This might be a really excellent column to leave lying around on the computer of a loved one who is trying to work out what to buy you for a birthday or similar occasion!
Let's start with the obvious options -- the three Blizzard Pet Store mounts.
The one and only sparkle pony is available from the US Blizzard Pet Store for $25 and the EU Blizzard Pet Store for €20 or £17. Once you buy this mount, all your existing characters as well as any new characters will receive an in-game mail including the mount for you to learn at the appropriate level. The Celestial Steed can fly at any flying speed.
The sparkle pony was Blizzard's first foray into purchasable mounts, and it took off in a big way. See what I did there? Because it's a flying mount? It took off? Oh, never mind.
This mount was the next in line, and just like its sparkly predecessor, it's available from the US Blizzard Pet Store for $25 and the EU Blizzard Pet Store for €20 or £17. Once you buy this mount, all your existing and all your new characters will receive an in-game mail including the mount for you to learn at the appropriate level. This mount can fly at any flying speed and kind of looks like a dreadlocked lion. With wings. Like ... woah.
Heart of the Aspects
Released seemingly as a sort of visual clue, the Heart of the Aspects was a first taste of the art style of Mists. It's available from the US Blizzard Pet Store for $25 and the EU Blizzard Pet Store for €20 or £17.
All the above mounts can be bought as gifts. You can pass on the redemption code to a loved one so they can add it to their own account on this US page or this EU page.
X53 Touring Rocket
This is the current, soon-to-be-retired Recruit-A-Friend mount. But how do you get it for yourself? Well, you need two email addresses, and you need to send an introductory email to your second email address. [Edit: you can actually use the same email address as your main account] Once your "friend" has bought a full game and paid for two months of game time, the rocket is yours. You also get one month of free game time, so the total cost is one month of game time plus the cost of vanilla WoW. That's a total cost of $36.39, £18.28 or €24.98, assuming the worst saving on non-card-based game time and the cheapest purchase of WoW I could find. The same will likely apply for the Obsidian Nightwing.
Spectral Gryphon/Wind Rider
This is the mount you get from a Scroll of Resurrection. It's a bit more tricky to get than the rocket, as there are several conditions attached to obtaining it. You have to have a full (not a starter) account or a friend with a full account that became inactive on or before March 4, 2012. If you have that, then all that account has to do is pay for one month of game time. This means that the cost of this mount is effectively $14.99, £8.99, or €12.99.
Big Blizzard Bear
This bear, with his flag-bearing murloc buddy, was a reward for attending BlizzCon 2008. Very few were produced -- one site asserts it was only 13,000 -- and as a result, supply has dried up very quickly. The mount is BoA; once learned, it can be mailed to other characters on your account, and if a character realm-transfers with it in their bags, it can be transferred to your other realms, too. However, as the cards become scarcer, the price becomes higher. It's currently retailing on WoWTCGLoot for the princely sum of $209 to $249.
This little guy bears a strong resemblance to the Sea Turtle obtained by fishing. He's got a slightly different color scheme, though, and a different special animation. Other than that, he's pretty much the same. Also, he's really very cute! Look at his happy little face!
Ahem. Sorry about that. Back to business. This mount was released as part of the Heroes of Azeroth expansion of WoW TCG and is available from WoWTCGLoot for around $115 to $139. It doesn't look like it can be passed on once learned, so choose wisely!
(Swift) Spectral Tiger
This is a buy one tiger, get one tiger free setup. Redeeming this code will get you both the Spectral Tiger and the Swift Spectral Tiger at the same time. With a rarity of 1 in 484 booster packs in the Fires of Outland expansion of WoW TCG, this beauty will set you back a cool $499 to $649 on WoWTCGLoot.
This is another mount that is very similar to mounts available in-game, namely the Zul'Gurub Razzashi Raptor and many of the non-epic Horde raptors.
If you're Alliance and really don't want to run Zul'Gurub over and over (and I can't say I blame you), and you have $189 to $199 to spare, head on over to WoWTCGLoot to pick this guy up.
This is another WoW TCG loot item that looks extremely similar to in-game mounts. The lovebird is a lot pinker, but the Darkoom Faire Forest Strider is very close in color to this one indeed. There's also the Noblegarden Springstrider, which is a grayish color scheme, my least favorite of the tallstrider mounts.
The proliferation of tallstriders of various different color schemes may explain why this is somewhat cheaper than other WoW TCG mounts, at only $69 to $89 from WoWTCGLoot.
