This article is only a guide. Information expressed in a guide is usually more opinion than fact and should be taken as such. Guides are written by players, based upon their experiences, successes and mistakes, and are meant to aid other players. However, there may be differing opinions than those expressed in a guide. Information in guides may not work for everyone.
NOTICE> DUE TO MY RETIREMENT FROM FFXI, THIS GUIDE WILL NO LONGER BE UPDATED!
The impetus behind this guide is rather the same as my Cooking Guide - LS mates asking me for advice/suggestions/walkthroughs. Although you're probably wondering why in the world I would skill up Alchemy, since it's -not- a craft for those that want to make millions of gil in a single synth. Instead, like Cooking and Woodworking, it's all about volume synths. That isn't to say that there aren't big money synths, but they're pretty much all past the point where HQs are at least semi-easy to do.
So, with all this in mind, why did I decide to have Alchemy be the first I dedicate a mule to? A member of Pandemonium's now defunct NewWorldOrder Linkshell basically asked what it would take to be able to synth a full set of the Crimson Abjuration set for him. Being that I was spending more time crafting than levelling, I thought it would be a semi-decent thing for me to do, to help him out in end-game the only way I really could (and as of this writing, as well). It also helped that two other RDMs in the shell could use the stuff, too:).
So - off to powerlevel Alchemy on a mule I went!
This guide is the result of basically 6 or 8 weeks of crafting for skill and then for gil. The two weeks since I dinged 85 have been spent "relaxing" by mass-producing stuff for profit.
Now, what caused me to actually write a guide for Alchemy, too? Because a former LS - asked me to. And, as I've already established, I like helping people out...if for no other reason than to keep them from annoying me ;)
As you'll see, there are a number of "sequences" that you'll see in my guide. The first sequence, in fact, is what will take you through most of the "teen" levels - Poison Dust -> Mercury -> Poison Potions. Most of the other sequences are bolt-heads. Boltheads cap Smithing at 14, so you really should get it to 9 or 10 first, if not all the way to 14. If you stop early, you -will- get more breaks due to skilling both crafts up. I must say it's kinda cool seeing "Smithing +.2, Alchemy +.2" on consecutive synths, though .
Other subcrafts that you will -need- for skillups: Cooking to 10 or 11 (see my Cooking Guide - it's cheap). Obviously you'll want to take these to 60 later on.
Subcrafts for later profit synths: Woodworking and Goldsmithing.
Even with the desire to help my friends out, I also tried to keep my philosphy in place. I saw no real reason to break something that wasn't broken, but I did see a need to streamline it a bit, to
- Keep it cheap
- Keep it simple
- Skill up profitably when possible, otherwise minimize losses.
I hope that, like my Cooking Guide, it's just as successful in keeping true to its aims.
Currently, this guide goes to 85. That's basically because that's where I've -stopped- skilling up for the time being.
Once I get to 100, I'll update. Could be next week, could be six months from now. I haven't decided yet.
Now, without further ado, here's the guide.
 Da Guide
 Guild Rank-up Items
Whenever you hit an '8' (8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58) you need to turn in the rank-up item to Abd-al-Raziq in Bastok Mines at the Guild. Failure to do so will see your skillups capped at the 10s (10, 20, 30, etc).
8 : Animal Glue
18 : Poison Potion
28 : Blinding Potion
38 : Firesand
48 : Fire Sword
58 : Hi-Potion
68 : Acid Kukri
78 : X-Potion
88 : Bloody Sword
 The Recipes
- Ice Crystal, Rock Salt, 2x Distilled Water
- It's cheap. Dirt cheap! And I think they may actually AH for slight profit, but no worse than break-even. When I initially did these on my main character (Jan 2005) you could actually NPC for break-even/slight loss. That's no longer the case thanks to Ice Crystal prices (and really, all crystal prices these days...)
- Poison Dust
- Lightning Crystal, 2x Yellow Globe
- Gotta love fish. Not. You can either fish these up yourself, or buy them. I bought them all. It kinda sucked. Save these for Poison Potions. Yes, I know the cap on this recipe is 12, but there -is- a method to my madness - Poison Potions from ~14 to 18. You'll really want advanced guide support until 8, and then regular support until 10, unless you don't care about fails. Stop at 10 or whenever you have 6 or 7 stacks of dust.
