MoP Beta Files: Archaeology

Now that we have a release date for Mists of Pandaria, I need to start pushing out some leveling guides for the professions! By my estimates we are probably looking at roughly 4 more weeks of Beta, so ready or not it's time to start compiling guides. I'm going to lead off with professions that I have on multiple toons, just in case new changes get pushed after my initial testing. First up is Archaeology, which I have capped on two different characters.


I decided to level with Kaliope first because she was still sitting at 525 skill. Since Kaliope has already reached level 90, I gave myself some restrictions in order to simulate the level 85 experience. I used only ground mounts for traveling, even though Kaliope is able to fly. I allowed myself to use a flight path only after I had already been through a particular area. I fought whatever mobs jumped me to approximate a low level experience as much as possible. Some classes can shed aggro, but I did not use my escape abilities for this test.

Before Beta launched, I stockpiled fragments from 8 different races on the Live realms, ranging from Night Elf to Tolvir. I also had two different epic items unlocked and ready to discover. Sadly none of the current races gave me skill points and neither of the epic items granted skill points either. The only skill points are coming from Pandaren or Mogu completions. Each completed Panda/Mogu artifact will give you three skill points.

Before midnight on Launch day, park yourself next to the Archaeology trainer! Grab Zen Archaeology training before you head out. Then start the quest that pops up in Stormwind/Orgrimmar. If the quest doesn't automatically launch for you, just run into Stormwind Keep or Grommash Hold to activate them. Once you reach the boat and zone into Jade Forest, jump off the boat. Try to aim for the water below if you can!

When I first arrived started digging in Pandaria, my dig sites were spawning mostly in Valley of the Four Winds (VotFW) and Krasarang Wilds. Around 570 skill, more dig sites start popping in Kun-lai Summit. For the last 20 skill points I was also getting dig sites in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and the Dread Wastes. I can confirm that it's possible to reach Kunlai and VoEB via ground mount. I did not try to navigate the Dread Wastes since I only had one digsite pop up there.

The early zones are pretty easy to reach, you'll start out in the Jade Forest. From there you can ride due west from the Serpent's Heart and cross the river into VotFW. To reach Krasarang you simply go south from Thunderfoot Fields. The higher zones are a bit trickier because they are really meant to be unlocked with quests. To enter Kunlai you take the Veiled Stair from VotFW (north of the Grassy Cline FP) and follow the Ancient Passage north. Stay on the left side of the tunnel to minimize aggro from the mobs inside. For the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, you need to go to the Shadow-Pan Fallback at the southwest corner of Kunlai. Enter the tower and go to the top of the wall, then follow the wall south. You can drop off the wall to your left and you'll be in VoEB, just make sure you actually cross into the zone before you fling yourself over :) If you drop before you reach the bright red trees, you'll take minimal fall damage.

Pandaria dig sites are currently providing six archaeology finds per dig site with 5-9 fragments per find. For those who are curious, dig sites on older continents have also been upgraded to the Pandaria model of six finds per site. Generally you'll get enough fragments from one dig site to complete an artifact. Panda research projects range from 40-50 fragments each. Mogu projects range from 30-60 fragments each.  You get 3 skill points in Archaeology for each common artifact you complete. At this time I have not unlocked any rare or epic artifacts. 

Most of the Pandaren artifacts are the Twin Stein Set and the Mogu artifacts are usually a Mogu Coin. You can click the coin or stein to "crate" them, which allows them to stack. You'll want to crate your artifacts if they can be crated. Otherwise the coins/steins don't stack and eat up bag space. Each of these common artifacts has a "pristine" version (mogu/pandaren) you may get on occasion which starts a quest. The quests are not working in the current build.

Occasionally an ancient spirit will spawn while you're digging and attack. They drop additional fragments matching the current dig site when killed. The mobs appear to scale to the player, not the zone. Kaliope was consistently getting level 90 spirits, even when digging in lower level zones.

While you're leveling Archaeology to the new cap, you'll likely end up with 20 or more Restored Artifacts. These are used to purchase items from Brann Bronzebeard in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Here is a screenshot I took that shows what Brann will sell you:


You can see in this first image that Brann has a number of crates which are related to each race. These boxes contain fragments from the specified race. I purchased one that had 9 Dwarf fragments inside. I assume the number is somewhat randomized but I didn't waste my "coin" testing that theory. I think these crates are meant to address some of our requests to focus our research on specific races. We can use our currency to purchase extra fragments for the races we want to progress on.


I think the item in this second image will turn out to be quite handy. This is a trinket that lets you teleport to one of your Pandaria digsites. This should cut down on the significant time investment needed to work Archaeology once you get your rep up with the Lorewalkers.


