Thursday, December 30, 2010

Druid Digest Mailbag: Archeology Digging and Gearscore Rigging

Happy holidays everyone! I get a lot of questions from readers via email and respond to every one. The other day, however, I was thinking that other readers might have the same questions and might just not have taken the time to ask. Towards that end, I have decided to start a new segment on the blog called the Druid Digest Mailbag.

Your questions will be the stars of these posts, so please submit any questions you might have to me at Put "Druid Digest Mailbag" in the subject line and I will do my best to work your question into my next post. Check out our first group of reader submitted questions after the bump.

Archeology seems really slow to level.  Is there any way to speed up leveling Archeology?

Unfortunately, no matter how you go about it, getting your Archeology all the way to 525 is going to take a long time.  There are, however, a couple things you can do to make things slightly faster.  First and foremost do not solve any items until your Archeology skill has reached 100.  Up until 100, you can get skill ups from finding fragments.  After that point, the only way to gain skill points is by solving artifacts.  To be as efficient as possible, you will then want to save all of your solving until after you no longer get skill points from gathering.  Your fragments roll over so they will not go to waste.

Additionally, be sure to use Keystones whenever you have them available.  Each Keystone is worth 12 fragments and there is no real benefit to saving them considering extra fragments roll over to your next project.  Also, consider setting your Survey ability to a hotkey.  I use "F" because it is easy to hit.  Lastly, Druids and Shaman can Survey in Travel Form and Ghost Wolf.

What is the easiest way to meet the Cataclysm heroic ilevel requirement?

The heroic ilevel requirements seem like much more of a barrier than they actually are.  Crafted gear, auction house BoEs, and faction rewards are the real keys to hitting your ilevel target as quickly and painlessly as possible.  You can also trick the requirement in a number of ways just like you can trick gear score.  If you rely just on dungeon drops, it will take you a while to get into heroics, but a combination of the above tactics, quest rewards, and a few lucky drops should have you heroic "ready" within a couple days.

Which profession is the easiest to level from 1 to 525?

With the introduction of flying in Azeroth, Herbalism and Mining are both incredibly easy to cap.  Depending on how much competition you encounter for nodes, you could reach either of these profession caps within a single afternoon.  Skinning is also really easy, but adds the extra step of needing to kill and loot mobs.

Most of the crafting professions can also be relatively painless, but only if you are willing to shell out tons of gold to buy materials.  Tailoring is probably the easiest and cheapest to push through, but it will still be expensive.  Enchanting also isn't too bad, but tends to be a bit more expensive and you need to worry about getting new rods every so often.  Even if you have the gold, if ease of leveling is important to you, you should probably stay away from Jewelcrafting.  The profession's materials and recipes can be a bear to come by.

Which Cataclysm reputation should I grind first?

It depends a lot on your class, spec and current needs.  For Feral and Balance Druids, I have put together a guide which you might find helpful.  For everyone else, Therazane is always a safe bet.  The faction offers a ring for any class and the shoulder enchants you get there will never go out of style.  The Tol'Barad factions also have a number of interesting rewards that make it worth participating in battles.

After that, set your sights on whatever faction offers useful epic equipment.  You can then chase blue upgrades based on which of your slots need the most love or push to your helm enchant.

Don't forget to email your questions to with "Druid Digest Mailbag" in the subject line to have them featured in a future post!


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