Tag Archives: Fishing

Why My Alts Can Fish

Okay, a past post may have explained my odd attraction to fishing in MMORPGs.  Or maybe it didn’t.  But if there is fishing in a game, I’ll be there.

On the Shadowmoon Valley shore

But fishing really only needs one character.    I generally pick somebody to be my fisherman and send them out to fish around the world, following whatever plans the game happens to have for the vocation.

Something on the hook

In World of Warcraft though my alts end up fishing as well.

Maybe not all of them.  I draw the line at different servers and there are a couple of low level characters I rolled up for a specific reason that I have since ignored.  But alts I actually play tend to have their fishing skill raised up past 75.

The reason is Darkmoone Faire.

Behold, Darkmoon Faire

Darkmoon Faire rolls around once a month in Azeroth, starting on the first Sunday of each month and running for a week.  And every month it comes by I am there in Elwynn Forest to join in on the fun… or whatever it is that one calls the activities at the faire.

The faire has been around forever, at least in the reckoning of the years of Azeroth.  It used to pop up in different locations and its portal even made appearances outside of Shattrath in Outland, back when people used to be there.  But I was never really much for the faire back then.  It wasn’t until Cataclysm that I started visiting regularly.

It was during that time frame that the faire adopted its more regular monthly schedule, with portals outside of Stormwind and Thunder Bluff, so it was much easier to find.  And, of course, Cataclysm was also a dark time in WoW for the instance group.  We found the expansion unsatisfying and the rework of the old world distressing, so left for other pastures before too long.

Well, most of us did.  I went in on that deal where I subscribed to WoW for a year to get my copy of Diablo III, so I was stuck with paid time on the game (and Blizz wouldn’t even let me turn off auto-renewal despite having paid in advance).

I wasn’t playing a lot during that time, but every month I would roll into Darkmoon Faire with my main and then a growing number of alts.  It started as a way to slowly advance the trade skills I was otherwise not using.  With every fair there is a quest for each profession that you can run once which advances you 5 skill points.  That is not a lot, but it is something… and it is often something that can get you past a dry spot in the profession progress curve.

Of course, fishing is a profession, but I wasn’t all in on that quite yet.

Once I had made the faire a regular stop I started looking at the prize tickets that were piling up.  Each quest gives you a few and you can earn a few more by playing the carnival games.  Soon the prize tickets became as important, then even more important, than the profession skills.

Through the parallel progress of a pile of alts, each earning some tickets with every passing faire, I have been able to accumulate almost all of the heirloom armor available (as well as upgrading all I have from level 60 to 90), all of the pets, and most of the mounts.  I am currently saving up for the Darkmoon dirigible mount, which came in with patch 7.3, and which costs 1,000 prize tickets.  That might take me a while.

Since the acquisition of prize tickets became a goal, I expanded to get fishing going on my alts, since that was one of the professions for which a quest was available.  It did require me to get each alt up past the skill level of 75, into the second tier of the profession, which you have to do to be able to take the quest.  But once there each alt that visits the faire spends a few minutes down at the dock fishing up the required catch to add some additional tickets to their monthly take.

My hunter down at the end of the faire

Of course, the faire has other attractions.  Knowing the faire was coming I saved up some of my WoW Legion faction upgrade tokens.  If you ride the merry-go-round at the fair it boosts experience and faction gains by 10%.

Riding for a faction boost!

That isn’t a huge boost, but when you are sitting on a bunch of tokens it can make a difference.

Anyway, I mention this because Darkmoon Faire is here again this week and I and my alts will be showing up to visit, to boost our professional training a bit, to collect more prize tickets, to do the pet battles, and to fish.

Fishing Comes to Telara

Last week’s patch to Rift had all sorts of things in it.  The patch notes go on for ages.

But the key item for me in this update is the new trade skill.  Fishing!

Yes, I have some odd ideas about fishing.  It is inexplicable to some, but whenever an MMO I play offers up a fishing experience, I must indulge in that experience.

I am not a complete nutter on the subject.  For example, I have a lot of the fishing achievements in WoW.  I fished up all those coins from the fountain in Dalaran.  But I haven’t bothered with some of the others, and I have never won a fishing tournament in-game.

