I’ve spent a fair bit of time this expansion doing nothing but flying around and digging in the dirt. In fact, there have been entire weekends when I’ll sit down in front of an NCIS marathon on TV and dig for hours on end…every day. I have dug until I have found myself literally asleep at the keyboard and putting myself to bed. Every so often I’ll come to my senses and say “fuck this bullshit” and give up on Archeology. I think of all the time wasted, and all of the fun things I’d rather be doing – like washing my hair.
I’m sure there is someone out there reading that is thinking “if you hate it, why do you even do it”. Well, I’m glad you asked (even if it was internal!). I first started doing Archeology because one of our early Best in Slot trinkets, Tyrande’s Favorite Doll, came from the profession. And as a raider, who wants to be as prepared as possible for content, I felt obligated to go farm the damn thing. And so I dug and dug and dug. Lo and behold, my last Night Elf discovery was Tyrande’s damn doll. I wore that doll up until I got my Shard of Woe, it was that good. In our early raids (before druids got buffed), I was getting enviable amounts of mana return from that one trinket.
I suppose I could say it was “worth it” – but the fun factor was pretty much in the red. Every time I came across a dig site that wasn’t Night Elf I was more frustrated with how I was having to waste my valuable time flying all the way down to Tanaris and Un’goro, only to have to make the five plus minute flight back north for the Night Elf site that would spawn next. Sure, I made use of things like Jaina’s Locket (fast trip to Tanaris every hour) and Teleport:Moonglade. But that only made things mildly less tedious.
So why do I still dabble in Archeology? Well, you see, I’m an avid pet collector. I have something like 184 of them. I really enjoy these little critters that join me on all of my adventures and make me giggle from time to time. And I want to collect them all. So that means torturing myself with Archeology. I have the fossil pets, I have the troll pets, I even have the damn dwarf pet (solely from that ONE dwarf dig on Kalimdor…that should tell you how much shit I’ve dug up on that continent). But one pet still alludes me.
The Crawling Claw.
I have done something like 164 Tol’vir solves and I have yet to see this “find” pop up after a solve. I’ve got enough ancient Tol’vir masterpieces to curate a museum. I have enough Scandalous Silk Nightgowns to open an Azshara’s Secret. I’ve gotten enough gold filled teeth to make a set of dentures for Sen’jin himself. And yet I still do not have a crawling claw.
And the same frustrations that I felt farming the Doll still plague me…only worse, because I still probably get 10 NE digs to every one Tol’vir dig that I have. And what makes this even more sad is that they have supposedly changed it so that if you have completed all of the solves for one race you have a greater chance of getting one of the other race’s digs. I call bullshit on this – just ask me how many times over the past few months the entirety of my Kalimdor digs available are all Night Elf. And I completed all 7 Night Elf artifacts in the first month of the expansion.
So, I spend countless hours flying north, then south again, then going “well, flying south for ONE Tol’vir dig seems wasteful – I may as well just stay up here and clear all of these worthless digs out”. Every time yet another Night Elf dig spawns, it’s demoralizing. Every time I complete a Tol’vir solve and yet another castle of sand pops up I want to stomp through it like Uldum’s version of Godzilla. RAWR!
Since I’ve had a year of wasting my time with Archeology, and since it’s so damn not engaging, I’ve had a lot of time to think about how Archeology could have been great, or how it could still be improved.
How To Improve Archeology
- *uses best Ghostcrawler Blizzcon voice* Archeology – GONE! (hah – I crack myself up).
- Ok, seriously. Fixing archeology is such a simple fix. It’s completely mind-boggling that it hasn’t been done yet. LET PEOPLE SELECT WHAT RACE THEY’D LIKE TO DIG AND ONLY OFFER DIGS OF THAT RACE UNTIL THEY SELECT A DIFFERENT RACE.
I mean, let’s think about this a bit. In the real world when archeologists are looking for artifacts, they aren’t jet setting to timbuktu every other second. Rather, they are focused on one area – one dig site (or maybe several in a given area) and they focus their efforts on that one archeological find. They don’t jump from Egypt to Death Valley to Sibera and start simultaneous excavations at all of those places.
Rather, they spend years researching something. Then they spend even more years putting together grant requests and acquiring funding for an expedition. And then they spend additional time just to get approval to dig in the spot that they want to dig from any number of governments and organizations. You aren’t likely to have an Egyptologist doing a paleontologists work. Each person studies and specializes.
Now, I’m not saying that archeology in a video game should exactly mirror archeology in the real world, I mean if that were the case nothing would ever get done! But I do think that they could take a few things from it, like specializations.
Hell, let’s even take that one step further! I mean, one of my biggest complaints about Archeology is that it doesn’t really engage or immerse the player – what if they added quests to let you specialize your dig efforts? What if you were required to complete quest X to gain permissions to dig in Uldum, and quest Y to dig up fossils? And the you got to pick where you wanted to dig! Imagine the great story line and lore possibilities that could be opened up from a completely dull and mundane task that would rather have people slamming their hands in a door than undertaking.
Look out now! It might make Archeology *gasp* fun!
So, what about you? Do you wast…er participate in Archeology? How would you improve it as a profession?