Crafting outcomes are not "random". I am really baffled by that continued line of criticism on crafting given how much info has been made available to us by both SE and the player community.
I too have thought about the effects of the "crafting time bar", but I write these off as merely perceived and not real. I'm not personally attacking anyone here - but it's just in your head. There has been nothing stated that indicates that the time on the bar (whether per craft, or repeating a synth at the same time each time) should effect the outcome, and I for one can't accept that this is a factor short of a rigorous statistical analysis. Granted, I'm not willing to conduct one, but I've also not had trouble successfully completing crafts, consistently at that, which are 3-5 ranks above me. No, I'm not exaggerating. Here's the methodology I follow:
First thing to do: wear optimal gear per rank. This includes the Main/Off Hand tools, and clothing. It does in fact make a difference. Wearing Velveteen or Canvas at R10 is not effective. You're probably better off wearing Weathered gear at that point. Each slot should be equipped if it helps the craft (+Control, +Craftmanship, +Magic Craftmanship). While it's not clear which recipes require which attribute thresholds (see one of the posts above for SE's explanation), it doesn't hurt at this point to stack as much of these attribute values as possible. I try to keep each of the "big 3" craft values as close to equal as possible. One thing worth noting: it is definitely worth wearing jewelry with primary attributes (STR, DEX, INT, etc.) - see below for which attributes favor which jobs. I'm not sure about secondary attributes (Accuracy, Magic Defense, Evasion) but I wouldn't be surprised if those are beneficial, as well.
From Lodestone - http://lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com/pl/topics/detail?id=e02f5d9eae1e258e99da3e2b5def23d049a087af:
What happens if I equip a piece of gear, but am not the favored class or rank listed in the item details?
Equipping a piece of gear as anything other than the favored class or optimal rank effectively lowers the item's stats. The larger the gap between an item's optimal rank and the player's current rank, the greater this reduction will be. There are instances, therefore, when equipping a high-rank item will grant lower stats than a low-rank item that is closer to the player's rank.
Second: Have your attribute points allocated properly. SE has stated that the effect is "limited", but helps specifically for trying to HQ an item. At the risk of sounding hypocritical in my advise for writing off the synth timing, I've found that attributes make a large difference in attempting synths 3-5 ranks above your job level. No, I did not do a statistical analysis =P.
From Lodestone - http://lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com/pl/topics/detail?id=92e2a2ee13f174b5a6f5f658135e1bf4ab725f29
Discipline of the Hand
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. A list showing the attributes related with the main and off hand tools of each class can be found below.
We've been told that, generally, main hand synths are effective for High Quantity "god send" yields (i.e. 16 instead of 12) and off hand for High Quality (+1,+2,+3). According to this information, if you want to level weaver using a needle (main hand tool), you should have a relatively high amount of Dexterity.
Of course, reallocating attribute points is not feasible at the frequency that players switch jobs. That's why several DoW/M classes have mark-purchasable traits that allow you to perform a virtual swap. For example, the Lancer trait "Mind over Matter"
allows you to virtually swap DEX into MND while the trait is active. These are particularly useful in crafting.
I acknowledge that I have the luxury of being almost Physical 50 (and thus have more points to allocate) and have leveled up multiple jobs, but at the same time, there are stat caps per rank that limit this advantage. (see the same lodestone link above, or the thread on this forum).
Third: do not spam standard. Let me repeat - DO NOT SPAM STANDARD! Make sure you have useful R10 abilities equipped - my personal favorite are ALC's 'Preserve' and TAN's 'Fulfillment'. I've been basically ridiculed on these forums for asserting the crafting system is "intricate", but it really is. Element Stability, Aetherial color, and Aetherial sparking, in addition to the player's element affinities, all affect crafting progress and outcome. Learning how to use these intricacies at your advantage is key to being a good crafter.
Q. What happens exactly when the harnessed element of a synthesis attempt becomes unstable?
A. When an element of a synthesis becomes unstable, the following effects take place respectively:
Lightning: Progress greatly reduced
Wind: Durability consumption greatly increased
Fire: Quality greatly reduced
Ice: Progress reduced, chance of aetherial sparks reduced
Earth: Durability consumption increased, chance of aetherial sparks increased
Water: Quality reduced, chance of aetherial sparks increased
Choosing 'Wait' and using your abilities at the right times is essential. There is no formula to follow - only through experience will you build the intuition to be successful. It's an MMO - it takes time and effort to climb the ranks.
Hopefully others find this advice useful.
Useful links: http://lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com/pl/topics/detail?id=f3481ce5f7787bea23c4677452f271d7a0a84d5f http://lodestone.finalfantasyxiv.com/pl/topics/detail?id=92e2a2ee13f174b5a6f5f658135e1bf4ab725f29