Look at your sword. Now back to me. Now back to your sword – now back to me! Sadly, yours isn't a Zin'rokh. But if you stopped sitting in a heroic queue and switched to Archaeology, it could look like a Zin'rokh!
Look down. Back up. Where are you? You're in STV, with the sword your sword could look like! What's in your hand? Back at me. I have it! It's a [Sword of the Bottomless Pit] from that heroic you hate! Look again – the sword is now vendored!
Anything is possible when you're above 450 Archaeology and have enough fragments. I'm on a fossil!
...Or, you know, you could be here for the other BOAs, or mounts, or vanity pets or something. Well, whatever's your poison, Archaeology is ready to slowly drain your life force like a vengeful succubus.
First things first: Harrison Jones (Royal Library, Stormwind) or Belloc Brightblade (Grommash Hold, Orgrimmar) are your main Archaeology trainers. Go say hello! You can also find trainers in other capital cities and the expansion starting zones.
You have to be level 20 and the right faction. If your level 16 tauren priest goes to talk to Harrison Jones and gets stomped, that's your problem.
Once you've learned it, you can pull up your world map to find that the continents have been covered in shovels, which appear to be marking blobs on your zone maps.
If you're not seeing these, check Show Digsites in the corner of your map.
Those are digsites. They are your new best friends.
Repeat step 3 three times until the digsite is exhausted.
Repeat steps 1-4 until you have enough fragments to make an artifact.
Receive vendor trash.
Cry about it.
Continue steps 1-8 as necessary.
7-8 are optional.
I Hope You Like Travel Time
Because if you don't, Archaeology is probably not for you.
These digsites are going to spawn all over the world. You are going to do a lot of travelling, so you should be prepared:
Setting your hearthstone somewhere with a lot of portals is a great idea, if you haven't already. As Alliance scum, I'm partial to Stormwind. If you haven't got all the portals yet, unlock them ASAP. Except Vash'jir. Nobody likes Vash'jir.
Get to know and love these portals, because you will be using them a lot. The same goes for zeppelins and boats.
Have all the flight points.
If you can get a Flight Master's License, do so.
Death knights can use Death Gate to get to Lordaeron in a hurry.
Druids can use Teleport: Moonglade to get to northern Kalimdor, and flight form gets them around digsites a little faster.
Mages can portal pretty much anywhere, and are basically awesome.
Shamans can Astral Recall as needed.
Alchemists could consider making some [Potion of Deepholm], to use its portal to Orgrimmar/Stormwind. Non-alchs might consider getting some anyway, depending on their options.
Engineers can also portal themselves, albeit on a larger timer.
Heck, if you can lay your hands on any kind of transportation item, consider it.
Dwarves have a new racial which means they can loot more fragments from each find, and also cast Survey a little faster. This makes dwarves ideal for Archaeology, if you care about that sort of thing. Think of it as an apology for being stuck with Find Treasure for the last two expansions.
No matter how many tricks you have, though, you're still going to be doing a lot of travelling. Be patient, don't plan on doing Archaeology if you're short on time, and find something to do on those long flights. Read a book or get a minigame addon or write a terrible guide or something.
Once you get to a digsite, you need to pick up fragments. Luckily, [Survey] is here to be your wingman.
When used in a digsite, Survey will make some surveying equipment appear and direct you towards your fragments. Allegedly, anyway. Here is what actually happens:
This thing appears. It tells lies.
The telescope indicates that the next find is somewhere within a cone in front of the telescope. It can be up to 30 degrees off.
The light indicates the rough distance to the next find.
Green means you're within 50 yards, Yellow is 100 yards, and Red means mount up because you've got a digsite to cross, buddy.
Most of your surveys are going to be wildly inaccurate until you get into Green, but you'll find it eventually. Survey has a five-second cooldown: if your light is Yellow, just run where the telescope points until it's up again and you should be good. If it's Green, you should reach your next surveying site before it comes off cooldown.
Eventually, when you're within about 10 yards, you will find your find! Once you do, a container will appear.
This is a Troll container. The others look different, but they're all sparkly!
Loot it to receive fragments! You'll receive several depending on your skill level:
Below 75: 2 or 4.
75: 3 to 5.
375+: 3, 4 or 6.
Dwarves will receive more – up to 3/5/7 – thanks to their racial.
Remember, finds are unique to you (nobody else can even see your “node”, let alone steal it), and the fragments don't take up inventory space. You can see how many you have via the Archaeology window.
