Cataclysm: The Archaeology Guide

Archaeology is the new secondary profession introduced in the World of Warcraft® Cataclysm expansion. It makes sense that when a world has been as shattered as Azeroth has been, a new profession should come into play; a profession, in fact, that has players digging through the rubble in order to discover traditions and histories of the different races that exist in this online world.

Beginning Archaeology – aka How to Dig in the Dirt

Archaeology can be picked up from any one of the archaeology trainers, such as Harrison Jones in Stormwind Keep. Once a toon has been trained as an apprentice they may go to a dig site and begin scavenging through the dirt. These dig sites are found by opening the map, zooming out to show the continent, and locating one of the four small spades on the continent. At any given time there will be four dig sites on the continent, and three excavations can be done at each site before that site closes and another one spawns. While the continent map shows a spade, when a toon arrives at the zone that contains a spade, the dig site will be shown as an opaque red circle that encompasses the entire area that allows digging.

When a character is within the red zone indicating a dig site, open the professions page found in the spell book. The new archaeology section will contain the icon of both a spade and a hat; digging, however, is much easier if the spade icon is moved to a non-combat action bar. Many people enable the action bar that runs up the right side of the screen for such icons as mounts, professions and food. A click on the spade will either activate the survey equipment, which shows as a telescope and a colored beacon, or uncover a fragment. The telescope points in the direction of a buried fragment while the color indicates how far it might be. The color red indicates the fragment is still quite far away, yellow shows that it is in the general area, and green suggests only moving a few steps at a time before casting the survey again. When a toon is close enough, the fragment is uncovered and, like all loot, must be right clicked on to be picked up. This is done three times at each site.

One of the favorite aspects of archaeology is that, opposed to some farming professions such as mining and herbalism, the collected fragments do not take up valuable bag space, with the exception of the key stones. The fragments go into the journal, which is represented by the hat in the archaeology section of the professions page.

Leveling Archaeology in World of Warcraft® – aka Sit Back and Enjoy the Flight

Each visit to Harrison Jones will inform the budding archaeologist that this profession is about fact. One fact that is constant with archaeology is: To level up skill, a character must fly – and fly a lot! In Eastern Kingdoms, for example, it is not unusual to have to take a gryphon from Booty Bay to Light's Hope Chapel. The flights, though, give a player ample time to look over their journal.

As mentioned in the previous section, the fragments that are collected do not sit in the bags; they are transferred, rather, into the archaeology journal that is located in the professions page. Clicking on the hat icon will open up this journal and allow a player to view either the different artifacts to be solved or the artifacts that have already been collected.

When first taking up this secondary profession, it is important to not solve any artifacts until a skill level of 100 has been achieved! From levels 1-100 players will be able to get skill from surveying. After level 100, though, skill is only increased through putting the fragments together. If nothing is solved before level 100 is hit, there will enough fragments waiting to be put together that will raise a toon to the level of journeyman, and beyond. It is a time saver to do this solving near a trainer so that as soon as level 150 is achieved the toon can train and then continue to up the skill level while doing any remaining solving of artifacts.

Once the bar showing the amount of collected fragments is full, the artifact is created by clicking the Solve button that is found in each race's section of the journal. It is worth noting that while the fragments do not go into your bags, the completed artifacts do.

Skill level will decide where and, to an extent, what fragments can be unearthed.

Level 1-300: In this bracket, dig sites are only found in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. An archaeologist will be able to uncover the following fragments at this level: fossil, Troll, Night Elf and Dwarf.

Level 300-375: At long last, diggers can get off the initial two continents that they have dug out repeatedly and head to the Outlands – if they so desire. There are only two types of fragments on this continent: Draenei and Orc.

Level 375-450: Level 375 opens up Northrend, where Vrykul, Nerubian, Night Elf and Troll fragments are hidden away.

Level 450-Max: Digging is now allowed in Uldum for the Tol'vir fragments, and this is the level that is most likely to try the patience of any player. The general consensus is that when an Uldum dig site spawns, get there as fast as possible, excavate it, and hope that another Uldum site spawns.

Using the Keystones for Archaeology in World of Warcraft®

The keystones that are found when unearthing fragments can be used to give a boost with the value of 12 fragments should a player be short of solving a common artifact. They are required, however, to solve the rare artifacts such as Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds (the only rare artifact of the Trolls) which needs three keystones in addition to 150 fragments.

Keystones are used by clicking on the hexagon(s) located directly beneath the bar showing the number of collected fragments. There is no need to drag and drop.

Why Take Up Archaeology?

For many players, when downtime is desired, archaeology is the alternative to fishing. The grind to hit level 85, gearing up for Cataclysm heroic dungeons, or farming to become a Professional Illustrious Grand Master in a primary profession does get tiring after a while and archaeology provides a break to just relax within the game.

There is also humor and novelty to be found in the artifacts. A good chuckle can be had by reading the descriptions of the Fine Bloodscalp Dinnerware where "any use of actual utensils counts as fine dining," or likewise by summoning up a historic sword dance performed by female dwarves with the Chalice of the Mountain Kings. Of course, the more serious minded will enjoy the history to be discovered for each of the races.

…Now, if only the toons could hear: Welcome to AirGryphon. Today's in-flight movie will be the third installment of the Murloc Madness series. Please enjoy the complimentary nuts.