Yesterday I unlocked the Underlight Angler again, this time for Hoppipolla, my dwarf paladin. I've mentioned briefly before on this blog that I love MMO fishing; it's true and I can't deny it.
...in some quarters it still remains a moot point whether a whale be a fish.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Fishing in MMOs is so delightfully mindless, but it's as engaging as you let it be. I suppose it has parellels with real-world fishing, on a very superficial level, in that to the casual outside observer it might look like you're stood there not doing very much, but in practise there's there's a level of technical and spiritual expertise involved in doing so much nothing.
World of Warcraft's fishing isn't bad. I like what Legion has done with the Underlight Angler's achievement-based unlock questline, and the Drowned Mana > Bait > Rare fish cycle. It makes it a little more engaging, and the spontaneous Margoss Fishing raids that pop up in the group finder are usually a fun spot to hang out for a while. That said, at it's core, the fishing is still just click- wait - click, which while simple enough to enter a zen-like state of neural numbness is not the most enticing of gameplay loops. I can absolutely understand why fishing isn't for everyone.
I think Final Fantasy XIV's fishing is the best MMO fishing I've experienced. There's location and bait types to consider, and you can use caught fish as bait for you next cast, resulting in "juggling" a chain of increasingly rare fish as you chase your very own white whale. There's an entire class storyline and multiple sets of gear, all of which look adorable on my lalafell main. It's brilliant. I level-capped Fisher long before any of the more traditional adventuring classes.
So here we are. On the cusp of Blaugust Reborn, and of the continuation of the so-called War of Thorns and the Battle for Azeroth, and I've gone fishing. I'm pretty sure as soon as I have a foothold on Kul'Tiras sorted, I'll go fishing again, too.