I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more like a dwarf, at least the Disney version, then when archeology hit. “We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig from early morn till night.” (Make it stop – please!) But, in truth, I’m fairly happy with what the devs at Blizz have come up with. Just a few comments, complaints, and ideas for the future.
The mechanics of archeology are pretty simple, and easy to understand. The vector and an approximate distance is given, and you move along until your detector fine tunes into the position. Making the fragements a currency, and the keystones bankable, you essentally allow a person to pick up pieces as they go along. Unlike the planned Path of the Titans, you’re really not required to do the large amount of legwork required to progress your character. As a person with multiple alts, I can thank the heavens that it wasn’t designed as another, awful rep grind that each of my characters would be required to complete. (Shoulder enchants leap to my mind.) Another plus is that some of the items (trinkets, vanity pets, and mounts) are absolutely fun to play around with. The Innkeeper’s Daughter leaps to mind.
There are a few issues at hand, however, that could be fixed to make archeology more useful, and perhaps make the profession worth leveling on more than one character. First, there is a death of epics outside of caster gear at level 85. There are a couple of swords, but nothing that a hunter, rogue, or shaman would use. In fact, there seems to be little at any level that benefits other than casters. The other major issue, in my opinion, is that the leveling process doesn’t seem to scale well with leveling a character. Leveling to 75 should contain at least 1 starting zone, and nothing outside of the early zones for the character, more should be added at 150, 225, etc. This would allow one to more properly level archeology while leveling your character. Making some of the zones less dense in mobs would also allow a player to work his way up the ladder.
The only major improvement, outside of more zones earlier, would be the introduction of level-appropriate gear on a turn-in basis. Allow both the Alliance and Horde a vendor that would take artifacts – cash for common, and more cash for uncommon artifacts. Rare and epic items would turn in for a selectable, level-appropriate item (for example, a rare item found at level 50 would equate to gear for level 18-20 players). Perhaps even a scene where the item was turned in to the museum curator who would comment “this will have a place of honor in our Troll Collection.” The gear could come in the mail in 30 minutes to an hour later, much like the bags of gear given to random dungeon runs.
All in all, Archeology is a fun little diversion, but with a little tweaking it could turn into something that properly rewarded all players who engaged in it, and helped those lower level characters who made the effort a little more.