This article was 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 final installment: Goldsmithing. The special guest commentator/contributor is none other than the man who puts the "pooh" into Dutchypoohlicious, Gawayne.
Hooboy. I've had a lot of requests to get this guide published since I started writing this column. Why anyone wants to level this craft is beyond me aside from the fascination behind working with jewelry maybe (even if it is pixellated). Goldsmithing is in serious need of a boost from SE. Something that's an answer to all 3 of my crafting questions would help out greatly. Unfortunately, with FFXIV on the horizon, I'd venture to guess this isn't going to happen. Maybe the new Synergy skill will give it a boost, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Does Goldsmithing have consumables? This almost falls in line with Smithing in the sense that all of the ingots, sheets, jewels, etc will get bought up rather quickly for larger crafts. It doesn't actually have a true consumable that's worth much of anything unless you count goldsmithing-related arrows such as silver arrows or Hiraishin(who lowers earth resistance or uses NIN for anything of important relevance anymore anyway?). Most items like Gold or Platinum ingots suffer greatly from a huge number of sources that have them available. A "consumable" item that has no HQ-related increase that sells for less than it's material cost has a fundamental problem that relates to too many sources for the product itself or too few methods for the ores to show up to sustain demand.
Gawayne Comment: The only often used “consumable” Goldsmithing item is the Reraise Earring. It sells often, but at a minimal profit (if any). Due to that, I would only recommend making them if the demand is high and there are no idiots on the AH undercutting all the earrings.
Does Goldsmithing have in-demand mid-range gear? Rings. That's about it. NQ rings are a huge loss while HQ rings likely aren't going to be enough to make up for it. Compound an already weak market with players re-selling their rings once they reach the next set and there's really not much room at all in this category to make any money.
Gawayne Comment: Most of the rings that can be made with Goldsmithing have been completely outclassed by the rare/ex rings that have become available over the last few years (CoP, ToAU). The HQ rings are still fairly popular for WS/nuke/cure/enfeeble sets, but the return on investment for HQ rings is too low to be profitable, unless you’re extremely lucky.
Does Goldsmithing have in-demand end-game gear? Yes. The Martial Set is the only cursed set worth noting as parts of it are still decent for most Paladins should they get their hands on the abjuration. Unfortunately, there are a lot of alternatives that can be considered better. Goldsmithing's real end-game set are in the level 72 and 74 rings along with a few odds and ends pieces that go into making other cursed items (i.e. O.Sheet in the Shadow set). Since there aren't a lot of people that actually get Goldsmithing this high (lowest craft above 60 by far on the 2009 Census), the market is generally pretty stable once you do hit 100. Unfortunately, w/o a large selection of items to choose from to begin with, this makes the standard "real money is off HQ" option far less likely.
Gawayne Comment: Over the last few years Goldsmithing has been suffering from the lack of consumables in its assortment. Not only are most of the synths quite pricey, but the market for them has become quite satiated too. Finding the niches on your particular server and playing the Auction House are usually the only ways of still making a decent profit. One important thing to keep in mind with Goldsmithing, is that most of the materials cannot be farmed consistently and will need to be bought off the AH. This means that you should always try to have at least 1 million gil reserve to buy crafting materials. Goldsmithing turns gold into more gold, it won’t create gold out of thin air ;-)
Guide after the jump.
Phase 1: This isn't so bad is it?
The first ~12ish levels of this guide aren't horrendous to your wallet and you can actually make a little bit of money here. Save up a ton of it because the next phase will make you cry. The single biggest thing to remember here is that you will not be able to burn-skill for very long stretches at a time. This should give you plenty of time to pick up your Goldsmithing skill+ items. Also try to make sure you catch "Artisan's Advantage" from the moogle powers to minimize your losses.
