Archaeology : Constructive Critique

Professions
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Archaeology has the potential to be such a rich and enjoyable profession, maybe more than the more streamlined crafting professions.

However, I strongly believe that Archaeology is a dangerous profession for the game, in that it highlights the nature of the RNG so much that it can make you snap. It can make you just take a step back, look at yourself and realise 'I'm spending hours and hours flying over old terrain for the remote chance of an epic that nobody else but me cares about. Screw this profession and screw this game.". I love WoW, but nothing has made me resent Cataclysm more than riding across Kalimdor for the 50th time and realising I've wasted all my time on getting another empty canopic jar.

Here are some of the flaws I feel need to be addressed for Archaeology in 5.0 :

1. A lack of sense of progression.
- In other professions I can 'work' to max level and then obtain recipes through more exciting means. (quests, raid drops, etc).
- In Arch, if I make a trash item, I have not progressed towards making an epic item, I've just wasted my time and maybe made some gold if I'm lucky. I do not feel closer down the road to getting my Bug Mount, I just feel angry at the game for making me do something so futile.
- If I could see that after making 20 trash items that I would be guaranteed SOMETHING interesting, the RNG would feel less punishing, and I would feel like all the trash pieces I collect contribute to my progression.
- For example, what if the trash pieces were actually 'pieces' of a greater machine, that reassembled 'Voltron' style into something more awesome? ie. If there was gnome archaeology, I might find cogs and springs that eventually I can assemble into 3 or 4 different gnome robots or machines.

2. A lack of any specialisation or choice.
- I am completely reliant on the RNG to grant me certain race drops.
- If I were really an archaeologist, I would specialise in an area of my interest!
- Let me choose to study the Tol'Vir, or the Night Elves, or the Orcs, and let that choice open up new items and knowledge, while limiting my ability to delve into other secrets.
- Choice is fun, RNG is not.

3. Using my Fragments for Dungeons
- When do I need buffs in heroic instances? At the start of an expansion.
- When am I least likely to want to waste my fragments on a dungeon buff? At the start of an expansion, when I have bucketloads of items to make.
- Let us use some of the trash we assemble in Arch to unlock Dungeon buffs. That way we feel like we've created something useful when we make trash, AND we can use it in a Dungeon without feeling like we're halting progression in our profession.
- i.e. If I'm doing a Panda instance and I've made a little jade statuette, let me then use it in a doorway in an instance to unlock a hidden room or a shortcut through some trash!

4. Lack of Dailies and Lore Filled Quests.
- Archaeology is a profession for those of us who love the world of Azeroth and it's history.
- If there was ever a profession dying for some lore-filled quests and some dailies to discover the world around us, this is it!
- What about a quest chain that requires archaeology trash as turn ins to progress?
- Brann Bronzebeard needs an amani sceptre to complete his research into troll history, but then discovers the sceptre is more than it seems! If only he had... such and such, etc etc.... oh no, the item is cursed, 1 man boss ensues... etc.

5. Excess time on travel.
- Most professions require time farming, and this is fine and a good way to extend the life of a game and prolong us burning through content.
- But if I want to make a certain potion, I know what zone to go to to get the herbs.
- Either let us travel more quickly across Azeroth, (which I think would lead to content consumption being to quick) or let us enter zones and SEARCH for Archaeology dig sites, rather than making us fly for 15 minutes while I doze off and hate myself for wanting a Mummy Hand so much.

What do people think?
Heh yeah, archaeology has been labeled that worst skill imo, my friend said it was alot worse than the insane grind b/c its was basically "rng in rng in an rng system" ex: Canopic Jar no light at the end of a tunnel no dailies, just buffs in dungeons

