Let’s forget about raiding and LFR, and dailies and all that. Let’s think instead of one of the things patch 5.3 has to offer – a new mount collecting achievement. 200. Yeah, let’s talk mounts!

I’m really glad this achievement has been brought in, or will be. I’m a mount whore. I love them. I have 187 of the things. I won’t be able to get the new achievement straight away as I did with the 150 mount achievement, and that makes it better, I think. It’s something to work for. I have all the easily acquired mounts in the game so far; now a bit of work and luck will be needed. The reward mounts for Horde and Alliance will be new, improved dragonhawks. I have always liked these mounts, although they are a bit… flappy. Still, they beat the kites that were the reward for the last achievement.

An addon I find useful is CollectMe, which tells you which mounts (and companion pets too, if you collect them), you are lacking and where to find them.

One thing to bear in mind if you are striving for this achievement is that if you have a Paladin in your stable of alts (or have one as your main), you will be 3 mounts ahead of every other class. This is because Pallies have the two class mounts they get at level 20 and 40, and there is also a class mount to be acquired up at the Argent Tournament, that old Wrath daily hub in Icecrown. Warlocks get an advantage of 2 extra mounts to start off with. So if you have either of these classes you get a small headstart above others. When your Pally or Lock hits the 200 mark, log them on, and all your other characters will get the achievement reward mount too.

I found it strange that profession mounts, such as those gained through Tailoring and Engineering, count towards the whole on every alt you have, even if they can’t use them. But class mounts apply to the tally only for the individual classes who can actually ride them. There is a chance, I suppose, that Blizzard might notice this, and amend the situation. Let’s hope not.

I really thought I’d seen the last of Argent Tournament, and have no pressing desire to start doing those dailies again, but there are 3 mounts up there I haven’t got. Happily, I can use a Horde character to get one of them, which applies to both factions, (and he already had 40 Champion Seals on him, yay), but the other two will have to be ground for by two of my Alliance characters. Argent Tournament, despite the boredom factor of earning the currency to buy the mounts, really does offer a lot. I think, roughly, you can get around 20 mounts up there, certainly one extra if you have a Paladin character. One thing that is good about doing these dailies again as a level 90 is that the jousting is so much easier. I always hated those quests, and could never manage the Commanders down near Icecrown Citadel. Now they barely touch me and are easy to kill. Those gargoyles in the air spitting electricity always miss, so never remove my shields. So anyone dreading that part no longer has to. The rest of the dailies take no time at all either. I’ve got 3 characters grinding for the 3 mounts, and will not be doing the dailies every day, just when I have the time or inclination, but will slowly whittle away at it.

With my main character, I’ve gone back to farming Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle (5 man dungeons from Cataclysm), Attumen, the first boss of Karazhan, and Onyxia, in an attempt to add another 4 mounts to my stable. Kara and Onyxia’s Lair can be completed by multiple alts once a week, although Kara is far easier to solo than Ony. Depends on class, I guess. My main Hunter is iLevel 499 and Ony is easy for him. The swarm of adds might be a problem for some classes. I’ve yet to try the 5 man Zul’Gurub recently with my Hunter, for the red raptor and the black panther mounts. Last time I tried solo it didn’t go too well, to put it mildly, but he’s probably risen at least 20 iLevel points since I last tried.

A guaranteed mount that does not involve any RNG is the Bone White Raptor from the Isle of Giants. The downside is you need 9999 dinosaur bones to buy it. But while you’re farming the dinos to get those, there’s a strong chance you’ll get at least one of the 3 different Primal Eggs that will hatch into other raptor mounts. If you don’t get one while farming 9999 bones, I think you can accept your luck is beyond abysmal and don’t ever bother going for RNG mounts again.

It’s not that daunting to get to 200 mounts, but the downside is that if you haven’t been collecting the more expensive ones along the way, supposing you’ve played WoW for years, the price of some of them will be prohibitive. I have noticed – and taken advantage of – the fact that the Onyx Jewelled Panther is on sale in Auction House for a fraction of the price it costs to make. I suspect there’s some shenanigans going on here, because it seems distinctly odd that a mount that costs a Jewelcrafter nearly 80K gold to make is on sale for between 40-50K gold. I bought one for 40K, shut my eyes, clicked the buyout price, and hoped it wasn’t too dodgy and didn’t involve anyone’s account being hacked. I’ve read on one forum about nebulous speculation that some players have mysteriously learned how to clone such mounts, but whether this is true or not, I have no idea. Still, the fact these cheap panthers have remained on sale in our server’s AH for the past few months doesn’t indicate Blizzard sees some infringement going on.

One thing that you could bear in mind if you’re suffering with gold reserves: the TCG companion pet loot cards from the last half dozen expansion sets or so can be acquired for a few dollars on Ebay. These pets can sell on the Auction House for anywhere between 10 – 50K gold. Sales such as this enabled me to buy a few expensive mounts. I always buy the TCG pets for my own collection as they’re so cheap, so just buy one extra to help with my mount fund. (Incidentally, you can help out the excellent warcraftpets.com site by preordering TCG pets through them. They get a cut, they do an excellent job with their splendiferous site, so worth supporting!)

I might as well talk about TCG mounts too, as we’re on the subject. Some are risibly expensive, such as the Spectral Tiger ($500 or more). Forget those. But others aren’t that much more than mounts you can buy from the Blizzard store. I keep an eye on the prices and have bought a few when the prices have sunk; they always seem to, if you’re patient. Depends on whether you’re prepared to shell out real money for pixel mounts. Mounts such as the Mottled Drake and the Corrupted Hippogryph were once really expensive. Now you can find bargains. The new mounts, the Fel Drake and the Ghostly Charger are still up in the $200-300 range. Hang fire. Wait. Sometimes a strange dip occurs and you can pick up a bargain. I was rather annoyed today to find that the Mottled Drake is a lot cheaper now than it was when I acquired it as a birthday present well over a year ago. But then next week, its price might have soared again. There is no way of predicting, other than watching and waiting.

In addition to the dungeon RNG drop mounts, there are plenty to be found in raids prior to MoP, and also as rewards for completing meta achievements for dungeons or raids. Can’t find any friends to help? Join up with the OpenRaid community to find runs across realms to help you get what you’re after.

Anyway, lots of ways to get mounts towards your achievement. I’d say, if you’re going to shell out real money, or even a lot of gold on the AH, make sure you only buy ones you’ll enjoy and use a lot. There are more than enough in the game to acquire through other means.

Good luck with the hunting!