Final Fantasy 14 Synthesis Guide
By Matthew Hibben
Introduction to Synthesis
Synthesis in Final Fantasy 14(FF14) is the act of combining various ingredients to produce products of all types. Synthesis, also called crafting, falls under the umbrella of Disciple of the Hand (DOH), a grouping of job classes that play no direct role in combat. However, these DOH jobs produce most of the weapons and armor adventurers will use in combat, as well as repairing the items they produce.
In Synthesis there are all sorts of abbreviations used by crafters. Here I will define some of the more widely used abbreviations in this article.
Stats- Stats refer actually to two different sets of values. Stats refer to the values on tools and various pieces of gear that affect synthesis like craftsmanship and control, and stats also refer to the basic character attributes like strength dexterity and so on that are attributed to various types of tools.
High Quality- Through out the article I talk about high quality or HQ. High quality refers to items that are above normal quality and have a range of +1 to +3. In terms of parts, HQ variations are used by crafters to boost the starting attributes for producing finished items. For finished equip able items HQ's boost the usefulness and effectiveness of those items and tend to make them much more valuable.
GSM- Goldsmith BSM- Black Smith
ARM- Armorer CRP- Carpenter
LW- Leather Worker ALC- Alchemist
WVR- Weaver CUL- Culinarian
DEX- Dexterity INT- Intellect
VIT- Vitality MND- Mind
STR- Strength PIE- Piety
To begin a synthesis often very little is needed. First of course is the proper tool, a Black Smith for example would need to have a black-smithing hammer, as well as the ingredients (called by most the mats, short for materials) to begin the process. A synthesis as a complete action is made up of three components: its quality, its durability, and its progress. A synthesis begins at 0% progress and the basic goal is to bring that value to 100% without bringing the durability value to zero. The quality value is a secondary attribute that comes into play when players are trying for HQ's (high quality items or parts). The basic commands to complete a synthesis are Standard Synthesis, Rapid Synthesis, Bold Synthesis, and Wait.
These basic commands function as follows:
Standard Synthesis- The basic workhorse ability you will use to complete a craft. This ability is considered the most stable of the basic actions and will be used almost exclusively when normal production is the desired outcome.
Rapid Synthesis- This ability in FF14 had the effect of allowing players to sacrifice quality for speed, giving players a faster way to grind through crafting. This ability was severely nerfed (greatly reduced in effectiveness) a month or two after live, and now has very little use in crafting, if any.
Bold Synthesis- This ability serves to add quality to a product but sacrifices stability and speed. Bold spamming was also nerfed early on in FF14, but not to the extent Rapid was.
Wait- Wait is a command that sacrifices a small amount of durability to possibly stabilize the Synthesis. Wait can also be used to halt the progress of a Synthesis while the player waits for additional abilities to become available.
Once the player reaches 100% progress on a finished item (a piece of gear that is equip able, non throwing) there is an additional command that is not previously seen. The ability Touch Up is a command that effectively rewards the player for any unused durability by allowing an additional chance for HQ. Touch Up works by using a portion of the left over durability for a chance to improve the quality of the item. Durability lost through Touch Up is cumulative with each successive command taking more and more durability away. As a general rule I do not touch up below 30 unless the NQ (normal quality) is effectively worthless to me. Excessive use of Touch Up causes sparking which has the effect of dramatically increasing the durability lost and can cause botches.
Botch is the term for a synthesis where the durability value falls to zero. When an item botches, the final product and the materials used are lost. When a player completes a synthesis by selecting Finish they are actually done with the process and are awarded skill points and experience points, as well as the item produced.
When a Synthesis is started the player will always see a visual cue in addition to the working surface and their tool, this being a small glowing region simply called the orb. The orb's main use in crafting is to give an indicator to the player that graphically depicts the overall synthesis harmony or stability. The various stages of the orb are seen in the images labeled 1 through 4.
1. White Orb- The most stable of the orb conditions and also the starting condition of the orb when a synthesis is begun. Typically I always strive to maintain the orb as white when possible using stabilizing commands. White orbs also tend to be the best condition for quality pushes (use of Bold Synthesis as well as advanced commands that further increase quality).
2. Yellow Orb- A slightly less stable version of white. This orb condition is usually pretty stable and can allow for quality pushes following a string of successful actions.
