Probably every day or two I run into a new player who's decided to get into crafting, and they're working their way up in their first job. This is awesome to see, and I love it! I wish that more of the crafted items in the game were actually viable to make and sell to other players, but at least we're still doing better than many other MMOs in that regard.
Crafting in FFXIV can be complicated and kind of overwhelming for people just getting into it, so I thought I would give some basic tips that work for me to help folks out. I want to say right up front though that there is NO WRONG WAY to learn crafting. If you want to focus on one job at a time, awesome. Do them all at once? Go for it. Level fast, level slow, whatever floats your boat. What follows here is my OPINION - and let it be known that I am a crazy person, so take it for what it's worth :)
Anyway, let's get into the good stuff.
1) I recommend that you work all your jobs up together - it takes longer, but you get a few benefits. The first benefit is that you can gear yourself as you level up. I'll talk more about it in a moment but gear is *very* important for crafting and gathering, and so being able to make full sets of high-quality gear as you level up is going to help you tremendously. The second benefit is that you save a lot of armory chest space by only having one common gear set between your jobs (instead of up to 8 crafting sets and 3 gathering sets). The third benefit is that you will be able to make pretty much everything you need to craft any item you want, instead of having to try to buy it on the market.
2) If you're looking for a place to start, you could do worse than weaver or leatherworker. This will get you off to a good start in terms of gearing both your gathering and your crafting.
3) Once you hit level 10 or so, your goal should be able to make all your *finished* items at high quality. If you need to churn out 20 bronze ingots, it's ok to quick synth that, but doing your finished items at high quality will net you gobs of XP and if it's something you're going to use or sell, make it that much shinier.
4) Gear is extremely important. As soon as you are able, *everything* you are equipping should be high quality. It will help you more than anything else, and you'll find that with a little intelligent use of your abilities, you'll be able to make stuff even above your level at high quality. That stuff you get from the job quests? Ignore it. Throw it on a retainer and craft yourself a real upgrade.
5) Do your best to spiritbond all the gear you use before you stop using it - including tools. Spiritbonding gets you free materia (use extract materia on the item when it's at 100% spiritbond). You can make a piece of gear spiritbond faster by melding a piece of materia to it (and then try to remove that materia when you are done using the item as well). So, the net is - materia is good, you want more of it, meld it to your gear to spiritbond faster, spiritbond all the things, and get more materia for essentially free.
6) Don't go grab a macro from a website and start using it. Macros are for when you're sitting at the level cap and you are making a billion pieces of furniture or something and you don't want to have to click the same series of buttons in the same order. While you're leveling, actually take the time to choose your skill yourself. This will help you learn how they work intimately, which you will need when you get to 80 and are trying to do expert recipes.
7) I don't recommend doing levequests or grand company turn-ins. The reason for this is that they give FAR too much experience. Leveling fast might seem like a great thing, but you'll find that you rapidly outgrow your gear (before you spiritbond it) and that you don't get a chance to really learn your abilities when you're getting 3-4 levels in a single turn-in.
8) For leveling, making your own gear will get you most of the way in most professions. Make a few things to sell (hint: that stuff you're making for yourself? Other people will buy that) and you'll be fine in almost all of them. The exception at low levels is alchemist and culinarian. Alchemist gets better once you can make natron (because everyone always needs more natron) but early on, you'll struggle to find things to make with it that are really viable. Culinarian is the worst because pretty much no one uses low-level food, and you make WAY too much of it for just yourself. There is a trick though that you can use to level both up, and that is dyes. You will need to acquire a stash of crystals (not shards), but once you have them, with a little gathering you can make dyes for experience and spiritbonding, and the bonus is that you can use them yourself or sell them for some profit. This is a really great way to keep culinarian especially up to the same level as all the others.
9) One of the beautiful things about FFXIV's crafting system is that there are almost always multiple ways to complete a recipe at high quality. This is why I tell people not to macro - if you learn your abilities well, you'll be able to adapt to any situation and pretty much guarantee a great result. If you subscribe to someone else's method, well, good luck when that method isn't ideal for your particular combination of level, stats, and materials.
10 I mentioned up above to keep all your old gear after you're done spiritbonding it and extracting the materia. The reason for this is that at level 30, you get the ability to desynth all of that stuff - and that gives you free crafting materials to use for other things. So rather than discard it or sell it off, keep it around to desynth. You can also do this with your old adventuring gear.
I'm going to stop here but if anyone getting started has questions, I am happy to answer with my opinion :) Feel free to post them in the comments!
Nice guide for those wanting to go 'old school'. Many new people seem to want to go for this method to get the full crafting experience now.
Of course 'cheezing' or 'brute forcing' the crafting levels is FAR easier to get to 80, but I guess not as fun for those really into crafting.
Oh, of course they should be doing their gathering jobs at the same time to have the resources to craft.
And take advantage of the various guides online to know how to find all the crap you need to make stuff.
SE has actually done a really good job moving most of that obscure information into the UI over the last few years. As an example, I used to have the gamerescape wiki pages for unspoiled nodes literally pinned in my browser, but now I can just hit "B" in-game and see where and when something spawns. It's map names, rather than precise coordinates, but I don't mind it :)
I still go to the web a lot for fishing to figure out what bait I need for stuff though.
Anna dear, you forgot to mention how you pestered me to power level you. 😏
WIFE! Not in ALL of them, only the ones that allowed me to make my own pretty outfits! :-)
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Thanks for the guide. I am new to the game. But the most fun I get out of gaming is doing the little things like crafting and fishing, I come from World of Warcraft so I like the change. The ability to do everything here and not have to choose is nice. I am really enjoying it so far.
Any suggestion regarding how to hit High Quality crafting? :( i tend to break my gears before it could hit hq