In the real world (what’s that!?) I love to fish. I enjoy catching the fish, certainly, but I much prefer the act of fishing. I could stand hip deep in water, just casting for hours on end, without the need for a single bite. The concept of the “heroic journey” applies here. The actual activity is the reward for me, not the end goal.
I remember playing Link on my old GameBoy and spending way too much time in that fishing game. I’m sure I spent more time fishing in OoT than I did actually playing the rest of the game. In contrast, I don’t enjoy the “bass pro” games since they are reward based, not activity based.
I was a GM fisherman in UO back when all you got was fish. I had more than one actually, quite a few sea captains. It was unexplored country for nearly 3 years. The sea community was something to behold. When treasure hunting came around, all of a sudden everyone and their aunt had a boat and it was like downtown at 5pm. All we were missing were the horns. I fished in EQ too. It had even less to offer than UO other than something to do while waiting for the boat. /gems eventually came in to supplement that.
Then WoW came around and for 2 years, fishing meant nothing to the masses. It was a massive timesink (was until Cata actually) and just something you did to have fun. BC brought in the use for fishing pools and some quests as well as the first fishing tourneys. LK brought another fishing tourney and made fish a requirement for raiding. Cata pretty much ignored fishing. Panda-land has a fishing quest hub (which oddly, rarely has anything to do with actually fishing) that can provide some neato rewards. Still, since the rewards require a massive time investment (say 5000+ successful fishing casts @ 10sec per cast) and the rewards are all flavour, you have very few people trying it out. Other than the blip during LK, the fishing community has been a small one and a friendly one. El’s Anglin’ is a super example of that laid back attitude.
Rift has fishing as well but it seems to be more of a mini-game rather than a leisure activity. I still enjoy it tremendously but the zen-like feeling just doesn’t seem to be there. WoW has many spots that are clearly for fishing. I have a favourite pool in Jade Forest with nothing around but peaceful wildlife and mountains. Rift doesn’t have quite spots – at least none that I can see. There is no peaceful repose. Hopefully the expansion pack will cover that portion as I think the actual fishing mechanics are stronger in Rift.
Imagine that, a heroic journey by fishing pole.