When the Mists of Pandaria expansion hit, the landscape changed within World of Warcraft once again. Far from just geographical, five more levels were added along with stunning graphics and dailies we would all eventually consider selling our first born to avoid. Level 90 was “the new black.” The starting line was drawn, and off we all went to explore, to quest, and to climb to our new end game content. There was one little hitch, you couldn’t fly in the new world until you hit that new cap. Pandaria, for majestic as it is, as a land mount only, is challenging and generally resulted, at least for me, in a cliff jump on more than one occasion.
At level 87, we finally got to see our main city of the expansion; The Shrine of Two Moons or The Shrine of Seven Stars depending on your Horde/Alliance affiliation. Nestled in the courtyard behind the flight master we would spy a serpentine Dragon reminiscent of classic oriental decoration and lore. This would be the representation for the Cloud Serpent riders, those who controlled flight throughout Pandaria. Wonderful, but it would be 3 more levels until we could interact! When that ding hits and 90 has arrived we breathed a sigh of accomplishment and relief and set out to talk to the afore mentioned Serpentine Dragon. A small cost later and we were up and away on our multicolored mounts. There was something stuck in the craw though, if we could talk to this dragon and it clearly had a place for a rider, then it must be one we can achieve ourselves at some point. I immediately set off to do just that.
Let’s start at the beginning. There are several types of Cloud Serpents you can get. How to obtain the Heavenly Golden Cloud Serpent can be found here: http://wow.stratics.com/guides/heavenly-golden-cloud-serpent-mount-guide/
There is also the Thundering Cloud Serpent and the Onyx Cloud serpent, both rare and both to be discussed at another time.
For our intents and purposes we are going to discuss the Azure, The Jade, and the basic Golden Cloud Serpent. Near the edge of the rock face, and splattered with grass and foliage is what is called The Arboretum. It comes complete with its own Flight Path and can be easily found if you simply fly across the eastern coastline. There you encounter Elder Anlii, The Serpent Master. He informs you that you must go to Windward Isle which is located right off the coast. You have to rescue tiny versions of the serpents, kill Saurok and Slitherblade (lizardlike creatures), and complete the starting quest chain. Once you have done this, you get to choose the color of Dragon you want to raise. Yes, you heard me right. I said raise. Winterspring has a similar idea for their cub and Netherwing has a similar daily grind for their drake as well.
Once your darling little serpent has hatched, you face the task of helping it grow. For starters here are the dailies. You’ll start out with quests that range in picking up their poop, to hunting wild cats. All the while working up your reputation with the Cloud Serpent Riders. Once you hit Honored another set of quests open all based on profession skills like Fishing and first aid. This was the stage when I realized archeology would have been good to have and I doubled back to work it. At Revered you are introduced to a few buyable items at the quartermaster near the flight path as well as your now full grown serpent! Time to learn to ride it. Unlike other mounts where you get on and go, you have to train with this one. Sky race it is!
Dip, dive, duck and roll through wisps of smoke. At first you follow the trainer and make sure to stay close. At halfway through she cuts you loose though and you are on your own to get to the end. The trick here is to follow the hanging lanterns amid the blowing ribbon. Decorations point the way and are evenly matched with hot air balloons adorned in checkered flags that you will have to tag again when you hit exalted.
Let’s examine that word: Exalted. By the time you hit 90 you are well acquainted with this on a lot of levels. The kicker is that there are several ways to get there if, like the rest of us, the daily grinds begin to twist your knickers. As previously mentioned in our own Sylier’s guide to The Heavenly Golden Cloud Serpent Mount at Revered you can purchase the Cloud Serpent Commendation. This gives you extra reputation points.
The next shortcut can be found at no matter your reputation, Onyx eggs. They are grey, small and they spawn in the following places: Atop the high islands around the Arboretum, in the small stone egg holding crevice next to the Slitherscale Lizard-Lord off Windward Isle and in the skeleton behind the Windward Saber in the same area.
In order to assist late comers in grinding reputation two additional modes of rep gaining were introduced. In patch 5.4 came timeless isle. A number of Rare creatures came with this island for those at end game. One of those was Houlon and The Crimsonscale Firestorms. Both of these are Serpentine Dragons in nature, and both of these have to either be looted or killed in order to get to the Quivering Firestorm egg. You can’t miss it, it’s red and angry like a boil that cannot be popped. It binds on pickup and you turn it in at the Arboretum the same you do with the Onyx eggs. Last, but not least, there is now the ability to champion a group for reputation when you queue for either of the heroics: Dungeon or Scenario, as well as plain scenarios as well. You simply select the star and queue up!
No matter which Cloud Serpent you selected, once you hit exalted you can purchase the others and move on to the three extended additions!