X51 Nether Rocket (XTREME)
Here's another two-for-one from WoWTCGLoot, as you get both the XTREME and regular versions from the code. Also, it's another mount that looks very similar to one available in game. This bears a striking resemblance to the Big Love Rocket, although the two you get from this loot code are blue and red as opposed to pink. The Big Love Rocket is a drop from the heart-shaped boxes, so it's a gamble rather than something you can grind, which may be why the price remains higher at $149 to $249.
These aren't being separated out, because I haven't much to say that's different between the two! Any WoW player will know that Hippogryphs aren't exactly rarities in WoW. You can get the Argent Hippogryph from the Argent Tournament, the Cenarion War Hippogryph via Cenarion Expedition reputation, the Flameward Hippogryph from the Molten Front, and the Silver Covenant Hippogryph from, well, the Silver Covenant.
If none of those are for you, the Blazing Hippogryph will cost around $178 to $229 and its Corrupted buddy $90 to $139.
White Riding Camel
This new WoW TCG mount looks uncannily similar to the camels available via Ramkahen reputation and archaeology.
If brown, tan and gray camels aren't enough for you, then you can pick up this guy for the princely sum of $75 to $139 at WoWTCGLoot.
Big Battle Bear
This big bear is not very similar to others available in-game simply because of his lack of armor. The Amani Battle Bear looks like it's wearing half an elephant, for example, but the Dancing Bear available from Darkmoon has a similar setup and dances! Most other bears look kinda like this.
So if you don't care for a dancing bear and want to spend about $90 to $115 for a more sedate mount, then head to WoWTCGLoot.
Wooly White Rhino
This guy, unlike previously mentioned ones, is a bit special as the only rhino mount in the game. Sure, kodos look a bit like rhinos, but they aren't quite the same. Once redeemed, like many of the above, it can be traded in-game for whatever you like, be it gold or just kindness.
This rarity probably explains its price, as it can be yours for $189 to $249 via WoWTCGLoot.
OK, so this is the first one of these mounts that made me actually think, "Hey, I'd actually be willing to part with my hard-earned sterling for that!" Look at it, it's a rooster! A regularly used skeleton, sure, but a rooster on it. A rooster!
Now, it's fairly clear that there aren't really any other rooster mounts hanging out in the game, so this is a pretty rare thing.
However, for that rarity, and the fact that it's a rooster (a rooster!), this doesn't seem absurdly expensive at $175 to $230 from WoWTCGLoot. Bear in mind, though, that having been writing this article for some time now, my ideas on pricing are rather skewed.
You don't need me to tell you that there are a few drake mounts available in this game -- 39, to be precise. This drake is the same model as the Albino Drake, to name just one -- the basic drake model, not one of the fancy reworks.
But his pretty color scheme and relative rarity must still be proving popular, as he still costs $169 to $199 from WoWTCGLoot.
This little stunner is one of a few dragonhawk mounts available to the avid player. The Sunreaver version is available once you have Sunreaver reputation, and the Blue and Red models are available if you get the Mountain O'Mounts achievement.
This very pretty, multicolored Dragonhawk is available for $155 to $200 from WoWTCGLoot.
Little White Stallion/Little Ivory Raptor
Both of these are tiny versions of other mounts in WoW and as such are pretty unique! If you redeem this item as a Horde character, then you'll get a raptor; an Alliance character will get a stallion.
So why are they so low in price, at between just $2 and $10 over on WoWTCGLoot? Because they're an item with charges. You only get to summon these mounts 50 times, and they're spent. And on the first use they're soulbound, so no sending a few charges to another character!
OK, OK, it's not really a mount, as it doesn't actually go anywhere. But you can sit on it, and your friends (and enemies) can too!
And at between $1.50 and $7 from WoWTCGLoot, these are a cheap and cheerful way to have a bit of fun! If you become the owner of a couple of these, make a macro or keybind to exit vehicle, or you'll be stuck on it forever. Like the previous mount, this has 50 charges.
Landro's Gift Box
This is not technically a mount, but it has the potential to give you one. It could contain a Sandbox Tiger, a Papa Hummel's Pet Biscuit or a Path of Cenarius, all with 50 charges, or, less regularly, a Reins of the Swift Spectral Tiger, Reins of the Spectral Tiger, X-51 Nether-Rocket X-TREME, X-51 Nether-Rocket, Big Battle Bear, or a Riding Turtle.
Landro's gift box sells for $20 to $30 from WoWTCGLoot.