Let me start this off by saying that I'm not a mount collector. According to the armoury I currently have seventy-six mounts on my main, but that's mostly due to feelings of "well, these vendors want to sell me some mounts and I have cash to spare, so why not" than anything else. In practice I've been riding the same land and flying mount for nearly two years.
Unsurprisingly I didn't care much when the Venomhide Ravasaur mount was released a couple of patches ago. I caught some information about it being intended to give the Horde an equivalent to the Alliance-only Wintersaber grind, but that was about it. It just wasn't something that interested me.
During my Loremastering however, I inevitably ended up running into Mor'vek in Un'goro at some point and well, he did have some quests to offer. I was kind of wary of him to be honest, going by what little I knew of the Wintersaber grind. I just knew that if he asked me to do anything more than once I was so going to be out of there.
I was surprised to find out that unlike the Wintersaber trainers, he didn't have a faction associated with him, he just told me that venomhide ravasaurs were too toxic too ride and that I'd have to become immune to their poison if I wanted to make one my mount. The following quest was pretty funny to do as a level eighty, as I was initially very confused about what to do - all the venomhides I approached died way too quickly to do anything to me. I then learned from the comments on Wowhead that I needed to let them hit and poison me, but level eighty strength posed a problem to this. Even meleeing them with my caster dagger and no strength killed all the raptors in only a few hits. Eventually I ended up in a pathetic fist-fight with one venomhide which managed to give me most of my debuff stacks. I thought it was most amusing.
Next I was asked to retrieve a couple of eggs, and before I knew it I had a venomhide hatchling in my bags. I summoned it and discovered that it used that relatively new "baby dino" model with the ridiculously large head, while being absolutely tiny and... it just looked too funny and cute. It also offered me a daily quest to collect some silithid eggs. Hey, I thought, that doesn't even require me to kill anything, I'll do that.
Days went by. Since I was still questing in the area anyway, I also continued to do my little hatchling's daily quests, especially as there seemed to be a couple of different ones for variety. (Though I swear that in the end, about two out of three times I got the one for roc feathers anyway.) After a while I started to wonder... was it growing? Surely not, but I seemed to remember it being so tiny, and it did look a bit bigger now... I got a definite answer on the eleventh day or so, when it actually changed model into that of a normal raptor, only still a lot smaller. It was growing!
I still had a couple of days of questing left by the time I finished with Silithus, but hopping through the Caverns of Time portal in the Violet Citadel made it easy to get down to Tanaris quickly if I wanted to. Also, I was starting to feel quite attached to the little bugger. The fact that it seemed to like feathers more than food gave it a sort of personality, and watching it grow as the days went by felt strangely fulfilling.
Yesterday it finalled shed its last baby tooth, and as I stood in front of it (picture above), I realised that it had - most appropriately - almost reached the size of a normal raptor. Handing in the quest to get my mount actually made me really happy. With the way things had been going, the game had truly given me the feeling that I was raising my mount myself, and finally being able to put the bridle on its head so I could ride on its back was a most memorable moment.
For the first time in years I'm actually riding a different mount around Dalaran again - I don't know whether I'll stick with it, but I like that this one isn't just a prize for grinding a reputation to exalted or getting lucky with the RNG. This little dino has a story.
I can only heartily recommend this experience to other Horde players, even if they are not usually ones for collecting mounts. Seeing that little bulge-headed hatchling grow into a fearsome raptor has been an experience unlike anything else I've done in WoW.
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