- Lightning Crystal, 4x Cobalt Jellyfish or Denizanasi
- This -really- sucked. 4 stacks of Cobalts per stack of synths, and you'll lose 2+ per fail almost every time you do fail one. Kinda the same deal as Poison Dust - only this caps at 16, but we're stopping whenever we hit 14 or have 6 or 7 stacks of Mercury. You really should have the same amount of this and Poison Dust before moving on. (Note: With the new Aht Urgahn expansion, Denizanasi is an alternative that is often times much cheaper than Cobalts. I bought them for as little as 23 gil each from the Aht Urgahn fishing guild npc, though not always stocked. Same recipe, just replace Cobalt with Denizanasi.)
- Poison Potions
- Water Crystal, Mercury, Poison Dust
- Yay! Now to empty your inventory of that 12-14 stacks of stuff you made for the previous 8 levels, or so. This caps at 18, but you may as well go through -all- of your Poison Dust and Mercury, even if you cap quickly. Why? You need to recover the gil spent somehow, and Poison Potions sell well, and for about 20-25k/stack (on Pandemonium...). 4 to 6 stacks of these -should- make up for just about everything spent to this point. Ain't it great?
- Echo Drops OPTIONAL
- Water Crystal, Honey, Sage, Distilled Water
- Yes, an optional bridge synth, but one that -does- kinda make sense, especially if you didn't get to 18 on Poison Potions. Honey from AH, Sage from vendor in Southern San d'Oria (Raimbroy's Grocery). It's reasonably cheap to make, and I want to say the AH value is about break even or slightly profitable. The only problem is that the sales rate kinda sucks, even if they -are- a mage's best friend when dealing with certain classes of Beastmen.
- 18-28/ 11 Cooking
- Earth Crystal, Kazham Peppers, Bomb Ash, Bird Egg, Bast Parchment
- Ninja Tools are -wonderful- skill synths, in my opinion, with few exceptions (Shihei, Makibishi...). Pray for Bastok to have control of Elshimo Lowlands when you do this, so you don't have to trek all the way across the world for the peppers (and you really do want to buy these from vendor). Bomb Ash is easily obtained in the Metalworks, and Bird Eggs are always available from the #1 and #2 Nation's AH Vendor shops for ~650/stack. Bast Parchment's the only really crappy ingredient to deal with. Advanced support is -required- until at least 23, and thank SE for allowing Ninja tools to be bundled now. I didn't have that luxury when I did these, either time.
- You are now 28. Unless you are saving GPs for another guild, or you're planning on stopping Alchemy at 60, you -really- want to do Alchemy GPs for 71-75 and ~80 to 85. If you are stopping at 60, then ignore this note.
- 28-31 Alchemy / 14+ Smithing
- Blind Bolt Heads
- Wind Crystal, Bronze Ingot, Blinding Potion, Animal Glue
- -Buy- your Blinding Potions from the AH. Trust me. MAKE your Bronze Ingots. You'll probably go through 4 or 5 stacks. Better 25k than 60k. Can't HQ the glue yet, but if you know a high-level Alchemist (53+), I'm sure they'd be willing to make it for you if you provide the materials and a small fee for their time. AH these in San d'Oria. Preferably from another mule. They -can- take some time to sell, and sometimes they sell like hotcakes.
- Dark Crystal, Black Ink, Beastman Blood, Bast Parchment
- Before going "What?! This is expensive, Batman!", take a look at the sales price of Jusatsu, and more importantly, Jusatsu bundles. Done? Good. -NOW- you understand why these instead of Kongou Inaho, Little Comets, etc. And remember - all Ninja Tools (and bolts, for that matter...) return 4 stacks of product, NQ with no breaks. As with other synths with more than a 5 level gap, you want advanced support when you start. Black Ink - same as with Animal Glue - find your friendly neighborhood Alchemist (again, mid-50's or higher) and bribe them. Bast Parchment you can get from a mid-40's Woodworker, too, provided they have adequately skilled Alchemy.