In this next image is an awesome new item you can purchase from Brann. This is something many of us have been asking for since Archaeology went live -- a way to reset the dig sites. Now you can buy this "map" and have a way to do it!

Brann and his goodies can be found at The Seat of Knowledge, which is located on the upper level of Mogu'shan Palace in the Valley of Eternal Blossoms. I don't believe there's a way to access the Seat of Knowledge without flying there (at least I can't find a way up). The Seat of Knowledge is also where you can pick up the daily quest for Archaeology. So far there are only two quests: Uncovering the Past and Research Project: The Mogu Dynasties. Both of these quests simply require you to have a stash of Pandaria fragments to complete the quest. Doing this quest every day will get you 5 Valor Points and some gold.

For those wanting to try for a Realm First, I attempted to determine a meaningful estimate of the time needed to reach the new Zen level cap for Archaeology. This is why I restricted myself to a ground mount and only used flight paths after I had already been to an area earlier in the test. I spent about two and a half hours leveling Archaeology from 525 to 600. This included all of the travel time and fighting nearby mobs, as well as the time needed to unlock flight paths along the way. 

Folks who want to go for a realm first should plan on three hours but push as hard as you can to shave that time down. You should also be prepared to fight mobs when you reach higher zones. While it's not difficult to avoid mobs as you ride through an area, some of the dig sites are in mob-infested locations. Make sure you pack some flasks, buff foods and whatever else you think you may need to take on the occasional level 90 mob.

I'll be out of town for the rest of this week, so no promises on providing further details during that time. If other beta testers want to chime in, feel free to do so!



32 comments:

  1. One question about beta/MoP archeo: do you get XP for solving pre-MoP archy projects? I'm wondering if one can boost his initial XP pool by solving 8x200 worth of fragments (plus tablets/keys & whatnot).

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    1. I know you didn't in previous builds for a max level character with 525 archaeology even after training. However, I hope that you do if not maxed out as I have lvl85 lats that I want to level up their archaeology as part of my levelling of them in Mists

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    2. No, I did not get any XP for the solves I did with my older fragments. I had the majority of my existing racial fragments maxed out but got no benefit from using them past 525.

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  2. I had an erroneous impression that at 3am (EST) September 25th, I'd repeat what I did with Cataclysm, and spend a few hours as my druid (Mining/Herbology) just flew around and accumulated raw materials while the competition was thin.

    It had worked very well in learning about the new areas, and getting some needed items for my other crafters. Until I read this article, it hadn't sunk in that I would be unable to fly around. I'm going to have to scrap my plans altogether and make new ones.

    Do you have some advice on lvl 85s collecting raw materials quickly, or would you just recommend forgetting it and leveling normally first? My principle desires are enough ore to do JC quests, and enough herbs to get the alchemists trinkets and caster's staves (and if possible, to begin using 5 alchemist's daily transmutes).

    I'm looking forward to all of your profession-leveling articles, especially inscription, because I want to make staves for my casters, and I can't see how to level that high looking at the skill ranges on wowhead.

    Another useful article would be a list of everything you can do/buy on day 1 on all of your alts, where they are, and what you can prepare beforehand

    For example, when Cata came out, there was advanced flying sold at the flightmaster; fishing, cooking, and JC daily quests, one inscription daily quest started by the forged scroll, etc.

    There's usually a 3-4 hour window on my server between server-midnight and the daily quests resetting which has often been used to eke out another round of dailies during events (a 14 day event with 14 resets allows 15 daily attempts, the first period for 4 hours, and only 20 hours on the last day). I'm less concerned with a realm-wide first than I am in getting everything I can out of the first 4 hours.

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    1. I forgot to mention that day one, I'll also be concerned with getting rep with all the new factions. Almost every faction in the past has had something for the revered or exalted that I've coveted.

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    2. You can certainly jump into the gathering process right away, I have done the same on Beta with my toons who gather. You won't be flying is the only fly in the ointment. It will work the same way it did in Wrath, jump ahead of the leveling crowd and stay ahead of them :)

      The best place for gathering at this time is VotFW past Halfhill. Lots of spawns there and thin on mobs because of all the room set aside for farming. I do all of my ore/herb collecting there. Eventually others will figure this out as well but early on it should be workable.

      I will try as best I can to include Realm First suggestions in the leveling articles I write, hopefully that will provide the extra information you're looking for :) I will also compile my standard "noob guide" where I go into general information and tips for dealing gracefully with the new content.