3. Red Orb- The least stable solid color orb I have found from experience. I typically will not quality push on a Red Orb unless I seriously out rank the synthesis (+10 ranks usually, sometimes more).
4. Flashing Multicolor Orb- When the orb changes in color and pulses between all colors this means the orb is the least stable. I recommend never using Bold Synthesis on a flashing orb unless you out rank the synthesis.
A fifth condition not shown in the orb stability illustration is destabilization. This is the worst synthesis condition. The orb will acquire a swirling graphic around it and the player will be prompted by a message stating that the specific harnessed element has destabilized (please refer to video). Elemental destabilization has two damaging components to it. First, progress is severely limited on successful attempts and durability lost on all actions is magnified. The second component and perhaps the more damaging is if the unstable element grows chaotic. When an element grows chaotic it effectively explodes, stabilizing the orb once more but reducing total quality by half and removing a large chunk of durability. This is very damaging for players attempting for HQ's where losing half the quality they have gained is devastating (going from say 250 quality to 125 quality is a big deal in terms of HQ).
Tools of the Trade
Tools are everything to a Crafter, and in FF14 tools are how a player becomes a disciple of a specific craft. By equipping a saw a player becomes a carpenter and can switch easily to a weaver by equipping a needle. In addition to the basic tools for each craft there are also secondary tools for each trade called off hand tools (commonly referred to as OH). In addition to the main hand and off hand tools (MH/OH) there is an additional mechanic of basic attributes associated with each of these tool types.
Carpenter- MH/VIT - OH/DEX
Blacksmith- MH/STR- OH/MND
Armorer- MH/VIT- OH/STR
Goldsmith- MH/DEX- OH/INT
Weaver- MH/DEX- OH/MND
Alchemist- MH/INT- OH/PIE
Culinarian- MH/MND- OH/PIE
Below is the official SE explanation taken from http://lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com/pl/topics/detail?id=92e2a2ee13f174b5a6f5f658135e1bf4ab725f29 on the relationship between the tool and the stat associated to it:
"The effect of attributes on synthesis is limited. When attempting to craft a high-quality item, however, the likelihood of success increases as the attribute most closely associated with the tool being used rises. As the attributes associated with the main and off hand tools of each class are different, players may wish to give careful consideration to the class on which they wish to focus."
So based on this description one can assume that the higher the stat the greater the HQ rate. I have been running on this assumption for as long as I have learned it. SE rarely tends to give much information related to crafting, so I had taken what little they had divulged as fact. For the sake of completeness I ran some benchmarks for this guide and the results are something I did not expect.
The Effect of INT on OH Goldsmithing (Brass Ingots)
For the benchmark I conducted I decided to produce a simple item, Brass Ingots (GSM R2 recipe). For this test I wanted to rule out as many factors as possible and chose a very low rank recipe compared to my actual Goldsmithing rank (GSM R50) to eliminate any chance of stability issues. In addition, I used the same crafting stats for both tests with the only variable being the amount of Intellect. While I was setting up the parameters for this test, I also took into account facing, the direction I was facing for the test, which stayed the same for both tests as well as lunar cycle, which was the same for both tests. For the effect of Intellect on crafting items with the OH tool I decided to take it as far as possible doing one data set at 1 INT, using stat swaps to lower my INT to the absolute lowest value, and the other at over cap 210INT = 174 (base) + 15 (from stat swap) + 21 (from rings).
Concerning the Term Cap
Due to on-going discussion and testing, the following caps only affect the point you stop gaining HP and MP from allotting your points into VIT and MND. It seems as if you will continue to gain in "invisible" stats (such as Defense/Magic Defense) if you increase these stats further. This also applies to the other stats with invisible modifiers, such as STR, DEX, INT and PIE. The caps for the "invisible" stats have not yet been determined. You may use this list as a benchmark for invisible stats if you prefer, just be aware this listing only affects your HP and MP caps from VIT and MND.
For the test I produced 50 Brass Ingots using 1 INT and 50 Brass Ingots using 210 INT. My crafting stats for both tests were 87 craftsmanship 86 magical craftsmanship and 92 control. My facing for both tests was due west and the lunar cycle for both tests was new moon.
