Archaeology Keystones in the Market

Are they worth selling or keeping? Part of this question will be answered by your motivation for working on Archaeology. If you're in it for a specific item, you probably want to hang onto your keystones for that race. Alchemists want the new mount, which means they will covet the Tol'vir keystones. Casters are after the Staff of Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan and will hoard Dwarf rune stones. You burly melee-types are drooling over the Zin'Rokh and Troll tablets will be most valuable to you.

For those of you who aren't leveling for a specific artifact, you have the option to sell some of your keystones and make a profit. Personally, I think this market is in for some big shifts soon. Right now it looks like prices are primarily being driven by other Archaeologists. What seems to be missing is the competition from pre-raiders. Some of the keystones can be used in dungeons to buff the group. Right now this includes Tol'vir, Dwarf and Night Elf keystones. Things could get interesting once you have dungeon players competing for keystones.

I've done a bit of research on my realm and right now prices don't seem to be trending with the perks very well. Tol'vir keystones are the most valuable, since they're needed for three iLevel 359 epics as well as the new Alchemy mount. Today on my realm they're selling for 1000g each. This makes sense and I fully expected them to be the most expensive. However, I'm also seeing Draenei keystones going for 300-400g, Vrykul for 350-500g and Nerubian for 500-700g. None of these races have epic artifacts or dungeons they can buff, so I'm not certain why their keystones are inflated. I can only assume players are pricing them based on the Tol'vir without realizing that these other races don't have the perks to justify such a price.

I'm also seeing Troll keystones at the lowest price, which surprises me considering how many players are after Zin'Rokh. Now it's possible those folks are getting all the keystones they can possibly use through their own looting, but I kinda doubt it. Either way, Troll keystones are hovering around 100g, pretty reasonable for anyone working for an epic 359 sword.

Dwarf keystones are about double that price, which I take as evidence that dungeon folks are probably influencing the price to some extent. Night Elf keystones are in the 100-150 range, which seems to fit in with the Dwarf pricing. Dwarf keystones are used in more dungeons than Night Elf, so the demand for them will be higher than Night Elf. All three of these races have one 359 epic, which puts them on even footing with diggers. Therefore the variation is likely tied to the dungeon buffs.

Based on what I'm seeing here, I think the prices for Dwarf and Night Elf are too low. Heroics are very challenging right now and not enough players are using these buffs. As word gets out, prices should go higher for both of those races. On the flip side, I think prices for Draenei, Vrykul and Nerubian are too high. Draenei especially should be dirt cheap, there are no epics tied to this race. I suspect the prices for these races have more to do with their Outland/Northrend place in the leveling chain than their loot potential.

If you're interested in selling keystones, offload some Draenei/Vrykul/Nerubian keystones. I would hold onto the Dwarf/Night Elf and see if the prices go up once more people are running Heroics. Interest in Archaeology should start to dwindle around the same time, as more players are filling their time with dungeon runs and have less free time for digging. Tol'vir artifacts are already worth a boat-load, so go ahead and sell if you don't need them.

If there's anything I missed here, feel free to share it in the Comments!


  1. Dwarf not only has the epic staff but also the Innkeeper's Daughter and a pet. Night Elf only has the trinket (and a BoA chest but at level 60 most people will be using heirlooms for the XP bonus anyhow); every other rare from them is just a fun toy.

    That said, I've been buying every Highborne Scroll below 100g to help with the 'grind' toward the trinket. I pick up Troll when I find them useful and cheap (running 50g or less here atm) and am ignoring Dwarf until the price comes down.

    Very few people are at 525 archaeology. Those who are generally are using their fragments toward the BoAs they are interested in. I've 'burned' two fragments now for dungeon buffs but it has to be an actually useful buff. 5% increased speed (Halls of Origination) is not worth it, especially since there's no telling if it stacks with enchant/metagem speed bonus or not.

    I haven't seen folks sporting the new runescrolls and I'm certainly not seeing folks flask or eat in heroics right now and we're completing them just fine. I don't think the burning of keystones for buffs will be common unless the price is relatively low (25-50g each low)

  2. I imagine that Draenei, Vrykul and Nerubian keystones will keep their value for some time because they are located in areas that people don't normally travel to.

  3. It's certainly possible that dungeons aren't a factor. On my realm very few guilds are raiding, so I assume most of our players aren't getting through heroics without serious effort. That doesn't necessarily translate into buff usage though. Perhaps the deviation is purely due to Dwarf itemization.

    I still find the prices for Draenei, Vrykul and Nerubian weird even if those keystones are rare. You don't need them to level Arch if you stay in classic zones. I'm 375 right now and have yet to set foot in an expansion zone. They also don't help you unlock anything exciting. So why would people pay so much for one?

  4. Likely they would not; the same keystones that have been posted at ridiculous prices have been sitting on the AH since week one. However, because they cannot be utilized until a much higher level anyhow gives them a perceived 'higher value'. In general, the folks working on those are completing the achievements and may be willing to buy keystones if they don't want to spend forever in Outland/Northrend. I've already spent over fourty hours on Archaeology; I can spend a few more.

  5. Supply has a lot of impact on prices as well. Draenei, Vrykul, and Nerubian keystones are selling well, because of the lack of supply. You can level your Archaeology on one continent. So there is no real need to dig in Outlands or Northrend unless there is something specific you want from those fragments. Also the troll are priced low, because they are more available. There are several Troll solutions that do not allow any keystones. In fact, yesterday I was not in the WoW God's favor, because every Troll solution I got yesterday did not allow a keystone. Of course I am one of those melee trying for Zin'Rokh.