Hello everyone! With Cataclysm right around the corner, I thought I should take a moment to write up a short article explaining how it works and what the rewards are. Most of the rewards are disguises, mounts, fluff, or vanity items but not all of them. Note that while some are even Bind on Account none are heirlooms. (An heirloom scales from a level range.) With that said, let’s talk about Archeology and how to get started. Also, before we really begin, it’s freezing in my house so my typing may be a little off. I’ll fix it later, when the heat is on!
Archeology is a secondary skill like fishing, cooking, or first aid. This means you can have your gathering and main professions and it won’t affect your ability to be an archeologist. When you train Archeology you learn two new skills on your professions tab. One surveys, the other shows you what artifacts you are currently working on. Think of Surveying as being similar to prospecting, milling, or disenchanting. It’s how you gather your archeology items. The real archeology interface shows you what you have going and what is needed to complete it. Upon training Archeology, open your map of Kalimdor or Azeroth. You will notice four shovel icons added to random zones. Head out to those shovel icons on the map and on the zone map you will see an area around them lit up. This is the area where you can use your survey skill. Your survey skill puts a telescope on the ground. The telescope will point in a direction and have a blinking light. Red means “go that way, it’s a long ways off!” Yellow means “Go that way, it’s still a good ways away.” Green means “You’re either in the right area or almost on top of it.” For yellow I usually mount up an run until my mount is off cooldown and then dismount again to check. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll notice that the surveying telescope doesn’t always point exactly where you need to go. This can be frustrating, but as long as you know that it’s pointing at 90 degrees because it can’t point at 75 or 80 degrees you will understand what it’s doing. Once you are in the green it becomes easier to narrow down, like a game of Hot and Cold. When you are very close instead of a telescope the artifact will appear. Each surveying node has three artifacts in it. After three are removed, it will disappear and a new location will appear. Note that if you remove two another node with one will not appear. This can be frustrating. On the other hand, if you get Dire Maul in Feralas and one node is bugged a server restart will change the location of the artifacts inside it, allowing you to possibly find them. In the beta, some artifacts were frustratingly close to the edge of the survey zone. For your first 100 skill points in Archeology you should do this as it will grant skill ups. Surveying won’t later, so appreciate it now! Note that if you mouse over a node on the map it will tell you what type of artifacts are found there.
You will either pick up the appropriately typed artifact from the node or the artifact and one or more keystones. Keystones are interesting, and you will not use them at first. Still, hang onto them! There are different types for each type of Archeology except Fossil. They are Highborne Scroll (Elf), Troll Tablet, Dwarf Rune Stone, Orc Blood Text, Draenei Tome, Nerubian Obelisk, Vrykul Rune Stick, and Tol’avir Hieroglyphic. When an item has a keystone slot in it when you view the item you are working on in your Archeology book, clicking and dragging a keystone to the slot adds 12 artifacts towards completing it. Note that if you close the archeology book it resets them. I found them to be very common items and suggest using them whenever an item will allow it. Early items take no keystones, middle items take 1-2, and big items can take 4 or more keystones.
Now that we know what keystones and artifacts are, let’s talk about the relics themselves. Your book will have an item for each type of archeology you have unlocked. You don’t choose which you get, after you complete one another pops up. Blizzard claims that until you’ve created each item once you will not see repeats, so theoretically the RNG only slightly affects your ability to get all of each race’s artifacts. As the good stuff is all Tol’avir and Tol’avir nodes appear in Southern Kalimdor rarely this is more frustrating than it sounds. As you collect artifacts you will see the bar under that type of artifact increase, even going past the number required. Any extras you have are rolled over to the next one. So if you have 13 artifacts without using a keystone and the item takes a keystone, putting one in adds 12 to that item. Then clicking create uses the keystone and 1 artifact, rolling the remaining 12 over to the next item. You will notice that the good stuff requires much, much more to complete than the others do. The keystone slot is just above the progress bar if there is one — many early junk items do not take keystones! And fossils never take them at all.
You start out with Night Elf, Troll, and Dwarven archeology. When your skill reaches 300 new Draenei and Orc nodes will be added, mostly in Outlands. When your skill reaches 375 Nerubian and Vrykul nodes will be added, mostly in Northrend. When your skill reaches 450 Uldum will have Tol’avir nodes. Note that the level range of the zone does not necessarily dictate the requirement. Troll fragments can be harvested at skill 1, yet appear in Northrend. The Twilight Highlands are a lv 84-85 zone, yet contain many orc and draenei artifacts. Once fragment collection has stopped giving skill ups at around 100, it’s all creating artifacts the rest of the way up.
