Yesterday, I made the assertion that perhaps Archaeology wasn’t in the best place right now (even after the changes made), and it took me a while to work out how that ought to be addressed. There was something bothering me, that I couldn’t put my finger on: now I have the solution, the issue has become incredibly simple. In Warlords you were presented with a room in your Garrison to ‘exhibit’ completed solves, which could presumably then be shown off to mates if they cared enough to take the time to find it. In this Expansion, that brilliant idea’s been reduced to a shop wall in Daralan, and that makes me sad beyond words.
Yup, in the most significant moment in Azeroth’s history for possibly DECADES, with the Broken Isles open to adventurers and history being redefined by the day, all you get is a wall in a shop to educate the rest of the world. Archaeology isn’t about selling to the highest bidder, whatever the Goblins might tell you. It is about educating the public and explaining WHY STUFF HAPPENED. You can’t do that in a shop, people! This needs a PROPER Museum, and that would be my suggestion for the next Expansion. If anyone from Activision Blizzard happens to be listening? I’d like you to re-purpose the Explorer’s Hall in Ironforge, and at the same time build Museums in all the major cities of the Alliance and Horde.
It is time History was given real importance in this game, and a place where all the Lore could be gathered together in one place. It would allow new players a chance to learn about the origins of their Classes and Races. It would be a central repository for great cinematics, not just stuck in the musty depths of their relevant Expansions. It could be a place for stories to be told and the great explorers of the past to come and regale the public of the mastery of their craft, plus the importance history has in making Azeroth what it is. Archaeology can form the basis of the first cohesive attempt to centralise lore since Vanilla.
The Explorer’s Hall in Ironforge has gotten sneaky redesigns across the years, so it would not be the end of the world if you could repurpose the entire area as an ‘instanced’ zone, similar to the way your Garrison was in Warlords. That would allow you to undertake the Epic questline of bringing artefacts from across the Globe and sticking them in the Museum (plus exhibiting the great finds from the past) and once players were at a certain level of reputation with the Explorer’s League? You could start getting World Quests here, for lower level alts as well as your mains. Then you can spend subsequent Expansions opening Museums in all the other Alliance capitals (or Horde, depending on preference) before having a system where your Artefacts don’t fund financial gain, but can be put towards sending NPC’s on digs. Occasionally you’ll get a Harrison Jones type moment where you have to go and rescue people or fight off disreputable tomb raiders, that could reward with something that wasn’t actually an Artefact, perhaps. Maybe a title, or a statue of you in the Museum of your home race. Mostly what doesn’t happen is that you just dig all the time and build up a currency with no meaningful rewards.
This profession means an awful lot to me. Perhaps with some changes the same could be true for other people too.
One of the reasons I stuck with this profession for as long as I did, and still do, was the understanding that for some of us, this is our Mythic Raid progression. It was the thing I could grind between feeding kids and doing laundry, that was 15 minutes every few hours when I had the time. I didn’t need 20/40 other mates, just myself and patience, and the rewards still have a lot of meaning… That mount, particuarly, is one of the most precious things I own in game. You could say it shows a sad level of commitment from someone to have all the Archaeology solves, but how is that any different from someone with 13/13 on a difficulty? Yes, I know what you’re going to say to that, and you’d probably be right. But when you don’t have the luxury of being able to afford not simply the time but the opportunity to interact with pixels in that fashion? You take your victories where you can, and that’s what Archaeology has become. Small victories, with real meaning.
The point is this: Archaeology ought to have more relevance in a game where history underpins just about EVERYTHING people do. It doesn’t just involve paying lip service to the memory of great things, but a real, tangible sense of what it means to be part of this game after such a long time as a part of the ‘World.’
Give players the chance to curate their own exhibitions? Perhaps too much, but the ability to have a hall full of Fossils once a month, or to change exhibits? Is that player housing, or simply wish fulfilment. Relegating my effort to the top floor of a shop in Dalaran that nobody visits however is disappointing. With all the other brilliant changes to Professions in Legion? Archaeology deserves better than this. It really does. You may not understand as a raider or a PvP-er, but this matters a very great deal and I just think that perhaps, there is a better way.
There’s no harm in suggesting, after all.