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    3. Speaking of 14 day events, brewfest seems to be scheduled for September 20 - October 5, 2012. Will 85s be able to get an extra run during those 4 hours? Could you get a il 470 trinket on day 1? .... TBD

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    4. The whole time I've been skeptical that the datamined brewfest trinkets are for this year, and MoP's release in the middle of Brewfest makes me think they aren't. I could definitely be wrong though! That'd be a nice easy way to get a great piece of gear, although it wouldn't really make sense...would the 85s be fighting a level 90+ holiday boss? Or would his level be upped after 3am realm? I can't really see how that'd work out.

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    5. Blizz recently announced that they're pushing Brewfest back by a week or so, so that more players will be able to get to level 89 and be able to do the Direbrew fight.

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  3. Hi Neil. Although they may change the spawn rates, and Jade Forest is still closed so we don't know how that's looking in terms of herb/ore anymore, I'd say you can definitely collect raw materials at 85 for a while before leveling. It won't be as fast or easy as it was in Cata (which I did as well, and majorly loved) but if you're observant you should be able to do it without a real problem.

    I've leveled both herbalism and mining to 600 on level 85 toons since Jade Forest closed. Mining took much longer than herbalism did, since the Ghost Ore nodes are all that seem to be implemented so far and they go green in the 570s or so. I found the western areas of Krasarang and Vot4W to be the best for ore.

    Herbalism was a piece of cake. There were herbs everywhere but the best place (imo) since it's without mobs is around the tiller/farm area. You can also do the lake-ish area just to the east of that, but there are cranes there that pat around quickly so it might be less desirable.

    I'd suggest doing what Kaliope suggested for arch and going straight to Vot4W or Krasarang.

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    1. But Neil brought up a good point - preferable to get enough ore to do the JC daily before 3/4 AM JC resets. Although once we know the dailies, it might just be easier to spend a few thousand for a stack just to get extra day in. ( Of course, there could be elemental goo or dazzling dailies that don't require gems. )

      In fact, that is another thing to look for once K brings the Stone Tablets of Knowledge down to us mortals: what can you do before the first reset? JC Daily? Cooking Daily? Inscription's I-hate-it-already cooldown? ( I do not anticipate my tailor or alchemist having a shot that morning. )

      In LK, there was a big "get to 80 push" so we could raid by day 9. I'm reading that casuals should be getting to 90 by the weekend so taking some time out to mine ore when it is 5000g/stack instead of the 12g it has become on my realm might not be a huge handicap. And in cata RF JC was very leisurely until the 30 second sprint so if they do that way again, you don't have to give up on RF to go pick weeds.

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    2. Not going to lie (and make fun of me all you want) I've never understood the daily quest reset sort of thing. I've always thought that with a holiday I should be able to get an extra run in after midnight on the last day, but I think I finally just realized today that I'd have to do the extra run the night the holiday starts, and then do it again that morning/day. It seems backwards to me, but I think I've got it now.

      Anyway, that's why I didn't respond to the part of his post that dealt with the JC daily. I can only respond to if you are able to do the gathering professions prior to leveling - and that's a resounding yes (as Kali posted later), and provide tips as to where to do so.

      Personally, I want to get realm first herbalism again, and then level the mage who has taken over for my druid due to the requirements of my raid group. I've already requested a day or two off work (if I have the time, why not, and it's better than going in with an hour or two of sleep like I did last time) so I plan on having plenty of time in there to gather lots of mats and make a killing on the AH. Granted, my server is a pretty bad one so I might not make as much as I hope to, but it's what I'm planning on trying. If it isn't looking good I will probably just use the mats myself to be at the top of the producing markets.

      I imagine we could get JC dailies, cooking dailies, fishing dailies and inscription daily done, if my new understanding is correct. Not to mention handing in a full set of dailies at 85 and then doing more if you level all the way to 90 that first day...which I doubt I will do honestly. I get bored of one toon really easily, unless it's something like herbing/mining. I know I'm in the minority there.

      And a side note - for those who aren't in a rush, the DMF was VERY close to starting the Sunday after MoP hits, but it will be the week after. I'd imagine around then those who were more reluctant profession levelers (or, spenders) will cap, so prices (for both mats and finished goods) will stabilize.

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  4. Do you recommend going after twilight highlands nodes to a certain level then heading over to pandaria ? Also does gnomish army knife +10 mining and the reinforced mining pick +15 mining stack plus the gatherer enchant +5 which would put you at around 555 seems too good to be true but does it work?

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  5. I'll be researching questions like that when I start writing my mining and herbing guides. I've already started taking some notes as I discover things, but I will tackle them more methodically when I start the leveling process.

