Playing through the ffxiv beta I'm happy to see that crafters are taken seriously! Square Enix took the time to flesh them out as full fledged classes instead of just some hobby. As a result, players can proudly proclaim their skills as they pursue mastery of their chosen craft, gaining reputation and customers as they go.
The Crafting System
Prepare to get intimate with your items as crafting in ffxiv is much more than getting the materials and clicking a "craft" button. In order to create an item, you first have to open your crafting log. The crafting long has all the items you are able to create. You can craft any item shown regardless of the recipe's level, but the higher items will be harder to craft. You'll need to level up as your crafting class to unlock more recipe pages later. Clicking an item will reveal the required materials as well as display the item's durability and starting quality. You can adjust the materials to swap them out for higher quality materials and doing so will raise the item's starting quality.
Once you click the Synthesize button, that's when the real crafting process begins!
Your goal is the completely fill the progress bar in order to create the item. If the durability drops to 0, you will fail. The progress bar does not decrease, and the durability only drops by 10 each time you handle the item(Synthesis actions or touch up actions). For example, if im crafting an item with 70 durability, I need complete the item without handling it more than 6 times or it will break.
Here is where crafters distinguish themselves from one another! There are countless ways to fill that progress bar but even with the looming danger of breaking the item, it'd a waste of materials to just craft as fast as you can. The reason is because of the HQ%! Raising the % directly affects your chances of crafting a High Quality version of your item, complete with a shiny icon and slightly increased stats! Even if you end up creating a normal item, upon completion you will gain an experience bonus depending on how high the HQ% was. So taking your time to raise that HQ% can be a big help with leveling up!
And luckily for us, crafters gain many active skills to help accomplish this. Using the skill "Basic Synthesis", you can increase the progress bar normally, but the skill "Flawless Synthesis" increases the progress bar by 50 at once! Since it counts as 1 action, the durability also only decreases once, leaving you with enough time to mess with the quality.
If you ever find your durability running out mid-craft, you can use this lifesaving skill "Master's Mend" which increases the durability by 30, enough to try and finish the item within 3 more actions! There's also "Basic Touch" and "Standard Touch" which increase the quality instead of the progress bar. touch up actions make the durability decrease each time so make sure you've got enough durability left to finish the item.
As you level up as a crafter even more factors are introduced, such as "Condition", the key to getting the most quality from your touch up actions. Every time you take an action, be it increasing the progress bar, quality, or using a self-buffing ability, one step goes by. Think of these as "turns" in a battle. With each step, there's a chance of the condition of the item changing. If the condition changes to Good, you'll see the item turn orange. If you use a touch up action right now, you'll see a noticable increase in the quality bar as opposed to touching up in a normal condition. Always be on the lookout for color changes in the item. Rush and you'll miss them!
If you're extremely lucky, the condition may change to Excellent. The item will flash through a rainbow of colors and using a touchup action RIGHT NOW will raise the quality SIGNIFICANTLY. Never miss these! Be aware, that after excellent condition, the following step the condition will always change to poor. It doesn't mean anything bad, but using a touch up action now will yield less of a quality increase compared to even a normal condition item. If you have the "Observe" skill, you can skip this step without affecting the durability. The next step the condition should be back to normal. By crafting with patience, watching your durability, and having just a little bit of luck, you can churn out high quality items like a master crafter!
These are just the basics but there are many more skills to learn, lengthening the crafting process but helping you to gain the most out your crafting sessions. Both in items and experience!
Equipment and Stats
As i said before, FFXIV's crafters are their own classes so you should make sure you're well equipped! Crafters should look for specific stats to help with their crafting.
CP is basically your crafter points which are depleted when you use crafting skills. You can think of it as a mage's mp which depletes when they use magic spells. As far as I know, there are no cp potions to use mid craft, so you definitely want to get equipment that increases your cp pool. You never want to be in a position where your item is in "Excellent" but you don't have enough cp to use "Standard Touch"! You can usually find cp in accessories like rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Interestingly, in FFXIV all accessories are visible on your character so if you can find some stylish accessories, you should definitely make use of them.
Craftsmanship is a stat that affects your Synthesis skills(the ones that affect the progress bar). The higher your craftsmanship, the more progress you'll make with each synthesis skill. I can't tell you how many times I've barely crafted an item before the durability ran out. Very important skill. Luckily most crafting gear has a craftsmanship stat so it isn't hard to increase.
The last stat for crafters is Control. This affects your touch up skills. The higher your control, the higher the quality increase with each touch up skill. Very important stat for anyone aiming high quality items since a high control means you can reach certain HQ% much faster and at less cp cost than someone with less control than you. You know you've become a skilled crafter when you're finally able to reach 100% HQ chance with enough durability leftover to leisurely finish filling the progress bar without no other distractions. You'll certainly be glad for this stat once you start encountering quests that actually require a high quality crafted item.
Yes us crafters even have our own quests and individual storylines. All crafters have their own npc guild master who will offer different challenges to test your on new concepts every 5 levels. And I do mean challenging! They may be an item with tough materials you'll have to find yourself or buy from a harvester(Harvesters are also their own classes! :D). They may require you to craft multiple high quality items. Or it might just be a simple fetch quest. Thankfully there's a bit of a story attached to these tasks designed to pull you into the world of crafting. Perhaps a big investor is seeking an exclusive partnership with your guild and has taken a liking to you. Maybe there's a big ball going on and the guild master needs someone to do grunt work while they craft the big things. Maybe someone in your guild pissed off a client and your skills are needed to win them back!
Aside from the story stuff, crafters also get to take advantage of the levequest system that traditional combat classes have access to. It's structured a bit differently though. Crafting levequests are called tradecraft quests and work like commissions. When you check the list of tradecraft quests, you can see what items an npc somewhere in the world is looking for from your specific craft as well as the reward. The rewards always consist of money and experience but the best ones also throw in equipment or materials. If you skillfully pick which commissions to take, you can end up with many valuable materials like silver ore to craft higher level things. Pick wisely!
Once you pick a tradecraft quest, all you have to do is craft the required items, and set off to deliver the items. Different areas have their own tradecraft quests from level 1 all the way up to your level so it can really help your career as a crafter to travel the world. Trying picking up a new commission in whatever area the last one led you! Also, if you manage to craft high quality items and hand them in, you'll get a bonus to your experience and money so try not to be stingy! A healthy combination of crafting and commissions can really help with leveling up!
This is the first game I've played that's gone this far with it's crafting. I can only wonder what the endgame will be like, with housing implemented and level 50 crafters owning their own businesses. It's already been stated that crafters will have their own role in the faction pvp between grand companies. I look forward to seeing how the developers can introduce crafters to pvp!