Basicially this is a path that can take anyone into the advanced mind of an experienced crafter, and a few techniques as well. A large number of questions are answered here, but for now it's still a work in progress.
The Newbie to Advanced Crafter's handbook A FF11 revelation
Inside you will find all the information that can take anyone from a complete newbie to an advanced mindset in no time.
Learn the secrets and advanced techniques of crafting like:
Also included are the leading questions asked by most crafters starting out like:
And many other questions answered that are rarely thought about.
You've heard about Japanese crafters HQing 50%, 75%, and 100% on some incredibly difficult items. Join in on the ideas and concepts of this highly desired activity.
About the Author
Mikesjustice is an avid follower of the Final Fantasy series, and has been since its first North American release in 1987.
Obsessed with perfection, his only goal was complete domination of any game he played. With an analytical mind, perfection his drive, and a love for the series, he set forth in attempts to tackle the great online game Final Fantasy 11.
Knowing this game ultimately could not be beat, his main goal was to understand and master the crafting system he had become solely addicted to.
Unknowing what the future would have held, he now shares his opinions, ideas, and concepts with thousands of people around the world.
Mikesjustice has spent over 16 months in the Final Fantasy online world. Among his accomplishments are:
He now wishes to explain his experiences, successes, finds, failures, tips and tactics. Through his time spent, you can acquire all the knowledge from his many sleepless nights, and endless crafting sessions.
Everything he knows is at your disposal in this detailed guide.
Chapter 1 What is Crafting?
Crafting is a method in which gil is created, composed of combining items together in hopes of creating something profitable for sale or use.
Crafting itself is broken down into 8 guilds, all which specialize in their own area.
Farming vs. Crafting - Why should I craft?
In today's current economy, it's a well known fact that inflation has taken over in many areas.
The benefits of crafting vs. farming change over the course of our characters career.
Starting out, with a lower level character, it is quite possible to farm more gil/hour than it would be to craft. This is true due to inflation on the rise. However, as you continue to reinvest your gil into your crafting ventures, you will reach a point where your crafting gil/hr will exceed your farming gil/hr ratio.
It's a long, addictive, and exciting road, but once you've arrived, that's where the real fun begins.
So you've decided crafting is for you, let's introduce a few basics for success.
Which craft is right for me?
This is an easy one, but the choice is yours alone. First, what are your goals with craft?
Many people feel certain crafts pertain to certain jobs, while this might be true, it is by no means necessary.
Some players will level up a craft to discount the items they can use, by created items at a cheaper price.
The best recommendation in this situation is to start off with a consumables type guild, level that to 60, and then start piggybacking on to your other crafts. At that point, you will soon start to notice a craft which you enjoy, which you will wish to level further than 60.
What does NQ and HQ stand for?
NQ stands for normal quality (NQ) and HQ stands for high quality (HQ) of a particular item. Generally, most items of HQ nature, tend to sell for more, as they are more difficult to craft.
There are slight variations of HQ, but they are none-the-less are HQ. In a consumable synth, should you HQ, there is a chance that you will obtain larger quantities of the result.
In a non-consumable HQ, you will see visual signs of this marked with a +1 after the name. In some instances, there are items which have +2. The +2 is the high quality piece and the +1 is a normal quality. In this particular case, this is just an upgrade feature, generally a piece of equipment..
Guild Support 101
While crafting in your particular guild, you will notice npc's within. These helpful characters offer something called guild support, or advanced guild support. The strength in which they offer ranges from +1 upwards to +3. The +3 is a paid support while the others are free.
Why would you need this?
Every item you wish to make has a craft level cap, meaning once achieved, your current crafting level will skill no higher, for that item of choice.
Support allows you to take your current craft level, and bridge this gap, thus narrowing it closer to the item cap. This will produce safer results with fewer fails. Advanced support is absolutely worth the price more often than not.
What do I skill up on?
After a guild has been chosen, the next order of business is what to skill upon.
These sites are a highly recommended starting place.
What you will see here is a complete list of items related to your guild, which will allow you to skill upon until you reach level cap, by order of level cap. This will become your bible to crafting.
Notice that each item within the list gives item skill-up cap, recipe, stats/effects of item, and any known location where you might obtain the item or its ingredients. This is a highly valuable addition to your crafting career.
Through these following links, you will see guides which show what other crafters have done, to reduce costs as much as possible. Note that all guides should be considered obsolete the moment printed, and that all items and prices vary server to server.
Your best course of action is to double-check and verify everything on the guide you borrow. These are only ideas and should be treated as such until verified to work for your server.
