The Excavation skill line consists exclusively of passive abilities meant to make excavation for Antiquities easier. This skill line is gained by completing The Antiquarian's Art in Solitude. It is leveled by excavating dig sites and completing achievements related to Antiquities.
|Name||Line Rank||Skill Rank||Description|
|Hand Brush||1||Removes 1 layer of soil or rock from a 1x1 area. Generates: 1 Intuition Maximum Intuition: 2.|
|6||Removes 1 layer of soil or rock from a 1x1 area. Generates: 1 Intuition Maximum Intuition: 4.|
|Augur||1||Indicates how near the Antiquity is to the selected location. Can only be used a limited number of times, based on the Antiquity's Difficulty. Only works on the lowest three layers of dirt and rocks. Cannot detect Bonus Loot. Using Augur does not consume a turn.|
|5||Indicates how near the Antiquity is to the selected location. Can only be used a limited number of times, based on the Antiquity's Difficulty. Works on the lowest six layers of dirt and rocks. Cannot detect Bonus Loot. Using Augur does not consume a turn.|
|Trowel||2||Removes 3 layers of dirt or rock from a 1x1 area. Costs 2 Intuition to use.|
|7||Removes 3 layers of dirt or rock from a 1x1 area. Costs 2 Intuition to use. Can safely trigger Fissures to create explosive chain reactions.|
|Keen Eye: Dig Sites||2||Antiquity Dig Sites will be easier to see when you are 20 meters or closer.|
|4||Antiquity Dig Sites will be easier to see when you are 30 meters or closer.|
|Excavator's Reserves||3||Increases the amount of time you have available when excavating a dig site.|
|10||Further increases the amount of time you have available when excavating a dig site.|
|Heavy Shovel||4||Removes 1 layer of dirt and rocks from up to a 3x3 area. The shovel only affects a single contiguous height of dirt and rocks. Costs 2 Intuition to use.|
|8||Removes 1 layer of dirt and rocks from up to a 3x3 area. The shovel only affects a single contiguous height of dirt and rocks. Costs 2 Intuition to use. Has a chance to consume no Intuition on use.|
|Keen Eye: Treasure Chests||7||Treasure Chests will be easier to see when you are 20 meters or closer.|
|9||Treasure Chests will be easier to see when you are 30 meters or closer.|
How to Excavate
Once the Scrying puzzle is solved, players can travel to the marked location and perform an Excavation. These areas appear on the map outlined in cyan. Once at the location, you will need to find the place where the antiquity is thought to be buried. You can use the Antiquarian Eye found in the Tools section of your Collections (which may also be quick-slotted for ease of access) to create a comet-shaped orb of light which will show the direction of the excavation site by following where the thinner tail end of the light is pointing.
The excavation site will appear as a mound of dirt with golden motes of light coming from it. The Excavation passive skill Keen Eye: Dig Sites makes the mounds visible from some distance away, adding cyan wisps of light and a low droning noise as you approach.
Once you have found the dig site you can start excavating, which begins another mini-game where you must excavate the treasure from a 10 x 10 square of dirt. You will have a selection of tools to help you find the antiquity and a limited number of turns for a digging attempt.
On Advanced and higher difficulties, the game adds fissures to the grid. These are small plumes of smoke that take up a single tile. If they are disturbed by digging directly above them they will explode and damage the antiquity, regardless of their proximity to it. The red bar at the top of your screen illustrates how many hits the antiquity can sustain. If the number in that bar drops to zero while excavating, you fail the excavation and will have to find another one within the same general area. Antiquities can also be get damaged if they are struck by digging with the heavier tools.
The number of turns you have to excavate the antiquity is represented by a bronze bar at the top of the screen. It's displayed as an amount of time, but in practice, it actually represents the number of actions you can perform. Using various tools during excavation uses up "time" and depletes this bar.
The default amount of "time" you start with is 12h 0mins, which translates to 40 actions or turns. The difficulty of the excavation doesn't change this value. The number of turns you have can be increased with the Excavator's Reserves passive. At rank I, it increases to 45 turns and at rank II it increases to 50 turns.
The following tools can become available during an excavation:
Activating the Eye allows you to use the Augur skill. With this, you can click on a square which will light up with a color to show how close you are to the antiquity:
- Red — A faint red outline with no glow. The antiquity is at least 5 squares away from the selected square.
- Orange — An orange outline with a slight glow. The antiquity is 3-4 squares away from the selected square.