This profession is very time-consuming but has some very nice vanity rewards. The rewards are either Bind on Pickup or Bind on Account, and I made a short list of both types to help people decide which nodes to farm. Remember that more items were likely added past Beta, but this should give you an idea. The common artifacts not included here all sell for a decent amount when created, but have no fun effect or use. Also included is the full list of keystones for easy reference.
- Highborne Scroll
- Troll Tablet
- Dwarf Rune Stone
- Orc Blood Text
- Draenei Tome
- Nerubian Obelisk
- Vrykul Rune Stick
- Tol’vir Hieroglyphic
Bind on Pickup Rewards
- Druid and Priest Statue Set. Use: Summon a fountain of knowledge. 15 min cooldown. Acquired by Night Elf Archeology.
- Blessing of the Old God Use: Receive the blessing of the old god for 20 seconds. 10 min cooldown. Acquired by Nerubian Archeology. Note: transforms you into a Qiraji that resembles the battle tanks.
- Bones of Transformation Use: Endure the transformation for 20 seconds. 10 min cooldown. Acquired by Night Elf Archeology. Note: transforms you into a naga for 20 seconds.
- Fossilized Raptor Mount. Requires level 40. Requires Riding (150). Use: Teaches you to summon this mount. Acquired by Fossil Archeology.
- Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron Use: Make a vain attempt to open the puzzle box. 1 min cooldown. Acquired by Nerubian Archeology. Note: Yogg-saron whispers you each attempt, an homage to the fact that both him and C’thun whisper to you in their respective instances.
- Scepter of Azj’Aqir Mount. Requires level 40. Requires Riding (150). Use: Teaches you to summon the Ultramarine Qiraji Battle Tank. Acquired by Tol’avir Archeology. Note: like the Black; but unlike the Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow Battle Tanks; this mount is usable outside the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj.
- Wisp Amulet Use: Take on wisp form for 20 seconds. 10 min cooldown. Acquired by Night Elf Archeology.
- Arrival of the Naaru Use: Witness a recording of the arrival of the naaru. 3 min cooldown. Acquired by Draenei Archeology. Note: much like the battle of gnomergan or Garrosh fighting Magtheridon in game, this place a small hologram of the scene where the Eredar first met the Naaru.
- Chalice of the Mountain Kings Use: Witness a historical sword dance. 10 min cooldown. Acquired by Dwarven Archeology.
- Clockwork Gnome Use: Teaches you how to summon this companion. Acquired by Dwarven Archeology. Teaches you to summon a mechagnome like the ones in Northrend. Mine was always pink, but screenshots suggest it may be slightly different colours at times.
- Fossilized Hatchling Use: Teaches you to summon this companion. Acquired by Fossil Archeology. Teaches you to summon a fossilized raptor hatchling companion pet.
- Highborne Soul Mirror Use: Look into the mirror… 10 min cooldown. Acquired by Night Elf Archeology. Note: summons a translucent copy of your character.
- Kaldorei Wind Chimes Use: Hold the chimes up to the wind and check the weather. 1 min cooldown. Acquired by Night Elf Archeology. Note: makes a chiming sound when used.
- The Last Relic of Argus use: Teleports you exactly where you want to go… if you aren’t too picky. 12 hour cooldown. Acquired by Draenei Archeology. Note: I never received this item. but ViceVersa on WoWhead has a list of locations it took her. If she is correct, the locations include the Wailign Caverns, Duskwood Catacombs, Dark Portal, Wetlands Dam, Nighthaven, Dire Maul’s Maul, Narain Soothfancy’s house, Mardenholde Keep in Hearthglen, Fuselight-by-the-sea in Badlands, Golakka Hot Springs in Un’Goro, floating island east of the Dark Portal on the Outlands side, and Lost Rigger Cove in Tanaris. Sounds a lot like when you use a Scroll of Recall and you’re above the level restriction for it!
- The Innkeeper’s Daughter Unique. Use: Returns you to your Hearthstone Location. Speak to an Innkeeper in a different place to change your home location. 30 minute cooldown. Shares a cooldown with Ruby Slippers, Trans-Dimensional Fabricator, and Hearthstone. Aquired by Dwarven Archeology. Note: This just replaces your normal hearthstone, it does not provide you with the ability to hearth twice as often. The flavor text is long but funny enough for me to include: “According to legend, Bryher Stonekeeper ran a prosperous tavern near Loch Modan. His daughter, Keelin, travelled far from home, eventually developing the kind of reputation that embarrassed her father. Bryher made a deal with a gnome warlock to keep his daughter close to home. The warlock turned Keelin into a hearthstone, so that she would always return to the inn.”
