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Join Date: Jun 2012
Archaeology Overhaul Idea (lengthy post)
The secondary profession everyone loves to hate has been subject to many brainstorms and ideas or even fixes. This proposal will offer fixes for some of the main complaints with the profession but also maintain some of the important and liked aspects of the profession. The following suggestions will be categorized.
Digsites: While questing amongst the ancient ruins about Ashenvale forest on my Night Elf, I asked myself “I see all these ruins, why can't I just stick my pick in the ground and see what comes out of it?” No different from any given body of water is for fishing, Archaeology should take a similar approach, but rather than bodies of water, observant players with be able to survey and excavate any ruins for the artifacts of their respective race or streambeds and cliffs for fossils, for example. One of the biggest and most disjointed concepts in archaeology currently is the fragment/randomly assigned digsite system. It makes no sense from any perspective to begin with, but whats worse is it has no consistency. My proposal would scrap this system entirely. Rather than randomly assigned sites, with fragments to piece together (you wouldn't piece together a single ancient elven glaive from pieces of a glaive you find in Feralas, Ashenvale and Hyjal, would you?) zones have loot tables assigned to them, gated not by player level directly, but rather by the skill level of the archaeologist. A novice archaeologist won't have the eye, skills, or tact a well experienced one has in the field and the relation with what is found can be tied to that.
Here's a theoretical zone-loot table, based on skill for Ashenvale Forest (zone).
Small Stash of Silver Coins (5-20s)
Ancient Kal'dorei Pottery shards
Nightsaber Claw Necklace
Carved Wooden Beads
Carved Stone Owl
Polished Obsidian Ring
Silver Elune Pendant
Large Stash of Silver Coins (30-80s)
Carved Wooden Map (Quest Item) Starts a quest with turn in to Explorer's League/Reliquary for a sizeable reward. The map shows the post-sundering Night Elf world, with Nordrassil at its center.
Etc. Similar quest items from all sorts of dig sites at this level function similarly and rewards the player with the ability to “speculate” where a cache might be (basically allows Caches to show up on the mini map)
Elven Filagree (crafting material)
Small stash of Gold Coins (2-5g)
Kal'dorei Moonstone (crafting material)
Ancient Mithril Spearpoints
[Plans: Night Elven Warglaive] A BoE pattern for a blacksmith to craft a dual-bladed Warglaive which can be used by lower level, utilising level specific materials and archaeology mats and transmogged.
Druidic Runestone (Quest Item) that can start a small, lore-based quest within Ashenvale tied in with digging at specific sites within the zone (or other zones) to uncover related quest items with a BoA, a unique flavour item, or crafting pattern as a final reward (undecided)
Night Elf Warfeathers (crafting material)
Leather Hippogryph Harness
Scandalous Silk Nightgown
Truesilver Body Jewelry
[Pattern: Sentinel's War Kilt] A BoE pattern for a leatherworker to craft a purely transmog item which resembles the stylised leggings worn by night elf sentinels in artwork, utilizing Night Elf Warfeathers, Kal'dorei Moonstone and Filagree. Counts as Cloth, Leather, Mail and Plate for transmog purposes.
Large Stash of Gold Coins (10-20g)
Silver Scroll Case
Ritual Tattoo Needles
Ancient Dragon-sinew Bowstring (crafting material)
Exotic Preserved Bowsplint (crafting material)
Highborne Gyroscope (crafting material)
Emerald Signet Ring
Ornate Music Box
Small Horde of Gold Coins (25-35g)
Ancient Elven Pocketwatch (Quest Item): Starts a small turn in quest to Explorer's League or Reliquary (Alliance/Horde respectively) for a reward. Expanding the knowledge of just how sophisticated Elven technology is.
[Schematic: Sentinel's Moonbow] A BoE Engineering pattern for a level 61 bow with an ilvl equivalent to a tier 5 level 70 weapon using listed mats and hardened adamantite and knothide leather. A unique weapon skin that can also be used for transmog.
Moon Orb (Crafting material)
Pristine Mooncloth Bolt (Crafting material)
Large Horde of Gold Coins (40-60g)
Elven Music Box
Gilded Silk Robe
Wisp Amulet (Quest Item): Starts a small quest in Ashenvale where the finder visits the Shrine of Aessina and captures a wisp, rewarding them with the amulet that functions, unchanged from the current one.
