Let’s Talk – Crafting and gathering in Final Fantasy XIV
Before talking about Heavensward’s gathering and crafting let’s explore levelling a crafter from level 1 to 50. Now in Final Fantasy XIV you have the ability to level every single crafting and gathering class in the game (there are 8 crafting and 3 gathering classes). Levelling both these types of classes from 1-50 is relatively straight forward as each class relies on each other. The best example of this is with the level 42 weaver item “Felt Lining”, in order to craft this item you are required to gather fleece, grenade ash and natron. To gather fleece you have to kill certain monsters until some drops, for grenade ash you are required to level a miner (gatherer) to level 40, and for natron you are required to level an alchemist (crafter) to level 25 along with having a level 25 miner to gather materials to craft the natron. From level 1-50 you are shown that omni-crafting and omni-gathering are important, and leaving one to the wayside can be troubling although not entirely destructive.
At level 50 (pre-Heavensward) you are met with a brand new challenge, gathering nodes tied to spawn timers. This is the beginnings of the time consuming aspect of crafting and gathering as you can only gather from these nodes once every 70 minutes, and if you want the items from the node you better be quick as they only hang around for about 9 minutes. This new artificial lengthening of crafting and gathering is then met with another time sink in the form of desynthesis levelling, this involves breaking down items into their component parts, with each successful break down you gain desynthesis points in one particular crafting class, to be able to effectively use this mechanic you have to grind one crafting classes desynthesis to 70+, as you require high-level demimateria. Pre-Heavensward also featured master books for each crafting class, the first book was a pretty straightforward experience, but the second book required an almost godly amount of luck. To make the items required to unlock the book you have to work around spawn timers, having a high enough desynthesis, and almost praying that your crafting rotation would be good enough to get you close to a 100% high-quality chance. While this sounds easy the maximum amount of HQ start for the items to unlock the second master book was between 2-5%, and after countless attempts I believe the highest I could reach was about 15%. Luck was the name for the very highest tier of pre-Heavensward content. The heavy luck and time consumption of the final tier of end game crafting and gathering was not a surprise for me as it was the last tier before the expansion and as such it had the right to be a challenge.
Now let’s talk about levelling crafting and gathering classes from 51-60 in Heavensward. Levelling these classes in the expansion could be best described as a pain as the game liked to throw in artificial time extensions with more items tied to nodes on spawn timers. The idea of gating some key crafting materials behind nodes that would only spawn once every 35 minutes and only stayed active for 3 minutes could almost be a joke if it wasn’t true. This decision to add such a time extension meant that if you want to level quickly you would have to rely on the player run market board and buy the items for a large sum of Gil (Gil in the game’s in-game currency). However, not long after Heavensward release Square Enix did see reason and added a shop where you could buy some of the key low level (around levels 51 to 55) items that were gated behind the spawn timers. While a big issue with spawn timers was fixed the game liked to throw an additional curve ball by having some key crafter levelling items appear as hidden items in gathering nodes, hidden items are items that spawn randomly in a node group you are gathering from, and depending on your luck you may find them in every second node or in some cases you could go four or more nodes without coming across a hidden item.
Now, we get to max level endgame Heavensward crafting and gathering, and if you ever thought level 50 end game crafting and gathering was bad then you are in for a rude awakening. At level 60 you are met with several new systems, the most common of which is the blue and red gathering/crafting scrips, these scrips are important as they are a key component in unlocking level 58 crafting/gathering gear and high-end level 60 crafting/gathering gear. Gaining scrips isn’t difficult as you must use Heavensward’s new Collectible system to craft or gather specific items of a certain rarity. While the process is simple it is time-consuming especially when it comes to gathering red scrips as you can only gain 450 crafting and 450 gathering red scrip a week, this cap means that the process from base level 60 gear to red scrip level 60 gear takes in my opinion way too long to unlock. How long would you say? Well, it takes up to nine weeks to gain the necessary amount of red scrip to buy all the red scrip gear + primary weapon for just one crafting class.
Now once you have the red scrip gear you aren’t finished as you can now create the highest end crafting content two star level 60 items, which can only be gained via master book IIIs, which are in turn unlocked by handing in a number of blue crafting scrips. Creating these two star items isn’t easy as you have to go through the 9 week process of gaining red scrip gear to get the necessary stats (although you can use the base level 60 crafting gear and spent millions increasing its stats with materia). Now to be describe the process and to show off how much time and luck you need to craft these items I will focus on explaining the requirements to create a piece of gear called “Boltmaster’s Gibus”. To create this item you need 3x Astral Silk, 1x Crawler Silk, 1x Aurum Regis Nugget, 1x Star Sapphire, 2x Landborne Aethersand, and finally 3x Fieldcraft Demimateria III. The process to gathering Crawler Silk, Aurum Regis Nugget and Star Sapphire is straight forward as you just require a level 58+ miner, botanist, weaver and goldsmith. While on the other hand the Astral Silk, Landborne Aethersand and Fieldcraft Demimateria is far more difficult. To acquire Astral Silk you are required to gather materials from concealed gathering points, these points can only be found by purchasing zone favours with red gatherers’ scrips, which is a lengthy and tedious process. Landborne Aethersand requires you to search out special ephemeral nodes that spawn at set times throughout an in-game day, but finding these nodes isn’t the end of the process as you need to use the collectible system you collect specific items with a specific rarity level, once you have completed this you must then use another new system called Aetherial reduction to break down the recently gathered item and hope that after breaking it down you get some Landborne Aethersand, and finally we have Fieldcraft Demimateria III this is pretty straight forward if you levelled desynthesis pre-Heavensward, if not get ready to slog a desynthesis skill to 70+.
With the very high-end crafting you will find yourself spending a lot of time gathering red scrip, making sure you have levelled at least five or more crafting and gathering classes to 60, learn how several new systems work and have huge amount of patience.
So in the end can anything be done to fix the massive time sink component to high-end crafting and gathering? Well, honestly I don’t really think much can be done. The new systems such as collectible, favour and reduction are the main reason behind the time sink, and I don’t see Square Enix making major changes to them despite the fact that numerous players have been quite vocal in their displeasure at some of these systems with favour getting the brunt of hatred. There is also the fact that red scrip has such a small weekly cap, but unlike the above-mentioned systems I could see Square Enix tweaking it in the future, although I wouldn’t see that happening until they theoretically introduce another scrip tier (there is no proof that a new scrip tier could be added).
So in short max level crafting and gathering in Final Fantasy XIV will most likely always have the time sink issue, in the future it could be easier to get the items, but players will be always left to the mercy of fixed spawn times and the game’s random number generator (RNG).
If you are interested in finding out about other aspects of Final Fantasy XIV, visit http://www.finalfantasyxiv.com/.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.