First you have to be prepared to get your mount. Warlocks and Paladins have it easy, they are given class mounts that they can train like any other spell or ability. These mounds have the same speed boost as the mounts for purchase, but they look really friggin' cool. The rest of us have to open up our wallets quite a bit for the right to ride. That's alright, Warlocks and Paladins are in for quite the challenge if they want their epic class mounts. Here are the standard racial mounts:
||Eastvale Logging Camp, Menethil Harbor, Southshore, Theramore Isle
||Valley of Honor
You may purchase mounts from other races in your faction by gaining in an exalted level of reputation. Beware though, Tauren characters are limited to mounts that can hold them, and Mechanostriders only carry Dwarves and Gnomes.
Mounts themselves are cheap. You can expect to pay about 10 gold for one from your racial mount vendor. The expensive part is the riding skill. At level 40 it will run you in the neighborhood of 70 gold. You can up your skill at 60 for about 500 gold, then again at 70 (to learn to fly) for about 900 gold. Epic flying skill puts a serious dent in one's piggy bank at about 5,000 gold. The first two ranks of riding can be purchased at a discount from your riding trainer provided you've leveled up your faction with them. Ranking up in riding skill offers you access to faster mounts. You do have to buy a new mount, an expert riding skill will not make your level 40 mount move any faster.
||90 (81 Honored)
||600 (540 Revered)
Saving for a mount is often a primary concern for players. For most people who already have level 70s the cost of the regular riding mount on an alt is usually a drop in the bucket. Many players are still challenged by the cost of acquiring their epic flyers. As you near level 40 or 60, take a look at your cash flow. You may need to make adjustments to your spending and selling habits to make enough for your mount. Auctioning off the spoils of gathering skills (herbalism, skinning, and mining) can help new players secure the funds necessary for a shiny new rides.
These are the standard mounts. There are many other specialized mounts in the game. Adam created a guide to mounts in WoW. If you're looking for something a with a little more style, check this out.
Once you've got your mount, there are just a few more things that you should know. You have to purchase both the skill and the mount. Once you've acquired your mount you will be given a token to place in your backpack. Clicking on this summons or dismisses your mount for you. You can also dismiss your mount by clicking the buff icon near your minimap. You cannot cast spells while mounted. I leave the autodismount option enabled so that when I'm mounted and cast a spell I get knocked off my ride, but the spell still goes off.
For the most part, mounts can only be used outdoors, with a few exceptions like the Undercity. If you run into a building (or sometimes even too close) you will be dismounted. You cannot summon your mount in combat, so you would have to break combat in order to use your mount as a getaway vehicle.
Till next week, ride safe and keep it rubber side down!*
* "Rubber side down" is a common parting remark among motorcyclists. It is also sometimes uttered at "Rubber side down, shiny side up."
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