Friday, September 17, 2010

Diggin’ the digging?

Are you planning to become an Archaeologist in Cataclysm? Apparently it’s not a “must-have” profession for min-maxers, but rather a little “something to do if you enjoy it”. Will you spend time on it anyway?

Not a Loremaster
I think I might, even if I at a first glance assumed that Archaeology wasn’t meant for me.

After all, the entire purpose of this profession is to dig up the past in order to enjoy pieces of lore and history, getting to know the story better. And that’s something I’ve never ever managed to become enthusiastic about before.

My lack of achievements in this area speaks loud and clear. While I’m a dedicated reader in real life, I haven’t read a single book of the ones that are on the list for “Well read”.

I’m not a Loremaster and I’ll never become one. Not just in the achievement sense - I’m thousands of quests away from title and I just can’t be bothered to care about completing all those versions of kill-ten-rats. But also in the sense that I find it hard to become engaged into the lore. God knows I’ve tried, even reading some really crappy WoW novels. But it just didn’t stuck with me. I suppose that I’m a bit like Ixobelle in this manner, that WoW is more like crack than like a book to me.

But after reading Ghostcrawler’s recently published beginner's guide of this profession, I must admit that I feel a little bit attracted to it.

A reason to explore
One reason to like archaeology is that it provides us with an incentive to get out from the city hubs and instance portals, to see the world and smell the flowers. The fact that there isn’t any competition for the spawned artefacts appeared a little strange when I first heard of it. If there isn’t any risk involved at all, won’t it become a tad boring? But thinking closer about it I imagine that it actually can feel like a blessing if you’re in a mood when all you want to is to relax.. A little bit like when you’re taking your fishing rod and heading for some distant water in Grizzly hills, just listening to the music and small talking with the bears. Sometimes you don’t want to push things, but rather slack a little bit and yet feel that you “do” something. And that’s what I think archaeology is for.

I’m not in the Beta myself, so my views on this are of course pure speculation and built on second-hand testimonies. From what I’ve seen, those who have tried it have mixed opinions about it – as always.

Player views
Here are two examples of player views in the forums. First from Branwynn, who is disappointed and doesn’t like it at all:

“3 items then the dig site despawns is just so annoying that I can't express howannoying it is. It seems like you spend a few minutes in one place, then it's off on a flight path to another place on the map where you spend less time doing the "fun" minigame than you took getting there.

It feels like annoying cross between Fishing and Mining. At least with fishing I can do it anywhere there is water (assuming I am skilled enough), with Archeology I get to wander around a site for a few moments then I have to fly far away.

So, It doesn't fill time while I am waiting for people (fishing) because I can't stay in one spot and do it. Also, I can't do it while questing as the dig sites are only in a few spots and unlikely to be in a spot where I am questing.

I really wish it was more like mining or the other gathering professions where there are items scattered around the map and I can use tracking to find the spawn. Then at least I can do it while questing and not have to do special archaeology grind runs.”

And now the point of view from Synandria, who enjoyed it so much that he or she couldn’t stop digging:

“Is it at all sad that I found Archaeology so interesting that I actually did not want to raid today on live?

I really enjoy this. I really do. I don't even care that everything I've made up to this point has been gray, something about it is just really interesting. I'm working on a Fossilized Hatchling and I'm stupidly excited for it.

It's a secondary profession, but it isn't like cooking or fishing or first aid - no, archaeology is actually fun and a great way to waste time, in my opinion.

[…] It's so simple, and so far has not rewarded me with anything of any value whatsoever, and yet, here I am at 3:30 in the morning, digging in Un'goro Crater so I can put together a vanity pet. I don't know why I find this as entertaining as I do. I just know that I really like it.

I am totally okay with criss-crossing the world and back digging up these artifacts since, hey, flying around, checking out the new world is a lot more productive than sitting in Org. I like that they're not spawned like mining or herbalism nodes, so nobody else can 'steal' your artifacts. I enjoy not having to compete with other people in the same area.. that was always one of the most frustrating parts of mining.

