Wow. OK, a lot of people care about archaeology, or at least about improving archaeology. Last week's OverAchiever, How archaeology could get a lot worse (and why we hope it won't), spurred a ton of discussion and was kindly linked on the forums as well.
Players wrote in with a lot of their own suggestions, criticisms, and comments, and a lot of them were so good that I honestly felt that WoW's most widely despised profession probably merited another look with those in mind.
A lot of people suggested this or something similar to it. I'm not sure I'm on board with the idea of random artifacts dropping from any given dig -- it doesn't make much in-universe sense to run across, say, vrykul axes in ancient night elf ruins -- but there's something both attractive and sensible about choosing to become an expert on a particular race, even if briefly. Maybe being a master of a particular race could allow more pieces to drop per dig site or give you an increased chance to get keystones and dig site spawns?
Edymnion How about allowing you to pick a "Race Mastery" (like alchemists can pick potion/elixir/transmutation mastery), where you choose to specialize in one race, and you get a chance of having that race's artifacts drop from any dig?
Advantages At this point, anything that reduces a bit of the RNG infesting the profession would be wonderful. The ruthless pragmatist in me feels compelled to observe that an expensive fee to switch archaeology masteries could be yet another gold sink in a game that needs them.
Disadvantages This depends on implementation. For example, if becoming a student of tol'vir archaeology severely limited your ability to get other race spawns, that wouldn't necessarily be attractive to someone who's also trying to get Tyrande's Favorite Doll off the same continent.
Get the Darkmoon Faire or reputation factions involved
I agree. I think it'd be cool to have a traveling buyer of relics and curios at the Darkmoon Faire. (You just know it would be a goblin.) Failing that, being able to turn otherwise useless gray archaeology artifacts in to the Explorers' League/Reliquary for reputation and items would reduce some of the agony associated with never getting blues or epics.
Thatacus With the new Darkmoon Faire artifacts, I think also having a few artifacts turn in-able to the DMF would be cool too. Maybe to acquire some tickets or some sort of cool vanity items.
Advantages Keep making the new Darkmoon Faire relevant! Turning the Explorers' Guild/Reliquary into reputation factions could also be a good way to give players a means of advancing even if all they're getting is a bunch of otherwise useless grays.
Disadvantages No matter what, this doesn't really address the deeper problems with the profession, although it is a Band-Aid on one of its more annoying issues.
In-game museums or libraries to hold artifacts
The museum suggestion has definitely been popular with players. While Txmg's comment wasn't directly associated with the museum suggestion, being able to build a museum to hold your blue items (rather than having them clutter your bank or void storage) would be neat.
loop_not_defined Maybe have the museum "instanced" in a way, much like the tree in Molten Front. It grows as you turn in more artifacts, putting them on physical display ... Museums could be hosted in multiple cities, each exhibiting different artifacts.
gilgalad3171 I like the idea of turning artifacts in at museums in exchange for some kind of currency....keeping with that theme, maybe the currency we get could be used for some kind of 'museum' storage of our own.
txmg I REALLY wish they would add a tab like the pets/mounts for all the rare completed artifacts that have a CD.
Advantages Having a library or museum to contribute to could really give players a sense of purpose with archaeology -- you're not just out there running around for your own benefit, you're adding to your faction's knowledge of history. It'd be really cool to come back to a city and see all the artifacts you've donated.
Disadvantages This actually reminded me of the discussion we had about achievements in raiding and why they can be so frustrating. Almost everyone involved agreed that the Uldum model was the best way to incorporate achievements into raiding. However, it was also the method that required the most time and effort from Blizzard.
So that's how I feel about in-game museums and libraries. They would be amazing. Unfortunately, they also represent a lot of work on Blizzard's end that the development team may not be able to spare.
Cut down on travel time
Yes, yes, and more yes. No matter what happens, I think the profession badly needs this particular improvement.
llmyrn Break the continents up further, so that instead of Kalimdor having four sites up at once, Northern and Southern Kalimdor each have three.
REDMJOEL Making it so that the four spawn points are closer together would be a huge improvement. The majority of your time leveling archaeology is spent flying around.
Advantages Players have everything to gain from this. The sheer amount of travel involved is undoubtedly the profession's biggest time sink.
Disadvantages I'd be hard pressed to name any.
I love this suggestion. Who doesn't love a good treasure hunt?
llmyrn Another idea would be to look towards real life archaeology a bit. In real life, archaeologists don't fly around the world at random digging wherever they feel like. Instead, they do research to decide where best to dig. So instead, let us choose what type of digs to get, if not entirely, then at least with the preferred dig type given more weight in RNG for a while. Something like that could be done pretty easily, either through professions (buy a crafted trollish Treasure Map from a Scribe to farm Zin'Rokh, for example), or as a gold sink. Want to peruse the Reliquary's tomes on the Tol'Vir to aid your treasure hunting? Got to pay to look at the good stuff.
Advantages This injects a fun and cool way to get archaeology's rare or epic items. There's a good reason why Captain Sanders' Treasure Map and similar quests are so popular with players.
Disadvantages As with the above suggestion, I don't think there are any, although any tie-in to other professions could get very expensive. Inscription is not known for cheap products these days. That's good if you want treasure maps to be gold sinks. Not so good if you have to pay through the nose to get any of the good stuff in archaeology.
Make zones and dungeons matter
If Blizzard really wants to get players out into the world or involved with dungeons, this could be a great way to do it.
Narayana Instead of Zin'rokh being just a super random drop from random dig sites, I would think it would be cool to have a Zin'Rokh key stone drop from ZA or ZG randomly for players with a high enough skill. It could then require X troll tablets and Y troll fragments to complete. This way, the key currencies of the profession continue to remain relevant, but the cooler, more high-level stuff can be more directly tied to high level content.
Bylak It'd be great if fragments would drop off of mobs in zones as well. Tol'vir fragments off of mobs in Uldum, troll fragments off of mobs in STV, etc.
Advantages This adds a welcome dose of realism to the profession -- what better place to find an ancient troll or vrykul or nerubian artifact than in a dungeon or zone associated with the race? Just a random thought, but making more tank- or healer-oriented archaeology items and tying them to dungeons could also incentivize these players to keep queuing. Devious. Very devious.
Disadvantages Tying really good items to dungeons sounds good, but I do worry about how it'd advance through content. For example, if the only way you could get Zin'rokh was through ZA or ZG, that wouldn't be pleasant for any players attempting to piece it together in Mists of Pandaria or beyond.
Gate archaeology content
I'm of two minds about this. Like the suggestion on race specializations, I think it'd probably come down to implementation, but this does hit on a theme that Blizzard has really tried to emphasize -- your in-game choices should matter.
The Dewd I'm thinking what they need to do is allow you to dig wherever you want but allow you to "exhaust" a digsite. The longer you spend at one digsite, or in one zone, or however it's broken up, the longer it takes to survey or the longer it takes for you to actually dig up fragments.
Caz Maybe dig sites could be on a weekly lockout, like raids? Make ALL digsites available at each cooldown reset, and allow the players to determine which sites they choose ... I'd also like lengthy quest chains - the kind that take several hours to complete if you're doing nothing else - and have these reward access to exlusive digsites where highly desired items are practically guaranteed to spawn.
Advantages Anyone who's done archaeology for any length of time would probably be more than happy to give up endless dig sites in return for a little less RNG on the items they get.
Disadvantages Gated content, like RNG, can be tricky to implement in a way that allows players to feel like they're moving forward at an appropriate pace.
Working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on Azeroth's holidays and special events, including new achievements, how to get 310% flight speed with achievement mounts, and Cataclysm reputation factions and achievements.