Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
World of Warcraft fishing

I have mixed feeling towards fishing in World of Warcraft. On the one side it is peaceful, relaxing, possibly profitable, and not a bad way to spend some solo time. On the other side the actual fishing "game play" is too simple. I played other single-player RPGs, like Dark Cloud, where fishing was a lot more fun. WoW fishing is extremely simple, and has the dubious distinction of being the first activity ever in WoW for which bots were created. The existence of bots in a MMORPG is a sure indication of a boring activity that doesn't require enough intelligence to perform. Due to this flaw, WoW fishing has a checkered history. It was botted for profit early in the game, then nerfed until it was totally unprofitable and nobody fished any more, and then Blizzard slowly introduced new features to make fishing more attractive again.

You fish in WoW by equipping a fishing pole, putting the fishing skill button on a hotkey, throwing out your line using that hotkey, waiting up to 20 seconds until the bobber moves, and then clicking on it to reel your catch in. Using an addon like Fishing Buddy you can throw out and reel in your catch at the same time with a right mouse button double click. And that's it. You double-click about every 20 seconds and the only "skill" required is moving your mouse pointer over the random location where your bobber landed. Unlike other crafts your chance to earn a skill point does not depend on how difficult a fish you are trying to catch. Thus you could learn fishing in Orgrimmar or Ironforge and skill up fishing to 225 without ever moving a step. Then you'll need to do an easy fishing quest in Duskwallow Marsh to get to 300, and buy a book in Zangarmarsh at 300 to get to 375. But you could still level up to 375 fishing only in that little pond in Orgrimmar or Ironforge and it would go exactly as fast as if you fished in various places, or even faster because you don't have any travel time.

At the start your fishing skill goes up every time you reel in a fish, but later the skill only rises after having found an increasing number of fish. I haven't done the calculation, but read that it takes 15 hours of fishing to get to the maximum skill. Fortunately the fishing timer was shortened from 30 seconds to 20 seconds, and the bobber now always moves at some point of the timer. You can still not reel in a fish, but that is mostly if you are fishing in a zone that is too high compared to your fishing skill. Check this WoW fishing guide for details on which zone you can fish with what skill, or where to find which fish.

So why go fishing if it isn't interesting? As I said, Blizzard made it more interesting after initially nerfing it. One major improvement they added was fishing pool "nodes". You can fish in nearly every spot of water without a node, but the nodes give you more valuable fish, or even containers full of valuables. I once got "rich" from fishing with a level 16 character in Stranglethorn Vale on a brand new server. You can fish level 40ish trade goods and even green magic items from floating wreckages in STV with fishing skill you can get as low as level 10, although it is difficult to find the right spots without getting eaten by level 40ish mobs. The Stranglethorn Fishing Extravanganza fishing event every Sunday at 2 pm is even more profitable at low levels, you get 1 gold 21 silver for every 5 tastyfish you find. Especially on new servers, where you can't make lots of gold by selling low level trade goods like copper to high level players and their twinks, fishing is a very good way to make cash early. Even for higher level players the addition of fishing nodes makes fishing a lot more interesting and dynamic, because it encourages you to move around and search for them.

There is now even a fish tracking skill in the game. You learn it from a book you can find when fishing. Best spot for that is Windshear Crag in Stonetalon Mountains, where the trunks you fish out from wreckages and oil spills have a pretty high chance of dropping the book. The fish tracking skill shows you all fish nodes on your radar, with the unfortunate exception of the tastyfish schools from the STV fishing contest.

Most fish are still worthless to vendors, and worth very little to other players on the auction house. But some fish are valuable. There is a "Goldenscale Vendorfish" you can vendor for 6 gold. Other fish are useful for alchemy, and the deviate fish can be cooked into a meal that transforms you into a pirate or ninja. People pay good money for that. You can even fish motes of water out of pure water nodes in Outland. But the main use for fish is cooking. Blizzard changed cooking that now you get stuck at level 275 if you don't cook any fish, and the next meat recipe is only at 285. Raising cooking in parallel to fishing is much, much easier than cooking meat drops from mobs. At the lower levels cooked fish doesn't give any stats bonuses, while cooked meat does. But at higher levels cooked fish gives some nice bonuses, especially for casters. And as a hunter you can always feed the cooked fish to your cat or bear pet.

So fishing does have some uses now. I already got enough fish with my warrior to raise the cooking skill of my new mage to 300. I'm at just over 300 fishing skill, and I'll continue some more occasionally, just for fun and relaxation, and to make some gold in a peaceful way. I would wish that Blizzard had made fishing a bit more interactive, but it isn't so bad now.
Fishing could be more interesting making it a bit more interactive and may be arcade like.

One thing could be to borrow an idea from UO. And it's the possibility to spawn a monster from the deep with some more extra loot. On the same line, a feature very enjoyed in UO was treasure hunting. In UO you can get bottles with treasure maps inside. Or treasure maps dropped from mobs, usually the one spawned while fishing. So following the map and getting in place... having the map and digging... well you get a spawned chest along with mobs spawning with it.

