Fishing Preview

Hey everyone! Work is proceeding well on the new features for the next Alpha test. I wanted to let you all know that based on the results of the survey, we are going to be conducting 36 hour Alpha tests going forward. The community was pretty evenly split between 24 and 48 hour tests, so this seems like a good compromise.

The next Alpha test, therefore, will begin Friday, June 2nd at 12 PM (Noon) US Central Time and last until 11 PM US Central Time on Saturday. (So I guess technically 35 hours :-) Here's a handy countdown clock for you:

This seems like the best compromise between those who want the servers up longer to test more stuff, and those who don't really like playing when the time period is so long that everyone is spread out.

Other survey results you may be interested in:

  • Combat Mechanics, Dungeons (5 Person Group Content), and Socialization had the highest overall scores on average in terms of what was most important to you all long-term.
  • Most of you generally agreed that the current dungeon has good boss mechanics, good difficulty, is understandable, and has good environment design. If there's an area we could improve, you all felt it was on the "trash" (non-boss) fights.
  • Overall you wanted us to get started the soonest working on adding new zones, introducing story content/NPCs, and adding additional dungeons into the Alpha.

Largely, these opinions mirrored what we already assumed was the case, so that's always nice affirmation to receive. Thanks to all of you who took the time to fill out the survey! We'll leave the collection open so you can still give us your thoughts in case you missed it the first time around.

Well, on to the reason you're really here: Fishing!

Fishing Rework

If you missed our previous coverage of the Lure Crafting system which was available to test during the last Alpha, it's worth taking the time to read that as it has some good detailed info on how making lures works that we won't be repeating in this post.

One of the main highlights of this next test is going to be the rework of the Fishing class, which is the first Resource Discipline that we're including in the game. Fishing serves two purposes: it's a way to gather valuable resources that are used as ingredients in other professions (particularly Alchemy), and it's just a nice, relaxing way to spend an afternoon, providing a nice quiet or social experience for you to hang out in the world without needing to swing a sword.

Generally speaking, there are a few of factors that go into catching a fish. They are:

  1. The lure that you have crafted.
  2. The location where, and time of day when, you are fishing.
  3. Your skill in "reeling in" the fish, including having higher-level fishing poles which can hold more tension in the line.

Let's examine each of these in detail!

The Lure

One of the main keys to catching fish is, of course, the bait that you bring with you. Every fish in OrbusVR has a list of lure parts that they are attracted to. For example, the Sunfish, which is the most basic fish in the game to catch, is greatly attracted to lures containing the Lesser Eye, and somewhat attracted to lures containing the Small Tongue.

So, obviously, if you want to catch a Sunfish, you'll want to craft a lure that has one or both of those parts! Currently in the game all the lures that you make can hold up to three parts, but once we further refine things the number of parts your lures can contain will increase as your Fishing skill levels up. So you might start off only able to make a lure that can contain a single piece of bait, but eventually you can make lures that have 3 or 4 pieces on them. Lures with multiple parts could be geared toward catching a very specific fish, or you could even build a more "general purpose" lure that is able to catch a couple of different kinds that tend to be in the same areas. For example, the Green Bellied Bass is also attracted to the Small Tongue, so a lure containing that bait could catch either a Sunfish or a Bass, assuming they are both present in the lake.

However, keep in mind that your lure only lasts for a certain number of casts before breaking. Lures are the first objects in the game that we have introduced durability tracking to, and currently a lure will last around 15 casts before it breaks. In addition, if your line snaps while you're attempting to reel in a fish, your lure is "lost" (will break immediately). You should be able to catch a few fish with a single lure provided you're using a well-crafted one that is desirable.

Basic fish (like the Sunfish and the Bass) tend to be attracted to multiple different types of bait at a fairly strong level. While rare fish might be much more picky, often requiring Rare bait types (like the Rotten Finger in the current Alpha) to catch. In addition, they may have multiple types of bait that are required to be present on the lure before they'll even consider biting. Epic fish (of which there aren't currently in the Alpha) will have even more stringent requirements, such as 3 or 4 required bait types that are themselves quite rare.

When the game launches, we plan to have around 20 different species of fish that you can catch. Information will be readily available in the game world via NPC dialogue, books, etc. that lets you know the bait required to catch the basic fish, while rare fish will require a combination of careful listening for clues as well as trial and error experimentation.