People who don't enjoy exploring probably won't enjoy this profession, but as it's a secondary profession that doesn't really offer any gamebreaking rewards, nobody's forcing them to do it. People who don't mind it, and people who are interested in lore and such, might enjoy it. I know I do. “

Items with a story
Well, optimist as I am (most of the time), I choose to go with the enthusiast. I’m definitely going to take up this profession and try it out for myself. The loot table presented at MMO champion with a few examples of what kind of treasures we can expect, made me drool a little bit. Even if I have trouble to care about the WoW lore as wholeness, I’ve always been suck a sucker for items that come with a story.

Just look at that mummified monkey paw, reminding me of some of the horror short stories I used to read, such as The Flayed Hand by Guy de Maupassant. It’s awesome!
Working on long-term projects to get this kind of items will definitely add a little bit of flavour to the game, and might even have a positive effect on my overall interest for the storyline, who knows?

They certainly seem to have great plans for this profession, designing it to be “easily expandable with much more content in the future patches. This sounds promising. Already as it is, archaeology appears to be way more complex and interesting than the other gathering professions. And it will only get better.

So my answer for now is: Yes! I think I’m going to dig the digging.

And now all that remains is to end this post with a traditional Friday night toast.

Cheers all! May you have a great weekend, either you spend it inside or outside Azeroth!


Shawndra said...

Thank you for posting that lovely review on the new profession! Regardless of whether everyone loved or hated it in beta, I would probably have picked it up because it's new and shiny. Now I will pick it up for more than that!

I guess it is kind of like how much I enjoy picking pockets with my rogue. I could go all day and get only grey flavor items and be happy, because it is so fun to see what is in their pockets! I look forward to that kind of excitement on my main character, carefully sifting through old garbage heaps and ashes looking for a small bone fragment. My priest will no longer be shoved aside for my casual pick pocket habit :)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for it. Once I get to 85 and start queuing for randoms, I plan on farming for the rep and mounts. I really want a scarab since I missed the AQ event since I was levelling a new main at the time.

Malevica said...

I think you nailed my feelings on Archaeology on your post. I love that there's no competition, and that it doesn't seem like it'll have any game-changing benefits that will apply too much pressure to max it out as soon as possible.

I can see why people might be frustrated that there's only three items per site, but on the other hand that keeps you moving around the continents rather than just grinding away in one area.

I tend to spend hours in game just fishing with some music or a movie playing, so why not go digging instead, and find some cool flavour items.

Redbeard said...

I am so all for Archaeology. It fits in perfectly with my non-WoW interest in History. Getting the chance to do something I'd always wished I could --namely, go on a dig somewhere-- I would love to see what Archaeology unfolds in game.

Gronthe said...

First, I love there there will be no competition for dig sites (like mining nodes, etc). I look forward to it because it doesn't affect the min/maxers gameplay, which means "at my own pace" will not net me any sort of loss.

Perhaps one thing I'd like to see is that currently, I think, the plan is to have 4 dig sites per continent at any one time. Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms are so large, perhaps make that number 8, and maybe 6 for Outalnds and Northrend. But as I've never done it yet on the beta, I don't know how close or far apart those sites are, so I could be suggesting something unnecessary.

Either way I'll be doing it, and anticipate it be a nice break and relaxation tool. At the same time I'm hoping to learn more lore and tales of interesting characters.

Texian said...

I didn't think I would be into the Archaeology at all when I first heard about it. But, now I think I'll send one of my characters of digging every so often. With the doldrums rolling on in the game for me lately, I started leveling some old characters, playing on different realms and just doing "stuff" that I haven't done much of in a long time. it's been a breath of fresh air for me as far as WoW is concerned and I think Arch. fits right in with all of that. I'm pretty sure that my raiding schedule in Cata is going to be a lot less intense than it was for WotLK. Partly because I will only be doing 10 mans, but also because I'm going to other things in the game this go around.

Michael said...

I was sold on Archeology from the beginning. When I first saw "the Explorer" title, I knew that's what I wanted for my main. I loved exploring Azeroth and I enjoy piecing things together so this is totally my sort of thing. I expect to be one of those people who pass up yet another alt raid to go digging instead.

Chadrassa said...

I was instaexcited the moment I heard about archaeology. Good that it is just for fun and not part of the min-maxing. *whew*


Anexxia said...

I'm looking forward to leveling archaeology, even without it having super uber rewards. I hope to obtain a pet from it, and am excited at the prospect of some little lore items and it feeding into my love for exploration.

