How's the Cataclysm been treating you guys so far? The expansion added a ton of new things to do, including new dungeons to run, quests to complete, raid encounters to defeat, items to craft and otherwise acquire. Despite all of those substantially more "important" things, a new secondary profession was added, available to players who have purchased the expansion.
lures players to spend the substantial amount of time grinding out digsites and completing artifacts with promises of odd, quirky and even downright amazing blue and epic quality items. Other secondary professions offer an expected, substantial benefit, such as the valuable food buffs obtained by
, and who doesn't love being able to bandage? But
is a bit different.
Read on for Archaeology information, including lists of all of the rare artifacts, and my own personal impressions of the profession!
was added as the ultimate "time-waster" of the expansion, offering no substantial monetary gain and no promised immediate reward, such as being able to cook a certain type of food at a certain skill level, or craft a certain item. That's certainly not to say that Archaeology does not have its share of amazing rewards - they're definitely there. Archaeology is the only profession to offer
bind to account
epic quality items, which can be sent and used by other characters on your account. Unfortunately, none of these items are heirlooms (strange, when you think about it) so they will not scale with levels on your alts. That's okay, though, because many of these bind on account items are level 85, item level 359, and epic quality. This has resulted in many Archaeology finds being highly desired by players for their mains or other level 85 characters. And of course, these items bind to the player's account - so the only way to get them is to get out there and dig!
The way Archaeology works is pretty simple - just visit a local
, who will teach you the Archaeology skill and
. Once you've learned these skills, you'll immediately be able to start tracking digsites. You can toggle display of digsites on your world map, which will show up as shovels in the designated locations. There will be a maximum of 4 digsites on any continent at any time, and they are chosen completely by random. Unfortunately, this proved to be annoying in my trek to dig up every Night Elf artifact known to elfkind, as often I would be given Troll or Fossil digsites to survey. Simply head out to a digsite and use your
ability, which will work in a hot-or-cold fashion to notify you of how near or far you are from the next artifact fragments.
Once you've dug up three sets of fragments from a digsite, the digsite will close and a new one will open up. Once you obtain all of the fragments to solve an artifact, you will be rewarded with whatever it is you solved and a brief bit of lore, and a randomly selected new artifact will unlock in its place. Completing an artifact will award you 5 skill points for a common artifact, and 15 for a rare! Many players recommend not solving artifacts until your skill reaches 100, as you will earn skill points for simply collecting the fragments up to that point. Keep digging, keep solving artifacts, keep discovering new artifacts, and the cycle continues.
Archaeology is a serious time investment due to the amount of travel required to reach the different digsites, and the sheer amount of artifacts you'll have to solve before you finally start getting to the "good stuff." I've been digging and digging and solved many gray quality "common" artifacts, each of which provided a brief background of the item, or complimented a bit of lore. I found that, disappointingly, the overall "lore" of the artifacts was kind of lacking. I'm not a huge Warcraft lore nerd, but I respect it and I know enough to realize that I've been digging up some of the most uninteresting junk ever. Get used to it - you'll be solving many of the same common-quality artifacts over and over as you try to discover the better, rare quality ones - I've solved many of my common night elf artifacts 10+ times!
None of the common items have any use - most of them vendor for meager values of silver and absolutely none of them can be equipped or used in any way. I found this even more disappointing than the lack of sale value - why not let the
function like the
? Why can't my bank alt swank around wearing a
. And why does an ancient artifact such as
sell for less on the "black market" than a common junk
? You will
make money with Archaeology. In the time you spend to put together two or three artifacts which sell for a total of , when you could easily earn hundreds of gold farming herbs or minerals, doing quests, or even just killing random mobs and looting the money they drop.
Rare "Blue" Quality Artifacts
- Night Elf
- Night Elf
- Night Elf
Some of the blue quality rare items are pretty cool and have random, novelty uses but many have 10-15 minute cooldowns. You will randomly discover rare artifacts as your archaeology skill improves, and some may not even show up until you are already maxed. I got my first rare, the
, at around 180 skill, and from then until max skill found three more rare artifacts, including two of epic quality! Many players speculate that certain items can only be obtained once your skill is maxed. You will only find each rare artifact once, so you'll eventually be able to find all of a race's artifacts!
Rare "Epic" Quality Artifacts
- Night Elf
- Night Elf
- Night Elf
- Night Elf
(Can be contained in
) - Tol'vir
The epic quality artifact weapons and trinket are almost all pretty amazing, such as the
and other item level 359 items which are highly desired by fresh level 85 players. As I mentioned before, most of these items are bind to account, so you need only grind Archaeology on one character and you have a chance for some very nice things for your alts! There are also a number of fun epic quality items such as the
, which will teach you a ridable bug mount (yeah, one that works outside of Ahn'Qiraj). Of course, these items are
rare, so expect to collect hundreds (maybe even thousands!) of fragments before you get the item you're after. That is, unless you get lucky!
I had the ultimate mission this weekend of grinding out Archaeology with the hopes of (eventually) obtaining the illustrious
. This trinket is a Night Elf artifact, which is one of the most common types of digsites found in Kalimdor, so I decided to stay there for my mission, hoping that I would find so many different night elf artifacts that I'd be bound to run into my beloved trinket eventually. So far, I've completed 8 rares and I'm working on a 9th, with no sign of the trinket yet! I'm tempted to give up, but the time I've already invested in the profession keeps me going - plus I want that awesome bug mount I mentioned before. ;)
Ultimately, I generally don't mind Archaeology - I won't exactly say I "enjoy" it, but it's not really that bad. It is, after all, a "time-waster" - which you can either hate or love. It can be pretty unbearable to level up, with each common artifact solve only granting 5 skill points and rares granting 15 skill points. I don't think I'd have been able to stand griding out to max skill were I not watching marathons of Pawn Stars and Futurama. However, there are quite a few
, if that's your thing, and three of them even grant player titles:
(for finding one rare artifact),
(for finding 10 rare artifacts) and finally
, which requires a whopping 20 rare artifacts! Judging from my own experience (ie. bad luck), those titles are definitely going to take a while!
What do you guys think about Archaeology? Find any awesome rare items? Any Professors among us have any special tips or tricks?
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