Following on from my first post in this series admiring my favourite mechanical mounts, this post takes a look at the living, breathing steeds available to the adventurers of Azeroth.
The fauna of the game covers multiple continents and worlds so the sheer number of animal mounts available for acquisition is pretty staggering. With such a wide variety of mounts to choose from, whittling things down to five was a challenge, but a very enjoyable one!
There could be no other way to start this list off than with this rotund beauty! A Season 1 PvP reward for winning rated arenas and battlegrounds, this glorious Hippo, or Riverbeast if you prefer, is one of the most eye-catching mounts I’ve seen in game to date. It has been expertly designed and textured, right down to the intricacies of the armour plating and multitude of straps that make up the reins and harness.
The Riverbeast manages to look both cuddly and dangerous depending on the inclinations of the observer. It is quite easy to imagine yourself affectionately squeezing its chubby flanks, but also trampling on hapless enemies under its sturdy feet.
Another new addition to the mount roster as of Patch 8.1, the Marsh Hopper is available to buy from Gottum in Nazmir for the wallet-scorching sum of 333,333g. Available in three colours (green, yellow and blue; I only have the green one, I’m not that rich!) this stocky specimen is another example of the ever-increasing attention to detail the design team are putting into in-game models.
Although most assume the Marsh Hopper is a frog, it does seem more toad-like to me with its bulbous frame, warty bumps and distinctive markings. On the move, the Marsh Hopper bounds pleasingly across the ground which some find jarring, but I couldn’t imagine this slimy steed moving in any other way!
Well it wouldn’t be a mount list without a dragon would it? Amongst the many drakes available in-game, the Valajar Stormwing is my favourite. As a random chance drop from the Valajar faction’s paragon emissary chests, I was lucky to have acquired this mount without too much grind in Legion.
Although it shares the frame of older dragon models, what I love about the Legion dragons is the added definition to the skin and musculature. The increased detail adds to the appeal, as does the reworking of the head to a stronger, heavy-set jaw, compared to the ovoid profile of established drakes. The rich colouration and addition of chains as reins (what else for a dragon?) finishes the savage look perfectly.
Vicious War Bear
A PvP mount attained via the Vicious Saddle reward system, the Vicious War Bear is a fuzzy brute, bedecked in armour plating, steel claws (on top of existing claws!) and a pair of war drums strapped to the bear’s flanks. You can’t hammer out a battle rhythm on them, but they enhance the pugnacious ensemble.
An armoured bear in a headlong charge is quite an awe-inspiring sight, enough to make me sometimes wish for mounted combat, or at least cause minor enemies flee in fear!
There are many Nightsabers out there for the budding mount collector, but of all the sabers in game, the Moonsaber is my favourite. Not only can in fly (in an admittedly unusual fashion) whilst its feline kin race along the ground, the Moonsaber is adorned with some beautiful Night-Elf themed armour and apparel that emphasises it’s unique and special nature.
This isn’t some scrofulous kitty plucked from the wilds, it’s a glowing, sleek beast of war that feels every inch the vaunted battle companion it’s meant to be. Purchasable through a 7th Legion currency grind, the Moonsaber is a fairly recent addition to my burgeoning mount collection, but one I feel satisfied to have put the effort in to acquire.
So there you have it dear reader, five mounts of a beastly nature, each stunning in its own way. There are many more I could have included, most notably some of the gorgeous horse mounts, but I had to be brutal and settle on a final five!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d love to hear your thoughts and what your favourite animal steeds are!