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Crafting - Working out the KinksFollow

#1 Sep 12 2010 at 11:51 PM Rating: Excellent
This is a working guide built on observations through a relatively extensive set of crafting experiments during the FFXIV open beta. Rather than edit to remove initial findings that later seemed to be false, I'm going to use strikethrough tags to indicate a change in theory.

Also, I want to try to avoid stating any of my observations as fact, and this is for a couple of reasons. Without having done a detailed recording of my actions and outcomes, these are just general observations. Also, a sample size of about 100 attempts isn't enough to really nail anything down, especially considering that I was progressing my class rank along the way.

k? k. Here we go...

Crafting Basics
Because everyone needs to read this for the 40th time ;D

For starters, as we all know, when you're a lowbie DoH and you decide to craft something, once you equip your tools and select your ingredients and your recipe and go through all of that, you end up at the synthesis interface pane where you're given four options:

Standard Synthesis
Rapid Synthesis
Bold Synthesis
Wait

That's it. It's the same for every DoH class. Once you reach rank 10 with a DoH class, you get an ability that can be used during synthesis. For descriptions of the various abilities you can learn, visit the Abilities section in the wiki here for the various different DoH classes.

This is what we know about the different actions (descriptions do not include outcomes with a destabilized element):

Standard: All around average. With entry level tools (not sure if it would change with better tools) it will advance your Progress by a maximum of 20%. The most I recall having seen it reduce my Durability on a failure is around 20, and many times as my class rank progressed I had successes where I lost no durability at all. Successful Standard synthesis can increase Quality anywhere from 5 to 50+.

Rapid: Potential for a greater increase to Progress (max 30% that I've seen). Seems to have slightly lower maximum Durability loss compared to Standard, but adds very little to Quality.

Bold: Highest increase to Progress I've seen so far is 10%. Greatest decrease I've seen to Durability is about 15. Highest increase to Quality I've seen was 87. Note that on a successful Bold attempt, your increase to Progress will almost always be lower than or equal to your Durability loss.

So based on that, we can see that the different actions serve different purposes. If you've failed several times and you need a quick jump in Progress to try and prevent from failing the synth, Rapid is the way to go. A completed synth with low quality is worth more than a failed synth that blew up at 300 quality. On the other hand, if you're near completion and have Durability to spare and want to increase the quality as much as you can, Bold is the best choice.

Levequest Rewards and Quality

I'm adding a little blurb in its own section for this because it's important. Common advice these days is to just spam Rapid synthesis. That's not a good habit to get into for all things. As above, if you have a choice between successful completion with low final Quality and failure, obviously you want the success. On the other hand, if you're cranking out gear or items for levequests and finishing the synthesis with tons of Durability left over but low quality, you're missing out.

For the purpose of levequests, when you look at the levequest information you will usually see a reward listed as a type of ingredient (ie. Bronze Nuggets x 3). That's the base reward for simply completing the required items, regardless of quality. You can potentially earn more than that, however.

When you are successful in completing one of the items for the quest, you will see a notice like this:

"The appraisal of your synthesized items increases by <x>. (Total: <y>)"

<x> is based on the final quality of the item you synthesized divided by the total attempts you had for the levequest. So if the levequest asked for 2 items but gave you materials for 3, the appraisal score for each item you complete will be its finished quality divided by 3. If the quest required you to complete 4 items and gave you materials for 5, your appraisal score for each completed item will be its finished quality divided by 5, etc. etc.

<y> is the sum of your appraisal scores for each completed item.

If you complete enough items to finish the levequest, when you turn it in, you will see this:

"Your reward is based on a performance rating of <y>."

Performance rating is the same as your total appraisal score. Additional rewards for a higher appraisal score can include gil, shards/crystals(?), and other materials above and beyond the ones listed in the levequest information.

Synthesis Status

In the same pane as the list of actions you can take is your synthesis status information. There are three key figures you want to keep an eye on in this part:

Progress
Durability
Quality

If you reach 100 Progress before you reach 0 Durability, the synthesis is successful. (Note: If you reach 0 durability during the same action where you reach 100 progress, it counts as a failure) So far, despite several HQ results today, I have been unable to find a direct correlation between durability and quality as far as deciding for sure whether or not you'll get an HQ result. My best outcome today was Quality @ 277 and Durability @ 72 and I got an NQ result. For most of my HQ results, durability was around 70 and quality was just above 100, so it seems to be heavily influenced by randomness.

