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Final Fantasy 14 Synthesis Guide Part 2

by Matthew F. Hibben
7/27/2011

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. Following up on the comprehensive Final Fantasy 14 Synthesis Guide, this week's Game Tech article covers more synthesis topics and advanced concepts.

Risk and Progress

Progress as it pertains to synthesis is the 0 to 100% progression that signifies completion or failure. As a player selects actions both the progress bar and the durability value change based on success or failures of individual actions. These actions and their good and bad outcomes produce what is called Risk. Risk as a value is never truly known by the crafter, as opposed to progress,quality, and durability values. Risk however is a very important concept that crafters need to learn in order to produce higher quality goods. Risk as a component of synthesis, is the consequence of the players actions. Each action generates Risk, with basic actions generating less than “risky” actions like rapid or careful (formally known as bold). When a synthesis is going poorly and rank range is not the issue, then Risk has reached its threshold. There are really three symptoms of high risk, the more subtle erroneous chaining of failed actions, the overt sparking of the synthesis orb, and elemental destabilization. In addition to the Risk generated by actions is the Risk randomly assigned when starting a synthesis.

This random starting value of Risk explains how some syntheses seem doomed from the beginning.

Because Risk accumulates over the course of a given synthesis we have what is called the Risk threshold. The Risk threshold typically occurs during the later part (70% and on) and is caused by the accumulation of high risk actions and often even normal risk actions. When the risk threshold is met many different things can occur, including elemental destabilization, the inability to add more quality through careful fails, or orb sparking. The best way to combat risk is through the use of a few well placed abilities, basic commands, and the stacking of control gear. Below are listed the actions I typically use and in what order based on orb stability and the general feel (Risk) I sense from a given synthesis.

White orb at 0%: Standard Synthesis – often opening with Hands of the Gods (HOTG), or stat modifier abilities like Resolution or Manipulation. When opening with HOTG the usual order is Standard and then Careful until HOTG fades, unless the orb destabilizes.

When HOTG fades I typically will either use Harmonize or a simple Wait.

Flashing or Red orbs 0-50%: I typically will alternate Careful and Waits.

White Orb 1-99%: Careful spams.

Any orb state 75-99%: Here I try to get off a Perfection careful usually timing this with Manipulation or other Stat=Quality ability. If the orb is unstable or the synthesis has been going poorly in general, I will use Perfection coupled with Rapid.

Non White Orb States 50-99%: Here it comes down to practice and instincts. Over time a player will learn the roll of the initial synthesis Risk values and be able to predict what actions are possible based on the 1-50% progression. If the first half of a synthesis accepts high risk actions, I will typically use high risk actions the whole way (Careful spams).

The Effects of High Quality Materials

In the earlier article I made mention of how quality of materials affects the quality of the finished items they combine into. It seemed only natural to test out how using high quality materials would affects outcomes in a real situation. For this first benchmark I decided to go with a simple batch of Silver Rings many of my LS Mates requested.

For this test I produced 50 silver rings using +2 Silver Nuggets as a R50 Goldsmith. The results were as follows.

3x +3 Silver Rings

1x +2 Silver Rings

35x +1 Silver Rings

11x NQ Silver Rings

The most interesting thing to note is the high percentage of “any” high quality (HQ) outcome. A 78% chance to produce some sort of high quality certainly illustrates the benefit of using HQ materials. The rank difference for this synthesis was 18 ranks over in my favor, but more on how that may provide answers later in the article.

Control vs Craftsmanship

Control and Craftsmanship are values associated with synthesis. These values are found on crafting gear and tools. These values, also called stats, are used to enhance the synthesis process. Control as a value affects risk and prevents destabilization, while craftsmanship affects the amount of progress made by successful actions and to a certain extent the success itself. Where players seem to diverge from one another is in terms of how to balance these values, which is commonly referred to as optimization.

I myself have chosen up until now to go with what I describe as a balanced approach to optimization, meaning I attempted to keep my craftsmanship and my control more or less equal when possible.

Wanting to expand on this idea with some solid numbers I tested all gear sets, one favoring control, one favoring craftsmanship, and one favoring a balanced approach. For this test I produced Iron Celeta Visors, a rank 40 Armorcraft Synthesis, at 3 different ranks (33,34,35), with each rank containing equal data sets of the varying optimizations. These tests were performed with standard command only, and only with the main hand tool.

