Crystals are still my #1 gilmaker in FFXI. A BLM can farm elementals very efficiently.
I agree, at the very least crystals should drop from the sprites.
Crystals (and sometimes clusters) do drop from the elementals, but to my knowledge I've never seen a shard drop from any monster. And shards are needed in 90% of the crafting recipes.
The very low level elementals drop shards, e,g the level 5 water elementals just outside gridania in central shroud drop water shards, I farmed a few while levelling lowbie jobs.
I know it's dull....believe me I really do... But I can harvest 800-1000 shards in an hour, depending on my level of focus and how liberal I'm feeling with cordials. I recommend a tasty sixer and one sitting dedicated to sharding up. In 6 hours, you could make 300k+ , or be set for shards for awhile.
Damn... I wish I had time like that. I'm stuck buying ><. Anyway, heres a recent post on the official forum by Camate, one of the developers...
There has been a lot of discussions and feedback regarding shards and I’d like to respond to what I can.
The development team understands the shard yield amount to be an extremely delicate issue. They are very carefully looking into whether they increase the amount of shards yielded and how much they would increase it as they give consideration to the economic effects.
•Methods of obtaining shards
Looking at the current shard yield and the amount of shards used in recipes, we are currently looking into new methods of obtaining shards; however, we will not be making it so they simply drop from monsters.
•Crystal and cluster breaking
There have been some comments about the feature in 1.0 where you could break down crystals and clusters, but we do not have plans at the moment to implement this. The concern is that it will become difficult to control the prices of individual shards if they can be produced from crystals and such.
For example, in the future if there are requests to increase the cluster yield, being able to break these down into shards would overflow the market, and as a result it becomes much easier to use clusters, but the prices of shards would drop.
We understand that there are RMT issues surrounding shards and the STF is after them every day.
We’ve mentioned this many times already, but if you notice any suspicious activity it helps us a lot if you could make a report by going to [System Menu] -> [Support Desk] -> [Contact Us] -> [Report Cheating].