Thoughts on the new Archaeology changes

In case you haven't heard, over the weekend Blizzard announced some changes to Archaeology. "The whole Path of the Titans idea has been removed from the game." Yes, you read that right. Path of the Titans will not be a part of Cataclysm. It is being replaced with something called "medium glyphs". These are glyphs that will provide "fun factor" to abilities. It looks like Inscription will inherit the core functionality that Path of the Titans was going to provide.

"Archaeology will be less important". No way to misinterpret this -- it's a nerf. To a profession we haven't even seen yet. To be fair, Archaeology as described at Blizzcon was on it's way to becoming a mandatory profession. Anything that gives your character additional power and/or utility is very likely to be mandatory in the current min/max environment. Blizzard clearly feels that "true" secondary professions are not mandatory. I think we can all agree that no one needs to level fishing, cooking or first aid in order to perform at their best. Well, as long as they're willing to purchase consumables on the Auction House.

On the other hand, it looked like leveling Archaeology would be necessary in order to enjoy the benefits it provided. I didn't hear anything that led me to believe you could purchase items from other players that would unlock your Path for you. So clearly it was planned to be a self-use profession with no benefit available to those who skipped it. Which naturally means those who leveled it could be more powerful/useful than those who didn't. Either that or Blizzard would have to make sure that nothing you unlocked would actually make you more powerful or useful. Either way, a quandary. Another thing to consider - if Archaeology remained in it's original form we probably would have had to level it on every alt. As excited as we might be about Archaeology, I'm not sure any of us would vote for a new profession that we need to level on every toon.

The main problem I see now is that we have a hole in Archaeology where Path of the Titans used to be. Very little information was given about the "new" Archaeology, but it sounds like it will be more focused on lore and novelty items. What I'm wondering is... what's compelling about Archaeology now that Path of the Titans is gone? Most players are not into game lore, so why would someone pursue Archaeology? I'm just not seeing the selling point for this new variant.

While not mandatory, the other secondary professions do provide some utility. Cooking give you buff foods, Fishing provides you with ingredients for Cooking, and First Aid enables anyone to self-heal during solo play. Each of them has a practical purpose that may not make you more powerful, but they provide a convenience or benefit of some sort. I haven't heard anything about the new Archaeology that provides utility, so far it sounds like all fluff and no substance. Again, with no tangible benefit or other strong selling points, I'm not sure why the average player would bother with it.

Normally I don't argue for answers from Blizzard because it's hard to balance player expectations against development constraints when a project is still in development. But in this case I think it would help take the sting out of the loss of Path of the Titans if we knew more about what Archaeology will gain in it's place. Unfortunately none of the information that was shared about Archaeology really touched on that and it's possible that they're still working that out. However, if they're going to take the time and resources to add a new profession to the game, they should probably make sure the community understands what the purpose of the profession is. I think it will help ease fears if we could find out how Archaeology is still meaningful without Path of the Titans. In this case I really think they should share more about Archaeology than they have, we just don't know enough about this new incarnation of it.


  1. The way I see the new Archaeology changes, it no longer has a game-changing reason for existing, and will simply become a "fun" thing to do. People like me will pursue Archaeology to find out more about the lore of WoW and to collect yet more vanity items. That's all it will be I think. Nothing to help you level, nothing to boost your dps, just some cool new toys and a way to learn the lore of Azeroth.

    While Path of the Titans sounded cool initially, it did seem as if it would become a mandatory aspect of the game once you dinged 85. Blizzard have said they want to remove the number of mandatory talents in the Cata revamp and I see dumping Path of the Titans' more involved Archaeology in the same vein. If Archaeology and PotT became mandatory for end-game players, then the fun aspects are lessened. Dumping PotT allows them to re-introduce some fun into Archaeology.

    Think of it as a more advanced form of collecting vanity pets and novelty items. I just hope we get 3 extra bank slots and 40-slot bags so I can hold all the stuff I hope to be collecting!

  2. Possible ways of using archaeology: Pets and possible mounts aside, how about other purely vanity things. Learning to tint armory (lost tradition of such and such society). By discovering more about the Troll History you stumble across the art of tattooing your toon. I could see uncovering a major player from your class as a way to get some sort of passive buff (extra 3 seconds on polymorph) or something else not so game changing. Maybe actual items to wear (tribal headdress or ceremonial robes). I'm actually considering it might end up being much of what the calendar events are. Just fun things to do only this will be year round.

    But you're right with out any true information from Blizzard this is all really speculation.

    -Tadedra, US-Sentinels-

  3. I like the second idea about using Archaeology as a way to introduce customization options currently not available in the game. I'm not sure they would actually allow the tinting thing since we've been asking for years and had no luck, but they might be open to other tweaks. Early on they mentioned the ability to learn teleports to new locations - that would be interesting. Sort of a "Star Gate" deal where you locate artifacts and unlock new travel abilities. They could also add other "cosmetic" options such as different looks for warlock pets (pink Void? manly Succubus?), a few Tree styles for druids, fun pet emotes for hunters, etc. If they decide to stay on the Lore track as the primary focus, I think learning secret non-combat abilities in addition to the lore would be a reasonable draw.

    But as you say... we're still speculating :)

  4. Also, they stated that things that you found while digging things up in Archaeology, items would go into a Journal of some sort for storage.

    This makes me really happy because my entire bank is full of the various vanity items from around the world.

    just an fyi that our bags shouldn't be as full as once thought

    <3 Your Friendly Neighborhood Fuubaar