In a nutshell, synthesis is about selecting an action from the list on the left of the pane, observing it's results, and continuing to select actions until Progress reaches 100% or Durability reaches zero. For some gear recipes, after reaching 100% Progress the action list will change and you will get the option to Finish the recipe as-is, or "Touch Up" your item. Choosing "Touch Up" is an option that allows you to use up your remaining Durability in order to increase Quality, but it's still random. You can still reduce your Durability to zero and if you do, you fail and lose the item even though your Progress was at 100%.

Tools and Orbs
lewl

In addition to the synthesis interface window, your character will kneel down and pull out an anvil, or a still, or a saw table, etc. Upon that will be a glowing orb. It always starts out solid white in color, but after each action its appearance can (and usually does) change. Possible conditions are:

Solid white
Solid yellow
Solid red
Slow pulse (various colors)
Moderate pulse (various colors)
Rapid pulse (various colors)
Swirling "smoke" around the orb (Color corresponds to destabilized element. If this status appears, you will also see a notice in your chat log saying that an element has destabilized.)


There has been a lot of speculation suggesting that the different solid colors are an indication of what action you should take next. After all my time spent doing one synth after another, I would suggest that this is untrue. It appears as though the color status of the orb is just an indicator of your chance to success with your next action, as well as what the outcome will be in terms of Progress/Durability/Quality gains and losses. Here's a breakdown of my observations:

Solid white: Best chance for success. Successful attempts will yield highest gains to Progress and Quality and lowest loss to Durability compared to other orb colors.

After further testing, it would appear that while a solid white orb offers the highest chance for success and frequently results in larger increases to Progress than other orb states, the increase to Quality is actually the lowest with a white orb. I observed this while converting Moko Grass to Hempen Yarn as a rank 9/10 weaver. Not only did my rank allow me to spam Standard Synthesis with a low rate of failure, I also had access to Preserve (rank 10 alchemy ability, holds orb at solid white status ("favorable conditions") for duration of effect.) During this time I noticed that it was rare to see an increase to Quality of more than 10 for any given Standard action, whereas with other orb states I have seen an increase to Quality from Standard synthesis as high as 47.

For the time being and for the rest of the orb state descriptions, assume that the lower your chance for success based on orb state, the higher the potential increase to quality for a neutral/successful result.


Solid yellow: Slightly less chance for success than white. Successful attempts seem to yield slightly lower gains to Progress and Quality than white, but durability loss seems about the same.

Solid red: Lower success than yellow (but still not bad). Seems to be the same durability loss as white and yellow.

Pulsing: The faster it's pulsing, the lower your chances for success. Progress and Quality gains about the same as red, but Durability loss is higher than solid colors (and the faster it's pulsing, the higher the loss).

Swirling smoke: Just don't. Unless you're feeling really lucky, keep using the Wait command until the smoke goes away and you get a message in your chat log saying it has stabilized. The most times I've had to use Wait for it to restabilize was 6 (25 Durability loss total). A failed action while an element is destabilized can not only result in a very large Durability loss, it will also result in a Quality loss as well.

Important note: I mentioned earlier about the rank 10 Alchemy ability "Preserve". When you use Preserve, your orb stays solid white for every action you take until the Preserve buff wears off (4-5 actions). This is what partially convinced me that the orb states/colors are not intended to indicate what ability to use next and simply indicate what your chances of success might be with your next action. Keep in mind that I've failed on solid white orbs and I've succeeded on rapidly pulsing orbs. There's still a random factor at play at all times.

(Related note - "Chaotic" element: I was messing around with HQ ingredients (moko grass +3) and wound up starting a synth with 177 Durability and over 250 quality. The element destabilized after my second action and I figured I'd try to blast through with Rapid just to see what would happen. After three failures, I got a message saying that the element had grown "chaotic" and I lost 106 durability and a massive chunk of quality. The quality didn't matter, though, because 106 durability loss was enough to insta-fail the synth).

So based on this, we start to get a better understanding of when to use the Wait command. Obviously, we want to use the Wait command if an element destabilizes. The exception to this rule is if you don't have enough durability to risk wasting it all on Wait, in which case sometimes it's best to just take a chance and try to finish up. Also, the wait command can be used whenever you've got a pulsing orb to see if you can't get it to shift to a solid color. Again, the random factor comes into play. You could use Wait once on a rapidly pulsing orb and have it go solid white, or you could use it 5+ times and the orb will just continue to pulse.

Sparks

It would seem that sparks will start to appear if you fail a Rapid and/or Bold action attempt twice for any given synthesis. They start off as yellow sparks shooting out in a small radius and for each subsequent Rapid/Bold failure, they will progress from yellow -> orange -> red and the radius they fly out at will increase.

Based on early observation, it appears that the presence of these sparks indicates a reduced chance to succeed with any further actions. Failures with Standard synthesis do not produce sparks, but it suggests that Rapid/Bold synthesis are intended to be used sparingly based on the situation.