Sites of interest
This following sites are the life blood of your FF11 existence. These are incredibly great because they combine the minds of thousands upon thousands of people on to one website of knowledge.
I encourage everyone to participate in the forums and browse the site to become more familiar with the game. Knowledge is power and these are the places to gather.
http://ffxi.allakhazam.com/ - My personal favorite for forum discussion and countless topics of information. Navigate the trade's forums to become familiar with the minds of many crafters.
http://www.killingifrit.com/index.php - A great site for quest and crafting information.
http://ffxi.cannotlinkto/ - My favorite crafting site for recipe verification.
http://mysterytour.web.infoseek.co.jp/ffxi/us/index.html - Another great site for recipe verification and information. This is a Japanese to American site, so this is one of the leading producers of accurate information, in my opinion. After all, the Japanese did have this game in their hands 2 years before us.
http://www.titanictus.com/tools/guild/ - This is an incredible source for guild point items for the day. More on this further in the book.
http://ffxi.lokyst.net/timer/crafttimer.html - This is an amazing tool found within the sites listed above. This is basically a beginner's best friend program. Much credit goes to the men who created the program itself, and the mastermind who thought of the equations and formulas as the bases of this program. More on this further in the book.
http://www.killingifrit.com/forums.php?m=posts&q=71950 - This is probably the most beautiful crafting compass I've seen yet. This gives a benchmark as to where we might begin to speculate how crafting direction works, or not.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v462/duuude007/compass_pic.gif - And another compass.
Leading questions asked by beginning crafters
Q: Which craft is right for me?
A: See "What craft is right for me" section above. Only you can decide what's best for you.
Q: How far will "X" gil get me in my guild?
A: We don't know. Prices vary greatly server to server, that it would be impossible to gauge how far so much gil would go. Along with the randomness of the skill up factor, and the constant increase of inflation, it's impossible to give an accurate answer other than "millions" in general.
Q: Can you make a "XXXXXXX" +1 for me?
A: Yes and no. Items have a various degrees of difficultly to them, depending on which tier they break. Since tier determines our HQ probability, that would dictate our HQ percentage. Sometimes it's just easier to buy from the auction house.
Q: What is desynthesis?
A: Desynthesis is a reverse process of synthesis where you break apart an item, rather than construct an item using a lightning crystal. The same crafting methods and principles do not apply to desynth, as it is highly unstable.
At best, we as crafters expect to see upwards of 40%-50% success whenever using this process. You will have to determine if it's cost effective to use this and which items to do so on.
A great read up on this topic listed below.
Q: Can I level more than one craft to 100?
A: Unfortunately, not on one character. The way the system works is that you are allowed to level up every craft to 60. After 60, you have 40 master points which you can distribute any way you would like, among your crafts. As an example it might look like 80/80, 90/70, 70/70/80, or however you would like.
You only course of action to take multiple guilds to 100 is to begin crafting on a mule character.
Q: What's the best day or direction to craft on?
A: Many people will say a number of things, but for the moment, let's keep this simple. Use the timer program mentioned above and let it do the work for you. Right now your trying to come into your own, to develop your knowledge in the crafting world.
Q: When can I start to profit?
A: Any time you would like. There are synths that are extremely low level which you can profit upon. All you need to do is look for cheap ingredients, check your auction house resale price, and if there is a profit, continue as planned.
Q: How can I afford to skill up my craft?
A: This question has a few different answers depending on your situation.
If your job is of higher level, than most likely you can farm more effectively compared to a lower level craft. Do so until your crafting gil/hr ratio is higher than your farming gil/hr ratio.
If you are just starting out, I would recommend this.
Offset your crafting cost. Do this by setting goals and targets. Starting out is slow enough, so you should have a game plan.
Keep skill up sessions and profit sessions separate.
Day 1: Create 10,000g in salable materials.
Day 2: Spend 10,000g skilling up your craft
With repeated use and increased gil amounts used, you will skill up fairly decent. You could even create that same 10,000g in one day, and spend 10,000g in the same day, allowing you to skill your craft for a total zero loss. Rinse and repeat this offset cost method.
Q: I don't know what to make - Can you help me?
A: Yes I could, but that wouldn't teach you how to craft effectively. Your best method of education is from the links provided above. This will tell you which items to skill up upon, the item caps, and even where to find the ingredients. Applying simple math to ingredient costs will tell you whether the item is worth selling on auction house for profit.
Q: Are sub-crafts important for HQ?
A: Yes extremely important. If you break into a new tier with your main craft, but fail to do so with your sub-crafts, you will not see increased HQ's. You must level up all crafts associated to a synthesis, above tier to enjoy a more bountiful result of HQ's.
