Archaeology Guide!

Part one: Time involved:

First off, understand that WoW Archaeology is a huge time sink. Don’t expect to be able to level it in a weekend. This secondary skill requires massive amounts of time to go from a novice to an Illustrious Grand Master. We’re talking weeks of time, just so you understand the enormity of what you’re about to undertake. But take heart — it’s well worth the effort.

Part two: What is Archaeology?

The way WoW Archaeology works is there are four dig sites available to you at any one time on each of the four continents (Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Outland and Northrend). Pick one to focus on primarily. You can collect fragments at any level in any zone, but you can’t use Outland fragments until you hit 300, Northrend fragments until 375 and Tol’Vir (from Uldum) until you reach 450, so stick to Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor initially.

Archaeology in WoW works basically by triangulation. If you aren’t familiar with the term, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly. The point can then be fixed as the third point of a triangle with one known side and two known angles. Yeah, that’s too technical for me too.

Anyhow, once you pick up Archaeology as a secondary tradeskill you learn two new skills available in your spellbook: Archaeology and Survey. Archaeology is used to put the fragments you find together into new items (like pets), and Survey is what you use to find the fragments.


Part 3: Getting Started:

Okay, you’ve purchased the Archaeology tradeskill from a trainer (located in any capital city) and have begun the fun grind to get the archaeological items. Now you’ll pick either Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor to start. I’ll use Kalimdor as an example.

Let’s say you begin in Orgrimmar. Open your map and zoom out until you see the entire continent. You’ll see new shovel icons in four spots of the world. Yes, they can be anywhere when you’re level 80+. I can’t speak for lower levels, but at 80+ you’ll see one in Feralas, one in Tanaris, one in Winterspring and one in Stonetalon Mountains. Pick the closest place from Orgrimmar, which would be Winterspring.

Once you’ve flown to Winterspring, fly out to the dig site which will be highlighted on your map. After you arrive in that area, use your new ability “Survey” and a scope on a stand will appear. Pay close attention to the light that accompanies it. If the light is red, you’re still pretty far from the fragments. If it’s yellow, you’re getting closer. Once your scope is green, you’re within 20 feet of it roughly. The scope will be pointing you in the direction you need to go. Blizzard has made the light flash, so if it’s red, it flashes slowly. Yellow flashes a bit faster and green flashes quickly. Continue to move about and survey the land.

Each dig site will have three fragments sites available. Each fragment site will yield three fragments.  From 75 skill on, you have a chance to get up to 6 fragments from each survey.

Once you hit 75 points, you have a chance to loot keystones from the digs, which give you +12 to anything you’re making. Utilize these as much as possible, if for no other reason than it allows you to make more items for less of a cost. The only keystone you will never find is for Fossil Archaeology Fragments.


Part 4: Creating Items:

Now we get into the actual Archaeology button. When you start out, you’ll notice 10 buttons available, but only four will be lit up until 300. Those buttons are used to combine the more common fragment types: Dwarf, Fossil, Night Elf and Troll. Night Elf and Fossil come mostly from Kalimdor, and Dwarf and Troll come from Eastern Kingdoms (although Fossil fragments can be found in Eastern Kingdoms too).

It takes roughly 30 fragments to create an item, which will give you 5 skill points every time you make one. This is why you should save up all your fragments until 50. It will help boost you to 75 and beyond.

Items which are uncommon require 30-45 fragments of a given type. Semi-rare items take 85-100 fragments, such as the Fossilized Hatchling, and rare items require 100+. They go up from there, of course, with 150 being the highest amount you’ll need for an item as of the Cataclysm expansion.


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