Edited, Sep 19th 2010 10:49am by Aurelius
#2 Sep 13 2010 at 12:03 AM Rating: Decent
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Thanks Aurelius! Good observations. I don't think it would be fair to ask or for Square-Enix to add this, but do you believe there is a correlation with Moon phase and craft synthesis? If they did I feel sorry for the poor ******* that started a Discipline of the Hand character on a so called "bad" moon phase.
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#3 Sep 13 2010 at 12:11 AM Rating: Excellent
Warlord Zalim wrote:
Thanks Aurelius! Good observations. I don't think it would be fair to ask or for Square-Enix to add this, but do you believe there is a correlation with Moon phase and craft synthesis? If they did I feel sorry for the poor ******* that started a Discipline of the Hand character on a so called "bad" moon phase.


I can't say for sure one way or another. I could actually see SE having used moon phase/time of day/whatever as part of the calculations that make it seem random. I could also see it as just another SE mechanic with enough truly random components thrown in to keep people guessing for years and no influence from moon phase whatsoever.
#4 Sep 13 2010 at 12:16 AM Rating: Good
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While I like the way the crafting system is shaping up (except for having to navigate a book's worth of menus...), I currently hate how random it seems to be. I can completely botch a synth that's way under my skill level one moment, and then completely breeze through something I have no business even trying to make the next. And sometimes it feels a little awkward when the components for an item are harder to make than the item in question.

Otherwise, it was a good read and along the lines of some of the concepts I had myself about the colors.
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#5 Sep 13 2010 at 12:30 AM Rating: Excellent
MasterOutlaw the Irrelevant wrote:
While I like the way the crafting system is shaping up (except for having to navigate a book's worth of menus...), I currently hate how random it seems to be. I can completely botch a synth that's way under my skill level one moment, and then completely breeze through something I have no business even trying to make the next. And sometimes it feels a little awkward when the components for an item are harder to make than the item in question.

Otherwise, it was a good read and along the lines of some of the concepts I had myself about the colors.


What I found today is that the random element is the most painful when you're below and roughly at the "optimal" rank of the recipe, but as you start to pull away it becomes less significant in terms of whether or not you fail or succeed. I had a number of attempts tonight where I failed one action after another but still managed to successfully complete the synthesis. (I actually didn't have a single failed synthesis tonight, but I came close when my durability upon completion was at 1).

And agree about components higher than the items you make with them. Copper Nuggets come to mind. I'm not sure if it's just a higher rank synth than anything you make with the nuggets themselves, or if it's because I don't have smelting training. (The fact that it requires a fire crystal suggests that it's a rank issue). The frustrating thing on my end is that I've got stacks upon stacks of copper/yellow copper ore that I have no use for now because I don't have anywhere near enough fire crystals and even if I did, I'd just blow up most of the ore anyways.
#6 Sep 13 2010 at 12:34 AM Rating: Good
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Understanding that this is in no way a rigorous study, it's still plenty interesting and probably useful. Obviously a more detailed experiment is necessary, but for now simple observation is good enough to work out the basics, especially since this is a human-made system and will therefore be based on human logic (except SE never uses human logic).

One thing you didn't touch on is the effect of colored sparks. I would assume for now that yellow and finally red sparks are the next steps of danger after fast pulse, but I'm not positive whether or not I've had solid colors with sparks. I'm not going to offer any observations either, because they would be from memory (and two weeks ago) and that simply isn't good enough.

I encourage you to do more testing (and do all the work for us).

Edit:
The One and Only Aurelius wrote:
And agree about components higher than the items you make with them. Copper Nuggets come to mind. I'm not sure if it's just a higher rank synth than anything you make with the nuggets themselves, or if it's because I don't have smelting training. (The fact that it requires a fire crystal suggests that it's a rank issue). The frustrating thing on my end is that I've got stacks upon stacks of copper/yellow copper ore that I have no use for now because I don't have anywhere near enough fire crystals and even if I did, I'd just blow up most of the ore anyways.


Exactly. Not only does it make Blacksmiths initially dependent on NPC-bought materials, it also kills the usefulness of Mining from 1-10 and probably beyond. I really, really hope they look at that.

Edited, Sep 13th 2010 2:38am by DragoonRising
#7 Sep 13 2010 at 12:48 AM Rating: Decent
DragoonRising wrote:
Understanding that this is in no way a rigorous study, it's still plenty interesting and probably useful. Obviously a more detailed experiment is necessary, but for now simple observation is good enough to work out the basics, especially since this is a human-made system and will therefore be based on human logic (except SE never uses human logic).