[Pattern: Mooncloth Gown] A BoE Tailoring pattern for a level 71 cloth robe with an ilvl of 232 requiring the mats listed above, Moonshroud and Eternal Water and Life. Resembles, but doesn't 100% match Tyrande Whisperwind's outfit. Good for use and transmog.
Differential Clock (Quest Item): Starts a turn in for a sizable reward to the Silver Covenant (Alliance) or the Sunreavers (Horde).
Ironwood Frame (Crafting Material)
Moonsteel Ingot (Crafting Material)
Huge Horde of Gold Coins (75-100g)
Burning Fel Ember (Quest Item): Found only in Demon-tainted areas of Ashenvale it starts a quest where you take Ember to Grom Hellscream's Memorial and stomp it out. The Spirit of Grom appears before you and offers you a flavour item boon which allows you to evoke Hellscream's Rage, cosmetically increasing your size and making your eyes glow fierce, fiery red.
Tyrande's Favourite Doll (Quest Item): Starts a small turn in quest with a turn-in at Neutral Moonglade which sees the High Priestess' favourite doll is returned to her and you, the finder, are rewarded a trinket which functions the same as current one but not so “unique”.
Ancient Jeweler's Addendum (BoE Quest Item) Written on severely deteriorated paper appears to be a lost jeweler's technique. Turn it in to (Night Elven Quest turn in at Moonglade) and receive the recipe “Polished Nordrassil Amber Cabochon”.
Haunted Pendant (Quest Item): This ornate Night Elven jewelry piece has attracted a presence to you. A Fallen Sentinel's spirit approaches you with a desperate request to allow her spirit to transition. Fill a crystal vial with waters from the Moonwell of Cleansing, and bless the ground where the Sentinel fell to bring peace and solace to her lost spirit. Her pendant will allow you to take on the visage of a ghostly Sentinel for 20 minutes.
Kal'dorei Manuscripts (flavour item depicting recorded history of the Night Elves lost amongst various ruins in Ashenvale over the millennia)
Sparkling Eye of Elune (Crafting Material)
Woven Truegold Cloth (Crafting Material)
Massive Horde of Gold Coins (120-150g)
Ornate Prayer Wheel
Kal'dorei Incense (flavour item which grants a purely cosmetic buff of being at ease and in feeling cleansed)
Rotting Satyr Skull (Quest Item), this creepy Satyr Skull is uncovered in the Legion tainted areas of Ashenvale can be turned in to a summonable Satyr (using the item) in Night Run who rewards you with a Cursed Satyr Eye flavour item. Peering into the eye will allow you to take on the form of a Satyr for 10 minutes.
[Pattern: Sentinel's Feathered Pauldrons] A BoE pattern for a leatherworker to craft a purely transmog item which resembles the stylised feathered shoulder armour worn by night elf sentinels in artwork. Utilises old and new archaeology materials to craft. Counts as Cloth, Leather, Mail or Plate for transmog purposes.
Ancient Astronomical Telescope (Quest Item): This precision instrument for astronomical observation predates the War of the Ancients and demonstrates the level of ingenuity, craftsmanship, and curiosity of the Night Elven people, designing and creating instruments to gaze up towards the heavens and peer into the Great Dark Beyond. The Archaeologists of the Explorer's League/Reliquary would pay a fortune for it.
Nightmare-Shrouded Armour (Quest Item): This item can only found excavating around the Dream Portals in Azeroth, with a 1% drop chance for the initial quest item. It leads you on an lore-steeped quest line to uncover various Green Dragonflight artifacts from the 3 other Dream Portals on Azeroth. Upon obtaining these Artifacts, the intrepid Archaeologist will turn the quest in to Ysera in Hyjal, then enter to Dream, by themselves, to battle and subdue a Nightmare drake. The fight difficulty will be on par with the first tier fight for the legendary dagger questline, not difficult but enough to give an inexperienced or perhaps overzealous player a corpse run. The Drake will then be purified by the Dreamer and the reward will be Reins of the Emerald Drake, a Green Drake with a similar runed/armour scheme to the Azure Drake, but Deep Green in colour.