Rank 33 Armorcraft results for producing Rank 40 Iron Celeta Visors:

Craft Heavy Set- 102Craft 58MagCraft 66Control
28 total synthesis
1 botch (failed attempt)
2 near botches (near botches refer to attempts that ended with durability values below 10)
21 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
38.46 average ending durability
22.96 average ending quality
0 high quality results

Balanced Set- 91Craft 58MagCraft 76Control
28 total synthesis
2 botches
2 near botches
18 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
37.81 average ending durability
18.70 average ending quality
0 high quality results

Control Heavy Set- 77Craft 58MagCraft 85Control
28 total synthesis
1 botch
1 near botch
15 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
40.78 average ending durability
24.75 average ending quality
1 high quality (+1)

Rank 34 Armorcraft results for producing Rank 40 Iron Celeta Visors:

Craft Heavy Set- 102Craft 58MagCraft 66Control
28 total synthesis
2 botch (failed attempt)
0 near botches
18 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
37.28 average ending durability
23.25 average ending quality
0 high quality results

Balanced Set- 91Craft 58MagCraft 76Control
28 total synthesis
1 botch
0 near botches
20 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
34.96 average ending durability
21.39 average ending quality
1 high quality (+1)

Control Heavy Set- 77Craft 58MagCraft 85Control
28 total synthesis
1 botch
0 near botch
17 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
37.85 average ending durability
22.39 average ending quality
1 high quality (+1)

Rank 35 Armorcraft results for producing Rank 40 Iron Celeta Visors:

Craft Heavy Set- 102Craft 58MagCraft 66Control
28 total synthesis
0 botch
3 near botches
11 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
35.74 average ending durability
24.71 average ending quality
1 high quality (+1)

Balanced Set- 91Craft 58MagCraft 76Control
28 total synthesis
2 botch
2 near botches
16 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
32.11 average ending durability
23.39 average ending quality
1 high quality (+1)

Control Heavy Set- 77Craft 58MagCraft 85Control
28 total synthesis
1 botch
0 near botch
17 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
36.32 average ending durability
24.53 average ending quality
1 high quality (+1)

Some background is needed before I continue with this analysis. As for where the number of 28 attempts came from, it was my wish to always keep data sets equal across all ranks of this test. 3 sets of 28 syntheses were the amount of crafts from a skill point gains that I could do within rank 33. So each subsequent rank was locked to the amount of 252 total synthesis attempts, or 3 ranks of 3 batches of 28 each in order for the results to be most comparable.

Results seem to point towards a slight favor of control, across all ranks. It is important to note that in each rank set durability outcomes were always best for a set that favored control, and durability losses are achieved both through failed actions and unstable orbs. What this means and what I observed is that control progresses one through each completed synthesis faster than the other sets did. Time savings can be just as important if not more so than the total amount of botches. Another pattern seen in this test is the upward trend in high quality outcomes as pertaining to rank increases. Those specifics for each high quality outcome are shown here.

R33 Control Set High Quality- 54 ending durability, 25 ending quality

R34 Control Set High Quality- 25 ending durability, 29 ending quality

R34 Balanced Set High Quality- 44 ending durability, 37 ending quality

R35 Craft Set High Quality- 14 ending durability, 11 ending quality

R35 Balanced Set high Quality- 20 ending durability, 22 ending quality

R35 Control Set High Quality- 23 ending durability, 19 ending quality

So these high quality results tell us one thing with certainty, that high quality outcomes are not tied to quality values at the lowest ranges. These values also suggest that high quality outcomes are also related to your rank relationship with the target synthesis. As the players rank comes closer in range to the target synthesis, the innate chance for a high quality outcome seems to increase independently of quality values increased by the synthesis process.

Economics

Crafting is both a time consuming activity and a costly one. The cost of crafting is not the same across the board though, with certain professions being more expensive to rank up than others. Here is a table showing examples of typical crafts that players will use to reach 50 (the maximum rank) in selected disciplines. These values in monetary form represent prices as a general average taken from the server I play on, and of course are subject to change based on cross server demands. The monetary currency in FF14 is called the gil. Costs are shown as both a true from scratch cost, as well as a adjusted cost based on “vendoring” the output to recoup expenses.

