Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Critical Break: 60-100 Series: Alchemy

This is an article written by me 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 60-100 series with the fifth installment: Alchemy.

Alchemy was easy to get to 60. Beyond that is a different story though. While not the hardest to get to 100 from a financial standpoint, it is difficult mostly due to the sheer number of materials you need for the various items that are actually cheap or farmable to skill up on. It's also compounded by the fact that some of the items you do need aren't readily available on the AH in large quantities and the critters they drop from aren't exactly the easiest in the world to solo.

Asking the three fundamental questions of Alchmey gets us the following observations:

Does it have consumables? A ton. Alchemy is likely ranked second behind Cooking in the consumables department. Once you reach T3 status on various medicines like Silent Oils, Prism Powders, etc, cash won't necessarily be rolling in, but it's good enough to make an in-game living off of.

Does it have in-demand end-game gear? It has the Wyrmal Abjuration set. That's about it. It doesn't really have any decent weapons aside from a Gold Algol, a Stun Kukri or a Hawker's Knife. You can definitely make some money off HQ'ing a few of the Wyrmal pieces, but again, the real money maker in Alchemy is in the consumables.

Does it have in-demand mid-range gear? No. This craft is an abomination only outdone by Cooking in terms of mid-range gear. Cooking at least makes sense. I'm not sure how many of you wear Marinara Pizza for armor, but I don't. Same thing mostly applies to Alchemy, only Alchemy tends to enhance other weapons and armors through potions. Even then...there's not much there at all.

Phase 1: Venom Dust and Potions Sprinkled With a Side of Sleep Bolts

Go to Crawler's Nest and farm scorpion claws. Make a lot of these as you'll be using them later. If you want to eliminate the crystal cost, run out to Behemoth's Dominion and kill some lightning elementals.

Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 2x Scorpion Claw
Cap: Level 61

A continuation of the above. This is listed here in case you're a fisherman or have the inside track to any of the fish that are used in this synth. Since it's just one level, it shouldn't take a horrible amount of time to do. Scorpion claws are easier to obtain than the fish here, but it's feasible for you to just skip the Scorpion Claw synth altogether and do this one, especially if you're skilling up fishing to boot.

Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 2x Ogre Eel
Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 1x Monke-Onke
Recipe: Lightning Crystal, 1x Istavrit
Cap: Level 62

If you have Woodworking at 60, this is a good way to make some money. If not, just sell the heads on the AH. They don't sell incredibly fast, but they do sell and at a profit if you farmed up the sleepshrooms (Crawler's Nest is your friend again). You're still not high enough to reliably HQ the sleeping potions here, but if you happened to have some left over from the 0-60 guide, use 'em up. Make sure you make your own animal glue and bronze ingots for this as buying them off the AH will eat into your profits.

Make note of the fact that you need Smithing at or around 14 before making these.

Also note that you do not have to cap on these. You can do a few levels of these, then cap on the next synth.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bronze Ingot, 1x Animal Glue, 1x Sleeping Potion
Cap: Level 67

Time to use up the venom dust you made earlier. Save these for a later synth as well in case you don't have the Anima Synthesis key item just yet. Turn in an Acid Kukri when you cap on these.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Venom Dust, 1x Mercury
Cap: Level 68

Phase 2: Floor 2: Animas and More Bolts

You will need to have Anima Synthesis for this part. Animas play a role in a lot of useful, consumable synths. Namely reraise items. They're also used for various parts of Artifact Upgrade items. The trick here was to stick with the less expensive, yet in demand animas. Reraise items use Water, Light and Lightning animas. Unfortunately, on Odin at least, Somber Clusters (used in water) are idiotically priced. Radiant clusters (Light) are the cheapest of the three and in steady supply usually. Startling clusters (Lightning) fall in between. Also note that the crystal you will need will correspond with the element of the memories you're using.

Sulfur and Mercury are usually cheap enough on the AH to make money off of this synth. Buy your rock salt from a vendor and make to cap.

Recipe: Light Crystal, 1x Rock Salt, 1x Mercury, 1x Sulfur, 4x Radiant Memories
Cap: Level 75

Same as above if you're out of Light Anima materials.

Recipe: Light Crystal, 1x Rock Salt, 1x Mercury, 1x Sulfur, 4x Startling Memories
Cap: Level 75

This is either going to be good for 2-3 levels (if you run out of Anima materials) or work as a simple bridge synth. Either way, cap on these and use up your Venom Potions you made earlier. You will make a little money on these bolt heads. If you happen to have Woodworking at 60 or a mule, turn them into the bolts for even more money.

