Because I have a very slight streak of masochism, I spent much of my weekend game time getting the Legion artifact fishing pole on my main.
Taken as a whole, it probably wasn’t all that bad in terms of total time spent. But the process is stupidly complicated. Basically, once you have completed certain prerequisites, you get a random drop quest that leads to a scenario that leads to getting the artifact. That part — from getting the quest onwards — is fairly trivial. It’s the prerequisites that make you want to take a break by listening to someone rake their fingernails down a blackboard or going to your root canal appointment.
Specifically the prerequisite that is the most painful is the achievement Bigger Fish to Fry. It requires you to catch 18 different types of rare fish in the Broken Isles — 3 kinds per zone plus 3 ocean rares. The thing is, you can only catch these rare fish by using special lure or bait — a different special lure or bait for each kind of rare. Where do you get these items? Well, you fish them up. They are a random drop from the area they are specific to.
There is a slightly better drop rate in fishing pools, and in theory you can further improve your chances of getting them by using something called an Arcane Lure. You get this by spending time fishing up a special kind of mana in Conjurer Margoss’s pool, and giving the mana to him in exchange for the lures. The lures improve your chances of getting the required special baits by 100%, which sounds great, but remember the approximate drop rate even in pools is only about 5%, so whatever it is would be doubled with an Arcane Lure. My experience was that I was getting closer to a 2-3% pool drop rate, so the Arcane Lure doubled that.
You can buy the bait/lures in the Auction House, but at least on my server it seems not worth people’s time to farm them for sale. Consequently, the ones available are very limited. Over the course of the weekend at least half of the ones I needed were not in the Auction House.
Even more fun, two types of rare fish require gizmos that permit you to see the pools of these rares — they are not fished up from regular zone pools, rather they have their own pools, invisible unless you have the gizmo for that particular kind of rare. What makes this mechanic so annoying is that the gizmos are only good for 5 minutes, so if you do not find a special pool in that time, or if the special pool is somewhere that requires you to have water walking or a raft and you are not prepared for that, you are hosed.
Did I mention that all of the special baits/lures (except the Arcane Lure) are unique? Which means you can keep a total of one in your bag or one in your bank. Blizz meant for you to not be able to stockpile these. However, there is a reported workaround — if you are going to use them up in a single session, you can sell them to a vendor, then buy them back as you need them. Still, even selling them to a vendor is a tedious process because of course you can only have one at a time to sell.
I started with Level 800 fishing, and I laid out a plan of action before I began the artifact chase. It took me close to 7 hours to complete, mainly because I had some really crappy luck with getting the special bait and lures. YMMV of course.
I have never really minded fishing in WoW, kind of enjoyed it actually. It is sometimes a nice break from chasing after this or that quest or achievement. It can be peaceful, you put on some great music and grab a beer or whatever and just kind of chill while catching fish. It’s how I made most of my gold back in Cata. But I did not enjoy this artifact quest line. The fact that there was an actual goal to it seemed to take away from the relaxation aspect of the activity for me.
Oh, and did I mention that once you get the artifact pole, you get to chase after special fishing pole AP to unlock the traits? Whee! Even more fun, artifact knowledge levels do not apply to fishing pole AP!! That’s right, the initial rate of fishing pole AP is what you get even this late in Legion. To get the special AP, you equip your artifact pole and go fish up more of the rares. (Having first gotten the appropriate special bait, of course…) I sold off all my rares I got while completing the achievement, so I do not know this firsthand, but I believe that none of the pre-artifact rares you get will provide AP, only the ones you fish up with the artifact pole. One of my guildies informed me, as a little morale booster I guess, that it takes 8000 rares to unlock all the fishing pole traits.
Yeah. And remember, the rares themselves are worthless in terms of gold or recipes or anything, they are only to be thrown back in exchange for pole AP.
Still, I have to admit many of the pole traits are enticing. Who wouldn’t like to fish up an entire school of fish with one cast every once in a while? Or have druid-like underwater abilities?
One more thing to grind. Legion continues….