So you wanna be a crafter?
A lot of the FC have been asking advice about crafting so I thought it would be best to compile a guide covering the basics and some advanced techniques. This is a comprehensive guide and will probably be a little complicated so please don't try to absorb it all at once. Try to master the basics section before moving onto advanced technique.
To put it simply, Crafting aka Synthesis, allows a player a certain degree of self sufficiency in the game and affords access to equipment across all level ranges. If used judiciously it can save you a significant amount of money and allow you a modest income by participating in the player driven economy. You will not become an overnight gillionaire through crafting. If you aren't careful it can leave you bankrupt, but more on that later.
1. Ability to repair your own gear which is a significant cost savings over time. Level 5 Dark Matter is only 80 Gil per piece vs. 180 Gil per repair at the NPC. Score!
2. Ability to meld Materia to equipment. Requires catalyst obtained through gathering. It's obvious how this benefits the player. I can charge 2-5k per meld in our current market. Some patrons will offer you a bonus for a successful forbidden meld. Your mileage may vary depending on your clientele.
3. Ability to create equipment that can be used for yourself or others. HQ equipment sells for a premium on the Market Board (MB). This is especially useful for hard to fill slots like Jewelry.
1. Significant time investment. If you plan on crafting, you require a basic knowledge of multiple crafts. If you intend to play the HQ game you are required to level nearly all crafts to cap.
2. Clogged Armory. While you can create a single set for crafting, realize you will need space for not only your main hand tool, but your offhand. When you get into HQ crafting specialty, you will need to find room for upwards of 6 sets of crafting artifact armor (AF).
3. Total reliance on Disciples of the Hand and War (DoH and DoW) . You cannot create works of art without raw materials. No craft is an island. You will require materials and crystals from mining, botany and spoils from fallen enemies.
4. It's expensive. If you're not willing to dabble in gathering or monster slaying, you will have to purchase raw materials and that can become expensive very quickly. When you begin the HQ game, you will need Materia. A lot of Materia. It's not cheap and if you try to convert your own it will take an incredibly long time.
Scared yet? You should be...
Crafting Basics, Part 1:
At its core, creating an item requires manipulation of two statistics: Progress and Durability.
Progress is the degree of item completion. Reaching 100% Progress means you've succeeded in creating the item. As a general rule components usually require less points in Progress to reach 100%. Finished goods have upwards of 2-6x the points needed in Progress to complete.
Durability is the health (HP as it were) of your synthesis attempt.
Actions that affect Progress or HQ will consume Durability. If Durability reaches ZERO before Progress reaches 100%, your craft will fail and you will loose the crystal and potentially all your other materials. Thankfully, if your synth reaches 100% progress at the same time Durability is depleted, your craft will still succeed.
Crafted components (rivets, lumber, glue etc) will always have 40 Durability. Finished goods that are assembled from these components will have 70-80 Durability. Needless to say components are a lot trickier to make because you have significantly less turns. They are also much harder to HQ.
For now don't worry about the HQ (Quality) bar, we will get to that later.
Now, Crafting is dependent on three statistics; craftsmanship, control and CP (crafting points).
Craftsmanship directly influences how much Progress certain actions can make. Higher Craftsmanship means you get more Progress per action.
Control directly influences how much HQ certain actions can make. Higher Control means you potentially get more HQ per action.
CP is the currency spent on each crafting action. The bigger your CP pool the more actions you can make.
The largest sources of Craftsmanship and Control are your main hand AND offhand tool. Do NOT neglect your offhand tool. It is half of your stat pool.
Got it? Good. Moving on...
Crafting Basics Part 2:
The process of synthesis is using a series of actions in a player determined sequence to achieve a desired result. Each action is considered a Turn. This is important to note because several of the actions you will be using create effects that last a certain number of Turns. Effects with Turn durations will appear in your buff bar with a number next to the icon. When the number drops to ONE (not ZERO), the next Turn will remove that Effect. I cannot stress enough how important knowing your Turn durations are for crafting.
As you synth, your unfinished product will wax and wane between several conditions. Each condition is important because they have a multiplier that influences the effect of each Action. Certain Actions can ONLY be used when a specific condition is active. Here are the Conditions:
Normal - 100% - white glow, always the turn after Poor and Good
Good - 150% - red glow - random, can only proc after Normal
Excellent - 400%- green glow - 50% success rate, random, can only proc after Normal
Poor - 50% - purple glow, black core, Always the turn after Excellent
In Good condition, a successful action will be boosted by 150% with a standard failure rate. Good Condition can only appear if the previous Condition is Normal. It will also be followed by Normal Condition. It will not appear after Poor or precede Excellent.
Excellent condition gives any successful action a 4x multiplier but cuts your chance of success in half. Excellent condition may only appear after Normal condition.
Poor Condition always follows Excellent and will cut the effect of any successful action in half.
Before we go on, please make sure you've committed these concepts to memory. As I go into abilities and sequences, you need to understand how these are interrelated.
Before we go any further, these are the skills you need to become a crafter. You need them all. I highly recommend you start with Alchemist. The sooner you have access to Tricks of the Trade the easier your life as a crafter will be.
Steady Hand: level 9, Any Craft
Improves Action success rate by 20% for 5 Turns.
Inner Quiet: level 11, Any Craft
Gives a bonus to Control for every increase in HQ. Last the duration of the synth unless consumed by Rumination or Byregot's Blessing.