Pretty much an extension of where my 0-60 Goldsmithing guide left off. Definitely cap on these. They sell for a little bit of money on most servers. Buy the ingots off the AH as it generally costs more to make your own ingots than it does just to buy them.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Platinum Ingot
Cap: Level 64
The ingots for this synth are farmed up from Moblin Ashmen and Goblin Freelances in Oldton Movapolos. Meaning there aren't many to kill for these (3 total between the two). The pace will be excruciatingly slow, but this is here mostly as a filler. You can probably find the ingots themselves in various bazaars for relatively cheap and you should hold onto them for the final part of this phase. Definitely cap on these if you're that patient.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Moblumin Ingot
Cap: Level 69
This would be the burn synth if there was one for this phase. Unfortunately, you're looking at a 5-10k loss/synth. The ingots do sell pretty quickly if you decide to go this route and have the bank roll to back it up. I wouldn't necessarily cap on these, but definitely try to get a couple levels combined out of these and the Moblumin Sheets.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 3x Gold Ore, 1x Fool's Gold Ore
Cap: Level 69
Another that can be classified as a burn synth due to the availability of the ingots. The rings themselves are usually right around the break-even part, so if that holds true on your server, then you're pretty much just going to lose money on breaks themselves. The only real catch to this is that you're going to be investing more money at once. Turn in a Mythril Breastplate for your Artisan rank.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 2x Platinum Ingot
Cap: Level 70
While not exactly the fastest selling item in the world, it is the most cost effective. If you have a number of Moblumin Sheets you've farmed up or bought from bazaars, this would be the only place to use them. You'll need Smithing at 31 and Alch at 45. to make these, but those aren't expensive or difficult to reach and you could possibly even use this synth in the skill up process for those anyway.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Moblin Putty, 1x Moblumin Sheet, 1x Tin Ingot, 1x Beeswax
Cap: Level 73
Gawayne Comment: If you know any people in larger endgame linkshells, see if they’re interested in buying a few of these pop items to get their White Mages their “Haubergeon”. Or just see if you can sell it off to any White Mages directly.
Phase 2: Goldsmithing uses Mug. Goldsmithing steals 999,999,999 million gil from you.
This section is often referred to as "Gold Hell Part Deux: Now With 20x More Hellflames." There is nothing I can say or do here other than to offer my condolences to your wallet.
While you don't have to do the Jadeite Ring specifically, I placed it's picture because it's the one ring here that loses the least gil. Definitely check your server's pricing for the various level 54 rings and most importantly:
DO NOT MAKE HUGE QUANTITIES OF THESE AT A TIME.
The reason for this is that there are people out there buying these and reselling them constantly. The other reason is that gold prices tend to fluctuate quite a bit, so having the ability to be somewhat flexible on the AH is a must. Make sure you look at the cost of the gold rings themselves against the cost of the mats (2x Gold Ingots) and if you have to make the rings, save the HQ rings for later on or sell them (your choice).
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Gold Ring, 1x HQ2 Gem.
Cap: Level 75
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, here you go. You might consider skipping these and moving to the next synth to try to partake in "break-synthing" for skill (some will say they saved money doing this). If you don't want to do that, this is the cheapest way up due to it only needing one gold ingot. Alchemy needs to be at least 54 here unless you're wanting to try to break synth, in which case it needs to be at least 39.
To help ease the cost of these too, you might enlist the help of an Alchemy buddy who's got it at 87 or higher (highest possible HQ tier for this) and farm up a wide variety of items that can be used to make these. Doll Shards, Magic Pot Shards, or Golem Shards will be what you're after. Gloves can be bought from NPC for ~350/ea and Mercury is easily farmed up. Your results will be NPC'd. These things just flat do not sell on the AH due to not even being redeemable for guild points.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Gold Ingot, 2x Leather Gloves, 2x Cermet Chunks, 1x Mercury.
Cap: Level 77
Gawayne Comment: If you’re feeling lucky (and have gil to spare), you can try to desynth the gauntlets. The NQ (Sheep Leather x2) is useless, but the Cermet Chunks (HQ1, HQ2) or Gold Ingot (HQ3) can still be useful later on. You still won’t break even however, so most of the time it’s better to just NPC them.
A little less painful than the previous synth cost-wise and AH-wise. Some would opt to just skip to this synth altogether hoping that when it breaks, it'll leave the gold ingot behind and they end up with a skill up. It's your wallet, so you can decide how you want to approach this. If your smithing is ~36, make your own Targes. You'll end up saving 6-8k vs. the NPC price. Mercury is easily farmable. Take the pace slowly here and resell your results on the AH when the time comes for them to be redeemed for guild points. Turn in a Torque for your next rank.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Gold Ingot, 1x Targe, 1x Mercury
Cap: Level 80
Phase 3: Is the hard part over?
For the most part yes. Unfortunately, from here on out, the mats for your skillups aren't cheap. They don't sell for losses in most cases and even sell for a decent amount of profit for a successful synth, but it means you're going to be investing literally millions at a time for maybe 5 or 6 synths.