- Water Crystal, 2x Treant Bulb
- It's cheap. It's used to make Acid_Bolt_Heads. What more do y'want in a synth?
- 43-45 Alchemy / 14+ Smithing
- Acid Bolt Heads
- Wind Crystal, Bronze Ingot, Vitriol, Animal Glue
- These sell rather quickly on the AH for some reason... ;)
- Holy Water
- Light Crystal, Distilled Water
- Whatever you don't end up using to make Holy Bolt Heads will sell on the AH. For 8k/stack or so. Crystals are 6-7k, so you should come out ahead, here.
- 51-53 Alchemy / 14+ Smithing
- Holy Bolt Heads
- Wind Crystal, Bronze Ingot, 2x Holy Water
- Again - Boltheads! Boltheads! Boltheads! These, like Acids, sell well in Jeuno or San d'Oria. Any left-over Holy Water (and there prolly won't be...) can be dumped on the Jeuno AH.
The stretch from here to 60 sucks. There's no single synth to get through here easily, unless you really, -really- want to do Hi-Potions for 7 levels. I didn't. I was powerlevelling, remember? I'll give several options for getting through here - it's up to the reader to pick the one or two that best suits them, and the market.
- Sleeping Potion Alternative #1
- Water Crystal, Chamomile, Sleepshroom, Poison Flour
- Get the 'shrooms via farming, or from the AH. I ended up having to farm a stack or three . It's not a bad synth, since you will save these for Sleep Bolt Heads later on, but I think one of the other alternatives might just be slightly better (and profitable...)
- Glass Sheet Alternative #2
- Fire Crystal, Rock Salt, Shell Powder, 6x Silica
- This uses -lots- of Silica, and I really don't consider this synth to be as viable for skillups as the other two. I'm including it for completeness' sake, mostly because I think it's still profitable...
- Ice Arrowheads Alternative #3
- Ice Crystal, Copper Ingot, Cermet Chunk
- Make the Ingots yourselves, and buy the Cermet. Seriously. I managed to make a small amount of gil off the level, or so, of these that I did. It was nice, and if I were to do Alchemy again (God, I hope not...) I'd probaby end up doing these and/or Lightning Arrowheads instead of the Sleeping Potions, entirely. At the -very- least, do these from 56 to 57.
Now there's the pain of actually getting to 60. Hi-Potions are definately an option now - but you'd still have to try to dump upwards of 90 of them. Ew. There's also Venom Dust and Flint Stone Glass Fiber recipe. Both are given below - pick whichever and take to cap.
- Glass Fiber Alternative #1
- Fire Crystal, 8x Flint Stone
- Ayup. You really need -that- many Flint Stones. It's really the main reason I don't like this recipe - you've got to go through more Flint Stones than I think the server can really support for more than one person at a time doing these. I, personally, bought the server out for a weekend.
- Venom Dust Alternative #2
- Lightning Crystal, 2x Ogre Eel
- I fished most of mine up for this - and I did end up capping on this recipe. It's still sucky, but noone said you wouldn't lose money here...just that I'd try to keep it to a minimum.
- 62-67 Alchemy / 14+ Smithing
- Sleep Bolt Heads
- Wind Crystal, Animal Glue, Bronze Ingot, Sleeping Potion
- More botheads. These also sell pretty well in either Jeuno or San d'Oria. 5-6k/stack for the end product, so you're going to want to make your own Bronze Ingots and Animal Glue.
- 67-71 Alchemy / 14+ Smithing
- Spartan Bullets
- Fire Crystal, Bronze Ingot, Twinkle Powder, Copper Ingot, Firesand
- You -can- buy all your ingots for this, and the Firesand, and vendor the Twinkle Powder, and break even. Or you can make the ingots, and buy the Firesand (still not high enough to HQ here, guys...) and maybe come out slightly ahead. AH in Jeuno - 9-11k/stack.
