Alliance and Horde epic mounts
As always, here's the complete series if you're just catching up with us:
Once upon a time, epic ground mounts in the game were distinguished not by additional armor and gewgaws but by different colors. By patch 1.4
, Blizzard had decided that epic mounts deserved different models
, and thus were born the more heavily armored versions of the faction mounts that are in the game now. Players were given the opportunity to trade in their old epic mounts for the newer versions, and you can still see these "quests" in the game today with mount vendors who offer, for example, New Kodo -- Green
. Of course, you'd have to be crazy to trade in one of the older mounts these days. If you've got an Ivory Raptor
, that's the heck of a lot more rare than any of the trolls' armored epic mounts.
I play on two servers that were launched alongside The Burning Crusade
, so I have yet to see any of these within the game. For what I imagine are obvious reasons, you're a lot more likely to see them on older servers. Players to this day wonder why mounts carrying a small factory's worth of metal on their bodies were somehow faster than their unencumbered versions. Maybe gravity and physics work differently in Azeroth.
By the way, possessing any one of the following mounts will also give you the achievement Old School Ride
Gladiator drakes and frost wyrms
Arctic Wolf This is basically a Frostwolf without the trappings. Orcish wolves are one of the reasons I'm glad that Blizzard made mount speed a function of training and not mount type. The unarmored wolves look cooler than the armored versions, I think.
Green Kodo I feel bad for anyone with the old tauren epic mounts. How can anyone tell?
Ivory Raptor This one stands out. There are no other white raptors in the game.
Mottled Red Raptor
Every season, players making gladiator rank -- the top 0.5% of arena players in each battlegroup -- are awarded a special mount unattainable in any other fashion. While the frost wyrms awarded in Wrath of the Lich King
were eventually also given to PVE players in the form of the Bloodbathed
and Icebound Frostbrood Vanquishers
, the armored nether drakes awarded from seasons one through four are unique in being the only armored nether drakes ever made available to players. For the moment, the armored Twilight Drake given to Season 9 gladiators is in that same position.
The drakes are also interesting in that they were 310% flight speed long before that was common. In The Burning Crusade
, gladiator drakes were actually the only
way to get 310% speed, short of getting the Ashes of Al'ar
Hands up, all those of you wondering when Blizzard's going to start running out of appropriate adjectives for arena seasons?
Classic (and now missing) WoW mounts
Organizing the rest of the article is going to require fudging a few things, because some of these mounts were technically available until quite recently. For the most part, they're classified by when they first became available, except for, uh, the very first one here, which I've classified as a classic mount simply because it was most often used to traverse "classic" territory. I realize this is a bit of a stretch.
The Burning Crusade
Swift Zhevra The Swift Zhevra was the mount given to players participating in the Recruit-A-Friend program, and it's now been replaced with the X-53 Touring Rocket. If you have one of these, you should also have the feat of strength Friends In High Places. For anyone interested in riding a Zhevra of their own -- sorry, folks, the closest you'll get is the Quel'dorei Steed, and only Alliance has access to that.
Swift Zulian Tiger and Swift Razzashi Raptor Back when Zul'Gurub was an honest-to-goodness raid rather than a heroic 5-man guaranteed to make you question your faith in humanity, both of these mounts drove players up a wall. While Zul'Gurub was on a three-day reset, the drop rate on these was thought to be 1% at best, so ... yeah. Landing these mounts was once the only way for the Horde to ride a cat and the Alliance to ride a raptor before the TCG mounts came along. Today, they've been replaced with the Swift Zulian Panther and the Armored Razzashi Raptor, respectively.
Black Qiraji Battle Tank Anyone you see on this bad boy was one big damn deal on his/her server back during classic. Most servers had only one Scarab Lord, or a few at absolute most, and it created a lot of bad blood with players who had to put a lot of work toward the opening of Ahn'Qiraj while getting none of the goodies. Then there were the servers opened after the event, onto which players with the Scepter could transfer and open the gates, sometimes with little to no warning to the server at large. (Someone did this on my main's server while having the courtesy to afford us 15 minutes' warning through the server forums. Thanks, dude.) Unsurprisingly, Blizzard finally programmed new servers to have the gates already open.
Special mounts were slightly less common during The Burning Crusade
than they became in Wrath
-- it wasn't until the latter expansion that raiders were given mounts for their feats within raid content -- but there are still two you can't get anymore. Well, on top of the PVP drakes, that is.
Wrath of the Lich King
Amani War Bear The War Bear was a casualty of patch 3.0.2, which supercharged player DPS and survivability in the short period between BC and Wrath, and left the old version of Zul'Aman rather less of a challenge than had been intended. Consequently, the bear was removed, much to the disappointment of players who were still in raids trying to master ZA's timed run or still in line for their own bears off a successful raid. However, all's not lost; you can get the Amani Battle Bear these days.
Brewfest Ram As far as I recall, the ordinary version of the Brewfest Ram was available solely during the 2007 incarnation of Brewfest. You're still able to purchase it today if you did the holiday in that year, I believe -- at least, that was how I managed to buy it in either 2008 or 2009, I forget which -- but otherwise, you're out of luck.
The removal of two proto-drakes from tier 7 content created one of the biggest uproars ever seen in game.
Black Proto-Drake and Plagued Proto-Drake Ouch, baby. These were awarded to raiders who managed Glory of the Raider (the 25-man and 10-man achievements, respectively). By far the biggest roadblock to the former was The Immortal, once the toughest and rarest raiding achievement in the game. Unfortunately, Blizzard had neglected to mention that it planned on taking both drakes out as rewards for the tier 7 raiding meta-achievements until it was too late for a lot of players to do anything about it. To this day, both drakes are still out of the game, much to the frustration of players who only had one or two achievements left to go.
Crusader's White Warhorse (Alliance) and Crusader's Black Warhorse (Horde) These were some seriously badass-looking mounts awarded for A Tribute to Immortality, which required a perfect, no-wipe, no-death clear of Trial of the Grand Crusader-25. Given the insane difficulty of keeping everyone alive through the Faction Champs and Anub'arak encounters in particular (we once lost someone within, I think, three-quarters of a second on the former), you sure earned that pretty horse. Not that there were many who did.
Swift Alliance Steed (Alliance) and Swift Horde Wolf (Horde) These were awarded for the 10-man version of the above achievement and were a lot easier to get, mostly because it didn't require you to run a no-death raid.
Working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on Azeroth's holidays and special events, including new achievements, how to get 310% flight speed with achievement mounts, and
Cataclysm reputation factions and achievements.