I’ve written numerous posts on the fact that fishing is a pre-req for me to consider any game an MMO. I’ve seen all flavors of this skill in what feels like 30 years. From WoW’s ultra simplistic point and click, RIFT’s artifact hunt, to UO’s really fascinating view on treasure hunting.
FF14 takes the more complex road for fishing. Leveling fishing isn’t hard. You could just take a trip on the Fishing Boat (every 2 real time hours) for 20 odd minutes and fly through the levels. It’s extremely efficient and barely costs anything – plus, gear level makes no difference here at ALL, from level 1 to 80. If you want to optimize that fishing for the highest returns, then I suggest Zeke’s spreadsheet. You get rainbow fish, dolphins, gulls, secret fish and of course, mounts to claim here. So there’s a very good reason to keep doing this at 80.
Alternatively, you could fish in Foundation from 10-60. There’s some benefit as you can sell the material, but it’s hard to argue with a ocean trip that gives you 8-10 levels in 15 minutes.
If you were to take the more traditional path, things can get pretty complicated. IRL, fishing requires water, line, and bait. Well, FF14 takes that approach as well which makes it harder to figure out.
- Water isn’t obvious. Some things look like they are fishable and they are not, others suddenly are. Eventually you will fish in sand, clouds, and lava.
- Line (or overall gear) impacts the ability to real in a fish (gathering) and the quality of a fish (perception). Nearly every quest required a HQ version of a fish. This is meaningless for ocean fishing.
- Bait is something else. There are dozens of types of bait and each fish has a favorite. Some fish just won’t bite without. Bait is used on each cast, so you can go through a fair chunk. To combat this sprawl of bait, you can instead use lures. They work on more fish, but bits take longer (~50%) and you’ll catch everything instead of the specific ones. If you are hunting a specific fish, then you want to use bait – makes a world of difference in ocean fishing.
- Fishing is heavily based on RNG. Botany/Mining is clear what you’re going to get. You could have the best gear, best bait, and the right location and still not find the fish you want.
In Stormblood, you’ll unlock the ability to spear fish. Thankfully, you will only be required to use that skill for 1 single quest. That quest feels more complex than it should be. Gathering in that expansion was mostly underwater… not much fun.
The actual fishing skills you get as you level are a bit different than the other gathering jobs. You can mooch (re-use a caught fish as bait), try to double hook fish to get more than one, have patience (which ups HQ but you must press the correct hookset button to catch), or a few other “manage the RNG” skills. So while you don’t have any control once the line is in the water, the rest of the fishing is plenty complex if you want it to be.
So why fish then?
Well, the most notable part is that fishing is a ridiculously profitable profession, more so than Botany and Mining on my server. Ocean fish will not sell, but everything else does. Most HQ fish for quests are in the 1k-10k price range. Normal fish for cooking are 200g-1000g each. That’s not bad for standing in one spot.
Second, you can frame most fish for decoration. There are others that you can plop in an aquarium as well.
Third, the ocean fishing gameplay is my kind of fun. 24 folks throwing lines over the boat, all trying to trigger the rainbow effect and get to that 10k point threshold for the final mount.
Fourth, and most importantly, it’s fishing. Is that not enough?
My only complaint in all this is that the game gives you a few dozen tools to fish and the general idea of what they do, yet the fishing log is really bad at giving you the actually useful data to keep catching fish. Knowing that a specific fish likes a specific bait and a specific time of day would be super useful information to have in-game. Sadly, you need a web page open to make sense of the chaos.
Fishing in FF14 is probably the most enjoyable implementation of the skill I’ve ever played in an MMO.