Many of the mounts this week be familiar to you if you've read The OverAchiever: Pimp Thy Ride, which I wrote before the Cataclysm content patch with an eye toward the number of people who wanted to slap a 310% mount on their toons before it had to be trained. Sadly, none of the mounts described in that article, barring one, will grant Master Riding for free now.
- Combining The Ambassador and Mountain O' Mounts
- Mountain O' Mounts in Outland
- Mountain O' Mounts in Northrend
- Mountain O' Mounts in 5-man dungeons
- Mountain O' Mounts in raids
This debuted in the Wrath of the Lich King content patch with the new achievement system, if I recall correctly. At the time, it was a pretty tall order for any given character to reach the 50 mounts necessary to get it, and the achievement was subject to a lot of irritation from the players of certain unlucky races that couldn't ride a huge percentage of the game's mounts.
If you're new to WoW, you may not be aware that the vast majority of faction mounts couldn't be ridden by certain races. Humans, draenei, and night elves were too big to ride mechanostriders, and tauren were assumed to smoosh anything that wasn't a kodo or a wolf. While these races could ride the special versions of these mounts (e.g., my main, a female tauren, could ride the Swift White Hawkstrider dropped by Kael'thas in Magisters' Terrace), they were still at a huge disadvantage compared to everyone else. In patch 3.0.8 (two months after Wrath went live), Blizzard lifted all race restrictions on mounts, and there was much rejoicing.
How to get it The Albino Drake is a reward from Leading the Cavalry, the achievement you'll receive for getting 50 mounts. These days, it's not too terribly difficult, and it's more notable for marking the halfway point between yourself and Mountain O' Mounts.
Black War Bear
Like the Albino Drake above, the Black War Bear went live in the Wrath content patch and attracted a lot of discussion from players as to whether it was obtainable or not before the new expansion. Patch 3.0.2 had beefed city guard levels to 75 and enemy faction leaders to 78, which was a daunting prospect to players still restricted to level 70. Then again, it's never wise to bet against player ingenuity when a new mount is on the line, and a lot of enterprising guilds managed it before Wrath hit. Personally, I was always fond of Sacco's take on this via Ask a Faction Leader: Tirion Fordring:
How to get it Easy! Just slaughter all of the enemy faction leaders, and King Wrynn or Garrosh will slap some postage on a bear's ass and mail it to you. Honestly, the war bear runs are among the most fun I've had in the game, particularly when part of a full 40-man raid leaving an enemy capital reeling in its wake. However, killing faction leaders these days is tougher than it used to be, as Cataclysm has repopulated older Azeroth cities and Stormwind/Orgrimmar in particular. It doesn't take long for enemies to get wind of what's going on, and they'll also have a pretty good guess at your intended targets if you're systematically stomping enemy capitals.
People will always want mounts and non-combat pets. I could offer a repeatable quest to slap a handful of kittens and people would do it if I gave them a little pet for it. And they'd drop the kittens off a cliff for a mount.
You may (or may not) benefit from a lot of players who passionately hate certain faction leaders and won't lift a finger to save them. Horde players used to rush home from Outland or Northrend to defend Thrall. Garrosh doesn't inspire quite the same loyalty.
For most players, the Red Proto-Drake was the first of the new Wrath drakes that they had a realistic shot of getting (I refuse to entertain reminders concerning the Time-Lost, Green, or Blue Proto-Drakes as long as they continue to elude my main), but it didn't come easy. Glory of the Hero in early Wrath was a long and difficult slog, and Gotta Go! was one of the more vicious achievements in the game until it was nerfed. It also requires you to complete at least three Oculus runs -- not an attractive proposition to many -- and get lucky with Violet Hold boss spawns.
How to get it The Red Proto-Drake is a reward from Glory of the Hero, the 5-man meta achievement from Wrath. Most of these achievements aren't terribly difficult at level 85, but there are still some challenges there (many of which are related to the possibility of DPSing a boss down too quickly, rather than the other way around!). The OverAchiever did a full dungeon-by-dungeon guide to the Glory of the Hero if you're interested in getting yourself a drake.
Rusted Proto-Drake and Ironbound Proto-Drake
These two really don't require much commentary, as we've tackled them previously in The OverAchiever: Pimp Thy Ride. Suffice it to say that they're still pretty attractive mounts (the Rusted in particular is one of the most visually striking in the game), and the Ironbound is one of only two mounts in the game that's a complete visual match for a raid boss (the other being the Ashes of Al'ar). Well, I guess you can make a case for the Fiery Warhorse's Reins.
How to get them The Rusted is a reward from Glory of the Ulduar Raider (10-player); the Ironbound is a reward from Glory of the Ulduar Raider (25-player). The most irritating achievements required for the Ulduar drakes today is probably Iron Dwarf, Medium Rare. In Wrath, that honor would probably have gone to Firefighter, Knock, Knock, Knock on Wood, or One Light in the Darkness.