For both tests I only used Standard Synthesis and Bold Synthesis. No waits and no additional class based skills were used due to the random nature that would be introduced (special abilities do not always appear on every synthesis attempt). I started each synthesis with Standard Synthesis and used Bold Synthesis until durability fell below 40 and ending with Standard Synthesis as to avoid any botches.
Test Results for 1 INT (50 Brass Ingots produced with OH tool using 1INT):
5 total HQ's - 3 +1's and 2 +2's.
average ending quality 125.98
highest ending quality 195
lowest ending quality 32
Outcome for the 5 HQ's:
83 ending durability 195 quality +2 Brass Ingot
34 ending durability 143 quality +1 Brass Ingot
78 ending durability 153 quality +2 Brass Ingot
46 ending durability 122 quality +1 Brass Ingot
63 ending durability 143 quality +1 Brass Ingot
Before going on I would like to briefly reflect on the results for this set. I completed the 1 INT test first and was pretty pleased with the results. There was a clear pattern upward in terms of the quality to HQ with the best result in terms of quality also producing the best HQ. While there were a number of sub hundred quality results (10 total) all of the HQ's clustered towards the upper spectrum of final quality.
Test Results for 210 INT ( 50 Brass Ingots produced with OH tool using 210 INT):
3 total HQ's - 2 +1's and 1 +3.
average ending quality 202.28
highest ending quality 297
lowest ending quality 79
Outcome for the 3 HQ's:
76ending durability 228 quality +1 Brass Ingot
61 ending durability 256 quality +3 Brass Ingot
78 ending durability 251 quality +1 Brass Ingot
The results were quite surprising on the second phase of this test. I fully expected dramatic results and depending on how you define better, the 210 test was either better in terms of results or worse. Certainly it was not the dramatic difference I was expecting. On one side of the coin it can be argued that the +3 result from test 2 is worth cumulatively the results from test one, which is indeed how I try to view it. However, if the crafter's goal is to produce a large amount of HQ's in order to further process these into parts, then test 1 is superior. What we can take from this with certainty is that quality is dramatically better with INT at upper limits, however the mechanics translating better quality into more yield still seem to be left to chance.
Many crafters, myself included, feel that if you want to HQ parts, then sheer volume is the way to go. As you can see producing 50 or even 100 items did give some yield, as I am sure producing another 50 or 100 units would have produced more.
Often I am asked when one should move up to the next rank of Tool. The answer is actually simple, you switch when the new Tool adds more stats than the current one in use. This is generally 1-3 ranks before its optimal rank of use. Some tools jump in type every 10 ranks while others jump every 5 ranks, so depending on the rank difference in tools as well as your rank difference with the new tool this exact rank will change. The best advice I can give is buy the tool 3-4 ranks early and simply put it on and record the difference.
Special note should be given to Tools in terms of HQ Tools. Each rank of HQ adds 5% to the crafting stats on the tool. The HQ range for all items is +1-3. This value becomes more beneficial as the rank of tool used increases, and conversely is pretty meager with the lowest rank tools. Players that take crafting seriously should be on the lookout for +1 or above tools being sold.
Abilities refer to the skills in a crafter's arsenal above and beyond the basic methods described earlier. Crafting abilities are acquired two ways, one by ranking up a specific craft and learning them passively, the other way is by purchasing them from the specific Guild associated with that craft (Weaver Abilities are learned from the Weaver Guild Vendor). Abilities learned as one Job, say as an Alchemist, can be used by any other DOH job assuming you have the action points to equip it. These abilities once equipped will show up during the synthesis and be activated just as Standard Synthesis or any of the other actions would be.
Some abilities are considered so fundamental that all of the crafters I spoke with during the creation of this guide could agree are must-haves. Hand of the Gods was the main ability that I and every crafter I spoke with could agree on as a top priority ability to get. Hand of the Gods allows a player to take several actions without losing durability (4 actions for finished items and 3 actions for anything else) while increasing the difficulty. From experience the difficulty increase is pretty minor and I have always found it to be a benefit and not a hindrance. Additionally, Hands of the Gods (often shortened to Gods) gives great protection against unstable and chaotic orbs. You actually can lose durability while Gods is active, the real value is -20 durability loss so chaotic orbs will often reduce durability greater then 20, thus resulting in a small loss.
