This is an article authored by me that originally appeared 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 sixth installment: Cooking.
If you hated clothcraft (like me...), you're going to despise Cooking. Fortunately, Cooking is virtually a stand alone craft with very few synths actually needing it for anything on their recipe list. So why level it at all? It comes in handy while leveling other jobs to make items like Yag drinks and whatnot so your entire inventory isn't eaten up by the drinks themselves. It also comes in handy if you ever plan on leveling Beastmaster as you can easily make all of your own supplies for the most part.
(LOLBST! I know...)
The only other reason anyone would have to level cooking if they aren't planning to take it to 100 is to simply be a completionist. I think I've used Cooking twice since I got it to 60 a year or so ago. It's pretty safe to say that if you have no intention of taking it to 100 and you don't care about having an entire list of ranks colored blue, then you can probably ignore this guide for now.
If you do want that blue Journeyman line, then read on.
Phase 1: Fisherman's Breakfast and Bait
A few things to keep in mind here:
First is you need to become familiar with Distilled Water and Rock Salt vendors. They are used in the majority of the items I have listed in this guide.
Second is that you will be running back and forth...a LOT.
Third is that there are no huge stretches or level gaps between these synths. This means you will have a wide variety of items on you the majority of the time while you're leveling these.
Fourth and lastly, have Wiki or BG or Alla open to find various ingredients. I will do my best in this guide to link the various ingredients to where they can be purchased at and where the seller actually is, but there's probably not enough room for all of that information in this guide or my brain.
Park yourself in Crawler's Nest with 3-4 stacks of Fire Crystals and 3-4 stacks of water and kill Lizards for a while. They can drop a ton of eggs at once and it takes very little time to amass the number of eggs required to cap here. You can turn around and sell the tails and skins on the AH for money as well.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Lizard Egg, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 4
Same recipe as the previous synth, only with a bird egg instead of a lizard egg. These don't drop with the frequency that the lizard eggs do, but they're relatively cheap on the AH if you can catch them and usually a little cheaper from the guild or vendors in the airship docks as long as the respective nation is in first or second place.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Bird Egg, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 6
Juices are a staple of cooking and one of the most commonly crafted items out there. Nab a few stacks of water crystals and park yourself in front of Baehu-Faehu for the oranges as long as Windurst controls Saruta. You'll lose a little bit of gil NPC'ing the results as Orange Juice isn't exactly a great seller on the AH, but you should already be ahead of the game with the lizard skins you picked up. Buy a Salmon Sub from the guild (cheaper) for your first rank up.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 4x Saruta Orange
Cap: Level 10
Sliced Cod is a semi-popular fish bait that sells decently on the AH. The tiger cod used to make it is usually up in decent supply as well on my server for 2-3k/stack. Each synth will make you half a stack of cod meaning if you have no breaks, you should end up with 6 stacks to sell at 1k ea. on the AH. Cap on these, then AH the results.
You can also fish up the cod rather easily if your fishing skill is around 25-30.
Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Tiger Cod
Cap: Level 13
Same deal as the Sliced Cod prior to this synth only a little more expensive. Bluetails are regularly up on the AH for around 10k/stack with each synth making you 1/3 of a stack. With no breaks, you should end up with 4 stacks that AH for around 3k ea.
Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bluetail
Cap: Level 15
America's Candy Bar. Take a few stacks of rock salt and a few stacks of ice crystals out to Selbina and park yourself in front of Dohdjuma. Save the results for later synths. Odds are we're going to use it all up. Turn in a bowl of Pea Soup (buy it from Guild...not cheaper, but a lot more time efficient) for your next rank.
Recipe: Ice Crystal, 1x Selbina Milk, 1x Rock Salt
Cap: Level 20
Phase 2: Meat, Balls, and Pet Food
Time to use up a bit of that Selbina Butter you just made. Your inventory probably thanks you for it too. Baehu-Faehu gets to spend some quality time with you again as he sells the popotos for cheap. The guild also sells them, but it's just easier to sit at this midget and avoid the whole guild hours thing. Just NPC the results wherever you feel like. You should be close to break even here.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Popoto, 1x Selbina Butter
Cap: Level 22
This is one of the few meat synths we'll be doing. Farm your sheep meat up by visiting the highlands again. It shouldn't take too long to farm up a few stacks as the meat drops rather frequently. If you don't want to spend the time farming, find whoever controls the Zulkheim region and buy it from there or just buy it from the guild. It should run you between 450-650 gil/stack. The Dried Marjoram can be picked up from the same Zulkheim vendor or the guild for very cheap as well. You're going to lose a little money here capping if you didn't farm, so you may opt to just get a couple levels, then move onto Insect Balls. NPC your results.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Giant Sheep Meat, 1x Rock Salt, 1x Dried Marjoram
Cap: Level 26
A very common bait used for catching moat carp. With 3 levels or more to cap, it could take a bit to move all of these, but if you bazaar them next to the fountain in Windurst Woods or other popular Moat Carp fishing spots, they'll move. Buy your little worms from Ensasa and your Millioncorn from whereever and make these to cap. Turn in a bowl of Vegetable Gruel for your rank up.
Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Millioncorn, 1x Little Worm, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 29
More balls! If the fishing guild has the Bastore Sardines for cheap, (less than 100gil ea.), pick them up from there. If not, just go fishing. They don't sell on the AH for very much or very frequently as they aren't used too often. If beastmen control the Aragoneu region, you can buy the Horo Flour from Pawkrix in Lower Jeuno. Make to cap, NPC the results.
Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Bastore Sardine, 1x Horo Flour, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 31
The Rye Flour for this can be bought relatively cheap in a number of places. Nothing too spectacular here otherwise. NPC the results for a slight profit.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Rye Flour, 1x Rock Salt, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 34
Three of the four ingredients here can be bought from NPC for relatively cheap. The land crab meat can be farmed up relatively easy or bought off the AH. As long as you buy off the AH for less than 5k/stack, you can NPC the results for a slight profit. Turn in a meat mithkabob for your rank up.
Recipe: Earth Crystal, 1x Rye Flour, 1x Land Crab Meat, 1x Bird Egg, 1x Distilled Water
Cap: Level 39
Phase 3: Just Desserts
Time to use up more of that Selbina Butter you made 20ish levels ago. The San d'Orian Flour can be bought for cheap from various NPCs. Make these to cap and save them for later synths. You might consider making a few extra stacks as well.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x San d'Orian Flour, 1x Rock Salt, 1x Selbina Butter
Cap: Level 42
I put this here as a bridge synth mostly to the next two synths. Also because you likely haven't made enough pie dough to cover 8 total levels. Fish up your Bluetail (or any other variation of this that's at 45) to cut your costs down as you will be losing about 1-1.2k/synth here if you NPC the results. AH them to recover most of your costs as BSTs tend to buy these things up pretty quickly.
Recipe: Water Crystal, 2x Bluetail
Cap: Level 45
And here's where it gets annoying. There are a lot of ingredients here. The ease of purchase depends on your affiliation and San d'Oria's place in the conquest rankings (needs to be first). Benaige in Raimbroy's Grocery will be your best friend for the next 5 levels. Buy your Cinnamon (if you can), Faerie Apples and Maple Sugar from her. Use up your pie dough and go farm up a few stacks of lizard eggs. Turn one in for your final rank up.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Faerie Apple, 1x Cinnamon, 1x Maple Sugar, 1x Pie Dough, 1x Lizard Egg
Cap: Level 48
Wut? Pies again? Same deal as previous synth only you need bird eggs this time. Odds are you're still in San d'Oria, so head over to the airship dock and buy them from Albinie as long as Sandy is in 1st or 2nd place. Sell your results on the AH for about break even.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Faerie Apple, 1x Cinnamon, 1x Maple Sugar, 1x Pie Dough, 1x Bird Egg
Cap: Level 50
Phase 4: Almost Iron Chef
You can buy the crayfish for cheap from Kulh Amariyo in Whitegate. You'll want to craft these in front of NPCs that sell San d'Orian Flour since the flour doesn't stack. NPC your results for about break even.
Recipe: Earth Crystal, 3x Crayfish, 1x Distilled Water, 1x San d'Orian Flour
Cap: Level 52
Time to finish off the rest of that Selbina Butter if you still have any. Hopefully a nation owns the Fauregandi region as the cooking guild seems to be a little more expensive than the regional merchants for the Beaugreens. As long as you pick those up for 120ish gil or less, you should break even NPCing your results.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Beaugreens, 1x Selbina Butter
Cap: Level 55
These things sell like hotcakes on the AH between 5-6k/stack. Coeurl Meat is relatively easy to farm up if you spend some time in the Sanctuary of Zi'Tah. There's a nice heavy concentration of Coeurls roaming around in the NW area of the map. By now you should know where to farm up heaps of lizard eggs in a relatively short period of time. These are a good money maker and will easily make up any gil you've lost along the way up to this point. Having to sit in front of a San d'Orian Flour vendor is a drag again, but a necessary evil.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Lizard Egg, 1x Coeurl Meat, 1x Distilled Water, 1x San d'Orian Flour
Cap: Level 59
Very popular drink. I wouldn't expect to make these unless a nation controls the Kolshushu region. If one does, you can just park yourself at whatever NPC sells Kolshushu goods with some Dark Crystals and go to town. Hopefully it won't take many to cap. AH your results for a slight profit.
Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Yagudo Cherry, 3x Buburimu Grapes
Cap: Level 60
Congrats! If you've been following my guides, this should be your sixth craft to 60. As you can see from the various recipes here, Cooking involves a lot of legwork and a lot of consumable synths. Like any other craft, most of it's money makers rely on your ability to HQ, but with by far the largest number of synths available to any craft, there's sill some money to be made even at 60 if one dedicates the time to do it. But as is the case with anything good and easy, everyone's got it done.
Next week: Smithing