Sometimes you’ll read about the crafting in Final Fantasy XIV, and how it is implemented in a good way- to be honest, i don’t think there’s a much better way to have crafting in your themepark- but maybe it doesn’t click with you. Maybe you write a comment that you’d like to read more about that on a blog and maybe the blogger responds on the spot. So, before i might dive deeper into the crafting in FF14, let’s take a look at the reasons why i think it is special- and also, why i think you should craft if you’re playing Final Fantasy XIV.
It’s integrated into the game
It all starts with loot. When you kill a mob, you’ll get items, like in any other game out there. The difference is- i don’t think there’s something like “trash” in Final Fantasy XIV. At least i didn’t encounter it yet. Everything i saw is either craftable, consumable or wearable. The only thing to sell to vendors i saw is a selectable quest reward you choose when you already have the other items.
As you might know, you can do and be everything with one character in FF14. I read somewhere that this isn’t the optimal solution, that it’s better to have 2 or 3 characters sharing all the available classes and jobs, but i can’t remember why. The gathering and crafting jobs in Final Fantasy 14 have their own level progression- and it’s a progress, alright. Now, i am pretty low-level still, but i can only guess how, for example, the gathering progress evolves in later levels- more dangerous mobs around the nodes, more hidden, rare materials and so on.
Yes, i know there are crafting quests in many MMOs. Rift has them, for instance. But what they grant is, mostly, adventuring experience. In FF14 you’ll level your crafting class while completing them. As all other classes, the crafting classes also have their “class story” quests- you’ll get one every five levels. When you reached level 10, you’ll be able to do leves, as well. And, of course, the grand company you join will have some tasks for you. Generally, the leves are considered the best way to level your crafting class.
Crafters do have their own equipment with corresponding stats- they’ll help you in finding more or better materials while gathering and help with rising quality when crafting items. Raising quality is worth the effort, every time, because even if you don’t get a high quality item, you’ll get more experience the higher your chance for doing so is.
An involved progress
Crafting in FF14 is very involved. It begins with searching for the ingredients- in FF14, it’s not as simple as “in zones from level 1-10 you’ll get bronze, in zones from level 11-20 you’ll get silver” and so on. Sure, if you are, say, a weaver, there’ll be one spot to get your cotton bolls from, but the Botanist (the corresponding gathering class) can gather so much more- stuff for provisioning, alchemy and others, i think. So you’ll have to travel to get the materials for something you want to craft.
While crafting, you’ll use skills, just as you’d do while fighting. There are skills to increase the quality of an item, to raise your chance to find a high quality version of an ingredient and others. While this is relatively simple and something a macro could simplify even more, it still is something that makes you think. At least sometimes, for now, i’m using the same pattern everytime i craft something, but my guess is that this will change later on.
There’ll also be ingredients you’ll really have to look for- yesterday, i needed beast sinews- i knew the guild supplier sells them, but i wanted to look for them, myself. I found out which animals drop them and went out, hunting. Here’s another thing- the crafting feeds the adventuring classes, too, because when i think about it, this hunting would have gone a lot better if i had a dps class ready for the task.
You can also just craft everything that’s in your crafting log- since you get a considerable amount of bonus experience when you craft something for the first time, you’ll get some progress along with the knowledge of how to make something and how/where to gather the materials.
Another thing that makes crafting in FF14 quite unique is the interdependency- you’ll need materials from other crafting classes. The best representation i found is this one. So, if you are a weaver, the Botanist will probably be the best fit gathering-wise. But you’ll also need materials from the leatherworker (who, in turn, need stuff from mobs and mining). Now, thankfully- as i find the “auction house” somewhat tiresome to navigate- you don’t need to buy everything from other players. Guild suppliers have what you need, at least up to my level. This also serves as a price check, i think, because you won’t find basic materials getting very expensive here, as you would in other older themepark MMORPGs.
You could, of course, try and do everything by yourself- if for nothing else, then for not wasting all the stuff you gathered or looted. That’s kind of what i’m doing right now- i put everything i looted on the bank to process it at a later point. But levelling all gathering and crafting classes in addition to the adventuring class? Yeah, talk about time-sink!
All in all, this leads to a working ingame economy. It’s not perfect, since i still found the dungeons to be the source of the best gear (for now, i didn’t produce anything in HQ, though), but it’s pretty close to what you can do without item decay, local auction houses and so on. I think pricing reflects that. I haven’t looked into the economy very much yet, because i have other things i’d rather do for now, but there are people who play the market in FF XIV.
Why you should do it, too
This is simple- to diversify your play sessions. As i said yesterday, there’s a lot to do and many different goals to accomplish in Final Fantasy XIV; you’ll get distracted a lot and maybe feel overwhelmed at some point. In my book, though, this is great! MMORPGs are not only about progression, they’re also about discovery and diversity- and it’s one of FFXIV’s strengths that there is a lot to do.
Finally, there’s housing in Final Fantasy XIV, and it isn’t cheap. I don’t think adventuring alone is going to net you enough gil to partake in these more expensive activities, so knowing about what sells and what doesn’t might be essential in this regard, as well.
Yes, switching weapons and not being able to fight might feel strange, and it is, since gathering and crafting become main activities instead of being something you do as a side activity, but also: you can do something that doesn’t involve fighting and get a sense of progression! If you’re bored of the quest grind the gathering/crafting grind might be a nice distraction- for instance, yesterday i gathered cotton bolls and took screenshots while listening to the first episode of the Massively Overpowered podcast.
So if you take on gathering and crafting, you’ll broaden your gameplay experience- in MMOs, that’s a good thing.