Crafters have been preparing for Tuesday’s crafting patch since the release of Endwalker. Building their skills, leveling their crafters, and gathering materials for this patch in hopes of making huge sums of Gil. This patch was meant to be their moment, but when the patch dropped, high-level crafters were astonished to find that the crafting of the new 580 left side gear that was supposed to be their fortune was shockingly obtainable, even for lesser geared crafters, leading to a quickly inflating economy that saw the gold rush dry up immediately.
The prices crashed within only a few hours of the release of the new patch, before many people even got to play the newly updated game. While highly leveled crafters can still make money in the new patch, it is deeply disappointing for those who have spent hours and large amounts of resources preparing to cash in.
Background on the expected gold rush set for Final Fantasy XIV patch 6.05
Then new FF 6.05 patch released on Tuesday, bringing with it a new set crafted gear. That gear was supposed to be the ticket riches for high-level, high-geared crafters, based on past expansions. There was supposed to be a lot of money to be made.
There are multiple ways to get end-game gear in FF, some you get from killing bosses of different difficulties. The gear that came out today was level 580, the only other way to get 580 level gear prior to this was extreme trials, which the current extreme trials can only give you a weapon and your right side gear. Right-side gear includes your 5 jewelry slots, leftside gear includes your helmet, your shirt, pants, gloves, and boots. Left side gear is typically more valuable than the right side. You could get 580 gear from the normal raids themselves, but due to lockout mechanics it has been impossible to complete your left side slots up to this point.
So until today, it wasn’t possible to have 580 item level for everything, because the other raids had only been out for two weeks. The new savage raids came out today, which is how you get the new highest level gear, 600 level gear. But to do these savage raids you need item level average on your gear to be 570 level, making 580 level left side gear desirable. On top of that, its always better to have better gear, obviously, even if you meet the averages.
The crafted gear is better than the raid gear in some cases too, because you can overmeld it. Overmelding is when you attach materia to gear to get new stat bonuses. You cannot overmeld raid gear, but you can pentameld crafted gear, attaching 5 materia to a piece of gear, which will make it stats in many cases better than the raid gear. So this gear is very important to savage raiders, especially folks trying to clear savage raids early.
With crafters able to create this gear, with the limited number of crafters who can consistently create high-quality versions of the gear, it seemed like a surefire investment for many high-level crafters to get the best equipment in preparation for the new gear. But in the end, many crafters lost money.
How crafting works in Final Fantasy XIV
This level of crafted gear is pretty difficult to make, because it requires rare materials and the crafts are usually extremely difficult. When crafting in FF you have two bars: Progress and quality. You crafting abilities will either increase progress or quality. To complete a craft you much fill that progress bar. Every time you use one of your crafting abilities, the durability of the item goes down. If the durability hits zero before the progress bar is filled, the craft will fail and you will lose the materials. When the progress bar is filled the craft is complete.
Filling your quality bar will give you a percentage chance to have the item be high quality, which is always beneficial. High-quality materials make it easier to get high-quality items, and high-quality gear and food have better stats. To guarantee a high-quality item, you have to fill both the quality and progress bar. So in short, crafting is a puzzle to figure out how to fill your quality bar without using up the durability before you complete the progress bar.
This system really rewards max level, best-geared players, or at least it did before the newest patch.
What went wrong for high-level crafters?
To prepare for Tuesday's crafting patch, players spent huge amounts of time and money pentamelding their gear to improve crafting stats. One player I talked to spent 150 hours preparing for this update, not counting leveling the crafters, that was just gathering materia and materials. The problem was, it turns out, the new 580 gear was really easy to craft. In fact, the player I talked to described it as trivial to craft in high quality for pentamelded players.
In fact, you would be able to craft the gear with minimal melding. The mid-tier meld guide from Team Craft, which is a respected source in FF, says you don't overmeld any new materia for the left side crafter gear. All you need is old materia, and even that is arguably overkill. You can craft the new items without having any high-quality materials.
So the new craft is completely trivial to do across the board, it can be crafted 100% of the time, and can even be macroed for players with are not best in slot gear, which usually only works for people in best in slot gear. Turns out you didn’t need pentamelded gear afterall. Combined with food and potion buffs, the gear is very easy to make, for some reason.
The mid-tier pentameld set already uses less costly and older materia, and it can craft everything with no high-quality materials. If you would use high-quality materials it would lower the requirements for crafting the gear even further.
So the bonus you get for collecting high-quality materials was unnecessary, as a result many best-geared crafters wasted money on preparation. And as a result of how easy it is to make, the items are also not nearly as valuable, and the market was flooded immediately. While crafters typically are the bottleneck for an item, absent that bottleneck, high-level crafters are being undercut by less equipped crafters, leading to extreme levels of inflation in supply, resulting in deflation in prices.
Typically day-one items cost millions of Gil for updates like this. Often in the first couple of hours, the new items can go for 15 million or more Gil. This is where many of these crafters make back their cash. However, only 3 hours after this update, items had already collapsed to between 300k-500k. Some gear is now trending all the way down near 200k, which means many crafters are experiencing a net loss if they bought materials. Some items are still profitable, but not all of them.
Square Enix decision to allow this craft to work well without high-quality materials may be due to a change in the Endwalker expansion for materials. It used to be base materials came in normal and high quality, now the base materials only come in normal as of the Endwalker expansion. This, combined with the relative ease of the craft itself, has made it easier for people to craft their own endgame gear, but in the process the high-level crafting play loop has been fundamentally altered.
In summary, the new 580 items are too easy to craft, a lot of players invested a ton of money into pentamelding gear that was unneeded. Depending on luck, if you only bought your materia and didn’t farm it, someone may have spent as much as 25 mil to pentameld their gear. It could be more or less, based on luck, but that gives you an idea of the investment players put in for this update. There is still money to be made, but the profits are not nearly what was expected based on old crafting patches.
Of course, a large group of players who hate crafters is dancing on their graves today, so it's all in perspective whether the situation is good or bad.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.