I'm serious. This completely nonsensible and illogical statement is brought to you by the 53 tiny lore moments you'll get if you'll just sit yourself down somewhere and level up fishing. Yes, it's boring having to fish up dozens of useless fish to get to the good stuff in Outland and Northrend. Yes, you could be farming up gold or materials that will help you level in Wrath. I don't care. Go fish.
You see, while you'll be fishing up a lot of equally useless fish in the Dalaran fountain, you'll also get coins. No, not in the sense that you'll be fishing up ingame money, but you'll fish up coins tossed into the fountain of this very old city by 53 people, many of whom will be known to you if you've played the game for any length of time. Some of them, perhaps most of them, are funny. Some are serious. Some are heartbreaking. I admit to a touch of being a lore geek, and it was wonderful being allowed a peek into the irreverent or hopeful or sad heads of Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall, or Stalvan Mistmantle. It is idiosyncratic little touches like this that make WoW hopelessly fun to play, and it is my fondest wish that whatever person at Blizzard who thought this up is pulled off whatever they're doing right now and chained to a desk until they come up with more stuff like this.
So, if you don't do anything else with your time between patch 3.02 hitting and Wrath going live...level up fishing so you can fish in the Dalaran fountain. But don't read any further if you're not interested in Wrath spoilers, because there are a few here...
There are 23 copper, 15 silver, and 15 gold coins possible to get in the fountain right now, and no, they're not just there for ha-has. Each breed of coin is part of its own separate Achievement --
The Coin Master, that you'll need for the Accomplished Angler Achievement and "Salty" title. So even if you don't really care about the lore, you have a reason to be fishing here. The gold coins are slightly different in that they have an ingame use in addition to their value to as part of the Achievement; you can flip them back into the fountain and gain a 2 minute buff increasing your likelihood of fishing up any and all coins.
Over three sessions fishing in the fountain, I've managed to get the following:
- Several stacks of Fountain Goldfish: As far as anyone knows these are nothing special, just a run-of-the-mill foodstuff restoring 7500 health. Unless you're one of those people who goes in for swallowing goldfish (which I'm sure is the underlying joke).
- Lots of Bent Fishing Hooks: Har har, Blizzard.
- Private Marcus Jonathan's Copper Coin: I had to look this guy up even though it turns out I've passed him a million times. He's now General Marcus Jonathan, thank you very much, and the guy astride the white stallion at the entrance to Stormwind.
- Alonsus Faol's Copper Coin: Another one I had to look up, although I probably wouldn't have had to if I played a Paladin -- he's the founder of the Knights of the Silver Hand and essentially the creator of the modern Paladin. This was the guy who trained Uther the Lightbringer.
- Vareesa's Copper Coin: The only coin in what I assume to be Thalassian, and tossed in by Sylvanas Windrunner's younger sister, Vereesa (or Vareesa) Windrunner. She's also referenced on Sylvanas' own coin. There's some interesting speculation in the comments section on the Wowhead thread on what the coin possibly means. You can ask Vareesa herself in the Violet Citadel in Dalaran as she's there standing next to her husband, Rhonin, but she won't be too forthcoming.
- Inigo's Copper Coin: Pretty obviously a reference to The Princess Bride but you can also pass it off as a new bit of information about Father Inigo Montoy (himself a reference to Princess Bride) in Light's Hope Chapel. There are several ingame hints that Inigo's secretly working for the Scourge. Hmmm.
- Princess Calia Menethil's Copper Coin: One of a very few ingame references to Arthas' sister, although people have speculated that she is in fact the NPC Calia Hastings in SI:7. Daval Prestor was, of course, Deathwing. If Calia Hastings is indeed the former Calia Menethil, it would appear she's markedly less naive about the world now than she once was, and that would explain her near-total disappeareance. Given Arthas' murderous rampage through Lordaeron? Good call.
- Murky's Copper Coin: This one stumped me until I read the Wowhead thread and realized that noncombat pets can apparently toss coins in the fountain too.
- King Anasterian Sunstrider's Silver Coin: Oh, he did, sir, although it appears you should have been more specific. With that said, frankly I still think that a lot of Kael'thas' story arc in Burning Crusade is pretty inconsistent with his characterization in WCIII. If Arthas somehow finds redemption at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, the sound you'll be hearing from the direction of Quel'Danas will be Kael'thas screaming from his (twice-dug) grave.
- Sylvanas Windrunner's Gold Coin: I don't have a joke for this one, it's just sad. I love this coin for the same reason I loved the beautiful understatement of Terenas Menethil's narration in the Wrath cinematic; they're both gentle reminders that the stories of Wrath are in no small part defined by family tragedies, that things don't always turn out well, and that most of the principal players are in this for very personal reasons. Sylvanas is never going to get back what she lost.