- Yellow — A yellow outline with a strong glow. The antiquity is 1-2 squares away from the selected square.
- Green — A bright green outline with a pulsating, strong glow. The antiquity is directly beneath the selected square.
The number of uses you get with Eye varies by Lead difficulty as detailed below. On higher difficulty Leads, if the dirt layer is too high the Eye will not be able to get a reading of the antiquity's location. You must first remove layers of soil to use the Augur. Alternatively, you can detect antiquities from lower layers by unlocking rank II in the Augur passive.
Removes a single layer of soil from the selected square. Using this will charge up your other tools by building up "intuition", and is particularly useful when dealing with delicate items. A second level in the Hand Brush passive will double the number of charges your intuition meter can hold, which will result in your other tools being able to perform their action twice in one turn.
The Trowel is unlocked at level 2, and is used to remove three layers of soil from a single 1 x 1 square. To use it requires a minimum of two charges of intuition from the Hand Brush. It may damage the antiquity if you dig too far down. Using the trowel does not deplete the "time" bar at the top of the screen.
At rank II, it can be used to safely detonate fissures and trigger soil and rock-clearing chain reactions, provided the bottom layer of dirt is reached. A chain reaction is when all the dirt between two fissures is destroyed when one of the fissures is struck with a trowel. This can only occur if all the dirt between both fissures is at the same level. Chain reactions can extend to more than two fissure, meaning that with some careful planning a large multi-fissure chain reaction can be detonated.
The Shovel is unlocked at level 4 and is used to remove a single later of dirt from a 3 x 3 square - but can only remove layers if the depth is equal to the square that was selected. To use it requires a minimum of two charges of intuition from the Hand Brush. Rank II in the Heavy Shovel passive gives you a chance to consume no intuition when it is used.
Once the puzzle has been solved, the antiquity is revealed. You can continue to search for bonus items for the remaining turns you have left. These bonus items include minor loot, style materials or gold. The difficulty of the Lead determines how much bonus loot can be found before the mini-game ends. Green allows 1 piece of bonus loot, Blue allows 2, and so on.
Simple and Intermediate
Excavations for simple and intermediate Leads are relatively straightforward. Dirt can be as high as 4 layers and you get 8 charges of the Augur. The Rank I Augur can penetrate all levels of dirt to pin-point the treasure.
The antiquity usually takes up a 2 x 3 rectangle or a total of 5 square in the shape of a burlap sack, and only one or two pieces of bonus loot can be excavated before the excavation ends. If the antiquity is damaged 6 times it will break.
Excavations for Advanced Leads introduce up to 6 fissures that appear randomly across the grid, that can detonate and damage the antiquity. Dirt can be as high as 6 layers and you get 7 charges of the Augur. The Rank I Augur cannot penetrate the lowest levels of dirt, meaning at least one layer needs to be cleared before it can be used.
The antiquity usually takes up a 2 x 3 or a 2 x 4 rectangle, and three pieces of bonus loot can be excavated before the excavation ends. If the antiquity is damaged 4 times it will break.
Excavations for Master Leads are expectedly more difficult and are usually reserved for Mythic Item fragments and some legendary Antiquity Furnishings. There are usually 8 fissures, dirt can be as high as 8 layers and you get 6 charges of the Augur. Even Rank II Augur cannot penetrate the lowest levels of dirt, meaning at least two layers needs to be cleared in some areas before it can be used.
The antiquity is usually aligned in a diagonal fashion, and takes up a total of 8 squares. Four pieces of bonus loot can be excavated before the excavation ends. If the antiquity is damaged 2 times it will break.
Excavations for Ultimate Leads are the hardest difficulty and are usually reserved for a selected range of legendary-quality furnishings. Fissures are more frequent and have a blast radius of 1 square surrounding them, meaning unintended chain reactions are possible.
Dirt can be as high as 9 layers and you get 5 charges of the Augur. Even Rank II Augur cannot penetrate the lowest levels of dirt, meaning at least three layers needs to be cleared in some parts before it can be used. If the antiquity is damaged twice, it will break.
- On console versions, the position of antiquities on Master level excavations may be misaligned with where the antiquity actually is. This results in excavation appearing as if they are completed, but actually aren't. This is noticable by looking at the "sparkles" that should be surrounding the antiquity. If the sparkles appear off by a few squares, the antiquity may be misaligned. This bug was present on PC, but was patched.
- If an enemy attacks you during the excavation mini-game, you may be completely locked out of performing any actions, accessing menus or even logging out.