Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Critical Break: 60-100 Series: Woodworking

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. Part three of his 60-100 Series this week covers Woodworking. Q also managed to find a picture of one of Ringthree's great-great-great grandchildren. This week's guest commentator/contributor is: Celestria.

Woodworking is rather easy to get to 100. Most of the things you will be synthesizing will not require you to go farming, but rather waiting patiently for the AH to either have the supplies you're looking for or for the AH to have the supplies you're looking for in the correct pricepoint.

Just like any other craft, the questions have to be asked:

Does it have consumables? Yes and then some. If I had to rank Woodworking on the consumables scale, it probably ranks #3 behind Cooking and Alchemy. Arrows, Bolts, and Shihei come to mind immediately. To a lesser extent, lumber can be considered a consumable too as...since this is Woodworking after all...there are a ton of people using it for the various synths. It's not just limited to Woodworking though. There are plenty of synths in the other crafts that require some form of lumber.

Does it have in-demand end-game gear? Yes. The Dryadic Abjuration set. While not exactly as popular as it once was, there still isn't much out there that beats it. A number of weapons like Thalassocrat are also a by-product of Woodworking.

Does it have in demand mid-range gear? Oh God yes. Elemental Staves. I don't really have to explain what impact those have had. Just understand that you can make money off these rather easily if you set yourself up for HQ'ing them.

While slightly painful at times to skill due to the pace of waiting, Woodworking will heap a lot of rewards if you dedicate the time to it at the end. Tales of my friends making 2-3 mil/week simply off the sheer amount of Shihei that he sold are often told to me.

That required him to never really leave his Mog House though...

Celestria's Intro: General warnings:

If you try to make gil with woodworking, it will be a full time minimum wage job.

The obvious quick sales, shihei and arrows, take 12 stacks of finished product, 1/3 a stack per NQ synthesis, to make 1 stack of AHable results, and sell for 25-45k. There's no way it could possibly be worth the effort, so I leave the quick consumables to chinese synthbots.

Elemental staves are the reason I got into woodworking. They looked like quick easy money as soon as you hit 100+3, and they should be, but don't bet the bank on them. I started making staves at the height of inflation, when beads were 800k. My first streak was 1/27 and the 1 was not for profit. Some days you can hit 5/12, some days you get nothing, and NQ staves are all loss. Oh, and good luck finding a goldsmith to turn your ores into beads, or beads on AH for less than a ridiculous markup. There is a trickle of money in staves, but it's unreliable.

Dryadic abjuration gear has worked out all right for me, but not without obstacles. It's hard to find a steady supply of divine logs on AH. Cursed haidate sell at steep loss, but HQ make up for it if you can find a buyer, and at 1/10 HQ rate are not too terrible. Cursed kabuto is 100k loss per NQ, and 1/100 HQ rate, and does not sell for 10 mil, so I avoid it. Cursed togi is a decent profit on NQ, very nice profit on HQ, and seems to always break both divine lumber if you fail.

Read on for the guide.

Before we get started, a few things you need to make sure you have:

Lumberjack - Get this as it will make the process of later synths go by faster.

Carpenter's Gloves - Like the other crafts, anything that adds +1 to your skill is essentially a level you don't have to worry about covering for breaks. This means you can start the next synth sooner if you happen to run into a sticky spot where skillup materials are a little hard to obtain.

Celestria Comment: Work toward your apron and drawing table before you hit veteran rank. I swear SE curses veteran rank with the worst GP items, you'll either be turning in 97 things for 1200GP or 500k gil for 3k GP. Once I had my items, I switched my GP contract to the smithing guild for cheaper and easier access to HQ crystals.

Carpenter's Ring - Forcing NQs removes the risk of HQ break as well as increases your chance of a successful synth which, in turn, increases your number of chances for skillups. Get it.

Celestria Comment: Carpenter's Ring is good for two things: desynthing soulflayer staves and making warp cudgels. Don't expect an easy market for either of those, staves are usually in short supply and are hunted by other woodworkers, and the warp cudgel market is vicious and requires anima.

Patience - Mentioned earlier that there's a lot of waiting for supplies to show up on the AH. This means that urge to splurge and lose gil shows up.

Phase 1: Thank You SE Gods

Celestria Comment: 60-69: I didn't have access to Feyweald Lumber or Angon when I went through here, it was darksteel bolts to 62 followed by a 7 level gap to demon arrows. With a little investment you can knock that stretch out in a day and it will all sell before morning.