i'm on my 42 Canopic jar and still no sand recipe but w/e im not an alchemist but i still heard u can get it
I really don't get it ...I finished this prof weeks ago and still have not gotten the vials of sand. I have gotten the canopic jar 5 times!!!! All I get is a mummified organ...really? I have spent weeks beyond finishing the profession and still nothing. I am super frustrated.
I agree with you 100%. My herbalist never picks peace bloom; even my fishermen can target specific fish. It is aggrevating to have to wade through piles of worthless solves to have a shot at actually working toward something you want. I could care less about special dungeon buffs, but I would like artifacts that were actually useful. I still fondly remember how shocked I was to get the ring of the boy emperor. How exciting, an artifact I can actually use! I've said this before in other strings...I believe it even quotes Indiana Jones..."Most archeology is done in the library". I think it would be very cool to be able to target individual artifacts at 525. Would they ever make and" Indiana Jones and the Pile of Random, Worthless Crap" movie? Don't think so! Each quest chain would start in the library. I don't care how long the chains are, but I want to feel like I am working toward a goal. It would be nice if you could get some artifacts to sell on the way. You could include complete common artifacts as you dig for fragments similar to the way you find gems and volatiles when you mine. You could find quests for other artifacts too. Each artifact could lie at then end of an epic, lore and gore filled quest chain. Everyone would be doing them because you have a goal that means something to you. You picked it!
Yeah picking an artifact and working towards it sounds much more fun!
all of the professions have become lame. archaeology was a bone to fill your time after you pretty much finished all the questing. they seem more interested and content to pump out dungeon and raid content vs the details of story lining and psuedo factions like the mithril order.

everything is streamlined, which is a nicer description than saying theyre not interesting
in story lining and expanding actitivites. theyd rather reduce in game activities and pump out more patches and expacs.
01/02/2012 02:05 PMPosted by Ouchee
i'm on my 42 Canopic jar and still no sand recipe but w/e im not an alchemist but i still heard u can get it


Really? I figured you just get it on your first one if you're an alchemist like I did two days ago.
Here's what I think archeology should have been from the start, and could be if they spent a bit of time on it.

Let's start with dig sites.
Random dig sites are fine, meaning sites should be randomly selected from the sites you have available. When you clear a site, it'll be replaced by a different random site from the available pool. Further, you should have as many dig sites per continent as there are available races on that continent. In Outland, you should only have 2 sites available (since there's only two races). On EK, once you're at 375+ skill, you've got a potential for 5 random dig sites, but they could be 5 fossil or any combo of fossil/dwarf/troll/nerub/NE.

Next, the skill itself.
A lot of the idea of Cata was gated, not grindy. So, work with that for archeology. At 0 skill you should be limited to 1 site per day. Each rank skill you gain 1 more site per day. This means, at 75, you become a journeyman and you can dig 2 sites per day and so on. Once you've capped at 525 skill you can dig up to 8 sites per day.

Why would I suggest 1 site per day to start? Because it's nonsense that you dig 3 or 4 sites to find all the pieces of a single gold tusk (or whatever). When you start digging at a site, your project is determined and you're "locked in" on that site until you've completed the project. You get to keep digging at that site, at a rate of 1-3 fragments per spot, until you've completed whatever your project is. This makes it so you can pick up/put down arch depending on your time constraints, but makes you take the time to do a project rather than spending time AFK while flying site to site. Digging will get you 1 point per dig until skill 50 (just as now), common projects get you 5 skill and rares get you 15. This means that it will take you a while to skill up to full, but it will go at a faster pace as you increase your skill.

Another benefit of skilling up would be starting at 300 skill, you get to start focusing, and you can focus further at each successive rank.

What do I mean by focusing? I mean you get to "turn off" the sites for a selected race. Turning off a race also means you have one less random site, and one less site per day (for a minimum of one random site per continent). Basically, you're a skilled enough archeologist such that if you are interested in NE stuff, you can ignore some of the stuff that isn't NE. So (for instance), at 300 skill you decide you aren't interested in fossils, you get to uncheck the box for fossils, so if you go to dig in EK you'll only see a choice of 3 random sites (could be any combo of troll/dwarf/NE), and you'll only be able to dig 4 sites per day. If unchecking a race reduces your currently available sites below the number you should have, the "lost" sites are replaced by a random new site from the remaining pool. Turning off (or on) a race can only be done once per day (to prevent abuse).

This also means that they'd have to add more potential sites per continent for under-represented races. For instance, dwarf on Kalimdor would need more sites, since if you had max skill and wanted to focus on dwarfs, you'd only have the one site.

Peeps can work on what they want. RNG can be set to the appropriate level whether you're focusing or not, so that content enters the game at the rate Blizz decides is appropriate.

It also means there wouldn't be excess fragments stored for when new content is added, so while at the top skill you could focus on the race with the new items, you'd still only be doing a few digs a day, so you're not going to be able to just burn through to get the stuff immediately (unless you get lucky).