Q: When can I start earning guild points? (gp)
A: You can do this when you are a member of a guild, currently under contract with that guild, and have achieved the title of novice (level 28) or higher.
You earn these gp's by trading in items of request each real life day, for a set amount of points. Since these are very costly, both in a gil state and a time demanding state, spend these wisely.
Q: Should I purchase gil online to fund my crafting, or even my character?
A: This is a personal preference. This act is highly looked down upon among many gamers, as it is considered a method of cheating.
In regards to crafting, I say this. You can purchase some start up money, but you will run into problems very quickly.
1. There is a possibility that purchased gil would be spent very quickly, causing a potential need to go back and buy more. Since it wasn't earned gil, there is little attachment to the pride of earning your own profits, thus throwing gil to the wind may occur. To some, crafting is an addiction. When coupled with online purchasing, the results can become dangerous.
2. Advancing through, or power-leveling a craft is highly dangerous when starting out. You might find yourself at level 60, but with no understanding how to actually profit from the craft. At the moment, we need to concentrate on learning how to profit from our trade.
3. Lastly, even with large amounts of purchased gil, you will fall short eventually. You will run out and find yourself in the same position as you started. It's best if you level up your craft from your own blood, sweat, tears, and sleepless nights.
Chapter 2 Advancing your mindset
HQ tiers and probabilities
Q: What is a tier?
A: Tiers are what the crafting world considers advancement points towards HQ progression. Once a certain tier is broken, your HQ rate increases by a set percentage. The larger the tier broken, the more often you should see HQ's over time.
Level over cap vs. item cap:
Seeing this, your best course of action is to attempt to break the highest possible tier on your item of choice.
There has been a recent discovery that Tier 11 is not a flat 10% HQ rate. It is neither 5% nor 10%, but both. The results you will see are item specific.
For example, items like hauberks and triumph earrings will HQ at 5% on average, whereas haubergeons, phantom earrings, brigs, etc, will HQ at 10%.
Does the law of averages work?
Yes. If you notice at the end of each tier explanation, I specifically called out "Over Time" This is key because the larger your batch of synthesis materials, the more accurate the averages are to appear.
This is no different than flipping a coin 100 times and averaging out 50/50 or very close. Probability and the law of averages are in your favor, more often than not. Should we flip that same coin only 2 times, we statistically should see 50/50, but it's very possible to see 100% heads or 100% tails. The larger the number of attempts, the more accurate the results.
Your only decision is to decide if it makes financial sense to attempt the synthesis.
Guild items vs. Special guild abilities
Each guild offers up three guild pieces, which add an addition point of support to your total crafting skill.
The question usually asked is what about the special abilities?
My take on that is:
My recommendation is gear over abilities. Considering it takes about 2-3 real life weeks to earn a 70,000 guild item, I would want the best value for my gil, I'm sure you would agree. Go back later and get the abilities.
Guild gear myths
Q: If you are 1 level from item cap, can you skill up even if using guild gear or support?
A: Yes you can. Using any guild pieces or support, or even the combination of the two will allow you to skill up without penalty. You may notice slowed skill up rates, but that's about it.
Some people my think "How is this so?" The skill up system completely disregards "Help" support in relation to the gap between your actual level and item cap.
The major difference is that you will break less often. This is the desired method when skilling on items of high value. While not necessary to go overboard with support, a great idea is to use support to bridge gaps to 1 level under item cap, or at item cap on items of significant value. Better safe than sorry
Q: What is the best level gap to skill up with?
A: When all possible, 1-5 levels away from item cap. Your success ratio decrease greatly beyond 5 levels out.
There is no difference in skill up rates whether you stand 1 level away from cap or 5 levels away from cap.
I personally like to use a 1-3 level gap, as it provides much safer results.
Moghouse enhancement - What's that?
In relation to crafting, we would want to concentrate on furniture that lend support to the type of crystal synthesis we create the most.
When using certain elemental furniture, we obtain a Mog house enhancement that will help us prevent losing materials on a failed synth. By adding more of the same element inside the Mog house, you can increase this from weak support all the way up to overwhelming support.
When crafting very high valued items, breaks will occur. The enhancement can help prevent the loss of the highly valued ingredient, but significantly more often than not, it does not.
Testing the sub-craft mystery level
There is an allowable 15 levels out of cap option available to every crafter. Simply this means that within 15 levels of item cap, you can attempt a synthesis. However, most likely you will fail.
How we know this is through self verifying. Grab a mule with 0 in any craft, and attempt to craft a level 15 item, and then attempt a level 16 item.
