The pit crews of world progression: Part 1

There is pomp and fanfare to the world race every new raid tier. The FFXIV Subreddit flairs who won, video compilations of the race are made, and the victorious continent gets to boast for about three and a half months. Each raid tier has a crown to be worn, and with savage tiers being completed in a single day, any edge to cut that time is taken. My name is Alilolelotte May and over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing with you some of my personal accounts and what preparations are being taken to craft one of the biggest edges in world progression – the gear.

Truth be told, though, I am not one to try and scourge the market board for what to sell and earn gil. Crafting had only been a hobby for me, where producing items for my friends, FC mates, and raid team had been the enjoyment – that is, until Sigmascape. Sigmascape was my first venture into world-progression crafting and I was recruited by a dear friend of mine, Fluid Aura, who was tasked with organizing a group of dedicated people to be available on the big day for Sigmascape’s World First Team Wheelchair Emoji.

Creating a group of crafters is relatively easy. A lot of people craft; they advertise in PF, or you could conduct some research on the market board and look at the names on crafted items. Now cut that list into people who are available for the majority of a Tuesday. Again, cut it to those who are willing to wake up (or stay awake!) before servers come up to finalize the battle plan. Once more, and finally, cut it to those who can be trusted to work during that time efficiently. Just like the raid group, there will be little time to rest from the instant the patch drops until your promise of producing the crafted gear is fulfilled, as fast as possible. Our crafting group was expecting to work from about 2 AM Eastern, before servers came up, until about noon.

As a World Progression crafter, your number one contribution is your dependability, and assembling the team single-handedly comes down to this factor. Crafters have their specializations set individually for the team, have their tomes prepared, and need to be there to work; where any hindrance to the workflow means the edge is a little duller.

What’s your actual job?

Now that you’re dedicated, what’s the official end result for what you need to supply? These final touches can vary from group to group, but to take the most stress off of the raid team, we were expected to finish nine full sets of gear with full pentamelds – eight for the raid team and one more, in case there were to be a class switch in the middle of one of the fights. To tally, nine sets of gear: 109 pieces of the newest armor, weapons, and a shield. Pentamelded. Slap on the “get it done the fastest” sticker and we have ourselves a job.

Over one month out

My personal first step for Sigmascape was making sure that I was geared; ridiculously geared. I always had high melds for my crafting gear, overmelding VI’s and at least quadmelding; but if the added control meant the difference between 87% HQ and 89% HQ, why not take it? If there was a time where the racers were queueing for the instance but I botched an NQ piece of gear and it was not ready, there would have been a clear halt to progression. Team Wheelchair Emoji’s God Kefka clear was on the last few seconds of the instance, as Kefka was finishing his enrage cast. Meaning, if we had missed any piece of gear before they entered that instance, they may have been missing a few main stats worth of damage and may have had to enter in again, fighting through Clown Kefka.

Alphascape will be no different. We’re in a small lull between people preparing for Alphascape, and the sudden rush of materia required for everyone’s new crafting gear from the last patch. In the most recent patch, crafters were melding Control V into every piece they could, putting Control V’s prices at above Control VI’s price on just about every server I play on.

For those who held out, remember that crunch preparations are costly! Find the low point, keep it slow. If you’re waiting to be able to craft your own gear with your own tools, they should be prepared now.

To help prepare us this time, I’ve been speaking with other raiders and crafters about their experiences working with crafting teams. Casting Specialist, Sfia Pirion of Shaggy Fusion Ultra Instinct (NA 2nd, World 4th), mentioned to me that the plan for his group was to be finishing the pentamelds in his own gear between pulls while in the instance. This was to receive the added vitality and damage earlier, and as such, some groups were supplied with only the guaranteed slots of melds while other groups received no melds.

​Though the end job is to supply gear, the point of our crafting team was to take the stress off of the racers; and it worked well for Team Wheelchair Emoji. Any of the raider’s focus that was not on the instance and fight draws away from learning, discussion, and the brevity of mental breaks between pulls. This is the thought process that every successful team has with each other, FFXIV or not, and one that applies to both the raiding race and the crafting race.

Pentamelding 108 pieces of gear would most likely require thousands of materia, and it did.

For the Team Wheelchair Emoji raiders, helping the crafters had started over a month out. Pentamelding 108 pieces of gear (RIP shield melds) would most likely require thousands of materia, and it did. There is not enough materia available on the morning of to try and pick it up off the market board, and most raiders will be keeping their own stockpile for their own gear.

From memory, the raid team had collected a little less than one thousand of each grade VI materia, with a huge focus on Critical Hit, and multiple thousands of each grade V materia. This mountain of 99 stack materia was not prepared by the crafting team, it was solely given to us to meld into the gear by Team Wheelchair Emoji. To reiterate, preparations of the raid team are to lessen the burden of the crafters, and the preparations of the crafters are to lessen the stress of the raiders during the world race.

The next few weeks will be pretty slow, especially this time around. Being the majority of the same crafting team, there’s less bond building to be sure everyone’s dependable and prepared. Come two or so weeks when we’re pooling all of our resources, it’ll be our own crunch time for figuring out possible conditions and quality requirements, looking at specialists, and what crafts to prepare. Please stay tuned!

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