The combination of gating and RNG also means that it would take an "appropriate" amount of time so that there shouldn't be complaints of ez-mode epics since any rewards would be just as "easy" as maxing a rep or whatever.

This addresses several of your points:
1. A lack of sense of progression.
2. A lack of any specialisation or choice.
5. Excess time on travel.


To address your other concerns, I've got a different take.
3. Using my Fragments for Dungeons

How about all the grey items get turned in at a museum or whatever for tokens. With different values depending on the grey (so the ones that sell for 200g now would trade for 10 tokens, and the ones that sell for a pittance get 1 token).

The tokens would get you archeology specific items or vanity items, or just a sack of coins. For instance, icons for use for the dungeon buffs, or "ancient writings" for a race such that when you use them at a dig site before you start it boosts the chance of a rare item, or a map item that will give you an extra site for that day.

4. Lack of Dailies and Lore Filled Quests.

You can add in archeology dailies and quests. Either as you describe, or to provide tokens, There's loads of possibilities.
01/04/2012 10:50 AMPosted by Tiggindy
Further, you should have as many dig sites per continent as there are available races on that continent.

For the quick rundown of all continents:
Ka: NE, fossil, dwarf, troll, tol'vir = 5
EK: NE, fossil, dwarf, troll, nub = 5
OL: Orc, draenei = 2
NR: NE, troll, vrykul, nub = 4

So far, so good.

As for the focusing stuff: in Kalimdor, if you focus three and leave dwarf, you can guarantee five digs per day on what remains - and troll and tol'vir are both one-zone options on Kalimdor. Given the tol'vir loot table, that seems a bit OP, even if it takes 450+ archy to start on it.

(Edit to remove complicated math, as this result is the "optimal.")
As for the focusing stuff: in Kalimdor, if you focus three and leave dwarf, you can guarantee five digs per day on what remains - and troll and tol'vir are both one-zone options on Kalimdor. Given the tol'vir loot table, that seems a bit OP, even if it takes 450+ archy to start on it.

(Edit to remove complicated math, as this result is the "optimal.")

My idea of digging a single site until you complete the project should remove the travel time from the equation, since the travel time is simply bad design because it encourages peeps to be afk/tabbed out/watching a movie or whatever. Lowering the fragments per find replaces the travel time as the grind with playing hot/cold as the grind.

Further, with focus removing one of the random sites, if you focus to the point there's only a single race's sites available to you, you'll only see one random site at a time anyway. With travel time not being a factor, and the limited sites per day being the restriction causing the process to be gated not grindy, having all of a race's sites in a single zone is now acceptable. However, if you want to make peeps travel a bit, just because, I did comment on the diversity of sites:

"This also means that they'd have to add more potential sites per continent for under-represented races. For instance, dwarf on Kalimdor would need more sites, since if you had max skill and wanted to focus on dwarfs, you'd only have the one site."

There's no reason why Tol'vir should be single zone. They could (should) expand it into the AQ area that you can fly over and Silithus.

There's no reason why Troll should only be in Tanaris. Why not have troll sites in Durotar, or other places?

Similarly, you could either justify other dwarf locations or simply remove dwarf from Kalimdor.

There should be more than one spot for each race on a continent.

*edit* oop, I misunderstood. Yes, there should be more sites for the other races to prevent just the kind of thing you're suggesting. For Kalimdor, there should be at least 6 dwarf sites, and 6 troll sites. For EK, there should be at least 6 Nerub sites and 6 NE sites. Even if all 6 sites are in the same zone, it's still fine.
I know it's optional and I know there are plenty of other things to do in game but, unfortunately, the sheer frustration this profession invokes may be what causes me to quit WoW.

I have no problem with RNG(took me over 300 runs to get the Raven Lord, over 8000 fish to get my turtle mount, etc.), it's just the ridiculous compounding RNG of this profession combined with the crazy amount of travel time doing nothing that's so frustrating.

Every single step in this horrible profession(sorry, secondary skill /rollseyes) requires another random roll to occur:

-Which dig sites appear and where? /roll
-Which item are you completing next? /roll
-Where in the dig site will you find fragments? /roll
-How many fragments will you get? /roll
-Did I get any Heiroglyphs to help me solve faster? /roll

Painful to the extreme. Add to that people getting lucky and telling you the got such and such on their 5th, 10th, whatever solve and you're ready to strangle someone. I'm approaching my 250th Tol'vir solve with no pet, no mount. Do you know how frustrating it is to not be an alchemist and see Canopic Jar come up FIVE times in a row?!?! Don't even get me started on how rare it is to get Tol'vir Heiroglyphs these days.