Bind on Account Rewards
- Crawling Hand Small pet, teaches you to summon a crawling hand. Acquired by Tol’avir Archeology. Note: I don’t know if it goes away after one use like most pets or sticks around. All of the collector’s edition pets that bind to account let you teach it to your entire account, but I didn’t manage to dig this one up.
- Headdress of the First Shaman Requires level 70. Mail Helm. +39 Agility, +21 Stamina, Red Socket, Blue Socket, Yellow Socket, +6 Stamina Socket Bonus, +22 Hit, +22 Crit, Use: See far into the distance (1min cooldown).
- Nifflevar Bearded Axe Requires level 80, iLevel 226. One-Hand Axe. 312-850 Damage 2.60 Speed (171.5 dps). +36 Agility, +87 Stamina, +24 Hit, +37 Crit. Acquired by Vrykul Archeology. Note: This is like getting your very own Bind on Account Tankard of Terror! It also isn’t Unique-equipped so you could dual wield two.
- Pendant of the Scarab Storm Use: Summons a storm of peaceful scarabs on a 2 hour cooldown. Just a fun item, the “storm” is more like a small army that runs along behind you.
- Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown Requires level 60. Cloth Chest, 258 Armor. +27 Stamina, +41 Intellect, +23 Haste. “The rumors of the Highborne’s poor fashion sense seem to be true.” Acquired by Night Elf Archeology.
- Ring of the Boy Emperor Requires level 85. Ring, Unique-equipped. +286 Stamina, +190 Intellect, +127 Haste, +127 Mastery. Acquired by Tol’avir Archeology.
- Scimitar of the Sirocco Requires level 85. One-hand sword, 841-1563 Damage, 2.60 Speed, 462.3 dps. +145 Strength, +219 Stamina, +111 Crit, +74 Haste. Acquired by Tol’avir Archeology. Note: Not unique-equipped, so dual wield two if you’d like.
- Staff of Ammunae Requires level 85. Two-hand Staff, 443-666 Damage, 2.40 Speed, 231.2 damage per second. +512 Stamina, +341 Intellect, +247 Spirit, +194 Crit, +1955 Spell Power. Acquired by: Tol’avir Archeology.
- Staff of the Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan Requires level 85. Two-hand Staff, 388-583 Damage, 2.10 Speed, 231.2 damage per second. +512 Stamina, +341 Intellect, +228 Crit, +228 Haste, +1955 Spell Power. Acquired by Dwarf Archeology.
- Tyrande’s Favorite Doll Requires level 85. Unique-Equipped Trinket. +321 Intellect. Equip: Recaptures 20% of all the mana you spend on spells, and stores it within the doll to be released at a later time. Up to a maximum of 4200 mana can be stored. Use: Releases all mana stored within the doll, causing you to gain that much mana, and all enemies within 15 yards take 1 point of Arcane damage for each point of mana released. (1 Min Cooldown). Acquired by Night Elf Archeology.
- Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds Requires level 85. Unique Two-Hand Sword, 1894-2843 Damage, 3.80 Speed Sword. +341 Strength, +512 Stamina, +216 Hit, +238 Crit. Acquired by Troll Archeology. Note: This weapon was originally a lv 60 weapon that dropped from Hakkar in Zul’gurub. With the removal of Zul’gurub as a raid instance it is good to see an homage to this blade. Note that for any roleplaying troll fury warriors with Titan’s Grip you can find its twin in Zul’aman, Jin’rohk, The Great Apocalypse from Troll Warlord Zul’jin himself.
That’s Archeology in a nutshell! If you have questions about this or beta please let me know and I’d be happy to answer any questions before December 7th. Goblin starting zone, Worgen starting zone, what to farm, where to go — anything!
Edit Fimlys of Twisted Nether Blogcast suggested I add some images. I hadn’t because I lost my beta screenshot folder with my adorable mechagnome pictures. I have decided to recreate them using paint shop pro. Surely no one will be able to tell the difference between my drawing of an Ultramarine Qiraji Battle Tank and the real thing… right?
EDIT 2 Now that Cataclysm has gone live, I’m getting some screenshots. I took the first two days to get my Worgen from 1 to 85. A big note are that Surveying gives about 5,775 experience per survey at lv 80, doubled if you have rested. I’ll survey on some alts to see how it scales. Level 81 gives me 7,297 xp per survey. That’s a little over a third of 1% of the xp it takes to go from 81-82. So that’s 100 dig sites unrested, 50 dig sites rested to hit 82.
EDIT 3 It looks like once you pass about 225 Archeology skill the number of fragments per survey goes up from 3 to 4-5. Obviously dwarves get more due to their racial, but for us mere non-bearded folk.