WoW: Angling For a Realm First

100 Minutes To Glory

On average, I complete about 4-5 fishing casts per minute, and reports from the Pandaria beta made it sound like the average skillup took 7 or 8 casts. So my initial guess was that it would take me between 90 and 120 minutes to max out. On my server two years ago, the Cataclysm fishing achievement fell before 2AM, so in the back of my mind, I established 100 minutes as an early baseline to shoot for.

Within 10 minutes, it became clear that the skillups would not come at a steady pace. My first skillup took 12 casts – long enough that I started to worry if skillups were working or not. My second took 2 casts. The next three: 10, 3 and 3. So even though that averaged out to 8 casts a skillup, I couldn’t help but feel the race might come down to dumb luck.

The first half hour of fishing, honestly, was pretty uneventful. I don’t use any mods or macros, so for this event I simply bound casting to the 1 key and looted with the mouse. I bounced between Letterman and sports shows going nuclear over the Seahawks/Packers ending (comedy!), and by 12:30 I’d reached 548 – almost a third of the way home. At that pace, I probably wouldn’t make 90 minutes, but definitely under 120.

At 12:40AM, I had a small scare when a [Realm First!] message popped up in chat…for mining. Although I knew the gathering achievements would fall quickly, I still felt a twinge of panic five minutes later when the herbalism achievement went down as well. (Oddly, I didn’t see a skinning first at all; as mentioned, I avoided the beta, so I’m assuming it requires reaching a higher level zone to complete.)

At 1AM, I’d reached 569. Some of-the-cuff math told me 44 points in an hour hopefully meant 22 more in the next 30 minutes, getting me into the 590s with a +2 quest still in my log. And that’s exactly where I was at 1:30, at 591 and closing in on the finish line.

It was around this point that I started to get nervous. If someone beat me by 10 minutes, I’d be fine with that. That guy (or girl!) would have earned an impressive win and I’d still have a bunch of useful fish and one profession maxed out. But if I lost by 10 seconds, that would be way worse. I’d rather know I was outclassed by a better opponent than come this close and lose.

At 1:35, it was time to make my move. At 595, I’d have to port to Stormwind soon to turn in my fishing quest and finish things off. At 597, I quickly hearthed and flew to the SW fishing trainer to turn in my +2 quest. One skillup to go!

Now panic starts to set in as I’m on this dock trying to get this final skillup before someone else beats me to it. First cast, second cast, no skillup. Third cast, nothing. Now someone lands on the dock to talk to the trainer, and I’m hoping he’s not turning in a quest to hit 600. Fourth cast, no skillup. And this guy is still talking to the trainer.

On the fifth cast, the guy flies away, which gives me a huge sense of relief. And on the sixth cast – exactly 100 minutes after I started, exactly as long as I suspected it would take to win – victory:

Maybe the most surprising thing after getting the Realm First was the amount of congratulatory messages I got from strangers. I’m so conditioned to people being godawful to each other in trade chat and LFG, it was a nice change of pace to have strangers sending me cheers . Even other anglers were cool about it, as I got a few “grats!” from people telling me they were at 591, 593, etc. No bitter griping or even anything implying anyone else was close to 600.

Did I win anything here? Not really. There’s no special tabard, no unique title, just a Feat of Strength that no one will ever see outside this screenshot or the server message that got broadcast when I hit 600. But at the same time, it was a wonderfully pure gaming moment: one requiring you to draw on experience, build a strategy and execute it with skill.

Now if only Blizzard would add another fishing derby to the game. Or turn me into a fishing NPC. Either’s cool with me, guys.

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