Once you have looted three sets of fragments from a digsite, the digsite is exhausted and a new one will appear elsewhere in the continent. You will always have 4 digsites per continent.
I Updated My Journal
There are two different tabs in the Archaeology window, also known as your journal.
Click each icon for more info.
Current Artifacts: Tracks what artifacts you're working on now, and how many fragments you have for each race. Each race's icon unlocks when you've found fragments for it; click to check your progress on particular artifacts and solve them.
Rares are always listed first. You can sort by race if you like.
Completed Artifacts: Lists what artifacts you've found so far, along with a bit of lore you can read if you like. Also notes when you found each artifact for the first time, and how many duplicates you've completed (so you can count how many times you've made a Zandalari Voodoo Doll and not a Zin'rokh).
Once you've got enough fragments to complete an artifact, press Solve in its window to create it. Any unused fragments will roll over into the next artifact, which replaces your previous one in that window. You do not get to decide what your next artifact is going to be, and most of them – all of them, at lower levels – are going to be Common, aka vendor trash. You can be assigned artifacts you've solved already, and you are guaranteed to make a lot of duplicates before you get anything good.
So try not to let your soul erode too much when you're tasked to make another Zandalari Voodoo Doll, or it's going to be ground into soul dust and used to level some warlock's Enchanting skill before you hit 525.
Fragment Types: The Different Ways Archaeology Annoys You
Each fragment type corresponds to a different race. If you pull up your Archaeology window, the first thing you'll see is a list of them, though each will only unlock after you've found some relevant fragments.
The tenth icon is just a placeholder. Blizzard intends to add more races eventually.
Dwarf: Mostly found in the Eastern Kingdoms, this is the go-to type for people who want a Mimiron pet, an 85 caster staff, dancing dwarf girls or achievements for picking up a lot of vendor trash.
Fossil: This type exists on both continents has a skeleton mount, a matching pet and that's about it. You will probably find one or both rares very early, and then this type's digsites mostly exist to waste your time.
Night Elf: This type is the king of Kalimdor and the emperor of vanity rares. It is also the viscount of [Tyrande's Favorite Doll], which is probably the queen of Highly Wanted Items.
Troll: This type, mostly an Eastern Kingdoms thing, contains [Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds], the king of Highly Wanted Items. If you don't care about that you won't care about Troll, and also what is wrong with you?
At 300 skill you'll be able to go to Outland and access even more:
Draenei: A little over half of the digsites in Outland will be draenei. You can get a rare that randomly teleports you places you don't want to go and another which starts a ten second cutscene where nobody talks.
Orc: A little under half of the digsites in Outland. You can get an achievement and a BOA which is great for level 70 mail DPS, i.e. probably not you.
At 375 further spoils open in Northrend:
Vrykul: Half the digsites in Northrend. Has a level 80 BOA axe.
Nerubian: About a fifth of Northrend digsites, but there are a couple of interesting vanity epics.
At 450, you get only one new type, and you're going to love it.
Tol'vir: This type has three 85 BOAs, a vanity epic, a pet, a silithid mount you can ride anywhere and an Alchemy recipe for a dragon mount. What's the catch, you ask? The catch is that Tol'vir is Archaeology's way of saying it hates you and would like to gently caress your eye sockets with its tongue, drinking in your tears.
Remember, you need to have a high enough level to access the zone in the first place. Your 50 tauren priest isn't getting that sweet vendor trash picture of a draenei not wearing pants unless you level him.
Getting What You Want
First, you need to know what you want. Here's most of the cool stuff you can get (I left out the vanity rares and sub-85 BOAs), where and at what skill level:
Once you know what you're after, be prepared to get fragments. A lot of fragments. What could, in fact, be described as a redonkulous amount of fragments. These things are called Rare Artifacts for a reason. Several of my guildies have collected thousands of troll fragments each looking for a Zin'rokh, and none have found one yet. (I have been told in no uncertain terms that if my moonkin gets one before them, I will be punched in the beak.)
Here Is a good list of where to find digsites, and the best continents for each.
Post-450 skill, Cataclysm zones will start spawning. Hyjal and the Twilight Highlands are just more night elf/dwarf digsites, but Uldum will have Tol'vir digsites. Unfortunately it shares digsites with the rest of Kalimdor, so I hope you like night elves because to make Tol'vir digsites spawn you will be digging up so much of their junk they will open a museum in your honor, filled entirely with your finds. It is going to be a raid dungeon and the 6th boss is what is left of you.
