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Columns: Can Fishing Ever Be Fun?

By Lewis Burnell on April 25, 2016

Can Fishing Ever Be Fun?

I hate fishing in Black Desert Online. In fact, hate is a generous word: I absolutely loathe it. Every single MMO I’ve ever played always has a group of players desperately wanting fishing to be implemented and yet it has to be, without doubt, the most mind numbing profession ever devised. I’ve never once fished in an MMO and found it entertaining. In fact, I’m not even sure it’s possible to make it entertaining. Daum were so confident in the fact that fishing in Black Desert Online was boring that they even made going AFK a lucrative endeavor. What message does it send to your players when it’s less painful to fish when you’re down the pub getting drunk with your friends than it is to spend time actually, you know, in the game.


Now I know many of you will likely enjoy fishing in Black Desert Online. Staring out to sea, chatting with your friends on Discord as you idly stand about. It’s a leisure activity, it has the potential to earn you considerable money and if you’ve little else to do, it passes the time. Unfortunately, that’s my primary issue. When you walk to any location in Black Desert Online that happens to be by the sea, all that stands before you is a mass of players with rod in hand (now, now). There’s no life in these players and yet there they stand, fishing away for hours on end. It’s a ridiculous sight and one that’s as silly as seeing several hundred horses stand idle for hours while their owners - presumably the fisherman - do whatever it is they’re doing in real life.

In fairness to Daum, they’ve done a relatively good job at trying to make fishing entertaining. The minigame to pull fish from the water isn’t particularly painful but neither is it enjoyable. Hitting the spacebar at the right time, followed by a secondary minigame using your keys (should you not land a perfect score during stage one) is incredibly tedious after only a few minutes. The thought of doing this for any lengthy of time is enough to send a man insane. It isn’t surprising, then, that so many players choose the path of least resistance and instead empty out their bags, set their line in the water and head out to do something else.

Fundamentally and despite enjoying the thought of fishing being a thing in MMO’s, like any other crafting it often doesn’t translate well into being an enjoyable act. I’m not even entirely convinced it’s possible to make fishing in an MMO entertaining and the thought that it’s acceptable to go AFK while doing it doesn’t sit particularly well with me either. I’m not suggesting fishing shouldn’t be in MMO’s, but there surely has to be a better way of making it fun and repeatable.

While I wouldn’t want to point to something like SegaBassFishing as the pinnacle of where

developers could take such an activity (as appealing as it could be with Vive). In its current form fishing really brings very little to Black Desert Online. I’ve many friends who state they enjoy it but when pressed further they simply state that making a boat was fun, it’s lucrative and they do it while AFK. That’s surely indicative of a system that’s a total failure, when you don’t enjoy the act itself.

As a wider subject and now I come to think of it, are there any crafting professions in any MMO, whether fishing, herbalism, alchemy or anything inbetween, that is actually fun to do? Considering the majority are automated after collecting a set amount of ingredients - little more than pushing a button - isn’t it about time we looked for a new approach?

What do you think about fishing in Black Desert Online? Are you happy with how it is? What are your thoughts on crafting in MMO’s? Let me know. 

Lewis Burnell / The only game to have distracted Lewis away from MMOs over the last 15 years was Pokemon Red. Despite that blip, Lewis has worked his way through countless games in the genre in search of something that comes close to his much loved and long time dead, Neocron.
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