Tips From the Trenches
by Associate Professor Emeralde "Peacebloom" McDrake
"With the Shattering of Azeroth, bold adventurers are going forth to survey and excavate the ruins that dot our landscape. A rewarding new profession, the field of Archaeology, has opened to all those with the patience, and experience, to take on this task. Fabulous trinkets, wondrous weapons, and rare recipes await the intrepid archaeologist. I have been a student of archaeology since the emergence of Deathwing, but I must warn you. The path to illustriousness, fame, and fortune is wrought with vast tedium relieved only by brief excitement when you make a rare discovery or come under attack. Do not heed the call without a guide, or you may find yourself lost in the shifting sands of insanity."
Apprenticing in Archaeology - Getting Started
All characters of at least level 20 may visit an Archaeology trainer to become an apprentice (cost is 10 silver). Alliance can visit http://db.mmo-champion.com/c/44238 at the Royal Library (Stormwind Keep) and Horde may visit http://db.mmo-champion.com/c/47571 in Orgrimmar, and more trainers are in other cities. Archeaology is a secondary profession, and you may learn this in addition to your two primary professions. Note that you must have purchased and installed Cataclysm to learn Archaeology. You do not need to purchase any special equipment.
Once you've begun your apprenticeship, follow these steps to surveying:
Quick Steps to Surveying:
1. Open your world map (press M) and then zoom out to see the continent level (click Zoom Out button of right click on map). You will see four small shovels on your map -- these represent your randomly-selected dig sites. Travel to the nearest dig site.
Portion of world map showing two dig sites (highlighted for clarity)
2. Click the Survey button (found in your Spellbook under Professions) at your dig site. You will see "survey equipment" appear to the left of your character. Note the color of the light at the top -- it indicates how far away you should be digging. Red is greater than 70 yards, yellow is 30-69 yards, and green is within 30 yards. The equipment points in the (rough) direction you should proceed.
Red, yellow, green
3. Run to a new spot and survey again. You should run in the direction that your equipment faced. If it was red, hop on your mount and ride in the correct direction until the cooldown on your survey is up. If yellow, run in the direction until the cooldown is up, then survey. If green, run in the direction for 50-75% of the cooldown, then survey. You'll see a fragment appear (with the "loot sparkle") when you've found it!
Watch the cooldown on your Survey as an indicator of how far to run ahead
4. Repeat steps 2-3 twice until you've found all three spots at your site, then start again at step 1. And be sure to re-survey in the same spot that you had your last find -- there's a chance you could find fragments in the same spot again!
Digging up fragments increases your archaeology skill incrementally up to 100, so don't bother to solve projects (more on that later) until archaeology level 75 or so. Once you've reached archaeology level 75, return to your profession trainer to become a Journeyman (requires at least level 75), then use your collected fragments to solve any available projects. To find projects to solve, open your Spellbook, click Professions, then click one of the available races (i.e., Fossil, Night Elf, Dwarf, or Troll). If you're able to solve a project, the Solve button will be active. An progress bar shows you how many fragments are needed (and how many you have) to solve the project.
Beneath the indicator bar you may see a hexagon shape -- that is an indicator that you can use a special "keystone" to help you solve this project. If you have that race's keystone (they are random drops while you are digging), click the hexagon to apply it and get a +12 bonus to your fragment count. If the keystone provides more fragments then you need, do not worry -- any extra fragments will be credited toward your next project for that race.
All skill ups after archaeology level 100 are from solving artifact projects only. Projects completed before profession level 150 or so will always be "common" (gray quality) -- after that point, you may randomly get "rare" projects (blue or epic), though generally you'll need to be level 450 or higher to get these. Finished common projects (gray) may be vendored. Note that the Canopic Jar is a white item, and may contain a http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/67540 or the http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/67538 (only if you're an alchemist), so be sure to open it before you vendor it. You will make all common items at least once before getting them again; rare items are created only once, but may be created before you've completed all common items.
If archaeology seems a bit dull to you early on, consider this a test of strength for what is to come. While this profession will become more rewarding as you progress, it will also draw out into long stretches of tedium as your search for that elusive, rare artifact.