For higher end finished items Gods is most often used in two capacities, one being to push the progress through using standard synthesis where the goal is to simply end the synthesis with the highest durability value ( leaving more Touch Up attempts), and the other capacity is called free bolds. Bold pushes during an HQ oriented synthesis are a double edged sword, with successful Bolds netting nice increases to quality and conversely terrible decreases in durability when they fail. With Gods active players effectively can Bold Synthesis without the fear of durability loss, however the difficulty component of Gods comes more into play when using Bold Synthesis, often producing unstables which as I described earlier are a very bad thing for HQ attempts.
I personally use Gods for almost every synthesis I do with the exception being lower level parts where ending durability has no impact on yield. Gods is purchased from the Alchemists Guild and is available after the player completes the R36 class quest for that job and has 12,000 Alchemists Marks. I recommend that any player who will be crafting seriously in FF14 purchase this ability as soon as possible.
The reason I started with and focused so much on Gods is to illustrate how one ability can greatly increase the success of synthesis in general. I use many abilities in Crafting, however, many are situational.
Clean Slate- LW guild, R36 required and 12k Marks. Resets your progress to zero while maintaining quality, also destabilizes the synthesis. Clean Slate when it works is awesome, however it very rarely works (possibly intended, possibly bugged). I use it most on parts although it is intended for enhanced items. When clean slate works it resets the progress bar back to zero and retains the quality you have acquired. I use this ability for very low rank parts where I am using HQ materials. A successful Clean Slate can turn a final Quality value from 450 to a staggering 650. However, I have seen NQ's that high, and this further reinforces the idea that a parts relationship to ending quality is very random.
Ingenuity- BSM R30 learned at rank up. Effectively and very noticeably reduces the difficulty of your synthesis for 3 actions finished items and 4 actions parts. I use this on almost every synthesis with the exception of very low ranking parts. It has the passive ability due to the decrease in difficulty of restablizing orbs and adding quality to each successful action while it is active.
Manipulation- GSM R30 quest required and 10k Marks.This ability is actually one of a series of abilities that add quality to every action (including failures) based on the stat associated to it. In the case of Manipulation the amount of DEX you have will translate into dramatic increases in quality gained on every action. Two important points are that abilities like Manipulation are available from every Guild, with each Guild offering one based on a different stat, and the other point is that these abilities work even cross class where the given stat plays no stated part on the effect of a given tool. An example of this would be using Manipulation as a Carpenter using the MH tool and the player would still see an increase in quality on all actions even though Carpentry MH tool is governed by VIT.
Acquiring Guild Marks is a simple process although lengthy at times. Marks are gained by completing the class quests associated with whatever class you are gathering marks for. Class quests are available at R20, R30, and R36. These quests reward 2k Marks, 3k Marks, and 3.6k Marks respectively. The other way to gain Marks is by doing what are called leves. Leves are basically semi daily quests that reset every 36 hours. Leves are tasks when concerning DOH classes for the player to produce a set amount of some item specified in the leve. If a player wants to gain for example Alchemists Marks, then accepting Alchemists leves of R15 or higher would give a chance on completion to be awarded Marks. There is no pattern, although I have heard many theories on how to improve your chances. The only thing that is an agreed fact is that higher ranked leves reward more Marks.
Grinding as far as DOH goes is the act of gaining ranks as rapidly or as cost effectively as possible, or a combination of both. Grinding has changed much since the release of FF14, the main changes being to SP (Skill Point) gains and to a lesser degree to mechanics of basic actions described earlier. SP gains have changed the most in the sense that previously players were not rewarded as well for grinding items above their current rank. This has since been changed and now players are well rewarded in terms of SP gains for completing difficult syntheses. The main strategy now is balancing risk vs. reward, finding items to create that are difficult enough to take advantage of the changes to SP gains but easy enough to not botch frequently. The general guideline is termed "5 rank up", meaning you want to produce items that are 5 ranks above your current rank. This rule can be further extended with abilities like Gods and where economics (the cost of production) permit.
Some additional changes to grinding are revisions made to the UI of synthesis. Previously each item had to be manually inputted into the crafting UI, greatly discouraging players from making complex items (items that have many parts) . This has changed now with the improvements to functionality, specifically the ability to repeat a synthesis and having the materials auto-placed into the UI after selecting a synthesis to repeat.