But I do like that fishing is in games.  It is something of a change from the constant running around to kill, deliver, harvest, or just get place.  Instead, you pick a spot, get out your fishing gear, cast your line in the water, and wait to see what comes along.

So, once the patch was installed, I went fishing.

Fishing in Telara

And I have to say that I like how they have implemented fishing.

Right off the bat, it does not take up a trade skill spot.  Like cooking, fishing, and first aid in WoW, you can have your main trade skills along with it.  But it is more of a hobby, the way that LOTRO implemented things.

Trion added in another skill with the patch called Survival.  Survival seems primarily focused on giving you something to do with the fish you catch.  It is basically cooking… seafood… along with the ability to make some camping gear.  When the female survival trainer said, “Do you need help pitching a tent?” I thought perhaps I mis-heard… or that it was some sort of reference to the Diablo III demon hunter… everybody seems to be mentioning that.

But then I found that I could, with sufficient skill, make a tent and pitch it.  If I have read right, making the tent, or bedroll, or whichever, gives you the rested bonus you usually only get in Meridian if you log out on it.  Or something.

But Survival is mostly about cooking fish.

The fish menu so far

All of which is a long way of saying that you can do something with the fish you catch, which is saying something since there was not a cooking skill in the game before this patch.  Back to fishing.

The mechanics of fishing are simple.  You get a beginners fishing pole from the fishing trainer when you start off.

Pole with lure attached

You do not have to equip the fishing pole, it simply has to be in your inventory.   You then drag it to a hot key… and fishing is always mapped to 1 on my hot bar… auto-attack or starting attack is 2, fishing is 1… and you are about set.  You can add a lure to your pole.  Fishing has abilities you can unlock as you skill up, which mostly involves making lures and upgrading your fishing pole.

Once you hit the fishing icon on your hotbar, you get a targeting reticule, which you place out over the water where you want to fish.

Fish, complete with sign

This comes in handy as there are schools of fish you may want to hit.  It does seem a little unrealistic though.  People spend years practicing casting to be able to hit a spot with the accuracy you get with your very first cast.  Still, a simulation is always a set of compromises.

When your line is in the water for GOD’S SAKE DON’T MOVE YOUR CURSOR.

Seriously, when you cast, leave the cursor right where it is.  When you hook a fish the cursor will turn to a fish icon and you will get a message in chat instructing you to reel the fish in.  You do this by clicking on your line, which your cursor is sitting on… unless you moved it.  You didn’t move it, did you?

So you do not have to mouse around a lot to reel the fish in.  It is especially convenient if you have a tackball, as I do, and you can lay the cursor in the water and just fish with the 1 key and the mouse button.  This, by the way, is going to make creating a fishing bot for Rift extremely easy.  I do test automation professionally, so this is always something that always springs to mind.

You may have to reel in the fish two or three times.  There is no timer bar, as with WoW.  You just wait for a strike while your character fiddles with the reel, making the bait dance under water.

So the fishing mechanic works for me, and seemed to compromise in the right places.  But what do you catch?

The next thing I like about the new fishing in Rift is that you can fish up a wide variety of things.  There are, of course, regular fish.  You cook with those, or make lures out of them.

Then there are special fish which you can turn into an NPC in the zone in which you caught it (in groups of 8) for a boost in faction or a box of goodies. (Which has been more lures when I have done it.)

You will also get some gray vendor trash.  Fishing up trash is part of the grand tradition of MMO fishing.  The trash seems reasonable… fish scales and the like.

And then there are special items.  I have fished up items for collections… artifacts I guess they are called… which is good, because I need help there.  The next collection I complete will be the first not counting the tutorial collection.  I also fished up a box with 40 gold coins in it, which again was good, as I seem to be unable to make much headway in accumulating money.  I seem to perpetually have 8 plat.

The fishing skill, which goes up as you fish, determines where you can fish.  This is somewhat like the way it used to work in WoW, where there was a minimum skill level to fish in a given body of water a well as a point where fishing in that body of water would no longer grant skill increases.

I cannot fish here yet

There are also two types of water, deep and shallow, and each yield up different varieties of fish.

I can totally fish here

And you will want to fish in both depths in order to get the achievements.

And there are plenty of achievements.