One thing you didn't touch on is the effect of colored sparks. I would assume for now that yellow and finally red sparks are the next steps of danger after fast pulse, but I'm not positive whether or not I've had solid colors with sparks. I'm not going to offer any observations either, because they would be from memory (and two weeks ago) and that simply isn't good enough.

I encourage you to do more testing (and do all the work for us).


I was a bit confused about the sparks over the last week or so. At first I had no idea why they appeared, then someone suggested it had something to do with failed Rapid attempts which made sense, and then I thought that maybe it had something to do with durability remaining. I've since gone back to the failed Rapid theory, however, because that's the only time I saw them tonight was when I was jamming the Rapid to recover a failing synth and it was failing, too. I'll also try and test to determine exactly what they suggest in terms of success/failure/progress/etc. I'll add a blurb about it above when I edit it tomorrow or Tuesday night. I actually do plan on doing another round of tests (recording details this time). Not sure if I'll have time to compile enough tomorrow night but I'll work at it. I'm to the point with the beta now where I'm just trying to learn as much as I can about the game before retail. (And I'm still not 100% certain I'll be buying the game yet :P)
#8 Sep 13 2010 at 7:09 PM Rating: Decent
So ya, I was about to sit down and gather some more substantial results to try and convert my observations into information other people could pick apart. After two synths, I said ***** it...too much work for a beta. Reformatted the OP, though. Should be a bit easier to sort through now.
#9 Sep 19 2010 at 11:50 AM Rating: Decent
Made some additions, and now bumping for great justice.
#10 Sep 19 2010 at 12:40 PM Rating: Good
After leveling Goldsmithing, Weaving, and Leatherworking...this actually seems spot on.

I wish I had read this before all my trial and error lead me to very similar conclusions.

I generally would recommend just doing Standard synthesis unless you are about to fail and need rapid...bold hasn't really helped me make more +1's.
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#11 Sep 19 2010 at 12:45 PM Rating: Decent
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Im sorry, I disagree with major parts of this post, and hope any of you that havent tried it, figure it out for yourself.

Examples: ive found great results by ALWAYS trying rapid or stardard on yellow orb, usually great results, and always WAIT on red orb.
Also swirling smoke , dont even try it? this is horrible advise imo. When you have swirling smoke, waiting and using Standard only has always been fine for me. As long as ONLY use standard with the swirling smoke, it almost always turned out well for me, and alot of the time, helped the smoke go away.

Thats just 2 examples, , theres alot more Id suggest you people figure out by yourself. Not saying OP or me is Right either way, but ive had alot of varied results trying lots and lots of syns.

1 thing im sure we can agree on is, Dont use BOLD SYN , until you are way way ahead of the item you are making.
#12 Sep 19 2010 at 12:45 PM Rating: Decent
Yabusame wrote:
After leveling Goldsmithing, Weaving, and Leatherworking...this actually seems spot on.

I wish I had read this before all my trial and error lead me to very similar conclusions.

I generally would recommend just doing Standard synthesis unless you are about to fail and need rapid...bold hasn't really helped me make more +1's.


The only time I use Bold is when I'm at about 85% or greater towards completion and I have Durability to spare. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't, but it's still kind of fun in its own way to see an extra 40 or so quality tacked on with your final action even if it doesn't make an enormous difference.
#13 Sep 19 2010 at 12:53 PM Rating: Decent
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Just in case I didnt get point across. It seems to me using STANDARD helps stabilize the entire synthesis process, no matter what stage or trouble you are in. Of course it doesnt always work, but I like to switch between using it twice in a row, then going back to rapid if im just trying to finish with success.

Also regarding WAIT. I use it sometimes, mostly experimentally, and when orb is red and I dont have Class ability available. BUT, I dont believe wait is supposed to be used often at all. Syn is allready complicated enough, spamming the wait button doesnt seem like it fits in with the entire system in any way, and they wouldnt implement it that way...... ,.. my thoughts at least
#14 Sep 19 2010 at 12:56 PM Rating: Decent
HIGHTONE wrote:
Im sorry, I disagree with major parts of this post, and hope any of you that havent tried it, figure it out for yourself.

Examples: ive found great results by ALWAYS trying rapid or stardard on yellow orb, usually great results, and always WAIT on red orb.


You're right, those are things that people are going to ultimately have to try out for themselves. I'm sure there are a number of things here that will be proven inaccurate as more people have more time to experiment and collect information in the retail version of the game. As far as color of orb suggesting an action, that's one area where I'm going to say it's totally untrue. The orbs aren't intended to suggest your next course of action. Your current rate of progress relative to your desired outcome does. If anything, I would say that a white orb is the time to make use of Rapid Synthesis because my experience is that you're not going to see much of an increase to quality from a successful Standard attempt anyways and then if Rapid is successful, you can try to make up the quality with Bold later.

