***IMPORTANT EDIT:*** Some of the earlier synths are going to be off by 1 or 2 levels because I wasn't keeping notes. HERE IS THE FIX: if you cannot attempt a synth, continue on the progression that you are currently doing. The SP gain is still going to be the same for the progression tree. General rule of thumb: if you cannot maintain a 75% success rate (out of 10 attempts) stay on the previous progression until you can. There was some mention of this earlier so I added this for clarification. Again, sorry about this - I never intedned to put a guide out but the results were too good and it would have been dick not to share them. I remember feeling like it would take forever to hit 40 so if I can spare people that I will!
There are a lot of good guides out there but I wanted to contribute my own simple guide for power-grinding from 1 to 40 with an emphasis on profit. This is going to vary widely from server to server but should still be doable for roughly the same results.
Some background information before I get into this (most people won't even bother to read it lol). This is my second character that I took to 40 weaver (mainly for repair reasons). The first character took forever. This was primarily because those first 20 levels were done around launch and it still took the community about 6 months to really get into the nitty gritty of the game. After that, it was a trial and error process for which synths were best with a lot of debate. There will still be debate - some people will prefer a different route. But this is what I found worked well for me and hopefully it can help you.
There are a couple things that I want to make really clear about this:
1. This was done with a focus on efficiency
2. This was done with a focus on achieving net profit
3. Shard usage was a big part of decision making
4. This guide still requires a good time investment, however, can be done in 14 to 16 days if you play slightly above "casual" pace
5. This was done with only Preserve and Fulfillment set
6. Net profit was achieved by selling to NPC for efficiency
7. Get weaving book as soon as you can
8. Next get either glovemaking or hatting (depends on the route you chose - i recommend glovemaking due to shard efficiency)
9. You will need ~100k gil to get the ball rolling and about 500 wind, lightning, and earth shards along with around 25 lightning crystals
10. You will be buying shards (if you have the time, you only need to buy lightning shards because earth shard and wind shard fish can be bought off an NPC in LL for dirt cheap then synthed down)
So here we go!
Rank 1 to 10
This will go incredibly fast so don't worry about it. These first 10 levels are maybe 60 to 90 minutes of gameplay at best.
1. Leves - you get probably 1 to 5 levels off the first cycle of leves, if not more.
2. Hempen yarn and cloth to 10 - doesn't really matter
Rank 10 to 16
1. Cotton Halfgloves - getting right down to it, buy the cotton cloth for no more than 500 gil from the wards because you will be NPC'ing these for 787 a pop. Make your own yarn.
Rank 16 to 20
1. Canvas Shortgloves - same thing: buy the canvas as cheap as you can (ideally around 500 gil) and NPC for 1240. You want to ride the glove synths as long as you can stand it because a) you're making gil and b) you're low on shard cost. If you can ride this to 26, do it! While riding these out instead of cloth you will add time but you also pump net profit up dramatically. This is really a choice between taking 11 days and 1.5mil net or ~14 days and ~2.5mil net. Totally up to you.
2. Canvas Cloth - this starts around r20 and can actually begin at r19 if you have weaving training. The reason I discourage cloth as a major avenue for ranking is that you won't use it with this method - you either discard it, NPC it, give it away to others (I prefer this as it helps other people) or sell it on the wards. It also is very shard intesive and that will cut into your profit margin quickly. Not to mention, difficult early on!
Rank 26 to 32
1. Velveteen Halfgloves - If you can buy velveteen from the wards for 1k a pop or less do it because these are going to NPC for 1837 each. Get started on these as soon as you can.
NOTE ABOUT BOOKS: By now you should have decided to go with either glovemaking or hatting. If you chose glovemaking you are taking the path of gloves. If you chose hatting then you are taking the path of making turbans (same materials.) Here is why I prefer glovemaking: shard cost. Simply put, glovemaking is easier on shard cost. While making turbans is more gil it is also a much higher shard cost.
2. Velveteen Cloth - this really is towards the tail-end of this leg and I found that around 28 I was more than consistent. But again, shard cost. You're getting into the area where you really have to balance SP gain vs. shard cost vs. time investment. Sometimes, your server economy will answer this question for you. On Besaid, we had a lot of people dumping undyed velveteen for 500gil a pop so it was a dump simple choice for me. I probably could have shaved one day of time off my progression but the easy money was there.