Observe: level 14, Any Craft
Do nothing for one turn.
Tricks of the Trade: 15 Alchemist
Restores 20 CP when the synthesis status is Good. This action does not effect Durability and can proc repeatedly.
Careful Synthesis: 15 Weaver
Increases Progress at 100% Success Rate.
Manipulation: 15 Goldsmith
Recovers 10 Durability each Turn over 3 Turns.
Rumination: 15 Carpenter
Converts stacks of Inner Quiet into CP. 6-10 CP per stack.
Hasty Touch: 15 Culinarian
Increases Quality (HQ) at a 50% success rate.
Master's Mend - level 7 any craft.
restores 30 Durability instantly
Once you have all these abilities, I'll go over two basic rotations: Basic Standard and Basic HQ Attempt. It is important to know that while synthesis is essentially a static rotation of abilities, there are Situational actions based on CP, HQ and durability deficiencies/needs. I'll try to break it down.
Basic Standard Rotation: This is only if you care about completion and not HQ.
1. Careful Synthesis....repeat until complete or a Situational arises. Yes it's that simple.
Basic HQ Attempt Rotation: This is for attempts for a 100% HQ finished product.
1. Inner Quiet
2. Careful Synthesis x N
(N= number of times needed to get Progress within ONE Careful Synthesis of completion)
Note: Break out the calculator if you must. Your progress points remain the same for each use of Careful Synthesis. Ideally, you should aim to get Progress to within one additional use to reach 100%. It is very easy to overshoot and regular synth the item if you are getting big gains with each Careful Synthesis.
3. Steady Hand x 1
4. Hasty Hand x 5 or until a Situational arises.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4, while dealing with a Situational event until HQ is 100%.
6. Careful Synthesis x 1 to Finish.
Situational Actions and Events:
1. Tricks of the Trade every activation to restore 20 CP. Try not to miss this! It can activate as frequently as every other turn.
2. If Durability becomes an issue:
a. Manipulation at any point Durability is below 50/70(80) if you are at a point to recast Hasty Hand, Inner Quiet/Rumination cycle. Remember it requires 3 turns worth of Actions to recoup all 30 Durability. If you aren't at a point where you can use your Turns for buff or CP recomp cycle, use Master's Mend. For Materials use it at 10/40 with the same considerations.
b. Once all 3 turns of Manipulation (or your one turn MM) are over and you are 30 Durability stronger ( and hopefully at least 20 CP richer), continue with Careful Synthesis (regular) or Steady Hand/Hasty Touch (HQ).
Note: When you get into HQ crafting with Effects that last multiple turns it may behoove you to spend the extra CP for the one turn Durability restore than wasting 3 turns of your buff for a modest CP savings. It's all about economy.
Note: While Manipulation's effect is active, actions that would normally consume Durability will consume a single turn of the restoration effect instead. This allows you to use 3 Progress or HQ actions without lowering Durability. However, this will not restore any actual Durability because the net gain is the same. It is extremely important that you do not use any actions that consume Durability if you are already at 10/X. Manipulation only refunds Durability once it is consumed. If your Durability drops to zero, Manipulation cannot refund it. So, if you're using Manipulation to fund Durability neutral actions, don't do it unless you have AT LEAST 20 Durability. Otherwise you will break your synth. This technique is not adviseable for beginners because you will need the Durability restore more than the free actions. Also activated TotT procs during the Manipulation effect will essentially waste the charge if Durability is already full, since TotT doesn't effect Durability.
3. If CP becomes a problem:
a. Use Rumination to refund your successful stacks of Inner Quiet into CP.
Note: Do not rely on TotT to keep your CP pool afloat. A bad streak of no proc's can leave you stranded.
b. Recast Inner Quiet as soon as Durability and CP allow.
Note: Do not waste the CP to recast if you are very low durability. It takes 2 successful Hasty Touch (20 Durability) to refund what you spent to cast Inner Quiet in the first place. Pointless if you only have enough Durability for 1-2 turns and no CP for Manipulation or Master's Mend.
Note: Successfully increasing quality (HQ) while Inner Quiet is active will illuminate Rumination, but there is no visible indicator of how many stacks are stored, so don't blow it too early! Each successful Hasty Touch will increase the stack by one charge. It seems to average 6-10 CP per stack of Inner Quiet.
Saved until the last possible second, Rumination can save your entire attempt at HQ. It can refund enough CP to cast a quick MM or Manipulation. Just don't forget to keep in mind you will need enough CP to recast Steady Hand (and hopefully Inner Quiet) for another few rounds of Hasty Touch. Toss in random TotT proc and you'll be in a much safer position than you started in. Inner Quiet is your get out of fail free card. Save it! The longer its actively stacking Control, it increases potential HQ gain and gives you a bigger CP refund when cashed out via Rumination.
The main point is that as a crafter you have many skills that allow you to better manage your resources to the desired outcome. CP is the fuel for nearly all actions, but its best usage is for durability restoration and buffing success rates of progress and HQ. Used creatively, what looks like an impossible mission at first glance becomes a simple task. You simply have to think ahead. HQ crafting is not unlike playing a card game. There is also an element of luck involved.
Once you've mastered these techniques and the cycle becomes second nature, I will teach you about Advanced Techniques. These are necessary if you hope to HQ any of the one or two star finished goods (ilevel 55-70).