Choosing to Fish in Times of War

While nearly everyone who plays World of Warcraft chooses to campaign and soldier around, there is a strange little tribe of players who travel Azeroth with no other purpose than looking for good places to go fishing. Blizzard introduced the fishing activity as an easy—though incredibly tedious—way for players to accumulate gold. It was intended to be a secondary activity, a low-risk means of point grubbing that players could engage in between quests. There has since evolved in WoW a sub-culture of apparently very patient people who primarily fish and do very little else. They make pilgrimages to all the various fishing pools trying to collect a complete taxonomy of fish and sea animals. Blizzard stocks Azeroth with an ever-growing number of species, something like 200 in the latest version. Most illusive is the Giant Sea Turtle. Players can spend days trying to catch one.
A typical turtle expedition will require 3000 to 5000 casts over a pool where the turtle resides. At 2-3 casts a minute, this means that players will spend between 30 and 40 hours fishing before finally landing one. Once caught, the Sea Turtle can be used as a mount. It’s supposed to swim very fast. is a guide site and community forum devoted to WoW fishing. It’s interesting to read about the fishing trips that players plan together. By far the biggest concern is evading the non-stop violence that prevails through every meadow and cove in the game. The fisher people are pacifists in an over-populated war game. They tell stories about finding secluded little beaches where they sat peacefully with a line in the water while a Devilsaur stomped around on the cliffs overhead. They’ll spend an hour circumventing a pitched battle to reach a remote fishing pool in a contested area.

Fishing people accumulate gold and skill faster than the traditional player. They are resented by many in the WoW community and are accused of gaming the system, and in a way, what there doing is kind of a reversion of Blizzard’s devised parameters and incentive structure. I think the pleasure that one derives from excessive WoW fishing is that it is unothodox and a departure from how the game was intended to be played. The fishermen play at the margins of the WoW arena. They exist outside of the mindless hack’n slash cycle that motivates continued involvement for most players. They traffic instead in discoveries and the prohibitively rare. Enthusiasts of the odd.

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