The Dark Phoenix is a guild reward mount. Buyable. The cost is 2s, which implies that they don't have a real price for it yet in the beta (since everything else is also 2s).
Husband's best friend thinks the Dark Phoenix will be a reward for your guild achieving something super-hard in a raid. I'm of the opinion that it will be hard to get, perhaps even very expensive, but that it will indeed be a guild and not a raid reward. Why do I think this? Because it's already in the guild reward panel, and we haven't seen any raid achievements mentioning it. Because I hope that raid rewards and guild rewards won't be the exact same thing.
I can't guess how it will be attainable. There's a beta tester whining about it being the next "Sparkle Pony" and how only real raiders deserve things as cool as a phoenix. Asami's moving response about the original phoenix was, in my opinion, enough to have shut anyone up, but alas it didn't.
As I've been reading through the Guild Advancement beta forums, it seems that getting experience (and rep!) for your guild requires some elbow grease. I don't know if they'll buff the numbers later, but one player said she got 8 rep for her guild after doing all of Ashenvale. 8 rep. For an entire zone.
Some people are talking about gold that goes into the guild bank, and whether or not guild leaders will siphon it off for themselves. These discussions made a little thought spark in my brain:
Guild perks, rewards, rep, and (yes) even phoenix mounts are incentives for guilds not to fall apart. And what makes guilds fall apart faster than anything? Cheating each other!
So these are material reasons for people to stay together and work things out instead of disbanding in a huff or ninjaing the guild bank.
I like the focus on guilds as lasting entities, it's brilliant, but what I like best about this is that it (at least partially) screws over ninjas. I've said it before and I'll say it again: anything that messes with jerks is a good thing. (from Cataclysm Yay)I fully expect items like the Dark Phoenix to be completely removed from your character if you gquit or your guild disbands. They do that with the Core Hound Pup if you remove your authenticator, which means they can, and they've said you won't get to take things with you. Which, I hope, means they will (instead of leaving it on your character as an unusable mount, like with dropped professions).
Perhaps the dark phoenix will be a reward for a super-hard guild achievement. Like Legendary (having a legendary weapon in your guild) or even a raid achievement. Perhaps it will be given to guilds that have been around for X number of years. Either way, I doubt it'll be the next Sparkle Pony.
One thing that resonated with me in the Dark Phoenix discussion was the idea that veterans deserve nice rewards:
I don't think it's a bad thing to reward groups of players who stay together a long time because they enjoy being together instead of just the raider guilds who are only with each other because schedules aligned, they were the correct class and they topped meters. (Shamanah)The whole point behind guild achievements is to reward people who stick together. And it makes sense that the Dark Phoenix, as a guild reward, would be related to that philosophy above all.