Rank 32 to 38
Linen Fent - By now you may realize that you've made waaaaay more than 1.5mil, but sadly, you are about to start cutting into that margin very quickly. Believe it or not, aside from r1 to 10, this will be the fastest progression of the whole method. The problem: you're going to be paying around 1k a pop for each cloth and you're taking a bath on NPC'ing the fents. This is negative cost synth and you will eat away at your profits. But, with that said, this is shard efficient and also very quick. At 32 you really won't fail too much, either. And, honestly, this leg being so quick will really help to bolster your spirits and give you a second wind to get this damn job done! I should note that you can move onto the synths listed below sooner than 38 but I rode this right as long as I could because it was easy. Again, this comes at a cost (literally.)
Rank 36 to 40
NOTE: Now it comes down to choice and also how much you want to shfit your profit margin.
1. Linen Cloth - personal preference here but again, I really don't like the shard cost. Also, the SP isn't eye-popping. You may even be disappointed with the SP but making your own cloth becomes an option if the economy dictates you to do so.
2. Dew Thread - this really isn't even a grind synth for you but it may be a great idea depending on economy. In the event that the price of thread is too high (over 500gil - which it probably is) buying the webs is almost certainly your best option as farming diremites can really be a pain in the ass and a huge timesink. If you go the route of just buying the mats, do a cost analysis and decide if buying the webs is cheaper or the completed yarn is cheaper (factor in crystal cost).
3. Linen Shortgloves - 2040 a pop to the NPC and reasonable material costs. Again, SP is going to trail off here but it is still a viable option.
4. Velveteen Turabn - 2129 each and you're earning roughly the same SP per synth as Linen Shortgloves. This is another economy-based synth. It also becomes common sense if you have a boatload of unused velveteen from earlier in the progression tree. Also, if you chose to go the glove route (can't encourage the glove route enough) not having hatting won't matter since the difficulty of this synth is incredibly easy at this rank.
That's it! Really! This method will get you there. It will be fast, profitable, and easy. Are there variations and alternatives? Of course! But this is the method that I found provided the most efficient path with a multiple focus on profit, time, and ease.
Some quick tips and comments:
1. If you're having trouble with a synth don't keep doing it! Failed synths generally offer less SP than the previous leg. If you are failing more than 25% of the time, take a step back.
2. Cotton Bolls! If you don't feel like buying these, take a hgih level character and one-shot the puks in the LL zone (Cedarwood and SE of skull valley). They drop constantly and one hour of farming can net you about 70 to 100.
3. Flax farming is easy. Yes, you probably don't believe me. Just head SW of Bloodshore and spamkill the quest Roseletes. Why these? Reasonable drop rate, a ton of mobs, and fast repops.
4. Cystals and shards can be obtained for waaaaay below market cost with alchemy. From a time standpoint, you're best off buying them. Depending on the economy this may mean you net only 500k by the time you're 40. It comes down to personal preference. My recommendation is to have either be a r25 alchemist or have a friend who is. You can Hasty Hand a ton of maiden carp (bought from NPC and they make earth shards) or tiger cod (same NPC, wind shards). This means that you only need to buy lightning shards (or fish up brass loach or malm kelp.) I say r25 because you can easily desynth crystals if you choose to and, if you have fishing leveled to 16 or higher, can skill off of Bone Crayfish that you catch south of Horizon. Why bone crayfish? They cost one lightning crystal to synth and make 3 lightning crystals in return. Essentailly, a r25 alchemist that also has r16 fisher is looking at zero shard/crystal cost in exchange for adding an extra day or two onto the process. I actualy never bought crystals or shards and was done in 11 days.
5. Why these synths and not others? Pretty easy: if you notice, each of these NPC'able synths require one yarn and one cloth. From a profit standpoint, it just makes sense. They are also all very shard-efficient. I aimed for simplicity, among other things.
6. Why didn't I include the recipes and talk about yarn? Because a) you can find the recipes very easily and b) you can figure out that you will spend very short amounts of time making yarn but it isn't really something that needs to be expanded upon.
P.S. - I will be posting similar guides for Carpentry, Leatherworking, and Goldsmithing in the next few weeks - all will be roughly the same time investment and profit margin. If you like this, let me know and I will keep churning out guides!