Rift is the one game that I have played that comes close to WoW in effective presentation of achievements.  I cannot tell you what magic Blizzard has, just that their achievements seem… happy… shiny… just goofy enough… and easy to read in the achievements panel.  And Rift is pretty close on that front.

So there are achievements for catching rare fish.  Achievements for quantities of fish caught.  Achievements for catching all of the fish types in a given zone. (There is some overlap in fish between zones.) Basically, if you feel compelled to chase achievements, then fishing will give you plenty to do.

And there we have fishing in Rift.

I like it.

I will go max it out and get many of the achievements with one character, which is what I usually do with fishing.

And some day I will get around to writing the giant MMO fishing comparison post to determine who has the best MMO fishing mechanics around.

Addendum: Karen at Massively also has a look at fishing in Rift posted today.  I knew I should have posted this yesterday.

A Theory of Fishing

A post in which I draw two points and declare there to be a line.

Before I start, I just want to point out the humor tag on this post.  Some people will miss that and not read the post in the spirit in which it was written.  It is Friday.  Relax and just chuckle at my folly.

I have a theory about fishing and fantasy MMORPGs.

FishingAgain

Fishing Yet Again

I believe that there is a correlation between how well a fantasy MMORPG does relative to its contemporary competitors and how deep and interesting the fishing mechanism that is available at launch.

So, the better the fishing is at launch, the better the game will do relative to other games that launch in a similar window of time.

My data set so far:

EverQuest: Launched March 1999

Fishing: A relatively straightforward but deep fishing mechanism.  You needed a fishing pole which had to be equipped.  You needed bait, which got used up as you fished.  You could fish in just about any water you could find.  And you caught a wide variety of things, from fish that could be used for cooking, to rusty weapons that could be sharpened, to junk for the vendor.  So in many ways very much like real fishing; pick your spot, grab your pole, make sure you have bait, and fish away.

Market position: Rapidly became the king of the hill, declining only when the next generation of competitors came along.

EverQuest II: Launched November 2004

Fishing: Barely a fishing mechanism at all.  No fishing pole or bait required.  Fishing was reduced to harvesting “fish nodes” which at launch would yield at most a single fish per try before the fisherman had to move on to the next node, so you were constantly on the run.  And then all you ever caught was fish, never the stereotypical old boot or rusty dagger.

Market position: A strong start that rapidly faded with the game never achieving anything close to the popularity of its predecessor.

Lord of the Rings Online: Launched April 2007

Fishing: None at launch, added later (too late by my theory)

Market position:  Mid-pack, never a contender for market leadership.

Warhammer Online: Launched September 2008

Fishing: None

Market position: Mid-pack after losing more than half of their early subscriber base

The Wild Card

Now, the hole in my data set is World of Warcraft, but only because I did not play on day one so I cannot speak personally to the state of fishing back then.  But from what I have seen since I started playing five months after launch is that WoW has a very EverQuest-like fishing paradigm.  You need a pole.  There is no bait, but you can attach a lure.  You can fish wherever you want.

And furthermore, WoW continued to improve fishing as time went along.  There are fishing tournaments, fishing achievements, fishing quests, some truly special fishing poles, and even some pets that you can obtain only by fishing.  You can fish up an amazing amount of things.  Plus there was that fishing chair that was in the card game.

FishingInOrgrimmar

Don't mind me, I'm just fishing

What Am I Saying?

Now at this point you may wonder if I am somehow suggesting that fishing is the most important feature of an MMORPG.

I am not.

I am moving more towards a “canary in a coal mine” view of fishing.  If a company has had the resources to deliver a reasonably polished game and has had, in addition, the time to include fishing as something more than an afterthought, that the game might have the makings of a winner.

More Data Needed

Of course, to test a theory one of the things you can do is see if it would have predicted the same outcome for similar events outside of the current data set.  In this case, other MMORPGs that have launched.  I have taken two sample cases of good and bad fishing and drawn a line and then forced a couple of null set results onto that line and called it a theory.

So what other games have had fishing at launch, how good was that fishing mechanic, and how have the games done?