Sounds interesting, yes? A bit more adventure behind the discovery, it takes Archaeology out from a time sink and makes it something more interesting, something people don't just do to fill time, but do because they have something to look forward to. BoE class quests, faction and race specific quests could also be added for additional flavour, offering things from simple XP and expanded knowledge of the Warcraft story to cool, unique, and desirable items to be obtained by players of all levels. So how will this work?
Loot Drops and Breakdown:
I say drops but what I really mean is that “archaeology find”. Rather than be a race specific find, it will just be a “find” a sparkling mound of dirt. It will behave much like a treasure chest. Most of the time you will find mundane things, stuff to vendor etc. and most of the time it will be one item at a time. But because digsites in the real world can yield nothing or a treasure trove all in one spot, there is a chance that you can find numerous items in one uncovered dig. There won't be any null digs ever, but if you are a 350 Archaeologist excavating a ruin in the Nightsong Forest, there is a chance your digsite could yield just an Obsidian Arrowhead or it could yield a Small Horde of Gold coins, a schematic of the Sentinel's Moonbow and two of the mats for it.
Finding Gold? In Archaeology?
Yes, the incentive is a simple one, in addition to artifacts of varying values, money stashes aren't extraordinary. The coins perhaps might be ancient, and not regional currency any more, but in Azeroth gold is gold, silver is silver. Numismatic values need to be squabbled over.
Will leveling up bump you out of obsolete finds?
No, it won't, older “archaeology mats” unlike older crafting profession materials will continue to be useful to several patterns for flavour gear and thus need to continue being found. Since the step up comes from the bottom to the top, it will not have an effect on the drop rates of newer rares unlocked at higher levels of difficulty.
So how will these quests work as opposed to just making the item with fragments?
Simple, it introduces lore to the items beyond a small blurb. It adds a bit of 'pursuit' to the profession and can bolster quest tallies for loremaster/seeker. Quest items are unique and once they've been turned in they will no longer turn up again by the character who turned it in, regardless of whether or not they found it (in the case of BoE quests). For multi-find quests, finding the first rare item to start you on the quest has a standard drop rate of between 1-2% but the successive items, while on the quest and digging in specific areas as instructed, will have a 20-25% chance to be found. This prevents excessive doubling up on RNG and also just makes more sense. You've uncovered a map to other treasure sites, with instructions where it should be, so it shouldn't take you an equally long time to find it.
What will become of keystones?
Convert them into grey artifacts with gold values associated with them.
How will we know what we will find when digging randomly?
Well, you will have a hunch based on where you are and what you're actually digging in, but you really won't know entirely unless you've gone over the zone drop tables ad nauseum. There should be a lot of unique items added with respect to zones. While the Troll artifacts from North and South Stranglethorn can be mostly the same, representing Gurubashi tribes and the like, they shouldn't be the same things found in Amani territory. Gone will be “race specific” archaeology projects, but rather zone and site specific artifacts related to where you dig. Digging in Quel'thalas and High/Blood Elven Lands near the Plaguelands and Hinterlands for example, should offer you a chance to find High Elven artifacts, not things crudely assigned with Night Elf Archaeology. Each zone will have a set of rares, some more specifically tied to specific subzones. It is a bit more complex, but when you stand back and see you're allowed to go wherever you want and start digging, with few exceptions (capital cities, roads, starting zones etc.) it isn't so bad. Additionally, through an early turn in quest, like that wooden map mentioned earlier or analogs, the ability to give players to ability to sense where “caches” may be (similar to fish finder works to find schools of fish), offering increased chances to find a rare or just extra stuff. Still somethings won't be completely limited to a zone. Some of the examples of crafting mats I listed will also be found in Night Elf sites in Hyjal, Feralas, Barrens, Azshara and Winterspring, but more specific items, like patterns, and quest items will be limited to the zone and even subzone they are found in.
Still, part of the fun is just not knowing for sure what you will find until you dig something up. At the player end this adds a sense of mystery. Say, if you're digging around Night Elf ruins in Feralas or Ashenvale, you'll be finding Night Elf stuff, but if you're digging around the Elven ruins in the Barrens you could be finding Tauren stuff too. Just as in the real world, newer artifacts of the more recent inhabitants and older ones from the ancient inhabitants can occupy the same area. Keeping it from being ridiculous is not too difficult; you won't find ancient Orc artifacts amongst the ruins of Dire Maul, but you may find them mixed in with newer Draenei ones in certain places in Outland. This part is entirely up to the cdev to “get right” as there is great potential but also potential disaster, never the less its worth the “risk”.