Another nice idea (always borrowing from other games) is fishing in TT (ToonTown). You enter in fishing mode and you can control via mouse direction and force. Objective for a successfull catch is to center a moving circle (moving real time or changing position every few seconds or so... depending on choices of game time)
There should be a 'biggest fish' prize like in Zelda, so that when you catch that 40 pound fish, you don't just think 'Uhhh, junk' like you do at the moment.
Also, it isn't true that you get a bite every single time. Sometimes there are no bites, but that happens a lot less often than it used to do.
If you reel in just prior to the timer running out (whether the bobber moved or not), you'll either catch something or get the "your fish got away" message
Yeah, fishing was made lucrative enough that I went back and got over 300 fishing so I can fish Zangarmarsh debris (good for Engineers in particular) and try at the pure water nodes (though I need more skill to do that well). Steam pump debris is 50s a pop, so it adds up, and I got my fish-finding book there too.

Most of the "held in off hand" fish are no more than cat food, but there is the high-sought-after Mr. Pinchy out there too.
I think fishing could be improved a lot to make it more interesting. Maybe if they changed it to a mini-game/puzzle sort of thing, aka Puzzle Pirates.

One of my toons has his fishing up to the mid 300's. I can't imagine spending 15 hours trying to get any of my other toons to that same skill level.

I have mixed feelings about how essential fishing currently is if you want to skill up your cooking to 300. On the WoW forums, Blue said that they were going to patch the 275-285 problem. But even if they do, it's so much quicker to use fish to skill up your cooking from 275 to 300 (with the drop rate of sand worm meat being poor), that it hardly matters if you have alternative food to cook between 275-285.

And the $$ for fishing is still not worth the time - especially with all the daily quests. With apologies to Doeg - 50s for steam pump debris doesn't really feel worth it to me. I'd much rather spend my time doing something else. The sad fact is that as long as fishing is as simple as it is, we're still likely to get bots & farmers if Blizzard makes the rewards too high.
I maxed out my fishing (painfully) as soon as I heard about the flask/elixir changes (when people could no longer stack ridiculous amounts of buffs). Food buffs count separately from alchemy buffs and it was obvious food was going to be much more important. I've cast so many times into the Highland Mixed Schools it's embarrassing. I fish for the guild bank and also fish for profit since Spicy Crawdad will always sell.

I did eventually get a Mr. Pinchy after 600 or so casts, but I think raising fishing in the hopes of getting him is asking for frustration.
Does everything need to have a some kind of super money or gear reward attatched to it?

Fishing is a fun thing to do while I wait for an instance or bg to pop. I DO make money with it, cooking those fish for healers are very profitable. They make the changes any more glamorous, and that profit will sink, because then it will become saturated.

But if you think it's a waste of time...whatever, I'll continue to make 20-30g an hour just waiting around for a tank to be found for our group.
Fishing was fun when I played WoW. I had a TV Card, so while watching TV, I would fish. And yes, you can make a decent profit if you know what your doing.
Regardless, I *Highly* recommend FishPing add-on. Made things MUCH easier (even though it's not too difficult as it is now, heck ToonTown requires a lot more skill to fish)

Actually, you've answered your own statement. You're making 20-30g an hour precisely because there are a lot of us who don't want to spend our time fishing. Thus, we'd rather spend our gold that we made elsewhere to buy your fish. (on a side note, personally, I think you could probably make more $$ by selling us raw fish, rather than cooked fish)

It's all good. People who like fishing, should continue doing it since they like it. IMHO, I think it could be improved. But as long as there are enough people that like it the way it is, then it probably should be kept that way.
I agree - the poster above is right - 50s for Steam Pump Debris is not a reason to fish!
What tugged at me and eventually pulled me into fishing was being forced to pass by those Pure Water nodes that I knew held around 5 motes of water each.
Actually, I'd like to see fishing either get a lot more interactive - or, believe it or not, a lot less! If I recall right, back in UO, you just cast and it auto reeled in. It wasn't that much easier from a gameplay perspective, but it made it a lot easier to type while you were fishing. I find that holding conversations in guild chat while fishing is harder even than doing so while fighting (although, I'm a Paladin ;) ).
I love to fish in WoW. Even before I entered Outland I had 375 fishing in WoW. In some ways I did get a bit rich fishing also. Fishing for me is relaxing and goes well with my laid back attitude. When I realized most players in WoW hated fishing that made me perk up and learn to fish even more. Why? Because what people and players hate to do is prime opportunity for someone else who can see gold in providing something players hate to spend time catching.

I remember one weekend in my 50's im 70 now but back then I had 375 fishing already. I fished 3-4 hours as it was just fun catches all kind of valuable stuff in trunks and pearls and such but I also caught lots of different kind if fish. I sold it all in AH over 3 days time, that netted me a cool 300-350g for 3-4 hours fishing and relaxing for fun. I grinned all the way to the bank as all my raw fish sold. All bought by players who needed the fish but who were too lazy or find it boring to do it. You ask me if I like to fish? Hell yeah, its money to me. I now fish in Highland Mixed Pools all the time in Terrokkar Forest and in Nagrand at the lakes in pools. In one hour I can catch a ton of fish like lots of Furious Crawdads, Golden Darters, Ice Bluefin and sell it all on AH. In 24hrs every bit of it sells especially on raid days and my mail box just fills up with gold from the sales at over 25-35g a stack of 20 depending on the fish. I laugh all the way to the bank making money because I'm doing exactly what players hate to do at something they consider boring. Can fishing be better yeah it could if Blizzard could throw in a random mob to fight that had treasure or some kind of valuable loot or treasure to find. But fishing can make you money doing what many players hate to waste their time doing. I'm gone keep fishing and sell my valuable raw fish. I call it money in the bank.
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