Craftsmanship vs. Magical Craftsmanship
A lot of speculation revolves around these two crafting stats. Due to the lack of SE based info on the two, players have developed many theories as to how these function. Most feel that Magical Craftsmanship (Mag Craft) is attributed mostly to the OH tool due to the fact that all OH tools contain larger amounts of Mag Craft then do MH tools. While others feel that Mag Craft is associated to the stat associated to the tool regardless of MH or OH (Alchemist MH tool is governed by INT and therefore favoring MAG Craft).
To find out first hand and under a controlled format for myself, I decided to test these theories. For this data set I decided to use the Armorer (ARM) OH tool. ARM OH tool is governed by STR and would certainly be a good case if it favored Craft over Mag Craft for the 2nd theory. For both tests I used the same amount of STR, the same facing and the same lunar cycle. The same OH tool was used and the only change in setup for both tests was the other equipable items worn that boost one stat or the other. Also note that in both tests the same item was produced at the same rank, Brass Plates (ARM R16) at R28 ARM. 100 total plates were produced with 50 being made in one set of gear and 50 being made in the other. Finally the method for progressing through both syntheses were identical with only Standard Synthesis being used, no Waits.
For the nature of this test I am primarily looking at stability and ease of synthesis. Using final durability, final quality, and amount of destabilization as indicators of what constitutes "better".
For Test 1 I used a gear set that had 79craft, 58 Mag Craft, and 62 Control.
For test 2 I used a gear set that had 48craft, 76 Mag Craft, and 62 Control.
Test 1 results (Craft Favor Set):
6 elemental destabilizations (6 separate synthesis with 1 each)
1 chaotic explosion
Average ending Durability 73.19
Average ending Quality 47.25
Test 2 results (Mag Craft Favor Set):
1 elemental destabilizations
zero chaotic explosions
Average ending durability 79.64
Average ending quality 46.72
So right off the bat I was able to see an improvement in ease of synthesis. With the dramatic difference in amount of destabilizations and the better ending durability it certainly seems at least in the case of ARM OH, that Mag Craft is the way to go.
In addition to the test of Craft vs. Mag craft is an items favor. Here is yet another layer of complexity to add, the concept of certain items favoring a tool. This concept actually makes sense from a realism standpoint. The first example I will use is the bread and butter grind for Leather Workers (LW). Vamps are a footwear part made by LW's and are the primary grinding items various LW's use to rank up on. I interviewed 13 leatherworkers and all stated that the production of Vamps favors the OH tool which is actually an Awl. Awls in history have been used in the creation of footwear parts and it seems that regardless of the MH tool being better in overall stats, Vamp production will be easier with the OH tool (Awl). Another example of this are Nails, produced by Blacksmiths (BSM) and they favor the OH tool the Iron File vs. the MH tool the Hammer.
Producing High Quality Finished Items
Producing finished items as far as HQing goes is much easier than making parts. This is primarily due to the use of Touch Up. I have made my fair share of +2 and +3 items and 90% of the time this is achieved through Touch Up. In addition there are things to strive for to help increase the chances of getting into those higher ranges, that being the use of high quality materials (HQ Mats). HQ mats increase the starting durability and quality, and add a huge boost to the overall synthesis outcome. All materials used in synthesis are not created equal and different parts have different effects base upon item ranking. Jin Earthema on Bodhum was nice enough to allow me to post an equation she wrote that can predict the starting variables of a synthesis using various HQ parts.
What this tells us in addition to the starting values of quality, is that unless the crafter has the important (rank wise) parts HQ'ed the use of the lower rank part HQ's are somewhat wasted. Taken from a quote made by one of the top crafters on the server, his advice as far as getting a good chance at +3 finished items was as follows: "get your quality to 350 with a good amount of durability left over for touch ups, and the rest is left to lady luck". It is simple advice but from experience it's very accurate, 350 quality on finished items is a good range to shoot for in terms of producing +3 finished items.
Synthesis is very broad in scope and therein lies some of its greatest strengths. Creating structure for the massive component of FF14 that is Synthesis was a large undertaking. I would like to give special thanks to players who helped provide input, insight, and merely being a sounding board for ideas.