Pretty much a continuation of the 0-60 guide. Cap on these, save your results. You'll be using these quite a bit in later synths.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Ebony Log
Cap: Level 61

SE's addition of this log during the July '09 update helped cover a bit of a large gap for cheap. These logs are always on the AH for less than 1k ea. The lumber usually resells for a little less than the logs (sometimes more depending on the server), but you can easily save the lumber and make Fay Staffs or Fay Croziers to turn it into a slight profit. Those will sell slow, so make sure you have a lot of room.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Feyweald Log
Cap: Level 66

Most Dragoons just buy these from the Whitegate vendor for 248 gil ea. I got to looking at this recipe and realized you may be able to save them a little money. Having lumberjack here really helps to make the yew lumber (buy from Guild). If your leathercraft is 2 and your clothcraft is 35, you can make your own wool thread for it. That just leaves the iron ingots. Buying the ores from the Smithing guild is usually the way to go, but you may catch the ingots on the AH from time to time a little cheaper. If you farm up your wool thread, and buy the rest of the mats from their respective guilds, you'll end up with a cost of 5730 gil/synth + crystal costs. This means you're effectively making angons at 174 gil each barring breaks.

Wool thread also sells on the AH for relatively cheap too, so it's not like you absolutely have to go farm it up. Buying each thread for 1k or less each puts you at 203/angon, which is still cheaper, but less wiggle room for crystal costs.

Take note of the smithing 20+ sub as well. Hopefully you've got it up that high to take advantage of this synth.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Iron Ingot, 1x Yew Lumber, 1x Wool Thread
Cap: 69

This is the more commonly used synth here. The price on these for NQ is rather stable due to the fact that T2 HQ rate is the highest available for it. Demon Horns are generally available on the AH a few stacks at a time, and are usually hovering around the 5k per horn range. Farming up the horns is a giant pain as their drop rates generally suck and the demons that drop them aren't the easiest things in the world to deal with. Finding a bonecrafter willing to make the arrowheads you farm up isn't as hard, but like the arrows, T2 HQ rate is the best you're going to get out of them.

If you capped on Feyweald lumber, then a 3 level gap isn't a huge amount of ground to cover, so hopefully 1 stack of arrowheads will get you through if you opt to do this synth instead of Angons. You will also make money here at a rate of bout 1k/stack that you make. Your cost per synth will be in the 1.5k range meaning that your profit will be about 500g/stack of arrows you make barring breaks. This doesn't require any form of a subcraft to synth making it a better option in the eyes of many.

Turn in an Ebony Wand when you hit 68 to attain your Artisan rank. Hopefully you've been turning in enough GP items to pick up your Carpenter's Apron as well.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Arrowwood lumber, 1x Black Chocobo Fletchings, 1x Demon Arrowheads
Cap: Level 69

Phase 2: Guess What? More Lumber.

Celestria Comment: 70-79: When I was your age, petrified logs cost 40k, rosewood logs 10k, ebony logs 10k. This was still the skillup path, but it hurt a lot more. Being able to npc results for breakeven or a little profit means you're only limited by supply. If you have any fisherman friends, you may be able to repair Lu Shang's for a cheap and easy .1 once in a while.

Same basic pattern as before. Buy logs off AH. Synth. Pray for skill ups. Make to cap and save your results for later.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Petrified Log
Cap: Level 72

Here's another example of where Lumberjack will really help you. Rosewood Logs are almost always cheaper on the AH. If you manage to get all 5 logs (assuming no HQs of the lumber until you hit 76) for 1k or less, then you can NPC these for around 5k ea. This is also the beginning of having to wait for materials to show up on the AH that can make you go slightly insane. Make to cap, save one for your Adept Rank.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 5x Rosewood Lumber
Cap: Level 77

Time to use up some of that Ebony Lumber you made earlier. If you got the logs for 2.2k or less on the AH, you can NPC your results for about break even. You're also at T1 HQ range, so you can hopefully get lucky on a couple of HQ attempts should be out of lumber.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Ebony Lumber
Cap: Level 79

Phase 3: Some Weapons! Oh Wait...More Lumber.

Celestria Comment: 80-89: Dark Mezraq and Teak Lumber did not exist. Ancient lumber prices meant mythic poles and wands were not feasible. I remember a lot of farming in this stretch, mega pumps and eremite's wands and moved on to kabura arrows as soon as I dared.

