NOTE: For Flying Mounts, check out our Flying Mounts guide.
Mounts are highly sought-after means of transportation within World of Warcraft. From normal ground mounts to flying mounts, there's all kinds of transportation available to those who seek it and have the coin to buy them.
Ground mounts have been in World of Warcraft since the start of the game - there's two variations of ground mounts.
Normal Mounts - 60% speed increase
Epic Mounts - 100% speed increase
Normal Flying Mount - 60% speed increase
Epic Flying Mount - 280% speed increase
In order to ride a mount, you first need the skill to be able to do so. Apprentice riding skill. This will cost you 100 gold (not including faction discounts).
At level 60, you may learn Journeyman riding skill. This will cost you 600 gold, minus faction discount, and will let you ride epic ground mounts.
At level 70, you may learn Expert and Artisan riding skills. The Expert riding skill costs 800 gold, and the Artisan riding skill costs 4900 gold. These flying mounts are only usable in Outland.
Initially, you may only buy your own race's type of mount, regardless of your reputation with them. However, if you desire to ride other types of mounts, you will need to be Exalted with that mount's faction before they let you buy one of them and ride it.
There are two exceptions though, one for each faction - Tauren may only ride Kodos, Wolves, Talbuks, and the rare mounts that drop within instances, and Mechanostriders are only rideable by gnomes and dwarves.
It is worth mentioning that the Black War Raptor is also available for Tauren, but as the only one.
Below is a list of races and mounts, as well as their related faction.
Elekk (Exodar) - Ridable by Draenei, Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf
Rams (Ironforge) - Ridable by Draenei, Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf
Mechanostriders (Gnomeregan Exiles) - Ridable by Dwarf, Gnome
Horses (Stormwind) - Ridable by Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf
Sabre Cats (Darnassus) - Ridable by Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf
Gryphon (Alliance) - Ridable by All
Hawkstriders (Silvermoon City) - Ridable by Blood Elf, Orc, Troll, Undead
Wolves (Orgrimmar) - Ridable by Blood Elf, Orc, Tauren, Troll, Undead
Kodos (Thunder Bluff) - Ridable by Blood Elf, Orc, Tauren, Troll, Undead
Raptors (DarkSpear Tribe) - Ridable by Blood Elf, Orc, Tauren (PvP), Troll, Undead
Skeletal Horses (Undercity) - Ridable by Blood Elf, Orc, Troll, Undead
Wyvern (Horde) - Ridable by All
As you may be aware, Blizzard added discounts for people when they were buying somewhere they are in good standing at, so if you're Friendly with the faction that has your racial mount, you will receive a 5% discount, if you're Honored, you will receive a 10% discount, if you're Revered, you will receive a 15% discount, and if you're Exalted, there will be a 20% discount to your mount's cost (as well as your training skill).
Outland flying mounts and skill training are not affected by Faction discounts.
Paladins and Warlocks receive another kind of discount - by reaching level 40, they automatically learn Apprentice Riding along with the spell to summon their mount, for the training cost that is 1 gold. If they also are inclined to complete their epic mount quest when they hit level 60, they will also receive the appropiate training when they do so, this, however, is far pricier than gold, and more time consuming.
The World of Warcraft TGC has a few mounts you may receive via their loot cards! There are 3 known mounts so far for the Trading Card Game:
Turtle (No speed increase) - no riding skill required
Spectral Tiger (60% speed increase) - Obtained by paying 10 gold and the Loot Card code to Landro Longshot, Apprentice Riding Needed (75)
Swift Spectral Tiger (100% speed increase) - Obtained by paying 100 gold and the Loot Card code to Landro Longshot, Journeyman Riding Needed (150)
Landro Longshot can be located in Booty Bay's lower area at the dock level - he redeems TCG items if you have the codes.
Rare Ground Mounts
Rare mounts are those which you can not ordinarily buy from the usual Faction vendors, and will provide a different look for your mount altogether. To obtain these, you will usually need to get reputation up with different factions, or get lucky with a drop from bosses.
Player vs Player Mounts
Black War Ram
Black War Steed
Black War Tiger
Black War Wolf
Red Skeletal Warhorse
Black War Kodo
Black War Raptor
The above mounts may be obtained by turning in 30 Warsong Gulch, Alterac Valley, and Arathi Basin tokens in the Hall of Honor or Hall of the Brave in either Orgrimmar or Stormwind. Same race restrictions apply like the normal mounts. A token is obtained for each time you participate in one of the above Battlegrounds, if you win, you gain 3, if you lose, you only keep 1.
Dark War Talbuk from the Halaa merchant 100 Halaa Battle Tokens - 20 Halaa Research Tokens
Dark Riding Talbuk from the Halaa merchant 70 Halaa Battle Tokens - 15 Halaa Research Tokens
These Talbuks may only be purchased by the above amounts if your faction controls the Halaa outpost in Nagrand. To obtain Halaa Battle Tokens, you must kill players near the area. Each kill will net you 1 Token. For Halaa Research Tokens, you must kill monsters all around Nagrand and obtain the Oshu'gun Crystal Samples. 20 Samples will allow you to obtain 1 Halaa Research Token and some coin, if you control Halaa.
It is worthy of note that these same Talbuks are available for sale at the Mag'har or Kurenai Faction town in Nagrand, should you reach Exalted with them, as we will cover later.
Alterac Valley Mounts
Stormpike Battle Charger
These mounts require 50 Alterac Valley Marks, and have a unique look that sets them apart from the rest. As discussed before, to obtain a mark you must enter a battleground and stay in it to the end. If you win, you gain 3 marks.
Winterspring Saber Trainers
This mount is only available to Alliance players. By completing a series of quests you are able to obtain this mount, that unlike the rest of the epic mounts, does not have armor on it. You may view what you need to do to get your reputation up with the Winterspring Saber Trainers by going to our reputation portal!
Kurenai & Mag'har Talbuks
These mounts are accessible should you reach Exalted with either the Kurenai or the Mag'har (depending on your faction), they look exactly like the ones you may obtain through PvP means, so if you want a Talbuk, you may either fight near Halaa, or get Exalted with this zone's faction. You may view how to gain reputation with the Kurenai and Mag'har by going to our reputation portal.
Deathcharger's Reins - Special Skeletal Mount, drops from Baron Rivendare in Stratholme's Undead side.
Swift Zulian Tiger - Special Sabre Cat Mount, drops from High Priest Thekal in Zul'gurub, known as the "Tiger Boss".
Swift Razzashi Raptor - Special Raptor Mount, drops from Bloodlord Mandokir in Zul'gurub.
Fiery Warhorse's Reins - Special Mount which looks like a Warlock Epic Mount with Armor. You may see this mount used by the Ghost Riders of Karabor in Shadowmoon Valley. Drops from Attumen the Huntsman, in Karazhan.
Reins of the Raven Lord - Special Mount which looks like a Hawkstrider with extra armor, drops from the Druid Event Boss at Sethekk Halls for their Artisan Riding Spell.
Amani War Bear - Special Mount which looks like a giant armored bear. This mount may only be obtained by completing Zul'Aman's timed event, by killing the fourth animal boss within the time limit. It is a very low droprate from the reward chest.
All of the above are special mounts that have 3% or less droprate from their respective bosses, however, all races and factions may ride any of these mounts, so you may see people in the Alliance with Swift Razzashi Raptors, or Horde players with Swift Zulian Tigers! As usual, you need 150 riding skill to be able to use these mounts.
Stay tuned for more updates to this guide, including a walkthrough on how to get the Paladin and Warlock Epic Mounts, as well as mentioning the different flying mounts introduced in The Burning Crusade, and how to obtain them.