Telling Artifacts From Fiction - What You Can Get
Here is a list of the number of common and rare artifacts that can currently be found for each race:
Draenei: 8 common / 2 rare (best: http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64457 - requires 130 fragments)
Dwarf: 27 common / 4 rare (best: http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64489 - requires 150 fragments)
Fossil: 12 common / 2 rare (best: http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/84751 - requires 100 fragments)
Nerubian: 17 comon / 2 rare (best: http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64481 - requires 140 fragments)
Night Elf: 18 common / 7 rare (best: http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64645 - requires 150 fragments)
Orc: 9 common / 1 rare ( http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64644 - requires 130 fragments)
Tol'Vir: 8 common / 6 rare (one of the best: http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64883 - requires 150 fragments)
Troll: 14 common / 1 rare (best: http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64377 - requires 150 fragments)
Vrykul: 5 common / 1 rare (http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64460 - requires 130 fragments)
Totals: 118 common common artifacts / 26 rare artifacts
Many of the rare items are bind on account, meaning you can pass them to your alts (on the same realm) to use when they are at the appropriate level. This does not mean they are "heirloom" items, however -- they will not scale with your character's level.
Speeding Up Your Surveys - Ten Top Tips
Now that you see the treasure that awaits you, here's how to speed up your search:
1. Start at Dig Site Edges - Place your very first survey at the edge of fresh dig site. Not only does this avoid unnecessary flying to the center of a site, it also simplifies the direction in which you should place your next survey.
Edges are good for your first survey (little shovel icons are previous spawn points, recorded by add ons -- see below)
2. Survey On Structures - In areas with high-level mobs, do your initial surveys on the tops of structures (assuming you have the ability to fly). Dangerous mobs generally can't reach you up there. Nearly all dig sites have convenient structures for this purpose -- dig sites in Uldum even have nice flat surfaces for landing! Once you've narrowed your survey down to yellow, fly down and survey on the ground. Note that you won't ever find fragments on top of tall structures.
3. Maximize Your Hearthstone - Don't just leave your hearthstone in a capital city if it can benefit you somewhere else -- study the map and find the best spot. If you are level 80-85, make sure you open up any available portals (Hyjal, Uldum, Deepholm, etc.) and set your hearthstone to Stormwind City/Orgrimmar -- these portals can save considerable time traveling about.
4. Use All Travel Tricks - Level 82 or higher? Make or buy some Potions of Deepholm (http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/58487) when your hearth is down -- just drink the potion, get teleported to Deepholm, and use the portal there to return to Stormwind/Orgrimmar! Mages, use every portal at your disposal -- and when you need to get to south Kalimdor, port to Dalaran and take the Caverns of Time portal. Shamans, use your http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/556/astral-recall/ when your hearth is down. Scribes, use those http://db.mmo-champion.com/s/48248 collecting dust in your bank. Get creative!
5. Use Your Hot Keys - Put your Survey, fastest mount, and an instant attack on hot keys to use while surveying. I prefer Survey as 1, my drake as 2, and my Fire Blast as 3. Then it's just 1,2,1,2 ... oh, I'm being attacked ... 3!
6. Get the Fastest Mount - If you can afford, buy epic flying at 310% speed. This investment will pay off if simply for the sanity you'll save. Speeding up your travel time is one of the best ways to reduce the time it takes for archaeology.
7. Use Those Keystones - When you have keystones, be sure to use them to complete projects ... everytime! Don't save them up, as that will only slow you down. If you have the gold, buy extra keystones from the auction house. Conversely, if speed is less of an issue than gold, sell those keystones to earn a little extra income. http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64397 can fetch upward of 1000 gold on many auction houses.
8. Look for Others - As you're surveying, you may see other players also surveying -- if they are close to you, they may be standing near the fragment spawn point you're seeking. Try surveying in that same spot -- more often than not, it's the right spot. Also look for dead mobs, as this can be a giveaway that there is a fragment spawn point nearby.
