This is an article I wrote originally appearing on Ringthree's blog.
Critical Break is our crafting and economics column written by Qtipus. Q is an experienced crafter and also well versed in using the Auction House to turn a decent profit. Enough so that he was able to fund his own relic, Gungnir. Every Tuesday you will find Q's rants, raves and good crafting practices here. This week, Q continues his 0-60 series with the fifth installment: Alchemy.
Alchemy is easy. It's so easy in fact, I'm not real sure why a guide has to be written for it. Damn near everything up to 20 is break even or better even when buying from the AH or NPCs. Even past 20, it's relatively easy to break even or make money from it.
The primary reasons for leveling this aside from it being completely easy and cheap is that it's a decently common subcraft that's used in conjunction with a lot of consumable items. This means your Chefs and Woodworking experts of the FFXI world will likely need to have this at 60 before they even attempt to make their way to 100 on their respective main crafts.
This particular guide tries to again focus on things you can farm up should the AH be too expensive or stuff you can pick up from NPCs, craft and resell for what amounts to a free skilling up session. This also tries to simply include items you can sell back on the AH reasonably quick if the NPCs are being cheap bastards. The primary downside to skilling this craft up is there's a ton of running around for the various parts you need. Not as bad as cooking mind you, but based on who controls what region and what place your respective nation is in, it makes for a lot of leg work.
You bring the time and a reasonable amount of gil and you'll make it all back and then some...
Phase 1: Double, Double Toil and Trouble
Get familiar with Distilled Water vendors. You'll be using it in a lot of the synths.
Everyone buys these from NPC or the AH as long as they're around 6k/stack. Make 'em, cap on 'em and either keep them knowing you're going to use them yourself one day or sell 'em on the AH to recoup your money. Buy Wijnruits from the flowershop in Upper Jeuno and buy the San d'Orian Grapes from the Cooking Guild in Windurst or from Aveline in Southern San d'Oria. Shouldn't take more than 2 stacks of mats to cap on these.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Distilled Water, 1x San d'Orian Grape, 1x Wijnruit
Cap: Level 3
Most Alchemy guides suggest starting on this synth first due to how cheap it is. I don't entirely disagree, but I listed these second because I'm not a huge fan of synthing further away than a 5 level gap if there are other good alternatives. Park yourself in front of Komalata with a bunch of ice crystals. Farm up the ice crystals in Xarc since there are always elementals roaming about. You can buy the rest of your materials needed for this from the NPC, then turn around and sell the results back to her for a slight profit if you didn't break. Even more profit if you farmed the ice crystals.
Recipe: Ice Crystal, 2x Distilled Water, 1x Rock Salt
Cap: Level 6
You can go the Yellow Globe or Giant Stinger route with this synth. Giant Stinger synth will cap at 11 and the Yellow Globe synth will cap at 12. You will likely find that Yellow Globes are cheaper and easier to obtain than the Giant Stingers though. Hold onto your results for a later synth. Turn in some Animal Glue once you hit 8 to rank up.
Recipe 1: Lightning Crystal, 2x Giant Stinger
Cap: Level 11
Recipe 2: Lightning Crystal, 2x Yellow Globe
Cap: Level 12
Yet another fish synth. Starting to see a bit of a pattern? Most alchemy synths will consist of using ingredients from NPCs or from Fishing. Mercury is a common item used in a large number of synths. Fish up your Colbalt Jellyfish (super easy) or buy off the AH if you want to lose a little money. Hold onto your results for the next synth.
Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 4x Colbalt Jellyfish
Cap: Level 16
Phase 2: Wax of Bees, Sage of NPC, Wood of...Log?
Commonly used potion for avoiding Sleep and stronger poison spells. Use your previously made poison dust and mercury to make these to cap. Sell on AH for break even or profit depending on how you obtained your materials in the first place. Turn one in once you hit cap to rank up.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Mercury, 1x Poison Dust
Cap: Level 18
These are commonly bought from NPC, but if you put stacks up around the cost of buying from NPC, they will sell rather fast on the AH. The Sage and Honey can both be picked up from NPCs. Try to keep your cost down to < 500 gil/synth. Make to cap.
Weird observation: Echo Drops cure silence effect. Presumably, you're drinking this tonic to cure said effect. Has anyone ever had a mouthful of honey and been able to speak?
Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Sage, 1x Honey
Cap: Level 20
This would be one of the staples of money making in Alchemy. Since you're at T1 HQ level for beeswax, you can opt to make your own, but preferably, you find someone with Alchemy at 60 or higher to make you a few stacks out of beehive chips you buy off the AH. Beeswax itself is usually ridiculously overpriced due to it's demand. Cap on these, sell and break even or better.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Distilled Water, 2x Beeswax
Cap: Level 24
Not a real useful item unless someone is using it to make blind bolts or to force the evasion effect from some earrings. This is primarily a bridge synth to close the gap a couple levels before making the next synths. Buy a couple stacks of crying mustard from the guild and then park yourself in front of Pawkrix. Bring a couple stacks of sleepshrooms you hopefully farmed up too. Buy Poison flower from Pawkrix then synth these for a couple levels. Save one for your rank up item.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Crying Mustard, 1x Poison Flour, 1x Sleepshroom
Cap: Level 27
I mentioned this synth in my Woodworking guide. There is no HQ version of this synth, so there is no reason for people to list the NQs at a loss from the cost of the mats off the AH. Use this knowledge to your advantage and cap on these. Hopefully you won't break any. Buy the Moko Grass from NPC. It's possible to get the Elm Logs for cheap as well if they've been left alone in the guild for a while. Try to keep your costs here below 3500/synth and you will make money selling the results on the AH.
Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 1x Elm Log, 1x Moko Grass, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 29
Should the AH be out of Elm Logs, this is a decent alternative. Farming up Ahriman Tears isn't took difficult with some time spent in Xarcabard, Beaucedine Glacier or Castle Zvahl Baileys, plus you can save the Ahriman lenses you pick up for a later synth. Buy the Chamomile from the flower shop in Upper Jeuno. Sell the results on the AH for good money if you farmed up the Ahriman Tears.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Chamomile, 1x Ahriman Tears, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 30.
Phase 3: Fiber of Glass, Sand of Fire, Powder of Invisibility
This is the first part that will hurt your wallet a bit. For whatever reason, SE decided that an ingredient for a level 34 synth should be a level 61 synth of the same craft. This means you either have to get someone that's got alchemy high enough to make the glass fibers for you or you have to buy them off the AH. Why the trouble for this? Because no matter which route you decide, you will likely make money from it on one of the next synths. They don't stack though, so be prepared to mule a number of these.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 2x Glass Fiber
Cap: Level 34
Yet another staple of money-making in Alchemy. Go spend some time out in Xarc farming Ahriman Lenses up. Yes this means you'll have a supply of Artificial and Ahriman Lenses to deal with. Fortunately, if you brought crystals and glass fiber with you, you can break the Ahriman Lenses down the second you get them. Make to cap and sell, sell, sell.
Recipe: Light Crystal, 2x Glass Fiber, 1x Ahriman Lens
Cap: Level 36
Depending on how many Artificial Lenses you made, you'll likely want to skill up a couple levels on this. Firesand is used in a number of recipes. You can farm up the bomb ash required for it from virtually any bomb and the sulfur is usually super cheap on the AH to boot. I'd recommend making these to 38, turning one in for your rank up, then moving onto the next synth.
Recipe: Earth Crystal, 2x Bomb Ash, 1x Sulfur
Cap: Level 40
Wait, you already listed this one. Yes, I did, but this is a different recipe and one with a much higher cap than the previous one. It's time to burn up all those artificial lenses you made and to make more money. Obtain your glass fibers again from the AH or from a buddy who can make them for you, then sell the results. Make these to cap.
Recipe: Light Crystal, 1x Artificial Lens, 2x Glass Fiber
Cap: Level 41
Used in a number of synths. This requires bomb ash again. I wouldn't make to cap as the next synth is so ridiculously cheap to make that it's one of the rare times I would suggest forgetting about level gaps.
Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 4x Bomb Ash
Cap: Level 45
Phase 4: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Skillups slow down quite a bit from here on out.
Ridiculously cheap. Too good to be true. Go maul a few Light Elementals in sky. Park yourself at your favorite Distilled Water vendor and just go to town. Turn in a Fire Sword when you hit 48 for your final rank up. Make these to cap.
Recipe: Light Crystal, 1x Distilled Water.
Cap: Level 51
Not as good as the previous synth, but still rather cheap. Up until this point, I went with items that didn't have a subcraft requirement. This one is optional, but seeing as you already have a ton of holy water and it's possible you have smithing at 14ish, it doesn't hurt to suggest it. Bronze Ingots are usually super cheap from the guild. These sell somewhat decently on the AH.
Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bronze Ingot, 2x Holy Water
Cap: Level 53
Commonly used potion for building TP in conjunction with the Opo-Opo Necklace. Also relatively cheap to make. If the recipe seems familiar to you, that's because it is. It's the exact same recipe used for Blinding Potions, only without the crying mustard. Repeat what you did for that potion here and make these to cap. Sell your results on the AH. You should break or make money as long as you don't bust too many.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Chamomile, 1x Poison Flour, 1x Sleepshroom.
The final synth in this guide is a bit of a pain. There are a few options past 60 like a porcelain flowerpot or even glass fiber, but either way you look at it, you're likely going to be losing money on this synth. I found farming Ochus in Rolanberry Fields was sufficient enough to almost balance out buying malboro vines from the AH with NPC'ing the results, but I probably still lost 200-300 gil/synth. Not a good way to end an otherwise easy craft, but compared to some of the other synths at this level in other crafts, this is a relatively cheap loss. Buy your sage from the same NPC you have this whole time and git 'r done.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 2x Sage, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Malboro Vine
Cap: Level 60
Yet another guide finished. There's three more guides left in the 0-60 series. In order of appearance (and financial loss...):
Cooking - Smithing - Goldsmithing
See you next week.