In Final Fantasy XIV‘s latest patch titled “Echoes of a Fallen Star,” a brand-new piece of content has been added for the realm’s fishers: Ocean Fishing. Every two hours of real world time, you can embark from Limsa Lominsa with a party of 23 other fishers – the same size as an alliance raid.
This expedition will hit three rotating locations that also have varying weather patterns. Based on the places you go you’ll use different types of bait to rack up points that are calculated at the end of your journey. Score enough and you’ll net gathering scrips, minions, and a big ol’ shark mount.
All you need to start is to complete the “All the Fish in the Sea” quest available at Level 1 in Limsa Lominsa’s Lower Decks and you’re ready to go. A vendor nearby the boat will also sell you the requisite bait for Ocean Fish, and you can also restock on the boat should you run out.
I’ve been messing with it here and there this week, while blasting through Patch 5.2’s other (great) content. So far, Ocean Fishing’s been quite fun – largely due to how players are interacting with it.
Departing from Limsa Lominsa, the fishing commences. On my first trip I fumbled through my tacklebox for the right bait, couldn’t settle on a position on the boat I liked, and stood in awe as rainbow colors emanated from the spectral current I unknowingly invoked — a period in which rarer fish can be caught with ease.
Despite this, friendly players were quick to dispense advice, like what bait to use and when. Players wholly new to Final Fantasy XIV mingled with veterans out for a jaunt between sessions running the Savage-mode difficulty of the game’s latest raid. In a few exchanges, they remark and reminisce sagely about how challenging the game’s rarest catches are. They share scuttlebutt collected from the cursory guides players are putting together in various Discord channels and Reddit threads. The new players share their thanks, taking note.
Our time is up and we move to the next area, each transition amusingly crafted with player characters darting about and emoting. A hefty, seasick roegadyn stumbles drunkenly on the poop deck while two miqo’te sun themselves, oblivious to his plight. In someone else’s game, I’m probably that seasick roegadyn. It’s all very cute.
Wrapping up the expedition after three rounds, my catch is tabulated based on the rarity of the fish I catch and what bonuses me and my party were able to collect. If you want the minion and mount rewards, you’ll likely need to learn additional actions that come from leveling a fisher to its cap of 80, but you’ve still got a chance regardless. Just be lucky, in other words.
I’m deposited back in Limsa Lominsa, roughly around the same time other expeditions are wrapping up. The throngs of people that emerge vociferously report their luck — only the critical failures or successes seem worthy. One player bemoans their voyage, sharing that no player scored above 5000 points, at which other players commiserate, replying “that sounds like a bad boat…” Another outburst: “Hell yeah 10000!” (That’s the score needed to claim the shark mount.) Off they go to Jonathas in Old Gridania to claim their reward as others look on.
There’s a certain charm to players returning with only curses, salty as any old sea salt, or praising Fortuna (known here as RNG.) However, there’s not much time to dwell, as the next expedition embarks in an ninety minutes, and there are other tasks that need doing.
Over time, the amount of people playing this specific piece content will diminish, with new activities and rewards dangled in future patches. Despite that, Ocean Fishing feels like a tool to graduate people into greater challenges, while having a light social layer keeping things breezy and fun. It’s why I liked Eureka in spite of its grind, and flying in swarms across zones toward the next Hunt mark, thirsty for tomestones.
It’s a type of casual content that I’m glad Final Fantasy XIV continues to offer, and well complements its more regimented, difficult raids.
Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers is now available for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Steam, and Mac. You can find more our coverage here.