Now why did I put this here? Mostly as a bridge synth since, compared to some other things, it's a highly profitable synth with rather easy materials to obtain from the AH. It's also here to mix things up a bit given the monotony thusfar. Should you happen to have Smithing and Goldsmithing subs at 40+, then this is your synth. Make some money here, but don't make too many at once. These don't sell incredibly fast (2-3 day), but given it's the best lance you can get for Dragoon at the level, there's always a demand. Skip to the next synth if you don't want to bother.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Darksteel Ingot, 1x Ebony Lumber, 1x Platinum Ingot, 1x Wamoura Silk
Cap: Level 82

This will likely be the synth you do after Ebony Poles. This is also where you can use up that Ancient Lumber you made earlier. These sell on the AH for about a 500g profit as they're used in an Alchemy synth. They don't sell fast though. You'll be limited here by how many Phoenix Feathers show up on the AH, so don't expect to just get out and run at this point.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Phoenix Feather, 1x Ancient Lumber
Cap: Level 84

If you don't feel like waiting for Phoenix Feathers to show up on the AH, this is a semi-reasonable alternative. The lumber is used in a few odds and ends and sells for about even on the AH at times. This is yet another item where the AH waiting game comes into play.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Teak Log
Cap: Level 85

Hopefully you still have a bit of Ancient Lumber left over. If not and you're 84 or higher, you're at T1 HQ range. Make these to cap. It gets expensive from here on out, so having every level you can will help out a ton. Hopefully you can get your logs at 2.5k or less. This will allow you to just about break even NPC'ing your results here. At the very least, take this to 88 before moving to the next money making synth. Save one to turn in for your final rank, Veteran. Again, don't expect to run away here skilling up. Petrified Logs aren't exactly in huge supply.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 2x Ancient Lumber
Cap: Level 89

Phase 4: I'm A Lumberjack and I'm Ok!

Celestria Comment: 90-100: 9-drawer almirah, bloodwood, and jacaranda lumber were not even a twinkle in Sage Sundi's eye when I was in this stage. Divine logs were 3 mil, not a good skillup target even then. I made eight-sided poles to 94, bookshelves to 95, lacquer tree sap to 96, a mix of cythara anglica and lancewood lumber (which never ever ever gives skill curse it) and maybe royal bookshelves to 99, and an excruciating level of iron-splitters and stone-splitters at 300k loss per synth to finish. You kids have it easy now.

Bridge. Pure and simple. This requires a clothcraft sub of 50 as well. Buying all of the materials for these off the AH will still result in probably the largest profit margin you've seen thusfar, but that doesn't mean spend recklessly assuming you will make money. HQing the various lumber bits will make you that much more money, so keep your eyes open for the logs instead of the lumber and put that lumberjack to good use.

SE's change to these pieces of furniture increased their demand by a ton. The fact that Clothcrafters can buy these and "paint" them a different color helps out a lot too. Try to continue making money off these even after you cap because breaks after this point will hurt you badly.

Recipe: Earth Crystal, 4x Mahogany Lumber, 1x Ebony Lumber, 1x Ancient Lumber, 1x Silk Cloth, 1x Gold Thread
Cap: Level 91

Used for Salvage gear and a few other various synths. Since it can only reach T1 HQ range, it's going to retain it's value and then some even after. Make sure you get guild support for this to minimize your breaks. If you break a few, run out to the mire with a few friends, farm up a few Soulflayer staves and, hopefully you have your Carpenter's Ring, force NQ Desynth them into the Bloodwood Lumber itself to make up for the loss.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Bloodwood Log
Cap: Level 95

Very cheap synth for this level range. Similar to Bonecrafting's Chronos Tooth, this will be limited by what Dynamis shell is doing what zone when, but generally speaking the lumber sells for the same price on the AH as the log does, so it's virtually break even, but very slow selling. Get the log for 2k or less and you can break even by selling the lumber to a NPC. Unlike the Chronos Tooth though...this doesn't cap at 100, only 99.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Lancewood Log
Cap: Level 99

Not as bad financially as the Bloodwood Lumber, but can still put a dent in the finances. This is used in several synths and since it's T0, it's lumber value is actually a profit and likely won't drop.

Recipe: Wind Crystal, 1x Jacaranda Log
Cap: Level 100

Celestria Conclusion: Q's put together a very good list for you based on current prices and availability. The options have changed very much since I cared about skilling up, and they'll probably change again, so make sure to doublecheck the numbers for your own server before you dive in. As for my personal recommendation, well, run screaming and don't look back. Woodworking is for recreational purposes only, don't get into this craft if you're looking to turn an easy profit. The quick sales are a huge amount of work for a small reward, and while the big rare HQ looks great on paper, in reality it's nearly impossible to find a buyer. Everything else is overproduced and undercut.

I hate to farm, I hate to shop, and I hate competition. Woodworking is all of these things. You may manage to find profit and enjoyment where I do not. Individual tastes may vary. Actual mileage may fluctuate depending on road conditions and driving habits.


Next week, Leathercraft and Ninjafox.

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