You will never get Vash'jir digsites any more, because even Archaeology's evil has standards.
Collecting fragments will award you a skill point, up to skill level 100.
Collections turn green at skill level 60.
Past 100 you will never skill up from digsites, even in expansion zones.
Solving regular artifacts gives 5 skill points, up to 525.
Solving rare artifacts gives 15 skill points, up to 525.
That is all you need to know. If you want to level fast, hold onto your fragments until 100 and then start solving. Unless you're a completionist, Outland and Northrend can be ignored as you level since they need more fragments per solve. (You may feel Outland is smaller and easier to get around, though.)
How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Keystones
Sometimes you will find keystones. These can be used in a “socket” on any artifact which has them available in your journal, and count as 12 fragments. They are consumed only when you solve the artifact, and as usual unused fragments rolled over. They aren't soulbound, so you can trade and AH them. Rares and higher-level commons tend to have more sockets available, up to 3.
Each is type-specific, and can only be found in the corresponding races' digsites.
It's faster to use these as soon as you get them. Saving them is pointless, unless you want to use them for dailies.
Dailies: Once your level gets high enough, you'll start seeing daily quest objects near dungeon entrances. It'll ask for a keystone, and in return your party will get a buff lasting the entire dungeon. This is for Cataclysm dungeons only, so level your tauren priest already. Do you even have a tauren priest? Seriously, go make one, I need achievements.
Currently available dailies and their requirements:
Blackrock Caverns: -5% elemental damage done to you (Dwarf Rune Stone). Grim Batol: +5% critical strike rating (Dwarf Rune Stone) Halls of Origination: Increased movement speed (Tol'vir Hieroglyphic) Lost City of the Tol'vir: +10% damage against Neferset (Tol'vir Hieroglyphic) Stonecore: -5% physical damage taken (Dwarf Rune Stone). Throne of the Tides: +10% damage against naga (Highborne Scroll) Vortex Pinnacle: Health and mana regen (Tol'vir Hieroglyphic)
Some of these might not be worth turning in for you. (The Hieroglyphics in particular almost definitely aren't, given their rarity. Sell them, at least!) Still, some of them are good and it's always worth considering, especially if you're going for a heroic achievement.
Always re-Survey the same spot once you loot fragments. It's possible to get a new node in the same spot.
Duplicate artifacts do not count for the Digger, Diggerer or Diggerest achievements. You need 100 unique common artifacts to get all the achievements. There are 107 common artifacts total.
The rest of the achievements are just for collecting certain common artifacts, and not too hard to get. It's something to do while you level!
If your next discovery is bugged, or you're having trouble reaching it – perhaps it is stuck in a tree where you can't reach it, or just out of reach of the digsite for some silly reason – go Survey at a different digsite and come back. The nodes will reset.
If you make a find but can't see it, it will appear on the minimap like any other gathering node. This is particularly useful in Un'goro Crater, where fossil fragments like to hide under ferns and giggle at you.
If you're going for the Alchemy recipe, remember that [Canopic Jar] will usually contain a Mummified Organ instead. Why? Because too bad that's why. You may need to make several jars.
If you're going for a Zin'rokh, it might help to stop combining artifacts just before 450, when you have a better chance at finding troll digsites in the Eastern Kingdoms and therefore obtain fragments faster, and collecting as many fragments as you can stand before solving and skilling up.
If you somehow already have everything you want from a type, but still need to clear its digsites out of the way (this is mostly an issue for Fossil, and Night Elf if you want Tol'vir), don't fret! You can make money from selling the keystones, and if you hold onto the fragments, Blizzard are planning to add more items in the future.
Seriously, be patient. Be very, very patient. It's going to take a while to get that Zin'rokh - it is a raid-level epic, after all. Try to remember that Archaeology is not, as far as we know, a sentient AI and probably does not actively hate you.
Archaeology is a new profession, so keep in mind it may be changed in the future. It's changed already, in fact, and for the better! If you levelled it before the latest changes, don't forget to remind people that when you were their skill level you had to cross the entire continent and fight off naga in Vash'jir to loot three fragments at a time only, uphill both ways. In fire.
If Archaeology is really getting you down, take a break. Find something else to do. I'm a fan of crawling under my desk and weeping gently.
That's it! Good luck and happy digging!
- Sther (Lothar-US)
Last edited by Ettin; 2010-12-28 at 04:10 PM.
Reason: Oh god, I am falling asleep here. Can't edit any longer, please let there be no more formatting errors!