Thursday, September 05, 2013

Final Fantasy XIV: Crafting

Back when the first version of FFXIV came out I started off as a crafting class. The idea was that you could level up as a mage or a fighter, or as a blacksmith or a fisher. There'd be crafting and gathering quests and there were little minigames to play each time you tried to gather or make anything. It was a very appealing idea, but it didn't really work out very well. The minigames were confusing and frustrating. You had to look closely at the colour of a little dot on your screen and pick the right command to use for that colour. But nothing was documented and everything had odds of succeeding based on the colour so working out what was doing what was hard.

Apparently they decided that system sucked as it seems to be pretty revamped. Crafting and gathering classes are still things, but you need to do your combat class level 10 quest before you can switch to one. The fishing minigame is completely gone and we're back to a system where your bait and location determine what you can fish up instead of your ability in the minigame. Cast your line, wait a bit, hit the reel button. Just the way I like fishing in a game! They did add fishing stats for gear though, to decrease the wait or to increase the chance of catching a bigger version of the fish. Get a big enough fish and you get a high quality version and bonus experience. Woo!

Crafting is similar to the old system in that you have different buttons to hit and you're trying to both complete your item while increasing the odds of getting a high quality result. But now the game actually tells you what your buttons do. I have two different resources to spend and five different buttons I can hit that spend those resources in various ways. The amount of experience I get from a successful craft seems to be based on how many abilities I resolve, so there's a balancing act between using fewer buttons to speed up the process against succeeding a lot to ramp up the chance of getting a good item and extra experience.

The stupid coloured light is still there. I don't know what it does. The internet seems to think a good colour makes adding quality work better, and a bad colour makes it worse and you should consider waiting when the colour is bad. I can't wait yet because I'm only level 12 and haven't learned that ability, so I think at this point I just ignore it and hope.

The question I have for now is how good one of my abilities is. It costs 0 durability and 22 CP and makes my next 5 abilities succeed 20% more often. It's not clear if that takes my 70% ability to 90% or to 84% or to 76%. I feel like based on a gut feeling of how often it seems to fail that it's the 90% one. I don't think I've ever failed my base 90% ability after using the buff, if that helps. Both of those abilities, which are the relevant ones, cost 10 durability to use. The 90% one is the one that actually finishes the item and costs 0 CP. The 70% one is the one that increases the odds of getting a HQ result and costs 18 CP. So using the buff straight up guarantees I can use the 70% ability one fewer time (unless the constraint was actually on durability) but makes it more likely the ones I use will work. Should I be using it?

Right now I'm making bubble chocolate, a food item good for combat casters. My combat class is a caster class, so it seemed like I'll probably want a bunch of this stuff. I made enough raw materials to make 20ish of these things, and I want to maximize my experience gain here. (Though really if I'd just done anything instead of typing up this post I'd have made a lot more experience...)

Bubble chocolate has a base durability of 60, so I get to use 6 abilities. I can spend a whopping 92 CP to get 30 durability back, so I could use 9 abilities if I go that route. I need to use the 90% ability 3 times to make the item. I also have 180 CP to use each time. And finally I have a 5th ability that costs 18 CP, no durability, and makes quality successes better in some way that I'll also need to test. So my options on ability use are:

3 progress abilities, 1 durability ability, 4 quality abilities. (With durability to spare for 2 more progress if needed.)
3 progress abilities, 1 durability ability, 1 success buff, 3 quality abilities. (With durability to spare for 3 more progress if needed.)
3 progress abilities, 1 success buff, 1 quality buff, 3 quality abilities. (With no durability to spare for anything so I may have to throw away a quality ability in order to succeed.)
3 progress abilities, 1 durability ability, 1 success buff, 1 quality buff, 2 quality abilties. (With durability to spare for 4 more progress if needed.)

2 successes (no buff) - 110 quality, 4% HQ, 828 XP (+90%)
3 successes (no buff) - 165 quality, 6% HQ, 1024 XP (+135%)
2 successes (buff) - 114 quality, 4% HQ, 854 XP (+96%)
4 successes (no buff) - 220 quality, 8% HQ, 1194 XP (+174%) (actually HQ)
3 successes (buff) - 177 quality, 7% HQ, 1068 XP (+145%)
0 successes - 0 quality, 1% HQ, 436 XP

Judging from this data it looks like succeeding with a quality ability gives me 45% bonus XP, except the 4th one which seems worse. Or maybe when it's a HQ item I get a penalty? I only got 4 successes twice and both times it came out HQ. Using the quality buff is worth nothing on one success, 6% on two successes, and 10% on three successes. Since one more success is 45% in and of itself it seems like I should never use that ability unless I'm capped on durability and have CP to burn.

How about the success buff? Well, comparing the first two options we have:

1) 1% - 0 successes, 8% - 1 success, 26% - 2 successes, 41% - 3 successes, 24% - 4 successes ; EV = 124% XP
2) 0% - 0 successes, 3% - 1 success, 24% - 2 successes, 73% - 3 successes ; EV = 122% XP

So it looks like it's pretty close, but from an XP point of view and from an HQ point of view I'm better off not using the success buff and just taking the extra quality ability. But it's really close one way or the other. And the third option is likely just as close. It's basically the same as #2, with a small XP and HQ boost in the biggest categories. It does have the downside that failure is an option since you have no extra durability and you have to use one of the progress abilities without the success buff. But as long as you make that one your first one you get to find out if it's a failure or not. If not you have the safe third path. If it is a failure you can abort back into the first path.

The lights and waiting will probably make things even more complicated, and make the ideal path have even more branches. And will probably be different based on what you're making and how badly you want a HQ result. And based on your gear since what you're wearing changes how many times you need to use the progress ability and how much quality you gain from the quality ability and how many CP you have to use! I like it!

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