For example, while I wasn’t there, I am going to guess that Ultima Online had fishing of some sort.  I mean, if you could be a shepherd, how could they miss fisherman.  And while I tend to see UO as more the culmination of the long running Ultima series of games rather than a game on the D&D-Diku-EQ-WoW trajectory of MMORPGs (which isn’t a bad thing), it was the market leader in its time, it exceeded the expectations of the developer, and it lives on today.

What about Aion, Runes of Magic, or the upcoming Alganon?  Alganon certainly took a cue from WoW on interface, did they also borrow fishing?

nomufishing01

Something on the hook

Other Questions

Should this theory include PvP oriented games or not?  I put WAR on the list because Mythic invested in a PvE game.

Is it limited to fantasy?  Did Star Wars Galaxies have fishing?  Could this have been an early indicator for the fates of Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa?

Is there another game mechanic besides fishing that fits the theory better?  I cannot bring myself to generalize this to a good resource harvesting mechanism because fishing generally represents such tangential feature to the game that I think it is special.

FishingDiplomat

Or is this all just the view of somebody who has maxed out the fishing skill in every MMO he has played?

Angling in Angmar

As promised, Lord of the Rings Online’s Book 13 update included fishing!

Woot, fishing!

For no good reason, I have done fishing in every MMO I have played that made some sort of angling mechanic available. I have had characters with fishing skills at the cap in EverQuest, EverQuest 2, and World of Warcraft.

Therefore I knew when Turbine announced fishing for LOTRO, I would be there.

Friday night I found the NPC that grants the fishing skill in Bree. He sends you off to another NPC in Staddle, by the pond of course, who finishes up the “how to” and will sell you some bait.

LOTRO follows the WoW model, where bait enhances your ability to catch fish, but is not required. This is compared to EQ where, at least back in the day, you needed bait for every cast and EQII where not only don’t you need bait, but you don’t even need a fishing pole. One just appears miraculously when you need it.

Equipping my new pole (and hat), I was soon fishing.

In my usual haste to get to the good part, I skipped through all the… well… words… and just started casting. So it took me a minute or two to figure out that you have to hit the fishing action button both to cast your line AND to reel in a fish when you get a strike.

I noticed other people making the same mistake, so I passed along that tidbit wherever it seemed appropriate.

And speaking of getting a strike, LOTRO’s fishing, like so much in the game, is a quality experience. You actually see a fish in the water approach your bobber and take the bait. Granted, it seems to always been the SAME fish, one that bears almost no relation to what you actually end up catching, but it is a damn good looking fish, there in the water, and it makes the experience that much richer. See, look:

So far I have caught weeds, goldfish, minnows, and, no doubt in homage to EQ fishing, rusty daggers! (Too bad my weaponsmith cannot sharpen them for skill improves.) All of them are vendor trash as far as I can tell.

Of course, also like real fishing, once you find a decent spot where the fish are biting, everybody else in the world seems to show up.

The final LOTRO touch, as you might expect, is titles. I fished until my skill hit 10 (out of 200) at which point I got the first fishing title, Apprentice Angler.

Now I just have to make my way to Nen Harn for some fishing.

LOTRO is Go!

The replacement 8800GT arrived from Velocity Micro yesterday afternoon. So after a quick swap I was able to try the new card out.

The first thing I did was run the nVidia stability test which would cause the old card to crash within 30 seconds, regardless of card temperature.

The new card ran through a 10 minute pass without issue.

Then I brought up LOTRO, got out my hunter, and played for a little over an hour.

No issues their either. Plus, my hunter hit level 24. Only one more level until he gets his first horse.

So I am all set to play Lord of the Rings Online again.

And a good thing too.

Within the instance group there has been some renewed interest in LOTRO.

Skronk (Potshot) has been back in the game a bit.

Ula has shown some interest in coming back to play now that housing is available.

And I have had the urge to go back for a while now, which is why I have been griping about my video card issue.

And that urge increased when I read that one of the new Book 13 features is fishing!

Fishing!

For no good reason I end up fishing in almost every MMO I play. (There is no fishing in EVE Online… but mining is pretty much the moral equivalent.)

I like that Turbine has declared fishing a “hobby” as opposed to a profession. Although you can cook your fish and eat them if you have the right profession, the true spirit that seems to be in play here is titles and such, always a strong point in LOTRO.

So look for me on the shores of Nen Harn, fishing pole in hand, some day soon.