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    Archaeology: So You Think You Can Dig?

    ##Preface: I originally posted this on the Professions forum, under my character's name, which I recently changed to Draenna. I assure you this is solely my work, with credit given to sources I reference within.

    Cataclysm brings us the new and exciting (maybe not so much exciting) secondary profession of Archaeology. As someone who spent the time levelling it to 450 on Beta, I will be the first of many people to tell you that it is the longest profession grind WoW has ever put players through, with very little instant gratification. However, for some, it reaps amazing benefits.

    If you're a lore nerd/buff/maniac/what have you like me, you'll definitely be interested in collecting all of the neat little trinkets and toys this new profession includes. Each of the major races of Azeroth has something to offer. The profession also offers a few amazing 359 epics, which come in handy with pre-raiding availability. I've included the list of these items here, at the bottom of the post.

    But first, I'll cover the main topic; essentially, how to grind Archaeology. First, to make sure you don't go insane, get something else to do while you grind. Movie, TV show, other game, other productive activity, whatever. ~70% of the time you're levelling up Archaeology, you're actually travelling. This leaves a TON of time where you'd just be starting at your flying mount's ass, autoflying across continents.

    Now that you're over the fact that you only spend ~30% of your time actually LEVELLING Archaeology, lets get to work. You'll need to go grab your tools from the Archaeology trainer first, one of them is in Garrosh's house. (This sexy guy right here.) Once you have learned the tradeskill, bind the spell "Survey" (located in your profession tab of your spellbook) to something easily-accessible; if you'll be doing this for awhile, I'd just bind it to 1. This spell is how you actually find stuff. Also located in your profession tab, is the actual profession spell Archaeology. I'd place this on your bars in another easy-to-find location, as opening this gives you a lot of data. It shows your current artifact project and fragment count for each race, and also shows completed artifacts complete with cool lore info for each one.

    In a nutshell, Archaeology is fairly simple. If you open your world map up, you'll see 4 digsites on the continent you are on. Starting off, you can only create artifacts from 4/10 of the races: Night Elves, Trolls, Dwarves, and Fossils. However, you can still dig up the fragments of all of the races. If you zoom into a zone map with a digsite, you'll see a highlighted area, basically the same as WoWs ingame questhelper. This area is where your digsite is. Once you're inside the area, use your "Survey" spell. Some surveying equipment will pop up, point towards the general direction of a fragment find, and light up according to how close you are; green means you're within 40 yards, yellow means you're close, and red means you're far away. Keep surveying until you discover the find and you'll be rewarded with fragments of that race These act as a currency of sorts, applying to the current artifact project you are on. If you go over the artifact's amount of fragments, completing it will apply the spillover fragments to the next artifact, so you never actually waste fragments. Rarely, you'll also loot a Keystone for that race from the find, which is a BoE item that can be used when you are solving an artifact, and counts as 12 fragments towards that race's current artifact project. To use them, you either click the hexagon "gem-socket" in the archaeology book for that artifact, or drag and drop the Keystone into the socket. Each time you clear a digsite (three finds per digsite) another one is randomly opened on your continent. You get 3-6 fragments per find (9-18 per dig site).

    If you open your Archaeology book up (in your Professions tab in your spellbook), you're greeted with a wealth of knowledge to help you on your way. The first page shows your skill at the top, and all 10 races that you can find artifacts for. There are two tabs on the left, one blue and one purple. The blue shows your current artifacts for each race, the purple shows all your completed artifacts.

    Now for the more tricky/annoying stuff. Each of the races have a TON of common grey artifacts that really serve no other purpose than to give you a little lore info and be vendored. There are also "tiers" of artifacts, level ranges of Archaeology in which you are able to discover more artifacts. Many of the best artifacts can only be discovered at 300+. Every time you complete a project and start a new one, you're automatically given a random artifact from the race, the common ones obviously being more common than the rares or epics. Before any duplicate common artifacts are found, you must complete all of the artifacts currently available to you, which is probably the one GOOD thing about levelling this profession. Rares and epics are just that, rare. You have a small chance after completing any artifact to "proc" a rare or epic. Currently, rares also slightly follow the duplicate rule, as you will only have one of each.

    Before you begin levelling Archaeology, you want to ask yourself which races you eventually want to get rare or epic artifacts from. If you're a healer grinding solely for the epics, you'll obviously choose Night Elves. Caster DPS will want Dwarves, 2H DPS will want Trolls. If at all possible, you will want to save fragments from these races while levelling to 450. Quoted from Reitas, "If you end up with 450 archaeology and 500 troll fragments, you'll have a much better shot at getting 525 archaology and a zin'rokh than if you were 450 archaeology 5 hours sooner but a bunch of troll trash created and no fragments." This may make levelling slower, but if your end goal is an epic, this strategy will save you a ton of farming time overall.

    As a note, don't start actually completing artifact projects until you reach level 100, or when actually digging up fragments stops giving you skillups. Artifact completions give 5 skillups, no matter the race, artifact, or what level you're at. This is the ONLY way to level Archaeology past 100. Once you get to 300 however, you can move onto the Outlands races. At 375, Northrend. The speed of leveling really doesn't matter on any continent; it really just matters what races you want to get the majority of your fragments from. If you're under (character) level 85, you gain experience for completing artifacts according to your level, not your level of archaeology or quality of artifact your complete. Once you hit 450, you're essentially done with the large grind for this profession, as all artifacts are now available to you. Now comes the "will I proc my epic artifact" lottery. If you've saved up a truckload of fragments from the race you wanted an epic from, here's where you start creating. And creating. And creating more...

    ...Unless you're grinding Tol'Vir. Which, I'm assuming, you will be eventually. Tol'Vir is the most annoying of the 10 races to grind, as their sites only pop up in Uldum, and only after 450 skill. This means that any time you finish a Tol'Vir dig, a random Kalimdor dig is chosen, and a vast majority of the time, it won't be another Tol'Vir dig. You essentially have to farm all of Kalimdor to farm Tol'Vir, and this is extremely tedious. But, you've already done most of the legwork with the profession. If you ever see Tol'Vir keystones on the AH, I would recommend buying them, as you can use 2 for each of their 45-fragment commons, which would greatly speed up the process of discovering the artifact you want.

    As a general health concern, don't get consumed by the gaping maw that is the epic artifact lottery. Sure, you'll start out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but soon you'll deteriorate into depression and have to leave your husband and kids just to get that last Troll digsite for Zin'rokh... must keep digging... it'll appear, I know it will!

    Er, yea. Sorry. To the end of the guide! The best part, the shinies!

    List of epic (iLevel 359) artifacts (all cost 150 fragments to complete, may use up to 3 keystones, and can only be discovered after 450, with one noted exception):

    [Ring of the Boy Emperor] http://www.wowhead.com/item=64904 Tol'Vir

    [Scimitar of the Sirocco] http://www.wowhead.com/item=64885 Tol'Vir

    [Staff of Ammunae] http://www.wowhead.com/item=64880 Tol'Vir

    [Staff of Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan] http://www.wowhead.com/item=64489 Dwarves

    [Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds] http://www.wowhead.com/item=64377 Trolls

    [Tyrande's Favorite Doll] http://www.wowhead.com/item=64645 Night Elves

    Thanks for reading, and happy digging.

    Sources and useful links:



    Last edited by Drane; 2010-12-28 at 08:52 PM.

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