Monday, 23 September 2013

The One That Got Away : GW2, FFXIV:ARR

After a hard day's dragon-slaying there's nothing relaxes an adventuring sort like a spot of fishing.

Well, I say "dragon-slaying". In my own case, of course, I mean "dragon-fighting". No actual dragons died, especially not that one that's dead already yet manages to look so exceptionally well on it.

The Battle for Sparkfly Fen raged all weekend on Yak's Bend, fitfully and feebly the first few times when most of the server was asleep, then with increasing vigor and determination as the day wore on. I went so far as to join the Mumble channel, named with grim irony "Tequatl the Funless", to take direction and it was quite a revelation to hear the calm and orderly way in which teams were organized and orders issued.

Each attempt improved on the previous run. We whittled Tequatl from 75% to 50% and there seemed a good chance that if we just kept coming back every ninety minutes we might eventually drive the overgrown gecko back beneath the waves and reap the rewards we so richly deserved.

Sir! Yes, I do have prior experience on turrets, Sir!

Maybe we did. I wouldn't know. By late-evening in my time zone Yak's Bend was spinning up Overflows a good half-hour before the start of the window of opportunity, itself half an hour long. I managed to grab an invite via Mumble to escape overflow once but after that even the Overflows were supposedly spitting out Overflows of their own and there was no chance of getting back to The Yak.

The whole thing has been enormously instructive for me. I spent some lengthy periods just standing around in Sparkfly Fen, waiting. One time I was there for a full hour doing absolutely nothing before the show started. I enjoyed that time every bit as much as an hour spent fighting things, questing or crafting. Even before I joined Mumble, map chat kept me entertained and with the background chatter added it really did have that buzz of being part of the crowd at a sporting event or a festival.

Odd, unfamiliar thoughts began to drift through my mind, like "is this what people get out of raiding?" and "it's really quite relaxing to be told what to do, where to stand, what buffs to cast, what food to eat". Individualism's all very well but there's something to be said for just following orders.

Water sprites. They're more scared of you than you are of them. Just keep telling yourself that.

Still, it's good to have something to do with your hands while your waiting. Not being much of a one for jumping repeatedly on the spot (always a popular pastime in every MMO I've ever played, or at least those with a Jump key) I wish GW2 would discover fishing.

All MMOs should have fishing. Most of them do, or at least most of the ones I've spent any significant time in, not that I'm saying there's any causal relationship there. Fishing in MMOs isn't always just about the fish, of course. Many an impoverished Norrathian got his start on the adventuring ladder by fishing up and selling rusty daggers at two silver a shot and in Vanguard it was faster for crafters to fish Silver Masterwork Seals out of the sea than to, y'know, craft for them.

A Charr could wear that hat. Just sayin'.
In FFXIV, fishing is mostly about the fish. Probably. I'm only a level 12 Fisher so what do I know? I can say, however, that I'm not catching any rusty daggers, old boots, treasure chests or discarded furniture. Just fish.

Fisher is one of the Disciples of the Land, the gathering professions, and there are probably some cross-class, interdisciplinary synergies of which I am unaware since I haven't yet taken any of the other options. I just fish. There's a Fishing Log, which I have neglected even more than I've neglected the various Hunting Logs on my adventure classes. There are Fishing Leves, which I haven't done and Fishing Class Quests, which I have. Because, Straw Hat!

The fish caught can be cooked, of course. Maybe one day, when I get round to crafting I'll learn how to braise a haddock. For now I just hand them all to my trusty retainer for safekeeping. I hope she has a refrigerated compartment in those packs. And that she can keep her greedy Miqo'te paws out of it.

For the while fishing is its own reward. It's very pleasant to stand on a high platform in Limsa Lominsa and cast out into the sea far below or to ride my chocobo out Aleport and stand on the dock looking out across the shimmering water, waiting for the herring to bite.

If I could only stand between the reeking, plosive fish-heads on the wide, flat, sands of Sparkfly casting my bait out into those shark-infested, dragon-haunted waters, how sweetly the waiting hours might pass. And who knows what horrors I might hook?

9 comments:

  1. Yes! I would love an "inactive" activity like fishing in GW2! Especially if Teq is GW2's answer to raiding. In one cycle I usually go through and scavenge materials, which is usually not relaxing. Later cycles when nodes are depleted I usually am on Kongregate or playing DotP 2014. I would much prefer something in game. One can wish.

    I am enjoying your perspective on FF fishing, and I have fond memories of LOTRO fishing... especially, dun dun dun, right before the Watcher in the Water raid.

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  2. I actually go underwater diving sometimes and farm jellyfish and sharks. The amazing thing again is that I almost always get bonus xp out of them, so no one but me in a zone producing overflows goes spear-fishing. :)

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  3. The Tequatl fight might not be particularly challenging in its fundamental mechanics compared to many instanced raids in other MMOs but I suspect the sheer logistical challenge of gathering the numbers and organizing them effectively in an open-world setting would make it one of the harder "raids" around in terms of actually getting it to happen in the first place, let alone succeed. If Anet are attempting to add quasi-raid content they probably have a bit of fine tuning still to do.

    While they work on that, perhaps one of their many other teams could be busy not just on Fishing but on a few other quality-of-life improvements like a proper wardrobe system and housing. And Hats for Cats!

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  4. It's worth looking at both the Fisher Log (so you can see if there are places to fish you haven't fished in yet) and the Fishing Leves (because they're easy "Hey, can you hand me three fish?" experience).

    Me, my favorite is the Fish Guide, which has some nice art of each fish, an amusing text description thereof, and it keeps a recordboard of bigger fish for each kind of place you can cast. (Sea, lake, river)... Not for any reason, or a leaderboard, or anything like that. Just because it's there.

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    1. I had totally forgotten the Fishing Log until Mrs Bhagpuss started waxing lyrical about a couple of hours ago, just before I saw your comment here. I'm going to do some Fishing Leves tonight or tomorrow and start to fill out my Log as well because it's so nice to browse through.

      Added your Live Journal to the blogroll, which only seems fair as I am about to blatantly steal your link to the FFXIV Housing Video I just found there and which was completely new to me.

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    2. Goodness. Thank you, although you'll find it's less a 'news source" and more a personal blog where I post about books, games, and whatever else I happen to be doing at the moment.

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  5. Agreed! I love fishing in mmo's and I don't know what it is about ff14 but it's one of the best for that activity. Just standing there, enjoying the scenery, watching adventurers pass by and waiting g for that little tug on the line. In the beta I got it up to 20,thats how much I enjoyed it.

    Definitely have a look at the fishing log, I found I was seeking out all the spots and catching what I could, even going back to some of my favourites. I love having my own personal Leaderboards too, that little ding you get after getting a bigger catch actually makes me feel rather joyful.

    As for gw2 fishing would be good but I think they could do other things. I'm sure they could come up with a few interesting open world activities, we have costume brawl and that drinking game already and they are fun for some down time. I used to drop them during our down times in WvW all the time

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  6. That would be a great thing to pass the time! :D Unfortunately with ANet's RNG I fear the only thing you'll be pulling up is a lot of angry (and possibly undead) krait.

    Would be fun to pull up friendly quaggans though. ^_^

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  7. Have to say the best fishing ive experienced has been Rift so far. There are shallow water and deep water fish. It just feels more like fishing then any other mmo so far.

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