9. Avoid Obstacles - Don't survey right next to tree trunks, buildings, or other obstacles, as your survey equipment may be obscured by them. If you accidentally survey next to an obstacle and your equipment is obscured, strafe left (press E) and survey again. But it's best to avoid that altogether to save time.
10. Use Addons - I've saved the best tip for last -- these addons are a huge help. The first addon I think every serious archaeologist should use is Archy, which displays dig sites, types, fragments, projects, and more. I suggest using it in tandem with another addon -- TomTom -- as it will then determine the closest dig site and point you in that direction (no more looking at your world map!). Also try GatherMate2, which will record each fragment spawn point you discover, meaning you can often run right to a recorded spawn point when you're nearby it. Finally, Archaeology Helper works with GatherMate2 to display those spawn points in a HUD (heads up display), and it also offers a system for defining possible dig locations based on the color of your survey equipment. I personally would not do this without these addons. Each of these addons is available at http://www.curse.com
Archy, TomTom, and Archaeology Helper
Archaeology Helper's HUD showing spawn points recorded by GatherMate2
Note: Looking for data for GatherMate2? Check out this thread: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...rcheology-Data
Recovering That Rare Find ... Without Losing Your Mind
So you really want http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64377 ... or perhaps you're like me and seeking the elusive http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/67538 from a http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64657? Finding these rare items is not for the weak of mind or spirit, as it will take many hours and much patience.
1. Stay in Best Continent - If you're searching for http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64377 , stay in the Eastern Kingdoms (greatest concentration of troll dig sites). Those seeking http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/67538 or http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64645 should say in Kalimdor (greatest concentration of night elf dig sites, and only source of Tol'Vir dig sites). For a handy table of the best places for archaeology, visit http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...or-Archaeology!
2. Always Go Straight to Your Desired Dig Site - When a dig site for the race's treasure you seek becomes available, go right there -- do not wait until you have a few more in the area or are finished "up north." Digging at a site puts in back in the pool of sites that can be randomly chosen for you, thereby slightly increasing your chances to get that race's site again.
3. Solve Projects Only at Right Level - Most of these rare artifacts do not even have a chance to be solved until you reach level 450 in your archaeology. So to maximize your chances, save up your fragments until you've reached that level. For example, if you're are seeking the http://db.mmo-champion.com/i/64377, do not solve any troll projects until you've gotten to 450, then you may solve them all at once. Note for Zin'rokh Seekers: Some players choose to level up archaeology on another character if they haven't found the Zin'rokh by the time they've reached maximum level in archeology -- this is because more troll dig sites tend to show up at lower levels, and the Zin'rokh is bind on account and you can just send it to the correct character once created.
4. Buy Keystones - This tip bears repeating if you are concentrating on a specific artifact. If you can afford keystones, buy them off the auction house and use them! They speed things up considerably. The Archy addon can even tell you when you can solve a project with a keystone, which can be a great help.
5. Chart Your Progress - You can see how many artifacts from each race you've solved by opening your Spellbook > Professions > Archaeology window, then clicking then purple bookmark. And you can run this macro afterward for a handy list:
/run print("Total artifacts"); for x=1,9 do local c=GetNumArtifactsByRace(x); local a =0; for y=1,c do local t = select(9, GetArtifactInfoByRace(x, y)); a=a+t;end local rn = GetArchaeologyRaceInfo(x); if( c > 1 ) then print(rn .. ": " .. a); end end
Keep tabs on how you're doing
5. Keep Your Cool - Surveying thousands of dig sites without results can be mind-numbing and frustrating at the same time. Play music, watch a movie, or do something else while you work on this. Most importantly, take frequent breaks. The Zin'rokh will be no good to you if you've already thrown your mouse out the window! Stay strong.
"Dear Dr. Harrison Jones. I humbly submit this guide in support of my candidature for full Professor of Archaeology. I believe I have shown here that archaeology is the search for fact. Not truth. For if it were truth, I'd have found my Recipe for the Vial of the Sands after discovering five canopic jars already!" -- Associate Professor Emeralde McDrake