It's like when I did the coin master in the Dalaran fountain -- I liked reading the coins and sharing them with guildies. They were fun little lore nuggets to chat about.

Anonymous said...

Reading the Warcraft novels has so enriched my enjoyment of the game, and believe it can do the same for you.

A few of the novels are not so good, and I'm always sad to hear when a WoW fan reads one of these books first and then becomes turned off from trying any others.

Below is a link to the best analysis and advice on reading the Warcraft novels (and other literature) that I've found. The article includes advice on what order the books should be read and which books can be skipped.

Tip: Read "Rise of the Horde" first, and you'll be hooked!

Here's the link:

Syl said...

I had no idea they removed the competition factor in this, but I think I'm actually happy about this. I'm not a big fan of gathering professions in general and I always found 'racing' for spawns and all the side-effects of this somewhat dull...
archeology sounds fun, I only wished they included some cosmetic enhancement goodies with that as well. I thought I read that a long time ago, but maybe it was just my wishful thinking.

Perdissa said...

Actually, the Monkey's Paw references another, more disturbing horror short story; where an old couple comes to own a monkey's paw which is supposed to grant them 3 wishes. In a very memorable way, they come to realize that you should be careful what you wish for, lest you get it.'s_Paw

But yeah, I'll definitely be finding time to do my digging!

Larísa said...

: Oh, pickpocketing! Yes, that’s about the only thing I really enjoy about my rogue. That and opening boxes and stealthing… A good reminder; I should bring her out and go on a pick-pocket round one of these days, when things are slowing down.

: I hope to do a bit of digging while levelling as well. But it depends on if there will be digging sites in the areas where I’m levelling, I haven’t figured that out yet.

: I think the digging actually seems a little more active and engaging than the fishing, that is just a “waiting for the splash” form of meditation. It seems to be relaxing and yet a little bit engaging at the same time.

: Actually archaeologist was one of the professions that I considered as a child. The other one? Astronaut! Heading for the extremes…

@Gronthe: What I haven’t yet understood is for how long those sites will be up. If you’ll have to hurry to dig them out before they disappear. Oh well, I’ll see it soon enough. Just a couple of months to go…

@Texian: As long as you don’t double your raiding, for instance raiding on one char for 25s and another for 10s, there should be room for some digging on the side.

@Michael: Every time I make those what-kind-of-player-are-you-tests, I end up with the same answer, that exploring is one of my major interests in the game. So yes, I think I too will enjoy this.

. Yep. That hand is lovely!

@Anexxia: I have a confession to make: I never did much of fishing in the Dalaran fountain, mostly due to the lag issues in the city. Maybe I missed something.

: I’ll check out those advice, thank you!

@Syl: Right now they seem to have given up on cosmetic enhancement goodies. The overcloaks they talked about so much… are they still around? My impression is that they aren’t. And after playing some LOTRO I must say that I think the lack of cosmetic enhancement is striking. Why can’t we dye our clothes? Maybe with some powder we found through our digging…

: you’re absolutely right of course. And I remember that story too. Regardless of which story it’s actually referring to, I get a lot of associations. The Adams family also comes to mind. The lose, free-walking hand has been used as a concept on several occasions.

Moonsword said...

This sounds pretty cool actually. I love the fact that the dig sites aren't competative!

Okrane S. said...

Beware all you archeologists.

I am going to CAMP archeology sites when Cata hits and GANK the hell out of all you happy grindy nerds!

You were warned! :)

boatorious said...

Too many professions consist of buying mats off the AH, running to the mailbox, running a third place to craft, pressing a button, then back to the AH, etc. WoW is dragons and raids and wonder -- crafting in WoW is just not very "WoW".

Archaeology has a little mini-game and gets you out exploring the game world. I don't think it's perfect but it will be fun and feel like WoW.

Chimpeh said...

Eventhough I'm not in the same boat when it comes to WoW lore I shared your initial thoughts on archeology.

I enjoyed the books that came out around Warcraft and always loved the campaigns in the Warcraft RTS games for the lore you'd get out of it.

On the other hand archeology seemed like it would be a pretty dull thing and I wasn't really sure how much I'd be tempted to try it out.

Your post really nudged me towards the "oo interesting" side of the spectrum and I'm quite looking forward to it now.

p.s. I guess I'm not the only one that's easily convinced by other people's optimism on a subject