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World of Warcraft’s newest secondary profession, archaeology, offers a plethora of items. These WoW archaeology rewards range from being worthless vendor trash to rare and sought after epic items. If you’re completely new to archaeology, be sure to check out our detailed guide of how it works and how to level it!
Each archaeology race has its own set of rewards, and the different races appear in different parts of the world. In this guide, we’ll break down the epic items you can find, and where you should look to find them. When reading this guide, keep in mind that all epic archaeology gear can be mailed between any of your characters on the same realm, thus negating the need to find these artifacts on every character.
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Where to Find Each Race
While you can not directly control which race will spawn a dig site for you, you can limit your searching to a specific region of the world. Each region has its own set of potential dig sites, and it’s far easier to find sites of the race you want if you’re looking in the right place for them.
Eastern Kingdoms is the best place to find Troll and Dwarf dig sites. It has a lot of fossils also, a small amount of Night Elf dig sites, and two Nerubian dig sites. Besides the Nerubian dig sites, which require 375 skill, you can dig here at any skill level.
Kalimdor is easily the best place to find Night Elf dig sites. It also has a lot of fossils, a small handful of Troll sites, and a single Dwarf site. Once you’ve hit 450 archaeology skill and can find Tol’vir sites, Kalimdor is the only place where they can spawn. Besides the Tol’vir spawns, you can dig Kalimdor sites at any skill.
Outland is considered a single archaeology region. It is the only place in the game where you can find Orc or Draenei dig sites. You need at least 300 archaeology skill to find Outland sites.
Northrend is also considered a single archaeology region. In addition to being the only place for Nerubian and Vyrkul dig sites, it also contains a few Night Elf and Troll sites. You need 375 archaeology skill to find Northrend sites.
Now that you know where each race can be found, it’s time to examine what equipment each one has to offer!
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Dwarves only have a single piece of epic gear, although they offer several lower-quality cosmetic items.
The Staff of Sorcerer-Thane Thaurissan is one of the harder artifacts to find. It is very similar to the Tol’vir staff, except this one has no spirit on it and is probably best suited for DPS rather than healing. It provides the following stats:
- +512 stamina
- +341 intellect
- +228 critical strike rating (1.27% at level 85).
- +228 haste rating (1.78% at level 85).
- +1955 spell power.
For all intents and purposes, doing archaeology in Eastern Kingdoms is the only practical way to find this artifact.
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Like Dwarves, Trolls also only have a single piece of epic gear. Unlike Dwarves however, Trolls do not have any cosmetic artifacts to act as a buffer.
Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds, often called Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Sanity by those who try to farm it in a single sitting, can also be difficult to find. It is a two-handed DPS sword with the following stats:
- 623.3 average damage per second (1894 - 2843 actual damage, with a speed of 3.80)
- +341 strength
- +512 stamina
- +216 hit rating (1.80% at level 85).
- +238 critical strike rating (1.33% at level 85).
While one could theoretically farm this item in Kalimdor or Northrend, the fastest way to find it by focusing on Eastern Kingdoms.
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Vyrkul artifacts are kind of a mix between Night Elf and Troll: which is to say, they (annoyingly) only have a single rare artifact like Trolls, and they (annoyingly) have a low-level artifact like Night Elves. Having said that, I present to you...
Nifflevar Bearded Axe. Like the Night Elf chest piece, this item is for lower levels and does not scale to player level. Unlike the chest piece however, it does have some practical use. It can be equipped at level 71, and should last you until you find a Cataclysm-level replacement. Since traditional bind to account weapons offer no passive experience bonus to begin with, you do not miss out by using this axe instead:
- 171.5 damage per second (312-580 damage with a speed of 2.60)
- +36 agility
- +87 stamina
- +24 hit rating (1.51% at level 71)
- +37 critical strike rating (1.56% at level 71)
If you want this axe, remember that Vyrkul dig sites can only be found in Northrend.
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Night Elves get two pieces of epic gear. These epic archaeology items are a level 85 caster trinket, Tyrande's Favorite Doll, and the dubiously useful level 60 caster chest piece, Queen Azshara's Dressing Gown.
