Located in each city are fishing and survival trainers who will give you an introductory quest. In Sanctum, the trainer is near the training dummy area, and in Meridian, he's tucked away in Epoch Plaza.
Although the beginning quests for both sides are similar, I went further into fishing and survival with my Guardian, so this is written more from a Guardian perspective. When you head out to do the initial quest, you'll be given a starter pole, and it helps to put it on your hotbar. Clicking it will give you the area-target icon, which determines where you cast your line. The initial quests ask you for fish from both shallow water and deep water, and if you're not sure what depth you're casting into, there's a tooltip window that pops up when you move the target around in the water to let you know which it is. That can come in handy if you're trying for a particular fish for a quest or recipe. One tip, though: Don't bother trying to fish in a water rift because it won't work. Yeah, I tried.
Once your line is in the water, you'll need a little patience and a little focus because you have to react to your line just as you would with a real fishing pole. In last week's column, there were a few comments about whether fishing actually requires you to have an active role in bringing the fish in, and that is in fact the case. After a bit, you'll hear a splash and see your pole jerk, along with a chat message of "reel it in!" When that happens, you can either click your pole on the hotbar or click the water (you'll see a fish icon when it's time to click). That allows you to reel in the fish, but sometimes it takes two or three reel-ins before you bag your catch, so you need to stay with it and keep watching your line and pole. And generally, the rarer fish put up a longer struggle and require more clicks.
As you get the hang of fishing, you'll be able to skill up and make lures and better fishing poles. Lures are clickies that you apply to the pole and that help you avoid trash like fish slime (yum!). But another way to increase your chances at rarer fish and loot is to find special schools of fish. You can see a sparkle above the surface that marks where they are located, and there are both common and rare schools of fish. They don't stay around forever, though, so if you spot one, jump on it fast. You aren't guaranteed rare fish, but you have a better chance of getting something nice, and I've even gotten trophy fish (which are used for special fishing collections), collectibles, and a supply crate with a nice lump of coin from the schools. Supposedly, there is also a sunken boat that marks the spots where you have an increased chance of reeling in artifacts, but I haven't been able to find one yet.
Fish or cut bait?
So what do you do with all those fish you're catching? If you have a bunch of "blue" fish from a particular zone, you can turn them in for either a tacklebox or increased reputation with the denizens of that zone. I usually choose the tacklebox and tend to get lures, but if you have better luck than I do, you could wind up with a nice reward.
You can also use the fish to craft lures and make food with them using the survival skill. The survival trainers are right next to the fishing NPCs, so it's easy to stock up on spices and cooking supplies as you train new recipes. I found my fishing skill was outpacing my survival skill, and I actually had made it to Scarwood Reach when I realized I needed to go back to Argent Glade to stock up on minnows and false sharks for the lower-level survival recipes. If you're just starting out, try to get enough fish to cover the recipes you need to increase your survival skill. It also might help to put a few up for auction, since other players might be in the same boat and would prefer to buy their fish to catch up with cooking.
Some of the foods you can make give some nice stats and are better than vendor-bought food, but you'll need to patiently fish for some of the more unique recipes. At 300, players can make "feasts," which are meals that you can place on the ground, and everyone who clicks on it will get increased health and either spell power or attack power increase. They're great for raids, but the recipes come only from boxes that are caught in high level zones. As you get to 100 in survival, you can start to make bedrolls and tent kits, which are pretty fun. Even if you don't skill up in survival, you can still buy the beds and tents on the broker, although they do have a minimum level to use them. I found a nice, serene spot on Ember Isle, so I set up camp and watched the sun set. The bedroll is on the left, and the tent's on the right.
Of the two new skills, fishing definitely has more to it than survival. It's fun to scout out fishing spots, work the line in as you catch something rare, and grab up a few achievements in the process (and who doesn't like achievements?). As I get closer to the cap, I've found that skill-ups slow down, but I'm hoping to max out my fishing in time for the upcoming derby, which takes place from May 7th to 13th. If I don't do well, I can always unfurl a bedroll and cozy up on the shore to watch the other fisherman compete.
I have to say, I'm hooked on fishing, but it sometimes feels odd to be standing on a dock, peacefully monitoring my line, and watching a rift invasion pop up behind me. I was torn the other day, faced with the choice of fighting my line to catch something big in Iron Pine or abandoning my pole to fend off the groups of invaders who passed me on the road. At one point, when I was in Argent Glade, I got so tired of hearing poor Rudi whine for help from the Guardians that I stopped fishing and headed over, only to find that there weren't any invaders there. I buffed up his wardstone and went back to fishing. He's on his own from now on.
Whether she's keeping the vigil or defying the gods, Karen Bryan saves Telara on a biweekly basis. Covering all aspects of life in RIFT, from solo play to guild raids, the column is dedicated to backhanding multidimensional tears so hard that they go crying to their mommas. Email Karen for questions, comments, and adulation.