- Fire Anima, Earth Anima, Water Anima, Wind Anima, Ice Anima, Lightning Anima, Light Anima, Dark Anima
- Anima Synthesis Key Item (20k GPs)
- Fire Crystal, Mercury, Rock Salt, Sulfur, 4x Burning Memory
- OR Earth Crystal, Mercury, Rock Salt, Sulfur, 4x Profane Memory
- OR Water Crystal, Mercury, Rock Salt, Sulfur, 4x Somber Memory
- OR Wind Crystal, Mercury, Rock Salt, Sulfur, 4x Fleeting Memory
- OR Ice Crystal, Mercury, Rock Salt, Sulfur, 4x Bitter Memory
- OR Lightning Crystal, Mercury, Rock Salt, Sulfur, 4x Startling Memory
- OR Light Crystal, Mercury, Rock Salt, Sulfur, 4x Radiant Memory
- OR Dark Crystal, Mercury, Rock Salt, Sulfur, 4x Malevolent Memory
You really, _REALLY_ want to make sure you have approximately the same number of Anima, per type, at the end of this run for ~80-85. Slightly under 2 stacks of each will be enough, one and a half stacks would really be enough, actually. That means you'll need to do ~18 synths per type of memory (or 144 synths). Radiant Memories and Somber Memories were the most difficult for me to get a hold of, by far. The rest weren't that bad. Just be patient getting through here.
- 75-~80 Alchemy / 14+ Smithing
- Bloody Bolt Heads
- Wind Crystal, Bronze Ingot, Beastman Blood, Revival Tree Root
- You -really- want mules in both San d'Oria and Jeuno to sell all of these. 30-40 synths per level, each succes == half a stack of boltheads. That's as many as 20 stacks per level (but more likely 12). And 5 or 6 levels.
- Yeah. I thought so. Get to 80, then switch to Photoanima. Might even want to consider the switch from the mid-79's (I started Photoanima at 79.8 or so). This sell, sell quickly, but you'll be unloading a lot of them. If you can, find a Woodworker to sell to directly at roughly cost .
- Anima Synthesis Key Item (20k GPs)
- Fire Crystal, Fire Anima, Earth Anima, Water Anima, Wind Anima, Ice Anima, Lightning Anima, Light Anima, Dark Anima
- Not much to say here - buy a crapload of Fire Crystals, sit down, and cut down on the number of MH slots you have being chewed up by the anima.
- Gold Nugget
- Fire Crystal, Panacea, Gold Leaf
- Yes. Gold Nuggets. If you're levelling Goldsmithing (like a good Alchemist should be), you can use these to skillup your Goldsmithing in the 50's. If nothing else, sell them on the AH to make your money back, and even make a profit. The main issue is going to be getting ahold of the Panacea. BTW: YES! It caps at 89, NOT 88. FFRecipe is wrong.
- Elixir Vitae Alternative
- Light Crystal, Mistletoe, Revival Tree Root, Imp Wing, Chimera Blood, Distilled Water
- It's a med, and with the exception of the Mistletoe, isn't particularly expensive to make. The main problem here is going to be getting enough Mistletoe and Revival Tree Roots to do the full 3 levels. Aside from that, this is probably a good primary synth over the Gold Nuggets
- Icarus Wing
- Wind Crystal, 6x Giant Bird Feather, 2x Beeswax
- Yeah, ok, it uses lots of Beeswax, but it's really this or Ice Lances to get to 93. I'd really rather do something that might actually break even or make a small profit, or something that is, unless you HQ it, a complete loss.
- Still, honestly, working on this path. It's been slow going since I've decided to sink millions into other pursuits... like my Lu Shang's Fishing Rod and Relic Staff upgrade :) The tried and true path is to make Panacea to 98, alternating with either Platinum Nugget synths for additional skill, or Gold Nuggets for gil. Past that, really just pick one and cap out. It all sucks.
Anyone who suggests Mamushito as a skillup synth anymore really does need to have their head examined. There are enough alternatives to get around them, now, that there's absolutely no point making them UNLESS you're going for HQ when you're 100+2. Absolutely no point to making them any longer.