Clothcraft: “Undyed Woolen Cloth” * True Cost: 2750gil Adjusted Cost: 1868gil
Leatherworking: “Toad Vamps (Brown)”* True Cost: 7000gil Adjusted Cost: 3880gil
Goldsmithing: “Silver Francisca”* True Cost: 7100gil Adjusted Cost: 6644gil
Woodworking: “Walnut Mask” True Cost: 3200gil Adjusted Cost: 1695gil
Armorcraft: “Iron Greaves” * True Cost: 3300gil Adjusted Cost: 2775gil
Smithing: “Silver Javelin Head” * True Cost: 9900gil Adjusted Cost: 7950gil
Culinarian: “Aldgoat Steak”* True Cost: 10500gil Adjusted Cost: 10360gil

“*” Denotes items that stack, meaning that multiple items produced will occupy one inventory slot until the stack size is reached. To give an example of common stack sizes, consumables like food or potions stack to 12, most parts stack to 99, and arrows stack to 999.

Based on costs one can see there is often a huge difference between one craft and another. It's also important to note that craft items that stack offer additional incentive. Time for most players is just as valuable as the gil spent to do the crafts themselves, and items that stack offer the advantage of allowing a player to produce more items before reaching the limits of a full inventory. The adjusted costs represent what many crafters, myself included, do to alleviate inventory clutter, which is to simply sell off to NPC's what we produce. There are certainly markets for any item in terms of Supply and Demand, but when producing perhaps hundreds or thousands of these already heavily produced items, it is simply most efficient to sell them off to NPC's (Non Playable Characters) versus other players.

Food and How it Works for Crafters

Food is a component of FF14 that provides the players with temporary buffs (30 minutes for processed food items) and these food items are produced by Culinarians. Food buffs come in all forms, increasing health points, attack power, gathering attributes, and of course crafting stats. Traditionally I only tend to use food, control food specifically, when I attempting a difficult or costly synthesis. It is very interesting to point out that I had taken food at face value up until now, that the beneficial mechanics actually work. The main types of crafter oriented food are control food and magical craftsmanship food. To find out for myself how these types of food affected synthesis I decided to run some comparable tests, tracking the performance of no food, control food, and magical craftsmanship food.

For this test I produced Toad Vamps (Brown) at rank 46 leatherworking,77 under each condition for a total of 231 synthesis attempts. These tests were done using the same item sets and all using the off hand tool, and using the same synthesis action of standard synthesis.

No Food Test Batch:
77 total synthesis
3 botches
0 near botches
49 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
39.18 average ending durability
25.33 average ending quality
3 high quality (+1)

Magical Craftsmanship Food Test Batch: (Apple Juice)
77 total synthesis
4 botches
4 near botches
49 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
34.37 average ending durability
22.09 average ending quality
0 high quality results

Control Food Test Batch: (Tuna Miq'abob)
77 total synthesis
1 botches
4 near botches
35 synthesis attempts that had unstable orbs
41.69 average ending durability
23.45 average ending quality
2 high quality (+1)

As I completed this test, ideas pertaining to the different stats and how they should be valued started to really take shape. Control seems to be taking the spotlight once again as the superior stat, and certainly control food is superior to both magical craft food and no food at all. The control food data set also completed the batch 30 minutes faster than the other two groups, based on the duration buffs and the amount of food used.

Synthesis Actions and Item Types

Many times I am asked about abilities and their relationship to the various “types” of items they are referenced to. Most abilities above and beyond the basic synthesis commands have descriptions like “most effective for x” where x is a type of item. These item types and examples of what they refer to are listed below.

Finished Items:

Finished items are items that are final production items. These include projectiles, equip-able armor and weapons, and consumables. Abilities that specify “Finished Items' will work best with these types of items. Abilities Like HOTG will last longer, and abilities like Perfection will have a 100% activation rate when used with a “Finished Item” synthesis.

A subset of Finished items also includes the item type “Enhanced Items”. Abilities that work ideally for Finished items will also work equally well for Enhanced Items but not the other way around. Examples of Enhanced items are Bee Spatha and Disabling Baghnakhs. A general rule is that Enhanced Item groups are finished items that are produced from other finished items.

Materials:

Materials are the basic building blocks of production and include yarn, cloth, leather, and nuggets.

