Friday, December 10, 2010

By Request: So You Want To Be An Archaeologist

  • Congratulations on your decision to explore the fascinating field of Archaeology, the craze that is sweeping the World of Warcraft. Maybe you're wondering if Archaeology is right for you? Well, you've come to the right place. My assistant, Kyralahn, and I are here to explain what this new profession is all about so you can make an informed decision.

  • It looks like Kyra is ready to go, so let's get moving.

  • When you decide to take up Archaeology, it pays to learn from the best. That's why the University of Stormwind employs only the best professors in the field. Here we see Professor Harrison Jones, back from his recent expedition to Grizzly Hills, speaking with his students. Due to his affiliation with the university, only Alliance students will be accepted. Members of the Horde may have to resort to less reputable instructors.

  • Once you've been instructed in the basics of the profession, you are ready for adventure. There is nothing else to buy. All of your surveying equipment is provided as a part of your education.

  • To find various artifact sites, check your continental map. On each continent (based on your skill level), you will find four shovel icons showing where artifact fragments can be found. There are several possibilities all over the world. Find the one best suited for you (I like to start close by and move farther afield as I go) and set off. Flight Master transportation can add up over time, so get used to flying yourself.

  • When you enter a zone where the dig sites are found, the zone map will display red rings showing exactly where you should be searching. Pick a spot and get started.

  • Why did it have to be drakes?

  • Maybe we'll try somewhere else first.

  • Now that we've chosen our site, let's explain how your new survey equipment works. When you use your Survey ability, your equipment will scan the area for artifacts. Here you can see that the red indicator has been illuminated. This lets us know that we are nowhere close to an artifact. Don't let that discourage you. Think of that red light as a check mark on your list of potential locations. That's one less area you need to search!

  • The yellow indicator here tells us that we are getting closer. While the equipment only gives a vague direction under a red light, when you are in the yellow band the direction is much more clear. When I see a yellow light, I know that I'm closing in.

  • Helpful Hint Number One: When the yellow light comes up, run straight in the direction that equipment points for as long as it takes for the cooldown on your Survey ability to expire. Very often, the five seconds of running you do will put you within range of your quarry.

  • And finally we see the green indicator. Your instrument is calibrated to light the green lamp when you are within forty yards of the artifact. For reference, forty yards is the distance that a first level mage can throw a fireball or a first level tauren can kick a gnome.

  • Ah, we see here that Kyra has gotten herself in a little trouble. It is important to keep in mind that the dig sites we will be exploring will be inhabited by potentially hostile forces. It's a dangerous world out there, so don't get caught unaware.

  • Don't be afraid to loot those bodies. Just think if it as archaeology at a very early stage.

  • Now that Kyra is in the clear, we will demonstrate how to triangulate your artifact. Here Kyra demonstrates taking the first reading. Memorize the direction your instrument is pointing because you will be moving it in a moment.

  • Next, Kyra moves several paces off to the side of the first sighting to take a second reading.

  • When the second reading is made, run in the direction the instrument points until you reach the line from the first reading. Kyra thinks she's found the spot, so let's take another reading and see how well we did.

  • Perfect! It doesn't always work that well, so you may need to take additional readings before you hit your target. Don't forget to loot your fragments.

  • Helpful Hint Number Two: After you loot the fragment, make your next survey from the very same spot. You would be surprised how many times multiple artifacts can be found together.

  • As you find fragments, they will be listed in your archaeology journal. In Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, you will find artifacts relating to the Dwarf, Troll, and Night Elf peoples as well as fossils from prehistoric times.

  • Since you will tracking down various different types of fragments, your journal will keep track of what artifact of each type you are trying to piece together. Once you have enough fragments, you can "solve" the artifact. Once the artifact is whole, it is placed in your inventory. Since most artifacts are particularly common, you can then sell them to any interested party. This helps fund further expeditions and passes your findings on to the world. Remember, archaeology is about the acquisition of knowledge, not things. Although, there are rumors of exceptional artifacts to be found.

  • Helpful Hint Number Three: Don't actually solve any of your artifacts until you have at least 75 (if not 100) skill points in Archaeology. Up until you reach that point, you earn skill points by collecting fragments. Once you pass 100, you will only earn points by completing artifacts. And you can collect many more fragments than the artifacts require, so you won't lose any by waiting.

  • Completed artifacts will be recorded in your journal. Here you will find the list of all your accomplishments.

  • Each artifact also has a description when you hold your cursor over it. Some are quite interesting to the knowledge hungry adventurer.

  • And now that we're finished with the lesson, it's time to ride off into the sunset. Kyra and I hope this was helpful to you. Now get out there and see what treasures the world holds!


  1. "Why did it have to be Drakes" is probably one of the best things I've read on a blog in a long time.

    I tip my hat and twirl my mustache at you, good sir.

  2. @ Slurms - Funny enough, I originally thought of that joke at "Why did it have to be Dragons?" when I took the screen shot. I didn't get it right until I was writing the post itself. Thanks goodness!

    @ Jayedub - Thank you, sir.

  3. Wow, thank you for this. I haven't looked at Archaeology at all, so this is going to come in handy once I start to do it in earnest. There are so many Arch pets I want to get too, so count on me doing this very soon!

    By the way, I'm proud of being Alliance just for the awesomeness that is Harrison Jones. I LOL'd at your less reputable instructors comment...because it's damn true.

  4. I tried Arch for the first time last night! And guess what, since there's an option to turn off XP gain, I can survey on my own without worrying I'll be getting ahead of my husband. Time to do some projects!

  5. Great write up, I'll be making use of this.

  6. @ MMOGC (x2) - I so want to get the Fossilized Hatchling pet. It is supposed to be one of the first available rares. Haven't seen it yet, though. Best of luck to you.

    Great idea turning off the XP so you don't break the leveling pact. For myself, I'm curious if I can make it to 85 through archaeology alone. :)

    @ Yeebo - Glad to help. I hope you enjoy yourself.

  7. I got the fossilized hatchling! When I saw it as my next "project" I scrambled all over the world to find "fossil" sites. And of course, all it kept giving me were troll and dwarf. But finally, I did it. It's adorable in a creepy sort of way!