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  6. Kk thanks as always kaliope :) you guides are always thorough and helpful :)

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  7. From what I've seen and heard, the Gatherer enchant and army knife don't stack with each other or the mining pick. I heard there was a max bonus you could get, and you could get it a bunch of ways but it doesn't go above 10 (according to what Desade said on Kali's original mining post). I haven't tested it in a while on the beta since I capped my toon with the gatherer gloves already so I haven't checked, but I know mine was only receiving +10. Check out: http://kaliope.crafterstome.com/2012/05/mop-beta-files-first-look-at-zen-mining.html

    On the consortium forums someone said that he has a tauren and the new herbalism spade stacked with the tauren bonus so he was at 540+10/540 skill.

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  8. Hagu, there were a couple of blue posts on brewfest while I was asleep. It looks like they're not entirely sure yet but are thinking that Coren Direbrew won't be available until MoP hits, and will be at 90. So you'd have to level but then have a chance of getting a nice trinket immediately. That should make gearing a bit easier, since trinkets are typically hard.

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  9. Technically Direbrew will be available before MoP hits he'll just be at level 91 so you can't defeat him. That's how I understand it.

    The more I read about MoP the more I think that this expansion presents a greater challenge than Cata did because there are so many more things to do. If you want those trinkets from Direbrew you have to level as fast as you can so that you get a few licks in before he goes away for another year (and for a shot at the mount, which I still have never got).

    There are difficult choices in this expansion at the start in terms of time allocation. Also, and this is just my opinion, not being able to fly is going to give a huge benefit to some classes in the push for server firsts. Classes that have a threat dump or good CC are steps ahead because it's always faster to do that than kill a mob, especially in higher level zones. I'm tempted to say that is money is your sole goal then leveling and getting to flying is going to be the best course of action the way it was in WOTLK.

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  10. Archaeology for XP:
    Due to petulant bitterness over no Vial recipe, I am no longer the most motivated of archaeologists but am interested in XP. So if I wanted my toons to get some XP if there is a dig site nearby, what are the requirements? Can an 85 level 100 archaeologist get XP/sites in Panaderia or do I need to be 525, at least on the first few leveling-is-srs-bsns toons.

    P.S. ^ I am sure all of you have read that Bliz changed brewfest.

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  11. Good question! I actually did track XP for the Pandaria fragments (13,900 rested) but I did not venture out with toons who were under the cap. However, I'm there with my Warlock now (270 Archaeology) and there are no dig sites showing on my Pandaria map. In fact, there are no dig sites on her Northrend or Outland map either. She only has dig sites in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms. So apparently if your Arch. skill isn't high enough for a specific continent, no dig sites will spawn there.

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  12. Just FYI, I did what I think was a cookie crumb quest from the Shrine of Seven Stars (didn't mark it down, sorry), Alliance side. It took me to Mogu'shan Palace (Seat of Knowledge on the mini-map) and did a daily to solve an Archaeology item (Mogu or Pandaran, either one) and turned it in for gold and 5 Valor Points. Again, I didn't write anything down, but I think it's a daily. I'll do some more looking the next time I do it, which I know won't be tomorrow, but ASAP. You turn the daily in to Ms. Thai, who is in the Seat of Knowledge.

    James

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  13. Just FYI, I did what I think was a cookie crumb quest from the Shrine of Seven Stars (didn't mark it down, sorry), Alliance side. It took me to Mogu'shan Palace (Seat of Knowledge on the mini-map) and did a daily to solve an Archaeology item (Mogu or Pandaran, either one) and turned it in for gold and 5 Valor Points. Again, I didn't write anything down, but I think it's a daily. I'll do some more looking the next time I do it, which I know won't be tomorrow, but ASAP. You turn the daily in to Ms. Thai, who is in the Seat of Knowledge.

    James

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    1. Yes, that was probably one of the two daily quests I have linked at the bottom of this post. It sounds like "Uncovering the Past". I've been keeping an eye on the dailies and so far it's just the two quests. Hopefully they'll expand that out a bit :)

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    2. Whoops....I didn't see that part, sorry. You are right, the daily today is The Mogu Dynasties, which just requires 20 Mogu artifacts.

      James

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  14. Are you open to RF questions here? ( Not the obvious "is RF Arch an achievement or a cry for help and intervention?" )

    How many digs do you see taking to get to 600? I.e. I assume get to 90 quickly and fly is not necessary. You mentioned the higher level zones: is there an arch reason for going there? I had thought it was like fishing where you could level to 600 in Stormwind. Can you just get to 600 running around the first zone? Unlike herb/mining you don't even have competition for your phased digs.

    Do dwarves still have the racial? I'm guessing a dwarf rogue (vanish) would be optimal? Or is there enough travel that a class with the speed boost would be better?