Be mindful of the level 14 Smithing sub here.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Animal Glue, 1x Bronze Ingot, 1x Venom Potion
Cap: Level 76

These sell for a profit as well. Definitely make to cap here and either AH the stack of heads or turn them into bolts for sale. They're a popular item for soloing THFs. Turn in an X-Potion when you hit 78.

Again, be mindful of the Smithing sub at 14.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bronze Ingot, 1x Revival Tree Root, 1x Beastmen Blood
Cap: Level 81

Phase 3: Floor 3: One Level Increments, {You can have this.}

The idea here is for you to make your own holy water and to farm up your own ram skins to turn into leather. You can NPC the results and not lose money (which is unusual for crafts this high) as long as you keep your costs below 800 gil ea. Kill a few light clusters in sky to offset the light crystal cost.

Recipe: Light Crystal, 1x Holy Water, 1x Ram Leather
Cap: Level 87

These are a pain to farm and a pain to catch on the AH. From this point forward, I wouldn't expect to make huge skill gains in one sitting. Dried Marjoram and Distilled Water are both sold by NPC. You'll need to catch the Treant Bulbs on the AH (usually around 1k/stack). The trouble with these primarily are the Ahriman Wings. They're in short supply on the AH and there's usually ton of people camping the AH for them. Make these to cap and sell on AH. As long as you pay attention to what they sell for and keep your cost below it, you'll be fine. Turn in a Bloody Sword for your final rank item when you hit 88.

Recipe: Light Crystal, 1x Treant Bulb, 1x Distilled Water, 3x Dried Marjoram, 1x Ahriman Wing
Cap: Level 89

Make your own beeswax and farm up your giant bird feathers to help offset the loss of skilling on these. Usually they're about break even on the AH, but at times they dip below cost. Sell on the AH. Stacks do sell on the AH as well as long as you keep them around 60k/stack.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Beeswax, 6x Giant Bird Feather
Cap: Level 93

These are commonly used for zergs and used in conjunction with Culverins. There usually aren't that many stacks of these up on the AH at a time, but they do sell when they're up there. Making your own materials for it will be somewhat time consuming, but you will make money here. Bomb arms also drop pretty frequently in Ifrit's Cauldron, so farming there gets you 2 of the materials you need pretty quickly. A profitable level this late in the crafting game is a good thing.

Be mindful of the Smithing 34 and Goldsmithing 18 subs.

Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Bomb Arm, 1x Brass Ingot, 2x Firesand, 1x Iron Ingot
Cap: Level 94

This is a skippable synth. It's a slight loss unless you set up a deal with some dynamis shells or members of your own dynamis group. It's loss isn't significant enough to be too worrisome and you've probably made some gil up to this point. Save a couple to sell on the AH to make up for the loss (used in the Relic Gun). Otherwise NPC the results.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 1x Slime Juice, 1x Goblin Grease
Cap: Level 95

This is pretty much just like the previous synth. See if you can work up a deal with groups doing Dynamis San d'Oria or Dynamis Beaucedine for Fresh Orc Livers that drop. All of the other materials are things you can make or buy for rather cheap. It will still NPC for a loss, but again, not much of one. However, with a 4 level gap here, you can opt to use this as a bridge to the next synth or just make to cap. Either way you go, you're going to be losing about the same amount of gil/synth.

Recipe: Dark Crystal, 1x Venom Dust, 1x Paralysis Dust, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Fresh Orc Liver, 1x Mercury
Cap: Level 99

Alchemists really get the shaft at this point. They have exactly 3 synths that they can even attempt to skill up on. One is a weapon that's a 100k loss in the form of a Gold Algol. Another is Sun Water used to summon a cactuar pet that amounts to a 10k loss and praying you catch Philosopher's stones on the AH. The last is this Pro-Ether. On a good day, you're going to lose about 4k/synth here. Add in the fact that farming up the most expensive part of this synth (Ahriman Wings) is just completely time consuming even with TH4 and it just adds to an already high level of frustration at trying to finish this off. I don't envy you Alchemists at this point. All I can really say is good luck finishing it off and work the other synths to make up for the financial loss here.

Recipe: Water Crystal, 2x Ahriman Wing, 1x Treant Bulb, 3x Dried Marjoram, 1x Distilled Water, 1x Wyvern Wing.
Cap: Level 100

With the exception of the last stretch, Alchemy isn't too bad to level financially. Having this at 100 now, you're in position to make a lot of money off consumables. Silent Oils, Prism Powders, Eye Drops, etc are all common medicines bought for various events. Don't pigeon-hole yourself into one or two items though. With the wide variety of consumables that Alchemy has to offer, do a little studying on what supplies are out there and make your decisions from there.

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Qtipus' Information

FFXI subscriber since NA release.