Saturday, December 3, 2011

Things They Should Do to Fix Archaeology

Even if you look through the scope,
you won't find any fun.
Ah, Archaeology, one of the least satisfying things to do in WoW. Patch 4.3 came recently and brought with it a change in the number of pieces one may unearth at any particular digsite from 3-6 to 5-12 and ... that's not much of a change at all.

Archaeology had a lot of potential. Potential that got buried in the sand, thanks to the tediousness of the operations of doing this profession, which was basically a non-starter.  The patch fix earlier this month was a quick simple adjustment that the developers could tweak with about 14 seconds of effort. Changing one variable makes a significant difference in how long we go digging, and yet, it doesn't make archaeology really any more fun.

There needs to be a overhaul that includes the following:

A Smaller Junk:Treasure ratio
Apart from new mounts and pets, I have yet to find anything with archaeology that is really worth keeping.  I have found a number of low-level epic weapons and pieces of gear that I would use if I had an alt in the right range with the right class and specc. But I don't. I can't give them to anyone who does either. I may as well stick these items back in the ground.

Even the blue toys I found... I was looking at those this week trying to decide if I should put them in void storage or just throw them away.  Most of them were amusing for a few seconds but none of them were anything so incredible that I was going to haul them around. Although these items are "rare" their resale value is non-existent as well.

Blizzard is continually saying how they don't want professions to have any profound effect on endgame performance, but they seem to be flying through interesting toy concepts too quickly. More mounts? I coulda sworn I read Ghostcrawler say that they were running out of ideas for new mounts. What else is left?

So, with so little really worth holding onto in the entire archaeological oeuvre, shouldn't that be changed?

The two exceptions I can think of for items that I really wanted to acquire from archaeology were Tyrande's Favorite Doll and the recipe for the Vial of the Sands. And after most of a year of doing archaeology, I have seen neither hide nor hair of either. Neither are useful anymore either.  Tyrande's doll would have been nice around the time I hit level cap but I can't use it now.  The recipe is redundant as well.  I really never had much of a chance to focus on trying to obtain these items though, because...

There Must Be a Way to Specialize in a Particular Field of Archaeology
If I wanted to utterly shoot for Tyrande's doll, because it was a good catch for a limited period of time (like, until Patch 4.2), I should have been able to do that. And especially if I wanted the recipe for the vial, I needed some way to concentrate on that. Tol'vir archaeology is officially the worst, constrained to one zone in a continent full of troll and elf junk.

Even real-world archaeologists have to specialize in what they are looking for. They can't all be a globe-trotting Indiana Jones looking for the the most ridiculous things. WoW-diggers need the same basis for focus.

Decrease the Size of the Dig Fields
For some reason these are particularly hideous in Outlands. Auchindoun digs make me want to spit nails the most. But there are some dig fields that are just huge and fairly impossible to navigate without a flying mount.  There is no need for that.

Really, this is probably the most inconvenient aspect of the profession. Navigating significant chunks of land in search of junk, and potentially dueling it out with wandering trash stops being fun after the second or third time.

I'm rather fond of the Zul'Farak digsite in Tanaris which is located in a neatly-bounded area. While you have to poke around the walls, you don't really have to cover any distance and you wouldn't consider needing to mount up.  I utterly loathe the Twin Spires Digsite in South Central Zangarmarsh which seems to stretch in a long oval, two-thirds of the way across the map.

"This Belongs in a Museum!"
Nobody ever said this was going to happen, but I remember back in Cataclysm beta bringing a load of relics to the Explorer's League HQ in Ironforge, hoping that there was some new archaeology NPC who was going to accept my relic, praise me for my find, and offer me the cash sum associated with the piece.  I wandered around the halls clicking on one NPC after another and none of them had anything to say to me.

It was with some actual sadness and disappointment that I took those relics back around to the front of IF and clicked them off to the same vendor who usually repairs my armor.

This is a disappointment to the end of the archaeology experience: that you build these relics, put them together, and then basically just dump them off at the closest vendor. I can imagine a lot of players getting uppity about being compelled to bring their relics to some place special to get their goldz, but there could be a lot more satisfying results to this sort of thing.

What if there was a special appraiser in the libarry of Stormwind Keep and the Explorer's League in Ironforge who would view your find and have a chance to explode with, "WOW! This is incredible! The Explorer's League humbly offers a much larger sum than usual for a find of this magnitude!"  Wouldn't that be kinda fun? The people who don't care (probably don't really do archaeology in the first place) can just toss their relics off at the armorers, and anybody who does can get a shot at that proverbial fortune and glory.

Harrison Jones Needs to Retire
He wore out his welcome in Uldum. The fact that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out a few years ago and tarnished all my fond memories of pop culture's pre-eminent archaeologist certainly didn't help. More than anything else, I want Indiana Jones and every homage to him to stop doing stupid crap like what Harrison Jones did up and down the length of what was otherwise a gorgeous and engaging zone in WoW. This may mean that George Lucas has to be put down. It certainly means that Blizzard's quest team should avoid this character like the plague. Somebody should have looked at the "script" for Uldum and said no, and Blizzard should hang its head in shame for having failed in this level of quality control.

Please, No Goddamn Panda Relics
I know this is probably a hopeless request, but I'm still just put off by Pandarens and I don't expect being compelled to dig up their inevitably Chinese-flavored historical relics is going to help much. "The Art of Warrioring" by Panda Tzu? I'm afraid that one is probably inevitable.

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