    Follow up: if I need to be at 525 on 9/25, is it reasonable that the "MoP style" - six of 5-9 fragments - would be available from 5.0.1 until 5.0.3 (the 2+ weeks of the new talents without access to Southrend.) Never put off today what you can put off tomorrow - perhaps the intermesso would be the most efficient time to level to 525?

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    1. Open to all questions of course :) I think it takes about 20-25 dig sites to reach 600 Arch, that number is dependent on how many keystones you turn up. You won't be able to cap just running around Jade Forest since you still cannot control where the sites spawn. The higher your skill gets, the more likely you'll get a spawn in a higher zone. I mentioned this observation in the 5th paragraph of the post ;)

      I have not checked racials, but I assume they still apply. My dwarf hunter isn't high enough to dig in Pandaria, so that's not something I'd be able to check.

      It's possible that the MoP style fragments will be implemented in 5.0, I've been meaning to check out the PTR but I haven't gotten to that yet.

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  15. Looks like Tailors, Smiths, and JCs are going to need Archaeology !
    Lorewalkers Quartermaster
    living steel belt buckle plans gated behind rep = exalted
    Greater Cerulean Spellthread pattern gated behind rep = not showing amount needed
    Jade panther design gated behind rep = revered

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    1. Gah! I'm not a fan of the rep grinding on multiple toons for the awesome patterns. This is even worse since it requires you to level a time-consuming secondary profession in addition to the rep. Ouch! None of my Smith/Tailor/JC toons have Arch leveled currently. Only my Leatherworker, so of course no awesome LW recipe. [frown].

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    2. I thought I read that Lorewalkers rep came not just from arch but also from looking out for the "lore symbol here" symbol and clicking on it. or doing some story quests, getting something in the mail to send you to Cho and then doing dailies. It was not exactly clear.

      Currently WH shows buckle and mount as revered and the rest, as exalted.
      http://mop.wowhead.com/faction=1345/the-lorewalkers#items

      In a better world, one would prefer to get the rep with the LoreWalkers before doing arch since I shall be disappointed if I slog through arch and then get access to the lodestone and map.


      So it seems to me that MoP will require a huge amount of grinding on every crafting alt you have. Asian-MMO players will be saying "that's too much grinding"

      http://wow.joystiq.com/2012/08/01/the-light-and-how-to-swing-it-mists-reputations-for-retribution/
      shows that raiders will want to get rep with SP, K, AC, & GL factions. as well as the VP to buy stuff

      WH says SP sells BS, LW, JC plans and AC sells BS & LW plans so your BS would prefer SP, AC & LW rep.

      You may want to get rep/friendship with the cooking and the six Way cooking vendors (esp with token food > feast )
      You may want to get rep/friendship with the ten farmers union reps to get farm and start growing MoH
      You may want to go grind out many mobs to get SoH for your crafting recipes and dailies.

      At least now that trained pets can not be sold I won't be doing pet battles.

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  16. Oooh Desade that's bad news. Hope that doesn't make it in. There's no way I want to level Archeology for a third and fourth time on my tailor & smith. I like it even less than fishing. Maybe they'll be account bound?

    I got my first Pandaren rare solve listed the other day. It's for an umbrella. I haven't solved it since I'm not sure I can be bothered to get the number of fragments (I think it was like 140) on a beta.

    And Hagu/Kali, unless they changed this your archeology skill has always needed to be at the level of the expansion in order to receive dig sites there. You can only get Cata zone (80+) ones once you can learn Cata arch at 425, and same for BC and WotLK, at their corresponding spots.

    OT: Hagu sorry to hear you had really bad luck with the Vial. I have a friend who had the same experience, and he was miserable, but he did eventually get it.

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  17. Also OT: Looks like they fixed prospecting of Ghost Iron Ore to give MoP gems. I tested it a little on the beta last night, and got to 590 with no problem and no need to do anything crazy. I used <23 stacks of ore, and have quite a few gems left over at the moment. I think I could have maxed but I didn't learn a good gem recipe in my daily research and didn't feel like making a really useless gem.

    If you're planning on doing it soon, Kali, and want to compare notes, let me know.

    Interesting note that I'm not sure if people know and I just missed it, but I hadn't known: the JC gems (serpents eye) come from prospecting Ghost Iron ore instead of from a daily or anything.

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    1. I will probably save JC and Engineering for one of the last professions I cover since they have only been implemented in the lastest build. Just in case they make revisions! If you like, go ahead and send me any notes you've collected and I'll be sure to focus on those areas when I run through it. Four eyes are always better than two!!

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