Race-Specific Transmog Crafted Gear:
This is an additional facet of fun and customisation for RP'ers, but race- and will transcend all armour types however the look will be more indicative of a specific “class/classes” as seen in art, shown in parentheses. This is what I have so far:
Human: Royal Arathor Armour
Take on the appearance of the noble and ancient Human Kings of Arathor (Warrior, Paladin)
Night Elf: Sentinel's Battlegear
Take on the appearance of a fearless and agile Night Elf Sentinel (Warrior, Hunter)
Dwarf: Mountain King's Garb
Take on the appearance of a stalwart and mighty Dwarven Mountain King (Warrior, Paladin)
Orc: Blademaster's Trappings
Take on the appearance of a disciplined and deadly Orc Blademaster (Warrior, Monk)
Troll: Shadow Hunter's Spiritward
Take on the appearance of a ruthless and cunning Troll Shadow Hunter (Hunter, Shaman)
Tauren: Runemaster's Tribal Regalia
Take on the appearance of a wise and powerful Tauren Runemaster (Shaman, Priest)
Some help with Goblin, Gnome, Forsaken, Worgen, Blood Elves and Draenei would be most appreciated.
Conclusion: I feel this archetype allows for further customisation, not only for the profession but for the game. It will also truly get people out in the world, by offering quests, and giving two players potentially pursuing the same thing contact with each other without stepping on each others toes. Racial and class specific quests as well as easy lore explanations make It desirable but also make it a lot more fun. Discovery, thrill and adventure is the point of the game and Archaeology. It's too disjointed, impersonal, and redundant currently, Im confident these such changes can fix it. Feedback and additional ideas are always welcome!
I have a much easier and faster way to fix archeology.
Specialisations. You learn different specialisations from different trainers around the world, and once learned, you can set that specialisation as active in the arch. panel. Once it's active, you find more pieces for that branch, and have a greater chance of a digsite from that branch. That way you can concentrate on doing Tol'vir stuff, without having to do 200 Night Elf digsites between two Tol'vir ones.
Only by working together, can we succeed.
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: DC, U.S.
While many of your ideas make sense, you have to remember that there's a limit to the game developer's time in recreating the system. Specifically, all those items and their triggers/associations have to be coded in. While it may seem like a simple jump to you, the reality is scrapping and changing code drastically is a huge problem alone, much less adding multiple new layers to it.
With that said, down to your overall system. I don't agree that everything should be zone related. While you're right, Ashenvale and Feralas should produce different artifacts, sequestering it to zones is too much of a workload for the devs as well as too specific for users who want to access content over multiple levels (10-15). Instead I'd suggest you go for regions (Southern EK, Hyjal and its foothills, etc). This allows players extra time to search for items as well as unifying the idea that these groups weren't relegated to only one singular zone.
As to your suggestion on item drops triggering a hunt for the full piece, while that is a good idea, I don't believe it should be quite as easy as that. This is to say, while that works for notable items (green), rares (blue) should be what ties zones into regions. A rare item should have a story to it, not just a random chance to spawn, and thus having a mini-quest or event occur when you're on the hunt for the pieces is more likely to give it the proper flavor. By that same token, epic items should be true quest items, where obtaining it becomes a serious challenge and really gives that piece a sense of value.
One thing that gives a lot of archaeology its humor, and something I don't think Blizz has experience with, is the environment that an archaeologist lives in. From stopping grave robbers skulking around your site to paying locals to let you in (or give you medicine for that fun disease you picked up), archaeology's excitement isn't in just the items you find, but (like Lara Croft) the danger you get into finding them. Archaeology is just as much dealing with modern culture as it is discovering specimens. Even further, it's restoring these specimens to museum quality, sparing them from more damage while also allowing people to see the results of their labor.
To put that last part another way, leveling up archaeology doesn't just have to be in the field. Having the Explorer's League actively fill their museum with your specimens or helping them out in "carefully" restoring an old item can liven up the profession just as much as revamping how you find the items.
Rationalizing the irrational since 2005.
Join Date: Jun 2012
Thanks for the feedback