To test the sub-craft level of an item, we can skill up our main to within 15 levels of main level cap. Now take your sub-craft and skill it up 1 level at a time. If you can not create the item, it will say it's beyond your ability. However IF you can, add your current craft level +15 and that is the level in which the sub-craft caps.
Here is a link to a test I've run not looking for a sub-craft cap, but to determine whether an item could break into new tiers.
This link expands further on the tier 31 test to find the exact Haubergeon cloth sub-level.
Level 100 craft - Is it worth it?
This is highly dependent upon your guild. Some guilds offer items within the 90's which can profit better than ringing in at 100 (100 +3 gear +3 support or 106)
The keys to look for are:
1. 106 - tier 11, tier 31, or tier 51. Do the items within these item caps contain a high value resale HQ item, worth attempting to create wealth from?
2. IF the above is not true, what is the profitable synth within the guild? Can these be achieved with a mix of your main, and a boost to your sub-crafts?
For example, we can look at one guild in particular - smithing.
At 100, there really isn't any items that break into tier 11 or 31 that can create a mountain of wealth, more-so than if your level was in the 90's.
However, in the 90's with support, guild gear, and a mix of sub-craft levels, you could HQ items of value you could not at 100. Remember HQ's are highly dependent upon sub-craft levels as well, where-as there is much more flexibility at 90 than at 100.
This is not the case with all guilds however, some guilds make the gil at 100 or 106. Woodworking for example, attempting HQ staves. You can only break into tier 31 (25% HQ rate) when you reach 100+3+3.
Look for the high level hidden gems that require sub-crafts, as sometimes it makes more financial sense to just HQ these over and over. Research my friends.
For a specific example, here is a Hellfire +1 created 5 times with my level in the 90's. This would not be possible at level 100.
The Tier 11 myth
I receive large amounts of requests for items that reside in the tier 11 zone. With a 10% HQ rate, you can see these items are highly difficult to HQ.
When discussed above, I mention that items average out over time, with larger batches proving more accurate than smaller batches.
When attempting to make certain tier 11 items, I suggest running batches of 36. Not 12, perhaps 24, but definitely 36. While it's completely possible to not HQ in a 36 batch, it's much easier to not HQ a tier 11 item with a batch of 12.
Look at your ingredients, and calculate whether it makes financial sense to do this. If the averages work in your favor, you could end up with 1-5 HQ for a 36 batch. I've gone 0/36 before, but it is pretty rare in all my experiences.
See HQ theory at the end of the guide for further details.
Max Sub-craft level
When creating an item, more often than not, we run across sub-crafts. Looking into the sub-craft ingredients, you might come across items which cap higher than 60, and think how is this possible?
In regards to your main, sub-crafts never cap higher than 60. Most, if not all ingredients cap at, or lower than their stand alone caps. Rarely, you may come across one item that caps up, but I have yet to run across one in my experiences.
Now people might say "Well so and so guide says it caps at 60". Usually guides take best estimates based upon player submissions. They are prone to being incorrect at times. Looking at certain ingredients, you may notice items that can not be crafted, habu skin for example in leather craft. While it is impossible to know what the level is at, it's in your best interest to cap leather to 60.
Some items, like barone's gear, use high level 80 gsmithing ingredients as a sub-craft. In this event, the item is completely disregarded or capped down to 60.
You will never come across an item that requires higher than 60 to create as a sub-craft. If you choose to HQ, that is another story, as you would need to add the levels of tiers accordingly.
Deleveling a Craft
There are instances in a crafters career where someone may wish to delevel a craft, to skill up another.
After 60 has been achieved in all craft levels participating, and we allocate our 40 master points among our crafts, should you allocate these points among 2 or more crafts above 60, this is how deleveling will work if you wish to do so.
The deleveling system will not discriminate on which craft it delevels.
For example, lets say you had the following craft levels:
If we wanted to skill our leather, but delevel our cooking, we face this problem. The system will skill up leather, however it will delevel either cooking or smithing randomly, as it does not discriminate against which it chooses to delevel.
The only option to effectively skill leather the correct way is to use the guildmaster npc and reset your levels accordingly. Failure to do so results in uncontrolled delevel skills among any craft over 60.
Have a game plan before you wish to do this.
Chapter 3 Tactics, Hints, and Techniques
"XXX"+1 usually. Usually this causes most buyers to bump price 1,000 gil or to the next 10,000, or even 100,000g depending on item value.
Chapter 4 HQ theory - From an analytical mind
(The views and opinions expressed are strictly of that nature, simply views and opinions. While experience and testing results have satisfied my taste, I leave any of the following information to be tested and confirmed by the community. To date there has been no verification of this, nor should I expect data to appear anytime soon. For the people that have figured this out, this remains under lock and key, unwilling to simply hand it away.)