Tyrande's Favorite Doll has the following stats:
Any time you use mana, 20% of it is stored in the doll, up to a maximum of 4200 mana. On a 1 minute cooldown, you can activate the doll to use the stored mana. This will not only return the mana back to you, but it will also deal an equal amount of arcane damage to all enemies within 15 yards.
Queen Azshara's Dressing Gown
Unlike most other archaeology epics, this item is not for level 85s. Instead, players are encouraged to mail it to their lower level characters and use it for faster levelling. It can be equipped at level 51, and (at this level) provides excellent stats:
- 258 armor
- +27 stamina
- +41 intellect
- +23 haste rating (2.78% at level 51).
Unfortunately, unlike traditional bind to account gear, this item will not scale with player level, and it provides no passive increase to your experience gain. Since level 51 fights tend to be quick and easy anyway, the merit of this item is extremely questionable.
The good news is that Night Elves are very common in Kalimdor. So common that, despite the low discovery chance, these artifacts are relatively easy to get. If you’re interested in finding Tol’vir artifacts, you will probably end up with all the Night Elf artifacts just due to the amount of time you’ll spend in Kalimdor.
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The End of Dreams: Tol'vir
Tol’vir are a special race. They are easily the hardest race to find dig sites for, due to only spawning in a single zone in Kalimdor. Their artifacts are also the most expensive to create, requiring 45 fragments for even common items. Of course, this is the race that rarest of the rare archaeology. WoW is a cruel game sometimes. Tol’vir dig sites can not spawn until you have at least 450 archaeology skill. Tol’vir artifacts include:
Ring of the Boy Emperor, an excellent ring for casters:
- +286 stamina
- +190 intellect
- +127 haste rating (0.99% at level 85)
- +127 mastery rating (0.71% at level 85)
Staff of Ammunae, a caster weapon comparable to the Dwarf staff. The only difference is that it has spirit instead of haste:
- +512 stamina
- +341 intellect
- +247 spirit
- +194 critical strike rating (1.08% at level 85)
- +1955 spell power
Scimitar of the Sirocco, a one-handed sword suitable for DPS and a passable starting weapon even for tanks:
- 462.3 damage per second (841-1563 with a speed of 2.60)
- +146 strength
- +219 stamina
- +111 critical strike rating (0.62% at level 85)
- +74 haste rating (0.58% at level 85)
Similar to their excellent selection of equipment artifacts, Tol’vir also have an excellent set of cosmetic rares. If you plan to try and find the Tol’vir artifacts, I strongly recommend avoiding Kalimdor until 450 archaeology skill -- you will almost certainly find all the Night Elf and fossil artifacts in your search for the Tol’vir artifacts, even if you wait.
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Orcs are remarkably similar to Vyrkul in that they provide only a low level piece of gear as a reward. Unlike Vyrkul however, the item is just as dubious (and for the same reasons) as the Night Elf chest piece. One needs to be level 61 to equip it.
Headdress of the First Shaman does little other than tell us that, apparently, the First Shaman specced enhancement:
- 720 armor
- +39 agility
- +21 stamina
- 3 gem sockets (red, blue, yellow -- socket bonus +6 stamina)
- +22 hit rating (2.26 at level 61)
- +22 critical strike rating (1.51% at level 61)
May be used to see into the distance (1 minute cooldown)
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Draenei, Nerubians and Fossils, Oh My!
Draenei and Nerubians currently provide no epic gear rewards whatsoever. However, this may change some day. Earlier in Cataclysm, fossils were the same way. However, this was changed in patch 4.0.6, which gave fossils an epic item reward:
Extinct Turtle Shell is the first tank-specific archaeology epic, and it was also the first new epic to be introduced in a patch. It is a shield:
+114 dodge rating (0.65% at level 85)
+134 mastery rating by 134 (0.75% at level 85)
In spite of being very light on epic items, all of these do offer many cosmetic items. Perhaps in a future patch, these races will be much more interesting!