03 February 2011

BAST: Archaeology

I've been reading WoW blogs since I started playing the game. Player opinions started for me as a resource to better play the game and blogs have evolved into a totally complementary past time for me in addition to the game. I've been inspired by far too many blogs to name, but in general I'd like to shout out to the blogosphere a hearty "Thanks!" In getting prepared to publish my own site, I lurked at Blog Azeroth and then joined as a blogger. If you haven't yet checked it out, it's worth your time to do so! BA has a shared topic concept where bloggers ponder a theme or question for the week. This week, Flinthammer wonders:
Cataclysm's new secondary profession, archaeology, has gone through a lot of changes since it was first announced -- Path of the Titans, we hardly knew you! -- but is incredibly popular with players. At least, a lot of them are doing it -- there are also a lot of complaints. Still, go to any dig site and you'll see tons of eager archaeologists. What do you think of it? Did Blizzard release it half-baked? Are you happy with its current implementation? What else do you hope to have added to it in future patches?
What a cool question! Personally, I'm 'digging' archaeology! I know, I know, I can hear the groans! Done? All right, then let's address upsides and downsides to the newest secondary profession.


Primarily, I simply enjoy the new Survey skill. It’s a simple exercise, but the sheer act of survey’s and then triangulating the artifacts is fun to me. In the real world, I’ll spend afternoons with my 9 year old orienteering with Scouts. This is my in-game equivalent, and while it seems simplistic, it is fun to do.
Add to that mechanic the sheer fun of being Harrison Jones. Theme music just starts rolling in my head! I admit, the references in WoW to popular culture and entertainment just make me smile, so I freely admit a bias here.
Titles, too? Oh yeah, so want to grab the the Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and ultimately Professor titles. More achievement goals for Pea!
Stuff? Absolutely! From Bind on Account drops to the ultimately awesome Fossilized Raptor mount or even collectible mini pets (who doesn’t want their very one Clockwork Gnome?), the rewards are fun with a small mixture of usefulness.

Potential Improvements

Boost the vendor value of the common artifacts
Well, at least this is coming with 4.0.6 if the patch notes don’t change. It takes some time to gather up enough stuff to make the artifact, so it’d be nice if it was worth more than a few copper!

Increase the number of dig sites that are up at any given time
My largest complaint is the travel between sites. I'm doing this as an 85 with 310% flying. There is no way I'd ever start as a lower level character on a ground mount. In the time spent with this skill so far, literally half of it is just flying to the next zone.

Supplement Survey with research or quest options
I wish there were more options to advance the skill. For example, keystones are awesome. Not only can they help you advance your artifacts by counting as multiple fragments, but if you're a cash monkey, they may also be sold on the AH. What if you could unlock a quest chain or a research chain from a fragment? (Maybe these do exist but I just haven't found any yet?). How cool would it be to dig up a fragment that spawned a quest line like the Battered Hilt making you research that fragment through several instances or libraries to ultimately lead to an artifact discovery?


Would I consider Archaeology an essential skill? Not even close. I would argue that the only essential secondary skill is First Aid, but that Cooking and Fishing have tangible benefits. Archaeology is purely whimsical -- but it is fun and it does offer unique benefits! Grab your fedora, your bullwhip and your sense of adventure and go get digging!