2020 The New Runescape Skill: Archaeology! [Wednesday, October 09, 2019]

So, have you heard about the Archaeology skill? You probably have – it has, after all, been the worst kept secret of 2019. But the joy is that there is so much more to talk about.

That’s because Archaeology is so much more than a skill. On one hand, it's a gathering skill, much like woodcutting or fishing. It's about getting your knees dirty to amass puzzle pieces from our past. On the other hand, it's a manufacturing skill like Smithing or Fletching, putting these artefacts back together to create real treasures. It’s also five new areas including the depths below Al Kharid, the far reaches of Morytania, underneath the Wilderness and more. And it's swathes of loot, all eager to be unearthed, including three new types of reward that will change how we all play (particularly higher level players)!

You'll get all of this and more in January 2020. Let's start digging in...

Archaeology, the Gathering Skill
Welcome to the humble mattock – the pickaxe, if you will, of Archaeology. You’ll be able to make these, and you’ll experience that simple joy of progressing through the mattocks as you level. For the hardcore among you, there are special ones to find; you’ve probably got a good idea of how you will gain the crystal mattock, Imcando mattock and the mattock of space and time, for example.

It’s with the mattocks that you will gain your first Archaeology XP. Find excavation hotspots at dig sites, uncover and keep materials from lost ages, and get those dusty gains. How will it feel? There’s a smidge of the Mining Rework, as there’s no competition; you’re all doing it in the same spaces; and occasionally excavation sites will become extra-worthwhile, highlighted by a time sprite in a similar manner to rockertunities.

While you are going to be spending a decent amount of time gathering, the real fun – and the biggest chunk of XP – comes from the manufacturing side of the skill.

Archaeology, the Manufacturing Skill
Occasionally, as you excavate, you will find damaged artefacts. These artefacts are the real treasures of our past – things of significance from lost ages. They will be broken when you find them, and it’s up to you to restore them.

This is where the materials from the gathering element of the skill will really help. You will need certain materials for each artefact, and there is real fun to be had in trading and swapping with other players to get the materials you need.

Archaeology, the Map Expansion
Ah, Dig Sites, you say! This is where the skill starts showing its teeth.

Let's head to the Kharidian Desert for our first stop, Kharid-Et. Unlocked at level 5 Archaeology after completion of your first qualification, this is where you’ll begin your journey through the skill. Do not fret, however: this is not an excavation site just for interns. Hidden in the deep vaults you’ll excavate Zarosian weapons and opulent religious pieces relating to Zaros, and you will unearth scrolls of ancient knowledge.

Our next stop takes us to the eastern coast of Morytania. This is one of the sites that unlocks at level 20, and you’ll be excavating Icyenic culture items, discovering more about the New Dominion Games and learn about how these once-great set of islands fell.

There are two other lost areas to be explored, but we're going to keep quiet for now. All we will reveal is that they are named the Stormguard Citadel and the Warforge!

Archaeology, the Reward Bonanza
It's time to ditch the binoculars and get to the real meat – the rewards.

Deep in the heart of the Infernal Source, after discovering the secrets and unearthing its treasures – you will learn how to bind the will of powerful demons to you through the Summoning skill, in something we are calling Ancient Summoning. Using a binding contract, forged with new materials found in the Infernal Source (and your usual charms, of course) you will be able to capture existing demonic Slayer creatures and summon them, all with their own unique effects.

The real jewel of Archaeology, however, are Relics. Powerful items from RuneScape’s history have been rediscovered and its up to you to find and harness their powers. In doing so, you will earn permanent, powerful, passive effects which are always active. You’ll be able to choose up to 3 of the relic powers and pay Chronotes in order to change and choose between them.

We also wanted to try something new with the skill, to remove the barriers from experiencing it. We will be raising the skill cap for free-to-play to 20 on launch of the skill, giving everyone the Kharid-Et dig site to play around in. If this goes well - and the results of the annual survey seem to imply that it would be accepted - then we would look to roll this out across all skills and test other skill milestones.

Okay, Now for the doozy - the release date. Hopefully you can see that development is hugely progressed. You will be playing Archaeology and all five of its dig sites, ancient invention, ancient summoning, relics and more on Jan, 2020.

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