Parts:

Parts refer to secondary produced items typically made from “Materials”. Parts are things like cloth sleeves, shoulder pads, weapon handles etc.

A subset of “Parts” are “Decorations”. Abilities that work for parts also work equally well for decorations but not vice versa. Decorations include things like breast pins and gemstones.

Mass Production:

Some abilities work best with “Mass Production”, these abilities refer to items that are produced in quantities greater then 1, specifically nuggets, leathers, and yarns. Abilities that specify “Mass Production” will work ideally when used in synthesis that makes multiple items, including the “Finished Item” arrows.

Changes in 1.18

With new patches often comes changes to synthesis, and 1.18 has ushered in a number of changes that I would like to touch on. With patch 1.18 the primary changes were of course to the lifting of the fatigue system. The fatigue system in simple terms was a limit to how rapidly a player could progress in rank in a specific class. When fatigue was reached players would progressively gain less and less skill points for the same action as their “fatigue rank” increased, eventually resetting to normal once per week. What this meant for high rank crafters was that players could advance 1 rank per week before reaching fatigue, and based upon the high costs of production at those high ranks (see the economics chart) most players choose not to go too far into fatigue. Now all players, crafters included, can gain skill points at whatever personal pace they desire.

Another rather large change to crafting, compliments of 1.18, is how local leves are handled. Local leves are quests the player can undertake that offer a way for crafters to produce items without having to use personal resources. Prior to 1.18, local leves offered 50% more skill points compared to the normally produced version of items to be completed for the leve. In 1.18 leves have now been changed to offer skill points as a lump sum upon completion, but no longer offering the 50% increase per synthesis. The change in mechanics regarding rewards is actually a large boon to crafters. Shown below is the same leve completed pre 1.18 and post 1.18 and the skill point differences.

R50 Leatherworkers Local Leve: “Back in the Harness” at R46

Pre 1.18 skill points based on 100% success rate for all seven items.

600sp average per item or 4200sp total.

Post 1.18 skill points based on going 6 out of 7 items(5 are needed to complete the leve).

364sp average including the botch for a total of 2552sp, plus the bonus upon completion of 3840sp, for a total of 6392sp.

The bonus skill points awarded at the end of the synthesis turn-in seems to be independent of the performance of the leve. I completed many similarly ranked 1.18 leves and they all seemed to give this amount. These completion bonus amounts make many leves much more attractive now, specifically slightly lower rank leves or lower yield leves, that players traditionally shunned. The downside of the change to local leves from a skill point standpoint, are the very lowest ranked ones, where players could traditionally clean house on the 50% bonus. The lump sum bonus awarded at the end of a leve is based on the rank of the leve, and the lowest ranked local leves seem to offer less skill points as a lump sum bonus, than the 50% boost would have amounted to. This downside is certainly one that I can live with, seeing as the real cost of crafting isn't at the lowest ranks in terms of out of pocket cost or time, but the later ranks.

Another change to how leves function in general, which carries over to crafting, is how guild marks are awarded. Guild marks are now awarded only in the city the guild resides in. Players seeking Leatherworking marks will now need to complete Leatherworking leves in Gridania, and likewise for all other guild marks tied to their respective cities.

Crafting is a significant part of FF14, and as players can see, a very complex one. I would like to take this time to thank all the players in the community, that helped flesh out ideas for this Guide, as well as being very encouraging.

Everyone on the Lodestone Forums for your wonderful feedback

Legacy Linkshell on Bodhum for funding many of the tests

Madruk Darkrune and Ana Tien for insight and observations

Everyone on Zam Forums for your encouragement

Final Fantasy 14 Synthesis Guide Part 2 Video

  • 1.
    Risk and Progress
  • 2.
    More on Risk
  • 3.
    HQ Materials
  • 4.
    Control Vs. Craft
  • 5.
    Control Craft Tests
  • 6.
    Rank 33 Tests
  • 7.
    Rank 34 Tests
  • 8.
    Rank 35 Tests
  • 9.
    HQ Results
  • 10.
    Economics
  • 11.
    Food
  • 12.
    Food Tests
  • 13.
    Synthesis Actions
  • 14.
    Item Types
  • 15.
    1.18 Changes
  • 16.
    1.18 Local Leves
  • 17.
    Video
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