This started as a reply to one of the "zomg I can't spam rapid anymore SE fix your game" threads that popped up. But I decided that maybe people who spam rapid wouldn't appreciate having to read or think. So here it is, take it with a grain of salt, as all of this is theory and needs a large amount of testing.
I've been playing the game since beta 1, and both myself and my girlfriend have spent a lot of time crafting. This is what we've learned works very well for us. *note* I'm not saying that this is really how the crafting system works. I'm just saying these are the conclusions we've come to based upon our accumulated experience.
First a couple things to keep in mind:
*Your gear and stats play a big part in successes and failures. The more control+, craftmanship+, etc the more success you'll have. Learn gear swapping.
*The higher your elemental stat is, the more successes you'll have when the synth uses the associated shard/crystal. ie. Fire stat = Fire shard/crystal
*If you decide to try to make an item who's rank is above your current craft rank, or who's required craft rank is above your own, expect to fail 70-80% of the time. However, when you succeed expect to get 70-80% more skill points for it.
*Make use of your abilities. They won't change the color of your orb and last for 10 seconds. That's enough time to get in 2-3 attempts while under the effect.
*Using the same attempt type multiple times in a row decreases the stability of your orbs. The less stable the orb, the higher the chances of failures and the more durability you'll lose in successes and failures.
Keeping in mind the above, here's what I do:
The Orb and what to choose.
I've found that each color orb has an attempt type affiliated with it. That is, if you use a certain attempt type when the orb is it's associated color you'll get a slightly better chance at success. It's not a huge increase, but it certainly helps. Here's what I've found to be the relationships:
White Orb <---> Standard
Red Orb <---> Rapid
Gold Orb <---> Bold
Flashing Orb <---> none
Each color orb also has it's own properties.
White Orb -> Like it's associated attempt type, this orb has an average chance of success regardless of attempt type chosen. Gives an average increase in progress and low durability loss when it succeeds. Gives an average durability loss and low progress increase when it fails.
Red Orb -> Has a slightly lower than average chance at success. Gives an higher increase to progress and average slightly higher durability loss when it succeeds. Gives a high durability loss and low progress increase when failed.
Gold Orb -> This is a funny one that we haven't quite figured out yet. However here's what I *believe*. High chance of success. Gives a slightly low increase in progress and average durability loss when it succeeds. Almost 0 progress increase and average durability loss when failed. The payoff for the low progress increases is a much higher quality gain for successes.
Flashing Orb -> It's random. You take your chances when you make an attempt on these. However, The chances of a crafting ability showing up during these is much much higher.
Attempt Types and what they do.
Standard -> Like the name says, it's standard. Average progress, average loss. Average quality gains. Max Progress: 20%
Rapid -> Very high progress gains, slightly lower chance of success, average durability loss. Low quality gains. Max Progress: 30%
Bold -> Low progress gains, low durability loss. Very high quality gains. Max Progress: 10%
Wait -> This will give a chance for you to change the color of your orb at the cost of durability. 1st attempt costs 1 durability, 2nd costs 2 durability, 3rd costs 3, etc. Using this can also stabilize and unstable orb.
I have a few more theories regarding quality gains, HQs, and stuff like that, but I don't want to post them when I'm not at least 80% sure.
Keeping it simple:
So what does all this mean? Is there a simple way to succeed every time? Probably not. This is SE we're talking about after all. But then, that's what I like about their games. You have to think about what you're doing.
But if you want simple, do this. When the orb is white, use standard. When it's red, use rapid. When it's gold, use bold. When it's flashing wait until it's a solid color. Use your abilities when you can. Doing that, and you'll have a very decent chance of succeeding. But you won't get the maximum out of your crafting unless you take into account all the information above and use your head to figure out what to do. Good luck.
On a side note, spamming rapid is never the answer. It's just lazy.