I've watched 5 seasons of Doctor Who and all 7 of rescue me while flying all over hell and back collecting junk. At what point did a massive MULTIPLAYER game become a solo experience where you're not even paying attention to the game?

/endrant

My mains a mount collector so Ive been going for the fossilized raptor. I'm at 305 archeology and i think Ive only gotten 5 fossil dig sites the entire time. Ive been farming all the rare 1% drop chance mounts every day but i gave up on the raptor.
The raptor is cool but the battle tank for archeology is cooler...Eventually your "white whale" will come. Mine is Tyrande's Favorite doll... and the vial of Sand. Those are mythological items that don't seem to exist in Azoroth!
I would like to see more areas devoted to archaeology. While you could just use these areas as scenery you could also add individual stories to the ruins that you would progress through.
I also agree with Chigurh some form of group activities would be great maybe in the form of those world bosses that were supposed to come back.
I've heard countless suggestions from players that would improve archaeology and all thats been done in the year its been out has been a slight increase in the number of fragments you get from each site. I wouldn't hold out much hope.
01/05/2012 08:26 PMPosted by Evinca
I've heard countless suggestions from players that would improve archaeology and all thats been done in the year its been out has been a slight increase in the number of fragments you get from each site. I wouldn't hold out much hope.


That might be true, but I think the developers know that it's a problem, and I'm hoping that a bit of an overhaul or at least some modest improvements come into play with MoP.

The profession has so much potential!!!
The simplest fix that I can think of that would make Archaeology much more tolerable without having to completely revamp the system: Racial Mastery.

Talk to your archaeology trainer, and pick a race that you've already discovered to master. From then on, any digsite will have a chance of dropping fragments for that race in addition to the normal ones.

For example, lets say my Alchemist wants to work on getting the Vial of Sands recipe, so she picks to be a Tol'vir Master. Fly out to a Night Elf dig site, and have say a 30% chance of getting 1-3 Tol'vir fragments as well as the standard number of Nelf fragments.

That way, even if I've got every single Nelf artifact in the game, I still have a good reason to dig in Nelf sites other than to just make them go away hoping a Tol'vir will spawn instead.

When you're done, just go back to your trainer and pick a different race to master in.
RNG needs to stop. Working towards different items would the be the best way to go, then you wouldn't have poeple getting a 359 weapon on their 400 tol'vir solve when they can walk into dragonsoul and be handed one. Or other items that are completely useless like a shield for a character I will never have. BTW for people trying for the recipe. Its a RNG just to get the dig to pop, then its RNG to see if you get the jar, and then yet again its RNG for the vials recipe.
Blizzard, please pick a different dead horse...and fix this profession. You have people in the thousands of solves and still frustrated...how is that a fun game?
01/02/2012 02:05 PMPosted by Ouchee
i'm on my 42 Canopic jar and still no sand recipe but w/e im not an alchemist but i still heard u can get it

you have heard wrong my friend. you MUST be an alchemist in order for that recipe to drop. although i have heard different reports at what skill level your alchemy must be in order to get it.


01/04/2012 09:22 AMPosted by Trixxis
Really? I figured you just get it on your first one if you're an alchemist like I did two days ago.

please dont gloat about you being one of the few that has obtained this so quickly. for many, it is a fustrating and demoralizing grind that can be very discouraging to players in fulfilling this goal.
The simplest fix that I can think of that would make Archaeology much more tolerable without having to completely revamp the system: Racial Mastery.

Talk to your archaeology trainer, and pick a race that you've already discovered to master. From then on, any digsite will have a chance of dropping fragments for that race in addition to the normal ones.

For example, lets say my Alchemist wants to work on getting the Vial of Sands recipe, so she picks to be a Tol'vir Master. Fly out to a Night Elf dig site, and have say a 30% chance of getting 1-3 Tol'vir fragments as well as the standard number of Nelf fragments.

That way, even if I've got every single Nelf artifact in the game, I still have a good reason to dig in Nelf sites other than to just make them go away hoping a Tol'vir will spawn instead.

When you're done, just go back to your trainer and pick a different race to master in.


I like the simplicity of your suggestion, although personally I think I'd still get frustrated and bored, but it's a great start.

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