkensryd. Even if you’re one of those cold-hearted players for whom no amount of lore will convince you to do a great quest chain, the grind is arguably worth it for this quest alone.
- Reins of the Ice Mammoth
- Reins of the Grand Ice Mammoth Please note that this three-person mount does not come with vendors, unlike the Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth below.
Strictly speaking, the Kirin Tor themselves do not offer a mount, but Kirin Tor reputation is the key to getting major discounts at Dalaran’s neutral mount vendor Mei Francis. Everything she sells is pretty expensive, so yes, you want that discount.
- Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth One of the most expensive options out there; even at exalted with the Kirin Tor, you’ll be shelling out 16,000 gold for the convenience of a mammoth with vendors. Is it worth it? There’s probably an article in that alone, but I have to admit that my Tundra Mammoth still gets a lot of use. Being able to repair and sell anywhere you can hop onto a ground mount is still pretty convenient, but keep in mind that the vendors have not scaled to offer Cataclysm materials. If you’re in need of water or food for a level 85 character, you’re out of luck.
- Reins of the Armored Brown Bear Another mount with a slightly different color scheme dependent on faction. If you have no luck with the Hyldnir dailies (see below) or haven’t gotten around to killing opposing faction leaders, this is the only way to get a Northrend bear mount.
- Armored Snowy Gryphon (Alliance) or Armored Blue Wind Rider (Horde) Snowy gryphons seem to be a fairly popular option with Alliance players, but I have yet to see anyone shelling out for a blue wind rider with any purpose other than adding another mount to the stable Horde-side …
- Reins of the Wooly Mammoth This one’ll run you justice points rather than money, but — like the brown bear above — it’s a way to get yourself a basic version of a Northrend mount if all else fails.
This one’s easy: Quest your way to friendly with the Wyrmrest dragons at the Transitus Shield in the Borean Tunra and later Dragonblight, slap a tabard on, and go for broke in some dungeons. There are also three dailies if you really want (Drake Hunt and Aces High! in Coldarra, Defending Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight) and obviously the commendations as well. For anyone interested in doing the Malygos encounter, Aces High! is actually an introduction to the mechanics and abilities of the red drakes used in the final phase of that encounter, although the latent historian in me now feels obligated to note that a lot of people used a macro to simplify that portion of the fight …
The quest chain in the Borean Tundra starts with Basic Training: In Dragonblight, you’re most likely to reach the Wyrmrest Temple by way of Gaining an Audience (Alliance) or Gaining an Audience (Horde).
The Reins of the Red Drake offered at exalted will run you a cool 1,600 gold. The various dragonflights are grateful to you for saving their shrines and addressing the undead threat in Northrend, but apparently they’re not that grateful.
Yet another Northrend faction with a highly irritating, RNG-laden approach to getting a single mount. No, I don’t have a Polar Bear yet. Why do you ask?
Assuming you’ve done the aforementioned grind to unlock the Sons of Hodir dailies in Storm Peaks, you’ll now be afforded a daily with the Hyldnir in Brunnhildar Village offered by the NPC Gretta the Arbiter. You’ll only get one per day, and each time, you’ll be rewarded with Hyldnir Spoils, which has an approximate 1% chance to drop the Reins of the White Polar Bear. None of the four quests offered as a daily is particularly difficult or time-consuming to do, so you just need to resign yourself to the mercy of the loot gods once more.
Getting one of these is a far less competitive undertaking nowadays than it was back in Wrath, but odds are good you’re still in for a pretty horrible grind. Oh well — you’re gonna be in Storm Peaks for the Sons and the Hyldnir anyway, so as long as you’re still trundling around the territory, you might as well keep an eye out for the Time-Lost. The Hyldnir daily and various Storm Peaks quest have a chance to put you in its path. Whether you get lucky with spawn times is another matter entirely.
A full guide to the vagaries of tracking this thing is beyond the scope of this particular column, but the Wowhead comment thread is quite instructive. Actually, I’ll simplify this further: If you see a yellow proto-drake flying around Storm Peaks, kill it. Happiness will ensue.
The Argent Tournament
The Argent Tournament, as readers correctly observed in the first article in our series on Mountain o’ Mounts, is one of the more lucrative ways to get to exalted with your home factions, but the AT really merits its own article due to the number of quests and achievements involved. However, next time we’re going to be looking at dungeon drops for Mountain o’ Mounts, but we’ll return to the AT afterwards.
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