Archaeology in the Home Stretch (BETA)

Last night I finally got to the 525 cap in Archaeology. I made a point to track my time over the last 55 points in order to further quantify the time commitment. From 470 to 500 I spent 1 hour and 40 minutes collecting fragments and completed six artifacts. Between 500 and 525 I spend 2 hours and 13 minutes collecting fragments and completed another six artifacts. The total time taken to go from 470 to 525 was 3 hours and 53 minutes and average time spent per artifact was 19.4 minutes. The first 25 points went faster because I already had some partial artifacts when I started the timed segments.

If we use 20 minutes per fragment as an average time requirement, the leveling process looks something like this:

1 - 75 points from looting fragments
75 - 525 points from solving artifacts, 90 @ 5 points each
90 artifacts x 20 minutes = 30 hours to reach max skill.

For those looking to optimize their leveling, solving artifacts should not be done until skill points from looting fragments are exhausted. Skill points are regular from 1-75 and sporadic from 76-100. It's up to you whether you want to hold off until 100 but my calculations are assuming you wait until 75. Bear in mind that you will continue looting fragments all the way to 525. There's no particular reason to start solving at 75 unless you just can't bear to wait any longer. Functionally speaking, the fragments continue to accumulate no matter how many you get. Ok, it's possible but I'm unaware of a cap. I personally went over 150 and had a guildmate who went over 300 fragments. This was because a particular artifact was bugged and she couldn't solve it, but had to keep collecting fragment in order to spawn new dig sites.

As of right now there is no way to wipe or refresh dig sites. I hope such a feature is implemented at some point, but this shouldn't be necessary if all the bugs are ironed out before launch. If they aren't, you should be aware that you need to clear a dig site before you can get a new one. The dig site you have a problem with will not disappear until you exhaust it. Right now it's very likely that you'll end up in Uldum or Twilight Highlands at some point. These zones have significant aggro if you're still level 80 -- you'll just have to deal with it.

I mentioned in my tweets that I unlocked two rare artifacts just as I was nearing 525. I didn't actually complete them before I capped, but I worked on them anyway just to check out the items. One was the Fossilized Raptor and the other is called an "Innkeeper's Daughter". I haven't managed to finish the portable wench, not enough Dwarf spawns today to fill up my 150 count bar. But I did get the raptor done, so here's a screenshot of me on my new mount:

If you guys have any questions about Archaeology feel free to post them. I plan to continue some smaller tests with this profession in order to compile a leveling guide, but I probably won't do another full run-thru until Cataclysm goes live.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for all this work, Kaliope! I recently found your blog and you're now one of my regular RSS follows

  3. Welcome, glad to have you here!

  4. I am certainly going to have max archaelogy on several toons. But what about the first toon. I.e. is it essentially (or actually) no XP? Do you see it just something to "check when in the area? Possible to really help your leveling?

    I.e. how do you see someone who likes professions and this sort integrating arch into the 80-85 process? What will you do on live?

    Thanks again for all the great info!

  5. I've got the numbers for XP via Archaeology here:

    Archaeology isn't really something a level 80 would do "in the area" as most of the dig sites will be low level zones until your Arch skill is over 450. The level requirements for dig sites are equivalent to herbs/mining. Until you hit 300 skill you can only collect fragments from Vanilla zones.

    Archaeology *can* help with leveling, but only if you're willing to give up quest/dungeon leveling while you work on it. I don't see a lot of folks taking this option right at launch because most players are anxious to experience the new content. I do see it as a viable leveling path for alts, once you've played through the new zones and want to change things up.

    I think dedicated crafters will predominantly integrate Archaeology into their other activities as a time filler, which I believe is Blizzard's intent as well. It's not a profession you can power through, but it's a fun diversion while you're in between other activities.

    For myself, I don't think I will tackle it right away. My current plan is to level all the primary professions as quickly as possible, to document any changes from the Beta builds. Then I'll focus on leveling my two raiding toons so I can help my guild out with raids. After that I'll probably work on Archaeology and level my other 3 toons. I think I will probably level 1-2 of my alts with Archaeology, since doing the same quests five times gets old :)

  6. Hello Kaliope, just stopping in to give my thanks. I found your blog when you posted screenshots of all the cooking recipes and have kept a close watch ever since, checking near daily for new tidbits to get excited over :) keep up the good work!

    also big props for the Yankovic, he was the first artist I ever paid for a CD from

  7. Welcome Al, I'm glad you're enjoying the Cata news!

    What can I say, I'm a huge Weird Al fan -- I've even infected my kids =) Our current favorite is "You're Pitiful". You haven't enjoyed that song to the fullest until you've witnessed your children belting it at each other complete with wild jabbing and random accusatory gestures.

  8. Something to bear in mind is that archaeology xp will get a major nerf before release, from what I have read they want it to be equivilent to a quest for that zone. I don't know if that is per sucessful find or per dig site.

  9. I'm not sure where you're reading that Zand, Archaeology XP has already been nerfed recently by 50%. I hadn't heard that they plan to do any further tweaks, but I'd sure be curious to see your source :)

    Currently XP is granted per artifact object you loot, I assume that will stay the same after launch.