Saturday, January 3, 2015

Fishin' Fission

The surest way to catch fish: Wear a really insane hat
Holy cow! How'd all these professions get so complicated? No, I know the answer to that. The developers made them complicated. I suppose we could ask why, but I bet the answer is "fun." Y'know, like how it's so fun to have everything switched up on us without much explanation. There's such an array of new materials and stuff to manage and our old mechanics put out to pasture.

Among the most changed is probably fishing. The reasons to fish are ever-the-same: one can cook fish into snazzy food. Everything else about it has been kicked around a bit. Some basic things one should understand:

  • You can catch fish in three sizes, small, normal and enormous. Guess which one is the best!
  • Each game fish exists in its own specialized zone. But you can haul Crescent Saberfish out of any location.
  • You're real goal for fishing excellence: 950 skill. More on this soon.

Things have opened up, in the sense that you can show up in Draenor with no fishing skill at all and get to work, but if you want to fish efficiently, there's some things you gotta do:

Get your skill to 700 asap 

There's no way around this. Even when you have top skill it's not going to get you the highest quality catch. I can't imagine what it must be like to not already be a fishing pro and feel compelled to get into the profession. But to fish efficiently, you need all 700 of those fishing skill points. Do your garrison daily, and even the old dailies for boosts. You can get some extra points from the Darkmoon Faire as well. But get them.

Get the best lures you can find

I don't know what this is supposed to catch, but I want one.
So, even after you've gotten your skill all the way up to 700, you won't be catching many of the enormous fish you really want. El's Extreme Anglin', the definitive fishing guide to Azeroth and its environs, has charts and the long description of this, but somebody with 700 skill will catch enormous fish about 50% of the time. The further you can push your skill towards 950, the closer that catch percentage gets to 100% enormous. As an example, I was fishing with a practical fishing skill of 940, which resulted in 39 enormous fish and just one normal size in about 15 minutes or so.

But getting 950 skill fishing isn't easy. Mer has rod, hat and gloves to increase her skill about 40 points, but after that, it's all about the lure. The best lure there is is the Worm Supreme, worth a +200 to your fishing score and which one may find on their hook occasionally as one fishes in Draenor. Mer has stocked up on Heat Treated Spinning Lures, an engineering creation which is the next best thing, with 125 points. I'll always go for the worm first, but at least I can carry a full stack of treated lures and I know where I can get more.

There are a lot of items you can pull out of the water that will help your fishing skill, at least temporarily. There's no fishing trip I go on that doesn't produce a handful of fishing baubles and strong fishing poles. There is the Ephemeral Fishing Pole which will last for one day. My favorite though is that hat pictured above the Tentacled Hat for a very hawt 200 bonus for seven days. You have to see this thing in-game. It's still alive and frequently does a little dance on Merinna's head.

And then you'll need bait.

This is a new mechanic in Draenor and it works like this: if you don't use bait, 72% of what you catch will be the nigh useless crescent fish, 8% will be other stuff like awesome fish, bits of bait or something else interesting and the remaining 20% will be what you wanted in the first place. That is a terrible return, if you ask me. 

If you use the correct bait, the crescent fish/good stuff ratio is flipped: 72% good stuff, 20% crescent fish, and still 8% other. 

Don't spare on the bait. You can only carry one piece in your bag at a time but if you're fishing the right zone, you'll obtain another piece of bait fairly quickly. In fact, I've stopped carrying the bait in my bag and just expect to catch and release a few saberfish to get the right bait and then start hauling in the catch I want.

The problem with schools. 
Note: Voidwalkers are not noted for their fishing prowess.
In previous expansions, the surest way to get the fish you wanted was to locate schools of fish and dip your pole into those exclusively. There are places in Draenor where this is still possible, and one can skip the bait when fishing a school. But in many zones, schools seem very sparse. The Spires of Arrak in particular is a terrible place for fishing. The inland waters are sparse and have only the most isolated spots where you can even successfully cast your line. Once you put a lure on your pole and haul out the three fish you can get from a school, you'll spend most of the next ten minutes trying to find another. 

If you're fishing Sea Scorpion, you can find plenty of schools. The waters of Talador give up plenty of isolated schools of Black Whiptails. But if I'm fishing Shadowmoon Valley, Gorgorond, the Spires or Frostfire Ridge, I feel it's better to depend on lure and bait and not rely on the schools. I'll not ignore a school, but I won't chase them down either. Inland fishing spots are rare enough in all these places. 

And then, you've got to clean your catch. 

This is another new mechanic. Before, you'd catch a fish and probably eat a fish. Now, you catch fish in piles of 5, 10 or 20 and prepare the flesh from there. 

But here's the thing: the higher your fishing skill, the more fish meat you can prepare for cooking. Which is to say you're better off cleaning and preparing your catch while you've still got all your gear equipped and while your lure is still in effect.  Which, while I completely comprehend this mechanic, is something I never remember to do. Inevitably, I don't clean until I'm ready to cook, which is just a mistake under the current mechanics.

Nat Pagle
The hardest drinkin'
man in all Azeroth.
The real pie in the sky reason to take fishing seriously in WoD is to bring Nat Pagle to your garrison. Besides being a survival hunter who is capable of countering Deadly Minions, he enables you to catch a variety of special fish: There are "lunkers" which are even bigger than "enormous" fish. And then there are fish with which you can lure special monsters out of lakes. Exciting!  Frankly, I just want that forgetful bastard to bend the knee after all these years of forgetting who I am. Merinna and Nat go back to the coastal waters off Theramore when he was the only way to learn expert fishing. But seriously, Nat Pagle offers a wide variety of fishing related bonuses and vanity items. I WANT THEM ALL!  Since I just got the tentacled hat, I have six more days to work on all the requirements it takes to bring Nat to Draenor...

A few other neat tricks:

Your garrison fishing daily will tell you to bring fish eggs back so you can populate your lake. Each day, you are to bring back 10 of some sort of fish egg.

Two helps here: First of all, I have caught big huge piles of each fish and then I skin just what I need to produce the ten eggs I need to turn in. That way, if I don't really have time to fish on a given day, I don't really have to worry about it.

Also, it's frequent that you may get 12 eggs, or 16 eggs rather than a perfect 10. Take the extra out, put them in your bank. Save them for next time. If they are in your bag when you turn in the daily quest, they will all disappear.

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing how all the things like Blinding Powered, Making your own poisons, carrying reagents to revive people, ammo for guns, arrows for bows, stones to sharpen blades and every other bloody thing got kicked out of WoW... but we need a good fishing rod, a lure, a hat/gloves/g-string for fishing... the hell is going on