- Arcanist Doan's Silver Coin: A rather quirky little note concerning the Scarlet Monastery boss who drops such nice caster loot. You'll be seeing High General Abbendis briefly in Wrath...very, very briefly, unless she drops your health faster than you drop hers.
- A Footman's Copper Coin: Just a fun little note concerning the innumerable workers and peons of the game.
- Eitrigg's Copper Coin: This one made me smile. It's an acknowledgment of the fact that friendship is in fact possible between humans and Orcs, and a simultaneous reference to the cultural gap between them. Eitrigg's had an interesting life. If you don't play Horde and haven't seen him advising Thrall in Orgrimmar, you'll find him Zul'Drak come Wrath (although apparently he's found the time to visit Dalaran).
- Antonidas' Silver Coin: As the Wowhead thread points out, this is in fact the Serenity Prayer, and already in the game somewhat as a Blood Elf male joke. The latter part of Antonidas' life held precious little serenity indeed; he's yet another of Arthas' victims, and was left to linger in Dalaran as a ghost until released by Kael'thas, who had fought alongside him in the First War. You'll find a memorial to Antonidas in the northern part of the city with an inscription written by Jaina Proudmoore, his last student:
The great city of Dalaran stands once again -- a testament to the tenacity and will of its greatest son.
Your sacrifices will not have been in vain, dearest friend.
With love and honor,
- Genn's Copper Coin: Yet another one I had to look up. This is Genn Greymane, king of the human nation of Gilneas. He built the Greymane Wall in Silverpine barring anyone from going in or out of his kingdom and told the Alliance to go stuff themselves during the Second War. Sounds like a fun guy.
- Kryll's Copper Coin: A goblin servant of Deathwing and inadvertent casualty by way of Rhonin. What the hell was he doing in Dalaran?
- Molok's Copper Coin: A Dwarven gryphon rider from Day of the Dragon who was killed while flying Rhonin to Khaz Modan. The "lass" referenced here is Vareesa (or Vereesa; I wish Blizzard would make up their mind about this) Windrunner, who (as mentioned earlier) later became Rhonin's wife. Apparently this wish never came true. Sorry, Molok. Rhonin's got quite the body count so far.
- A Peasant's Silver Coin: I'm really not sure whether this is just a random joke or a specific reference. Wowhead commenters think it's Linken.
- Fandral Staghelm's Silver Coin: Another terribly sad one. Staghelm lost his son in this war and to this day remains angry with the world at large. He may be a bastard, but he's a bastard with an ugly past that, at that point, wasn't of his making.
- Prince Magni Bronzebeard's Silver Coin: Ah, bless you, Magni, you do just fine. And your scatterbrained brother is waiting for adventurers to keep his undeserving butt alive in the Halls of Stone.
- Chromie's Gold Coin: This is actually Chronormu, a Bronze dragon NPC located in Andorhal in the Western Plaguelands. In Wrath you'll see her at the Wyrmrest Temple representing her dragonflight, experiencing a moment's confusion over whether she's met you in the past, future, or present, and sending adventurers out to discover the identity of the Infinite Dragonflight's leader. This is a highly interesting and incredibly clever quest that will involve you running into your future self (note; your future self considers your present self a noob) and ends with a hint that something is rotten in the Bronze dragonflight. Chronormu glosses over this at the end of the quest. Whether she genuinely believes the outcome, she's in shock, or just in denial...well, I guess we'll find out, but do not miss this while you're leveling in Dragonblight. I'm a little surprised that Chronormu gets a gold coin, which seems to be reserved mostly for major lore figures. Food for thought.
- Lady Katrana Prestor's Gold Coin: Ha ha! That "Katrana!" What a loveable scamp. I think I'll go solo her at 80.
- Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider's Gold Coin: This is another wish that never came true -- and it's over something that Arthas apparently knew and used to taunt Kael toward the end of WCIII (Arthas: Are you still upset that I stole Jaina from you, Kael? Kael: You've taken everything I've ever cared for, Arthas. Vengeance is all I have left). Kael never got a break, and Jaina's own coin indirectly confirms this (more on this in a moment).There seem to be a lot of coins that deal with love, requited or otherwise.
- Thrall's Gold Coin: I can only assume that this coin, like Eitrigg's, has been tossed into the fountain since the Horde reached Northrend. It appears Grom Hellscream -- and the moral questions virtually certain to be asked of his life -- are never too far from Thrall's mind. They will be even less so after the events that take place during Battle for the Undercity.
Note: the first article on fishing in Dalaran can be found here.