Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Final Fantasy XIV: More Crafting Skills

On the weekend I went searching for a list of gear with 'control' stats so I could make sure I was keeping my crafting gear up to date. It took a while to find such a list, and along the way I stumbled across a thread where someone was talking about how they get a high quality (HQ) result on every single crafting attempt. I pretty consistently get around a 20% chance at a HQ result, so clearly I'm doing something wrong. Or it's possible the person making these comments was max level already with optimal gear? One way or the other, I want to find out. Each crafting class has 3 skills that can be used by the other ones, so there are 24 different skills that will be earned as I level up that I need to consider. They get unlocked at levels 15, 37, and 50 and I have all of the 15 ones and some of the 37 ones. I got into a nice rhythm using a couple of them and stopped really looking at the rest. Maybe there's a combo hidden in there that I'm missing? The way to find it is to look over what they each actually do!

The first thing to consider is how there are two aspects of crafting. You have a progress meter that you need to fill up in order to complete the item. You have a quality meter that you want to fill up in order to gain more experience and have a better chance at a HQ result. You always have to fill the progress meter and any extra resources you have can be used on the quality meter. As far as I can tell there are no abilities which help with both aspects. So you want the most efficient way to get through the progress section in order to have the most resources left for the quality section, and you need to use your last action to finish off the progress meter.

There are a few abilities that help with progress. 90% chance at 100% efficiency. 90% chance at 150% efficiency at a cost of 15 CP. 90% chance at 40 progress at a cost of 15 CP. 100% chance at 90% efficiency. 100% chance at 120% efficiency. 50% chance at 250% efficiency. 90% chance at 1/3rd of remaining progress at 15 CP cost. All of these cost 10 durability as well. Then there are the two ingenuity abilities which either lowers the level of the recipe to my level for the next 5 steps for 24 CP and no durability or lowers the level of the recipe to three less than my level for the next 5 steps for 32 CP and no durability.

How do those flat abilities compare to the ones that use my craftsmanship stat? No clue. How good is lowering the level of the recipe? No clue. What I do know, at least for now, is it doesn't much matter. I've been using the 100% chance at 90% efficiency ability and mostly only need to use it a couple of times. I find I have 20-40 durability left and all 275 of my CP after dealing with the progress part. The 100% chance at 120% efficiency ability needs me to hit level 50 in weaver to use, and I will switch to that instead. Maybe if I had a ton of CP lying around I could use a skill chance enhancer and one of the other abilities, and maybe using one of the ingenuity abilities makes sense for a given recipe. But I suspect spending my CP on quality is going to be way better.

What about those quality abilities? 70% chance at 100% efficiency for 18 CP. 80% chance at 125% efficiency for 32 CP. Double the efficiency of your next successful ability for 32 CP and no extra durability. 90% chance at 150% efficiency for 48 CP. 90% chance at 100% efficiency for 24 CP. (This one also adds an extra 20% efficiency per stack of Inner Quiet.) 50% chance at 100% efficiency for 0 CP.

Then there are the abilities which make the previous abilities better. +50% control for 3 steps for 18 CP. Inner Quiet, which is +20% control for every future action each time you succeed for 18 CP. +20% chance of success for the next 5 steps for 22 CP. +30% chance of success for the next 5 steps for 25 CP.

The key to my current way of crafting lies in the realization that the 0 CP ability is awesome. I used to have to try to balance out my CP and remaining durability in order to not run out of one or the other first. Now if I run out of CP I can just spam the 50% chance ability. I used to be in a position where I could use 2 of the 70% abilites because I'd have ~40 CP lying around. Instead I could use the +20% success ability, then one of the 70% ability and one of the 50% ability. Costs about the same, but I end up with a 90% and a 70% instead of two 70%s. Awesome!

There's one final type of ability and that's the type that lets me regain resources. These are useful because they let me use more and more abilities, especially more of the 50% success quality ability. I can spend 92 CP for 30 durability. I can get back 20 CP by using up a 'good' material condition. I can spend 160 CP for 60 durability. I can get back 8 CP per step, for 10 steps, for 66 CP. I can spend 88 CP for 30 durability, but it only comes back 10 at a time after the next 3 actions. I can spend 56 CP to spend half durability on the next 4 actions. Or 98 CP to spend half durability on the next 8 actions. I can spend all of my Inner Quiet stacks to restore some CP, maxxing at 60.

Spending all the Inner Quiet stacks is bad if I still have more quality to go, but if I've moved on to the progress phase it's just free CP to use. This CP could be spent on durability if I save a little of my base amount, which should let me finish off the entire progress bar even if I'm practically out of resources. I haven't been doing this thus far, though I have been using Inner Quiet, so I should really look into doing that. I can probably squeeze out a couple more quality abilities by doing that.

When it comes to restoring durability the most efficient abilities are really hard to use. They're the ones that reduce the cost of your next X actions by half, but the problem is some actions cost no durability and still use up a stack of these abilities. 56 CP for 20 durability is really good, but 56 CP for 15 durability is not. 88 CP for 30 durability is the one I'm using now, since the restrictions on it can be worked around. I shouldn't use it at max durability, or at 10 durability, but otherwise it works fine. Getting 60 durability back for 160 CP is more efficient but it only works if I have 60 durability to restore and some items only have a max of 40!

So I can spend CP on more durability... How does that compare to spending CP on quality? The basic way to spend extra CP on quality would be to spend 18 CP to upgrade from a 70% chance to a 90% chance of success. Or I could spend that 18 CP to get back 6.14 durability. So I could gain 20% of a success, or I could gain 43% of a success assuming I have enough CP to use a durability restorer and keep up my +20% success buff. What about the really good quality ability? I could spend 32 CP to guarantee I get 125% of a success. That same 32 CP could get me 10.9 durability. So either I gain 55% of a success or I gain 76% of a success. That's still worse. And that's before considering the extra durability gives me more stacks on Inner Quiet...

What about getting back 20 CP by eating up a 'good' condition. My testing indicates a good condition is worth +50% quality on that action. My current way to play involves using the big quality ability when the good condition comes up, to get 150% or 188% of a success depending on if the +20% buff is up or not. Instead I could use the good condition to get 20 CP and not spend the 32 CP to end up with 52 CP which becomes 23.6 durability which is worth 165% of a success. And I still have the 50% or 70% of a success by not spending the 10 durability, too. That's still way better.

So this is where I've been going wrong. I've been ignoring the ability which eats a 'good' condition, and I've been ignoring the ability which eats my Inner Quiet stacks. I should add these abilities in as cross class abilities to all of my crafting classes and see where that gets me. I think these, coupled with just getting lots of extra Inner Quiet procs by spending all of my CP on durability and buffs, could result in a lot of extra quality. And when you consider how the quality scale ramps up it isn't that much extra needed beyond 20% to get to 100%. Also, if I'm ignoring the quality buffs, I can switch to using the more efficient CP->durability converter when making things with 70 or more base durability.

I also really need to unlock the +30% success buff. It only requires level 37 in cooking and I'm already 33!

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