World of Warcraft – Cataclysm: Archaeology Guide 1 – 525
There is a new secondary profession in the new expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm called Archaeology. This guide will explain Archaeology and help you get to 525 skill level as quickly as possible.
Once you learn Archaeology, you will begin to see little shovel icons on your world map pointing you to general areas where you can survey for dig spots. You will see 4 dig sites per continent, and the higher your skill, the more continents you will have access to.
When you go to the zone that had the shovel icon, your local map will now designate a specific area in a redish circle where you can survey. Use your surveyor in that area and it will light up with a red light if you’re far away, yellow if you’re somewhat close, and green if you’re getting really close. The eyeglass will point toward the direction of the dig spot as well. Once you see the green light you should be within 30 to 40 yards of your dig spot. From here you just keep surveying the surrounding area until the item shows up, then loot it.
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Once you dig up an item, survey again to find the next spot in the area. It’s best to do this in the same spot you just dug at, because it’s possible that your next piece can be near by. You’ll get three digs per spot, so once you’ve dug up three pieces you’ll see a new dig spot on the map since there are always four on the continent.
At the beginning you will receive between three to five fragments per dig. At level 300 you will begin to receive between three to six fragments per dig.
Once you start to dig up fragments, your Archaeology journal will be updated with projects you’re collecting, and it will show you the progress for the artifact you’re trying to solve. Once a dig site is exhausted, a new one will show up on your map. It’s important to note that dig spots don’t go away until you dig up fragments there, even on server restarts, etc.
Similar to other professions, zones will be level based for your Archaeology skill. One nice thing about Archaeology though is that there is no competition for dig spots, since the dig spots you see on your map are for your character only, and everyone else has their own dig spots as well. This completely alleviates the problem of fighting for spots that you have with most other professions.
A lot of the artifacts you’ll be creating with Archaeology will be cosmetic things like non-combat pets like the Crawling Claw, but you can receive fairly good blue or purple armor and weapons as well like the Nifflevar Bearded Axe or Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown.
You will receive 5 skill points for every artifact you solve no matter how many artifacts it takes. It’s been reported that it can take as little as 25 to 35 hours to level Archaeology all the way to 525, which is much better than a lot of other professions.
Archaeology Level 1 to 50
At first you will only receive dig sites in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdom. I would suggest only finding fragments from level 1 to 50 and not putting them together, since points from finding fragments will stop completely at 50 skill level.
Archaeology Level 50 to 300
You will still be receiving dig sites only in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdom. Start putting together your artifacts since that’s the only way you’ll receive skill points now.
Archaeology Level 300 to 375
Once you hit 300, you will begin to receive dig sites in Outland. You will still receive them in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdom as well, but you will most likely be extremely bored with these locations by now, so Outland will give you a nice change of scenery, but stay in the old world if you want to level faster, as it takes less fragments to complete the artifacts from there than in Outland.
Archaeology Level 375 to 450
At 375 you will begin to see dig sites in Northrend, as well as all of the previous areas. Similar to Outland though, it takes more fragments per artifact than Kalimdor or Eastern Kingdom, so only head there for a change of scenery, not for faster leveling.
Archaeology Level 450 to 525
At 450 you can basically go wherever you wish, though you will start to see dig sites in the new Cataclysm zones. At this point you can start to receive fragments for the epic level 359 artifacts.
Tips for Faster Leveling
1. Always use your surveyor again once you’ve dug up an item, as the next piece can be in the same spot
2. Buy the fastest flight speed you can afford
3. Stay in Kalimdor or Eastern Kingdoms since they require less fragments per artifact on average
4. Use any means of faster traveling you can. For example, if you’re a Horde character, set your Hearth in Orgrimmar and if you’ve done the Uldum quests, you can use the Uldum port from Org to get south much faster. If your hearth is down, purchase or make some Potion of Deepholm and use the portal from there to Org.