The Location and Time of Day

Each body of water in the world contains a list of possible fish that can appear there. If you bring the right lure type to the right location, then you have a chance to catch that fish.

The basic fish tend to appear in entire regions. For example, the Sunfish is readily found in any body of water in the beginning zone including Kingsport Lake. Rarer fish, on the other hand, might only be found in a very specific body of water, and that body of water might even be in a dungeon or some other hard to reach location.

But how are you supposed to know what fish are in what places? What if you're just using the wrong lure for what's in the lake and nothing's biting? This is where the "nibble notifications" come in. Basically, if you're fishing in a body of water and you aren't catching anything, there's a small chance that you'll receive a notice such as "A catfish nibbled on your lure, but didn't bite..." That lets you know that there are catfish present in this lake, but you're using the wrong type of bait to catch them.

So a part of the game will involve fishers going and visiting the various bodies of water in the world and figuring out what's present in them, so they know what type of lure to bring. Of course, figuring out what should go on that lure does involve some guessing, but we didn't want you to have to do trial and error to figure out what bait catches what fish, and what fish were in what places -- that would make it nearly impossible :-)

In addition to the location, for some rare fish the time of day also plays a factor. For example, they might only be active at night. You would only receive the 'nibble notification' for these fish if you were at both the right location and at the right time of day.

Finally, extremely rare ("Epic" quality) fish require a special note here. Although the type of bait required to catch these elusive fish remains constant, the location where they may be found is constantly changing. Our goal here is basically to keep the Fishers of the game on their toes. So it might be that you're just sitting in a usual fishing spot relaxing, and then you see a notification, "An emerald carp nibbled on your lure, but didn't bite..." The emerald carp?! One of the most rare fish in the game?! Choose to share this discovery with your friends and ignite a frenzy in the Fishing community, or just rush home and grab the lure you've been saving up for this opportunity and keep it to yourself: the choice is yours. Either way, the emerald carp will only be available to catch in that spot for a short time, and once it's gone who knows when and where it will appear again...

Reeling in Your Catch

Okay, so we've talked about all the preparation that goes into catching a fish. You've got the right lure, and you're in a spot where the Sunfish is known to swim. How do you actually catch it?

With your lure equipped, you simply cast your line out into the water. At that point, you have two options: either manually reel in your line, or let it slowly drift toward shore. If you manually reel it in, you'll get to cast again more quickly (so the number of fish you'll likely catch per hour will be higher), but it can be more physically exhausting. If you just want a more relaxing, laid-back experience, just let your bobber drift on its own, slowly making its way back to you at the shoreline. In either case, you need to be on alert for the tell-tale vibration the indicates you've gotten a bite, jerking the pole during that moment to hook the fish.

Once the fish is hooked, it will begin to jerk on the line. You can reel it in, increasing tension on the line. If the tension grows too high, the line will snap, costing you the fish as well as the lure you were using. So it becomes a game of cat and mouse (or fish and person), with you reeling it in until the tension is high, then letting out line while the fish jerks around, hoping that it doesn't get too far out from shore.

Once you've reeled it all the way to the shore, the catch is yours! It will appear in your inventory as an item that can be traded (once Player Trading is in the game) or used in crafting potions.

In addition, higher-level fish are stronger swimmers and will place more tension on the line more quickly. You can combat this by acquiring improved fishing poles via Fishing quests that you'll do with the Guild Fishing Master.

What Else?

So everything we just described above is already in the game right now in a basic form. Sure, there's only 5 fish to catch, and only one type of pole, but the system is there :-) In addition to the obvious of adding Fishing quests, fishing poles, and way more fish to catch, what else would we like to do in the future?

  • Assign each catch a weight, and then keep a record of your largest catches of each fish type. The weight you catch would be based on how effective your lure is for the type of fish you catch.
  • Keep a weekly or monthly total of all the "pounds" of fish caught by each player, for a global leaderboard.
  • Hold some sort of live event like a Fishing tournament that players can participate in for special prizes from the Guild.

Hopefully during Beta we'll have the opportunity to add some of these additional features to flesh out the Fishing experience even further, but for now we're just happy that you can finally catch more than just a "5 lb. Carp!"

If you'd like to discuss this post you can do so on our forums. Thanks for reading!


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