Archaeology for Pet Collectors
WoW Archaeology offers a variety of companions to vanity pet collectors. With the launch of the Archaeology secondary tradeskill in WoW (meaning it's learnable by everyone, like Cooking, Fishing and First Aid), three pets are already available to burgeoning archaeologists. No doubt more will become available in the months and years to come, making this a must-have secondary skill for any serious pet collector.
First off, understand that WoW Archaeology is a huge time sink. Don't expect to be able to level it in a weekend. This secondary skill requires massive amounts of time to go from a novice to an Illustrious Grand Master. We're talking weeks of time, just so you understand the enormity of what you're about to undertake. But take heart — it's well worth the effort.
The way WoW Archaeology works is there are four dig sites available to you at any one time on each of the four continents (Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor, Outland and Northrend). Pick one to focus on primarily. You can collect fragments at any level in any zone, but you can't use Outland fragments until you hit 300, Northrend fragments until 375 and Tol'Vir (from Uldum) until you reach 450, so stick to Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor initially.
Archaeology in WoW works basically by triangulation. If you aren't familiar with the term, triangulation is the process of determining the location of a point by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly. The point can then be fixed as the third point of a triangle with one known side and two known angles. Yeah, that's too technical for me too.
Anyhow, once you pick up Archaeology as a secondary tradeskill you learn two new skills available in your spellbook: Archaeology and Survey. Archaeology is used to put the fragments you find together into new items (like pets), and Survey is what you use to find the fragments.
Okay, you've purchased the Archaeology tradeskill from a trainer (located in any capital city) and have begun the fun grind to get the archaeological companion pets. Now you'll pick either Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor to start. I'll use Kalimdor as an example.
Let's say you begin in Orgrimmar. Open your map and zoom out until you see the entire continent. You'll see new shovel icons in four spots of the world. Yes, they can be anywhere when you're level 80+. I can't speak for lower levels, but at 80+ you'll see one in Feralas, one in Tanaris, one in Winterspring and one in Stonetalon Mountains. Pick the closest place from Orgrimmar, which would be Winterspring.
Once you've flown to Winterspring, fly out to the dig site which will be highlighted on your map. After you arrive in that area, use your new ability "Survey" and a scope on a stand will appear. Pay close attention to the light that accompanies it. If the light is red, you're still pretty far from the fragments. If it's yellow, you're getting closer. Once your scope is green, you're within 20 feet of it roughly. The scope will be pointing you in the direction you need to go. Blizzard has made the light flash, so if it's red, it flashes slowly. Yellow flashes a bit faster and green flashes quickly. Continue to move about and survey the land.
Each dig site will have three fragments sites available. Each fragment site will yield three fragments.
Once you train up to the second tier, which becomes available at 50 points, you have a chance to loot scrolls from the digs, which give you +12 to anything you're making. Utilize these as much as possible, if for no other reason than it allows you to make more items for less of a cost. The only scroll you will never find is for Fossil Archaeology Fragments.
Now we get into the actual Archaeology button. When you start out, you'll notice 10 buttons available, but only four will be lit up until 300. Those buttons are used to combine the more common fragment types: Dwarf, Fossil, Night Elf and Troll. Night Elf and Fossil come mostly from Kalimdor, and Dwarf and Troll come from Eastern Kingdoms (although Fossil fragments can be found in Eastern Kingdoms too).
It takes roughly 30 fragments to create an item, which will give you 5 skill points every time you make one. This is why you should save up all your fragments until 50. As mentioned in the tip above, you'll get a little boost to 75.
Items which are uncommon require 30-35 fragments of a given type. Semi-rare items take 85-100 fragments, such as the Fossilized Hatchling, and rare items require 100+. They go up from there, of course, with 150 being the highest amount you'll need for an item as of the Cataclysm expansion.
As a pet collecting fansite, let's look closer at the aspect of creating Archaeology based companions.
Fossilized Hatchling - First, you'll want to collect Fossil fragments, which come from both Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor. Fossil fragments can be combined to give you not only the Fossilized Hatchling, but the Fossilized Raptor mount as well, so yeah… good stuff! To create the hatchling you'll need 85 Fossil fragments. The mount requires another 100 Fossil fragments.
Clockwork Gnome - You'll also want to focus on collecting Dwarf fragments for the Clockwork Gnome, which are more prominent in Eastern Kingdoms, but there are a few sites in Kalimdor as well. This pet requires 100 Dwarf fragments to create.
Crawling Claw - Finally, Tol'Vir fragments, the last type of fragment you'll need, are only available in Uldum. So expect the Crawling Claw pet to take a long time to get unless you spend all of your time in Kalimdor and get lucky with Uldum digs. The Crawling Claw requires 150 Tol'vir fragments. You may utilize up to three Tol'vir Hieroglyphics to aid in the creation of this item. Each Tol'vir Hieroglyphic is the equivalent of 12 Tol'vir Archaeology Fragments, so these are well worth saving to create this ultra rare pet.
NOTE: New pets are sure to be released for WoW archaeologists in the years to come. We'll be sure to provide links to these newer companions below.