We’ve murdered Mordremoth, cracked Kralkatorrik, and seen off Zhaitan. Dragon Bash is in full swing and eventually we are going to have to accept that it’s going to happen. We are going to have to face off against Steve. It’s more than six years into Guild Wars 2 and those of us playing this long know that eventually, we’re going to have to take down the deep-sea dragon.
Sure, finding our own deep seas adversary is going to require a unique set of skills but beyond that, we’re going to need to feed the masses. Sure, we can swim, the corsairs can sail, but can we fish? Today I’m going to make the case for fishing in Guild Wars 2 and it’s more than just a narrative addition to our hunt for Bubbles.
Fishing has been an add on to many MMORPG and has brought an unexpected amount of joy to several players in various guises and this low effort activity has a place that ultimately makes it a worthwhile consideration for a game like Guild Wars 2. I’m not completely deluded. I realize that Guild Wars 2 is a game that focuses on dynamic combat and the joy of movement. Adding a relatively placid clicker to a game like Guild Wars 2 might seem unintuitive but when you break it down it doesn’t seem quite so silly. From a narrative standpoint, I think I’ve already noted that the upcoming head to head with the mighty Sea Dragon is the perfect opportunity to prepare players for a fishing element to the game. It just fits that eventually the mighty commander is going to have to find a halibut or two to chow down on.
More than this, fishing provides a number of benefits to any MMO brave enough to plunder the great deep. Purely from a gameplay standpoint, this exercise can add so much to a game. World of Warcraft has had fishing in various forms for years and the act of kicking back and hunting for Bertha or Bubbles in an open body of water provides an area of the game that pretty much anybody can start out in. The low entry barrier allows those of us without the same reaction time as a seasoned veteran of the PvP scene to get in and do something a bit more sedate. Any activity with an adequately low entry barrier frankly allows anybody who doesn't find themselves excelling at dynamic combat and high tier raiding something else to do. Unlike the raids and top tier PvP combat, the fish aren’t going to ask for AP or gear checks, it’s pretty all-inclusive. If ArenaNet is open to ratcheting up the skills challenge in some areas, is it actually unreasonable to consider lowering it in the shallows?
The low entry for activities like fishing doesn’t always have to mean a lack of progression either. While some games require crafting components and use fishing as a gold sink for bait shoppers, others embrace the AFK nature of the sport. While Sea of Thieves might go for a surprise Kraken attack, Black Desert Online actively embraces the AFK. There are a number of ways it could work and not all of them have to end up easy.
Fishing doesn’t just bring us an option to do something easy while we AFK. It makes so much sense for a game that pushes the player to explore the world to have a reason to so find something else new and interesting. Fishing provides another perfect excuse to go sneaking around Queensdale or skittering around Lake Doric trying to a hidden stream or just the right spot to cast out. Vistas and skill points are a proven method to get a player to step out into the world but why not have another activity to have players scouring the old world and new horizons. This doesn’t even have to be limited to the placid end of the open world.
As gorgeous as those views and vistas of the open world are, I don’t always even find myself taking the time to enjoy them, do you? Given a chance it would be great to have an activity like fishing to let you sit back and enjoy just how wonderful the world looks, chat to your guild and take in how fantastic the Crystal Oasis looks as the Sun scrapes across the desert and jumps out of the watery depths. I know, it’s a bit simple sounding. Despite this though, ArenaNet isn’t that far away from such a simple activity. Dragon Bash pinatas are at least as easy to operate, just with a less fishy aftertaste and a little more decoration.
In the end, we learned to fly to bring down the big purple berk that tried to swallow us all. Who knows, we might need a seriously big progression tree to wield a harpoon big enough for Bubbles too. While I’d love to hear stories about Tyrians leaving their children to click away and coming back to amazing riches really it’s about providing a simple activity that even a 6-year-old can play. In a harsh world with a ton of MMO competitors, you’ve got to hook em young after all.
What do you think? Is Tyrian ready for the fishes or am I just casting out ideas pointlessly?