Have you ever wondered how certain players could almost HQ items at will? Obtain items so rare, that it would seem as if impossible to craft?
Often times we wonder how certain individuals can amass so much wealth in one game. Have they done something different? Sure they did, they thought differently.
In today's common way of thinking, we as crafters are too busy trying to decipher the HQ code, to easy to accept purposed ideas without any verification (I am guilty of this as well). Even after the release of this game 3+ years later, we have yet to figure out one independent factor within the HQ equation.
But there was hope, there was a confirmation of a tier structure. A factor which absolutely contributed to the HQ code, more significantly than some would ever know.
SE is very secretive in the way they have structured this crafting system. While there are indications of a star system, a chart which directs us to the correct direction, nothing has been independently confirmed as accurate or not.
Instead of looking at what we don't know, lets look as what we do know. Since we can not crack any independent portion of the HQ code, lets try and find a way around it, a backdoor method.
The random fail percentage
This has been commonly accepted as 5%, where-as some have seen more or less, most would agree 5% is typical.
The Tier structure
The overlooked elemental day breakdown
We know that at any moment of any elemental day you can synth a piece, and a specific result will appear, correct? What are the chances that if you wait 5 seconds, 10 seconds, or even 2 game hours you still receive a synth result? The answer is always. You will always recieve one of 3 results any game minute you attempt a synth.
There are 60 game minutes and 24 game hours in an elemental day. Result: 60x24 = 1440 synth results per elemental game day.
Each elemental day contains, by tier:
Tier 11: 144 HQ / 1224 NQ / 72 fail zones
Tier 31: 360 HQ / 1008 NQ / 72 fail zones
Tier 51: 720 HQ / 648 NQ / 72 fail zones
What is a data table set?
Each elemental day broken down according to how the HQ / NQ / Fail zones are arranged upon the table for that given day/item.
Factors - What do we do with these?
Lets keep this as simple as we can.
Moon percentage sets up our database table. The percentage is the key in the moon phase factor, to determine whether we can match tables again in the future.
Every other factor mentioned or not, determines how the HQ / NQ/ Fails are arranged upon the table. Quite frankly, you want to control all factors you believe you can control, as we don't know exactly how many contribute to the table.
My suggestion is to pick a day, pick a moon percentage, face "X" direction, wear ONLY your guild gear, change to a level 1 job or any job you will never ever level again, etc, and then document your results.
Be very accurate with your game minutes (seconds) in which the synth is created, as that is your synthesis result.
Now one week from the day, or any exact moon phases in the future, repeat the exact scenario you just laid out, as your table should be relatively similar.
This HQ method is best used for a end level craft, as when you advance in rank, it is a possibility you can re-arrange your table yet again. Turn 90 degrees different, attempt with a different job, your bound for different results. Remember when we level up our jobs, statistically our characters change. We need to control EVERYTHING we can think of, because we don't know exactly what contributes and what doesn't.
After your testing has taken place, you have some data gathered. With weekly testing, you should start noticing HQ zones to stand out. While it's not known as to why some zones HQ 100% and others more than average, but less than 100%, we try to locate the 100% zones. Again this could be because of a factor we haven?t controlled, something we failed to think about controlling.
With tier 51 items, this is rather easy and cheap, tier 31 not too bad, but when you get into tier 11 or 0-10 end game items, it gets insanely costly, aside from all the test work involved.
First, you need to get lucky and "Find" the HQ zone to attempt to repeat it. On a piece your 0-10 over cap, this could take a very long time. Then hope it's a 100% or high HQ percentage zone. This is why you don't see millions of cursed hauberks -1 all around, or the equivalent. It takes much time and much gil to test for items in tier 11 or less.
Stamina is the key here.
A large portion of this guide is accumulated information I used throughout my crafting career. While everything has played a roll on the way to the end result, I felt it was good to gather all the links into one guide.
More importantly are the advanced techniques mentioned, to allow our new crafting friends starting out an advantage some of use never had.
I hope to revise this as time goes on, to cover more and more of the unknown should it arise, but as for now I hope this helps but a few.
This list will continue to grow longer and longer as I remember more and more names that jump out once again. Their selfless efforts, knowledge, and gathering of information has allowed many others to advance to great heights within the crafting world. For those not mentioned, many thanks for all your input as well, as we all contribute to a community that betters everyone's crafting careers.
Information subject to change - All right reserved
Edited, Mon Oct 10 15:46:39 2005 by mikesjusticee
Edited, Jun 19th 2006 at 1:31pm EDT by mikesjusticee