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UPDATE: Progress gallops forward and mount requirements have changed ... Visit our updated WoW Rookie mounts post for the latest mount information.
Hitting level 30 is a major milestone in today's World of Warcraft: the level at which you get your mount. Up to this point, you've spent plenty of time hoofing it, getting to know the lay of the land. On the back of your trusty steed, you'll be able to zip across increasingly larger zones and quest areas in style. You'll start off on a standard ground mount, such as a Horse, Wolf or Kodo. Later, you can upgrade to faster versions of those creatures and eventually to mounts that can fly (in Burning Crusade and Wrath content).
Mounts used to become available at level 40. Now that the game extends to level 80 and early character progression has been sped up, you get to speed up at an earlier level, too.
There are two parts to getting yourself into the saddle. The first step is training your riding skill. Upgrading your riding skill as you level gives you access to faster mounts: Apprentice riding at level 30, Journeyman at level 60, Expert (regular speed) and Artisan (epic, or faster speed) at level 70, plus Cold Weather Flying in Northrend at level 77. (Because some of the game's content is accessible only by air, you'll want to get a flyer if you want to see the entire game.)
Training your riding skill is the expensive part of riding. Expect to pay about 35 gold for Apprentice-level riding training. Beyond that, brace yourself. Buying upper-level riding skills is generally considered the defining expense of a character's leveling career. Without taking faction discounts into consideration, you're looking at 600 gold for Journeyman riding, 800 gold for Expert and a whopping 5,000 gold for Artisan training for your epic flyer. You can soften the blow by saving up early and making sure you have good reputation with the faction of the mount you'd like to purchase.
The other part of the riding equation is buying the mount itself. At 10 gold for a basic land mount, mounts are relatively cheap by comparison to the training needed to ride them.
Simply training your riding skill won't increase your speed or get you into the air; you have to buy a fast(er) mount, as well. Finding where to buy your mount can be somewhat mysterious for new players. Stables and trainers are not located in the main cities, so be sure to consult a list of riding trainer locations before setting out to make your purchase.
Several classes train or perform class-specific quests for their mounts as part of their class progression. Warlocks get Felsteeds and Dreadsteeds, and Paladins also quest for their Warhorses and Chargers. Druids get a special Flight Form later down the road, and Death Knights earn their own Deathchargers.
How fast can I go?
Base running speed on foot is considered 100% movement speed. On a mount, here's how fast you can go:
- Normal land and flying mounts 160%
- Swift land mounts 200%
- Epic flying mounts 380%
- Swift Nether Drake or Ashes of Al'ar 410%
The infamous Carrot on a Stick used to be the first and longest-used trinket for many players. Today, there are other speed-increasing trinkets available for players under level 70 (Mithril Spurs, glove enchants and more), but Blizzard has removed the ability to augment riding speed once players are level 70 or above. Enjoy them while you can!
The perfect mount
Mounts are one of the most obvious and enjoyable ways to personalize your characters. Players today have many ways to earn or purchase a whole stable of mounts:
- Purchase another race's mount when you reach Exalted faction with that race (a few races and mounts are limited due to size restrictions).
- Earn mounts through PvP and Battlegrounds.
- Raise your faction to earn rare mounts such as the Winterspring Frostsaber.
- Win a rare drop from an instance or quest.
- Make your own mount via Engineering (copters and motorcycles) or Tailoring (flying carpets).
- Obtain a special mount code from a World of Warcraft Trading Card Game card.
- Get a special holiday mount during Brewfest or Hallow's End.
- Receive a Swift Zhevra when you participate in the Recruit-a-Friend program.
- Buy an exotic mount (even one that holds multiple passengers) in Dalaran.
- Earn a Bear, Drake or Proto-Dragon by completing certain Achievements.
Before you saddle up
Heed these tips and you're ready to roll on your new mount:
- Be sure to purchase both the riding skill you need plus the mount to use it.
- Your newly purchased mount will appear in the Mounts tab of your character pane once you've clicked it for the first time.
- Drag your mount's icon to your hotbar. Click it to mount, click it again to dismiss. (You can also dismount by right-clicking the mount "buff" to remove it.)
- You cannot cast spells or mount other mounts (including quest mounts/vehicles and flight path mounts) while mounted. Check the auto-dismount option in your options menu if you'd like to dismount automatically when you cast a spell.
- Mounts can only be used outdoors (with a few exceptions, such as in Undercity) and on dry land.
- You will be automatically dismounted if you run into an indoor area or into deep water.
- Getting hit by even grey-to-you, low-level mobs can dismount and stun you. Use caution when riding through mobs.
- You cannot summon your mount while in combat, so mounts aren't useful as getaway vehicles!