Quote:
Also swirling smoke , dont even try it? this is horrible advise imo. When you have swirling smoke, waiting and using Standard only has always been fine for me. As long as ONLY use standard with the swirling smoke, it almost always turned out well for me, and alot of the time, helped the smoke go away.


It's about risk vs. reward. The risk when you fail a synthesis attempt on a destabilized element is enormous. Not only can you potentially lose 40-50 durability, you can also lose upwards of 40 quality. If you don't have the durability to wait it out then yes, it's better to just take your chances and try to push through. The element will stabilize after a (seemingly) randomly determined number of actions whether those actions be Wait or Standard or anything else, but if you're not already well above the break-even rank for the recipe, anything other than Wait on a destabilized element can be extremely costly.

It's important for things like this to distinguish working systems from random influence, which is what I'm trying to do. As stated clearly in the second paragraph of the OP, nothing in the guide is intended to represent fact but if you're going to challenge the veracity of the information, my hope would be that you contribute a little more detail than simply general outcomes and experience with no reference to the scope of your testing or anything else that might illuminate the validity of your findings.
#15 Sep 19 2010 at 1:02 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
Also swirling smoke , dont even try it? this is horrible advise imo. When you have swirling smoke, waiting and using Standard only has always been fine for me. As long as ONLY use standard with the swirling smoke, it almost always turned out well for me, and alot of the time, helped the smoke go away.


That's pretty much when one of the crystal types has become unstable. I've seen all sorts of odd behaviors while crafting carpentry, goldsmith, weaving, cooking, alchemy and blacksmith.

* Sometimes using [Wait] 1-2 times will stabilize the crystal. However evertime you use the [Wait] command, the Durability reduction doubles for each application.

* A few times I tried using the [Wait] command 5-6 times before the crystal stabliized. I stopped the shards from exploding but I payed a huge price in durability. It might have been worth letting the crystal explode see if I can save the project.

* A few times I used the [Wait] command 5-6 times and the crystal reminaed unstable. At this point the project is probably lost. You're going to experience a huge Durability hit when the crystal explods plus all Durability lost from the issued [Wait] commands.

* A few times I was hovering at 78% - 93% completion while I had only 6-12 Durability lost plus one of the shards is unstable. A kneee-jerk observation would say the project was lost. But I issued a [Rapid Synthesis] and suddenly the projects rockets to 100% completion with 2-8 Durability left. But I guess there can be some benefits for an unstable shard. Normally a project would fail with only that much Durability left even with a [Rapid Synthesis] issued.

* I also noticed that a [Rapid Synthesis] can cause an unstable shard to explode fairly quickly. Meanwhile you can issue a few of the [Standard Synthesis] before it explodes.

#16 Sep 19 2010 at 1:02 PM Rating: Decent
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No offense meant, I just come across more intense than I mean to be. I thank you for posting all of this and to continue to update it. Ill post more in detail if i get the nerve later, just some quick thoughts.

i will say 1 thing though, I have almost never had trouble using standard syn on Swirling smoke
#17 Sep 19 2010 at 1:08 PM Rating: Good
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Thank you. Makes sense of a lot of things for me now. Will add to the pile of stuff I'll be reading the next few days. (...homework? jeez lol)
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#18 Sep 19 2010 at 1:17 PM Rating: Good
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HIGHTONE wrote:
Just in case I didnt get point across. It seems to me using STANDARD helps stabilize the entire synthesis process, no matter what stage or trouble you are in.


I honestly think that the synth behaviors can vary slightly depending on which crafting job that you're using. I observed that with certain recipes in Carpentry, if I use the slow & steady path of using just [Standard Synthesis
], the project will always results in an unstable shard somewhere 50%-75% into the synth. If I toss in 2 [Rapid Synthesis] into the synth near the start and middle of the synth, I'll hardly ever see an unstable shard.

Meanwhile in Culinary, I saw two opposite behaviors. One recipe will succeed if you only use [Rapid Synthesis]. If you use anything else, the shard will start to become unstable. Another recipe will behave well during the first 70% as long as you only use [Standard Synthesis]. However the recipe will start become unstable unless you start issuing [Rapid Synthesis] towards the end of the synth.

When the stars are right...
A few times while synthing some Carpentry recipes, a few of the synths just simply rocketed to completion with a ton of durability left. After an issued command, the crystal would either be solid white or yellow. I would alternate between standard & rapid and the project would be completed very quickly.
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