Seven level gap here means you need to have both of your Goldsmithing skill+ items, the ring, and synthesis support. While starting off won't actually get you to the cap (+5 skill total and +1% success w/o HQ chance), it should get you close enough that a break or two every now and then won't hurt you that much. Compared to years ago when these beads were up in the 600k range per bead, most of the ores being down in the 100-150k range is a godsend for 7 levels of this craft. Try to avoid the temptation of clearing the AH out of ores as that only makes the prices go up on the ores and the prices go down on the beads. It's a good practice to limit how much you have invested at a time (try starting off at 500-600k at a time and move it up or down based on how fast they sell).
You may also be able to cut a deal with some woodworkers trying to HQ staves too.
Recipe: Wind Crystal, Elemental Ore
Cap: Level 87
Gawayne Comment: I would suggest starting out with ice ores as they’re generally the cheapest and available in the highest quantity. Once you have reduced the gap enough, you can skill up on the more expensive ores as well. Resist the urge to undercut the beads, as you will only end up cutting yourself in the fingers in the long run. Also try to keep an eye out for optimal HQ staff synthing conditions (especially New Moon), as that is when woodworkers will buy almost all the available beads up at once. If you time your sessions right, you can actually make a little profit here.
These sell fast and for money. So breaks are the only thing that will kill you here. While the ores aren't always in huge supply, they're definitely not available enough to meet demand. Turn in a Colichemarde when you hit 88 for your final rank item.
You can choose to save the ingots you make for the next synth or you can just buy them off the AH again when you're capped here, or you can just skip this altogether and move to the next, money making synth.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 3x Orichalcum Ore, 1x Platinum Ore
Cap: Level 89
Used in the cursed shadow gear. The implementation of these gave new life to the demand for this item, thus making it a viable skill up. These things sell for nearly 100k above the ingot cost due to the facts that A) not very many people have goldsmithing high enough to make 'em and B) there's a decent demand for them. This is another synth where avoiding the temptation to buy 2-3 stacks of ingots for burn sessions should be avoided as this will only make the ingot costs rise and the resulting competition to cause prices to drop on the sheets.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Orichalcum Ingot
Cap: Level 90
Same deal with the level 54 rings. Double check which ring loses the least amount of money (or makes some). Make sure you check the cost of Plat. Ingots vs. the cost of the Plat. Rings. And yet again:
DO NOT MAKE HUGE QUANTITIES OF THESE AT A TIME.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Platinum Ring, 1x HQ3 gem.
Cap: Level 95
Gawayne Comment: Creating your own HQ3 gems is usually more about luck than skill, and not considered a viable option for obtaining the gems for these rings. If there isn’t enough supply of them, find alternative ways of acquiring the HQ3 gems, such as the Ruby Quadav NM in Qulun Dome that drops rubies fairly consistently.
Another chance to make some money thank to the demand created by the addition of a gobbie bag. The luminium ore drops from ISNMs, so there might not always be enough on the AH for more than 1-2 ingots at a time. They do sell for a profit on Odin and probably do on other servers as well.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Orichalcum Ore, 3x Luminium Ore
Cap: Level 98
Finally the end. While I wish I could tell you that the last synth in this rather excruciating path to 100 was better, it's definitely not as bad as it could be. Some of the rings might make money, but odds are they're a bit of a loss. Mostly the same thing applies here that applied to the level 54 and level 72 rings. Check the cost of the beads against the cost of the results. You're going to be making your own Orichalcum Rings as there's not many people making the rings to put up on the AH since they only have this one good use. The bright side is, these things are now bought a little more frequently due to the augment system that's been put into place. Just for good measure:
DO NOT MAKE HUGE QUANTITIES OF THESE AT A TIME.
Recipe: Fire Crystal, 1x Orichalcum Ring, 1x Elemental Bead
Cap: Level 100
Gawayne Comment: WARNING: If you are making your own orichalcum rings, be SURE to have the Goldsmithing Ring equipped. While not very likely, getting the HQ version of the Orichalcum Ring (Triton Ring) effectively destroys 500k, as the result cannot be used for any synths and has no noteworthy stats at all. Obviously, you will want to create your own beads for these synths at this point as well, saving you about 15k per bead.
Congrats, now you're part of a VERY select group of people to reach this and you'll likely be able to enjoy some profitable times ahead due to the lack of competition for these higher level synths. Goldsmithing is definitely not for the weak of heart.
This concludes my 60-100 series. Please keep in mind that these guides were written as updates to reflect various game changes that have occurred over the past year or so. This means that something better could come along for a certain range at any point in time, so always keep your eyes peeled for other solutions.