Desynthesis used to be a relatively skippable mechanic in FFXIV that was complicated, grindy, and generally not worth your time. Soon after the Shadowbringers expansion was released, the system saw a revamp in order to improve both its relevance and accessibility.
What is Desynthesis?
Desynthesis is a function that lets you break down your unwanted equipment into its component materials and sometimes even obtain rare items. Not all gear can be desynthesized, as you’ll see near the bottom of the item’s tooltip. It will either display the desynthesis level if you can, or an ‘N’ if you can’t. You can also check by right clicking the item and seeing if ‘Desynthesis’ appears in the list of options.
Note that the desynthesis level above is not a desynthesis skill level requirement. The level is primarily used to determine how much experience you get towards increasing your desynthesis skill on that particular crafter, but you can desynthesize any high level item even with low desynthesis skill.
You can unlock desynthesis by taking on the quest ‘Gone to Pieces’ which requires a crafting job at level 30. After completing the quest, you may desynthesize any ilvl piece of equipment as long as you are at least level 30 on the appropriate crafting job. CUL is a unique crafter since it desynthesizes fish instead of equipment.
If you’ve been gone from the game for a while, some things about desynthesis may look different.
One of the biggest changes that came starting with patch 5.1 is that you no longer have to choose which crafters’ desynthesis to max out. There isn’t a collective cap anymore so you can level all of them to the maximum level of 650 (as of patch 6.5).
Also, in patch 5.3 they added the option to desynthesize a stack of items (finally!) Simply tick the box before hitting the Desynthesize button and you’re good to go. This will save everybody a lot of time, and make desynthesis a little bit less of a tedious chore.
There’s even a new incentive to get players to try out the system, with the Challenge Log task, “Successfully desynthesize 5 items”. That’s a fairly easy new thing to cross off your weekly to-do list. It replaces the old, “Affix 5 materia” task, which had been a completely pointless 20 second task for quite a while.
What Can I Get From Desynthesis?
The materials you’ll get from desynthesizing an item include one of the base components used to make the item as well as elemental shards, crystals, or clusters, depending on both the item level and which crafter it’s made by. It’s possible to get HQ components even if the equipment was NQ.
You can desynthesize dungeon gear as well, and it breaks down into components used to craft similar level items. For example, the level 73 Voeburtite Ring of Casting from the Dohn Mheg dungeon can be desynthesized into a stonegold ingot because that’s what a Goldsmith would use to craft the similar level 72 accessories.
The level 80 Warg Bracelet of Healing from the Grand Cosmos dungeon can be desynthesized into a dwarven mythril nugget because that’s the basic intermediate material used to craft level 80 accessories. This item also gives wind clusters instead of crystals, possibly because it’s a piece of dungeon loot from a level cap dungeon.
Endgame (level 90) dungeons can also yield the Immutable Solution as a rare item, which is otherwise obtained with crafter scrips. You can get this rare drop even with a low desynthesis level, however once your skill level matches the item’s then you have a better chance and it may even yield multiple solutions per item.
This ingredient is used in crafting endgame equipment making it somewhat valuable. It’s one of the reasons to always roll for loot in the Level 90 and Expert Roulette dungeons: for the chance at obtaining these from desynthesis.
If you’re looking to get the most of these you can, work on levelling your Goldsmith desynthesis up first. Endgame dungeons typically drop accessories Goldsmiths can desynthesize, while loot for the other crafters is usually less common.
Depending on which gear set you’re desynthesizing, you can also get various 2 star or 3 star intermediate crafting materials. The material depends on the crafter, so expect a lot of GSM, WVR, LTW, and ARM items because those crafters are responsible for desynthesizing the most gear.
Extreme Trial Materials
Extreme Trials also drop gear that can be desynthesized. These pieces have a chance to drop crafting materials. For example, the weapons from The Dancing Plague (Extreme) can result in the Dancing Wing item, which is used in the recipes to craft the shiny Fae’s Crown weapons, the Titania Barding, and a housing item.
Note that as of patch 6.0 Paladin shields will not yield primal weapon crafting materials.
Also note that these desynthesis results are not possible in high-end trials. Current high-end trials (Storm’s Crown Extreme) will not have their gear desynthesizable in order to prevent people from rolling Greed on everything endlessly. It gives other players a bit more of a chance to pick up an item they actually plan on using, not destroying.
Once a trial moves from the high-end section of the duty finder to the trial section, then you can desynthesize the drops.
You can also sometimes get battlecraft, fieldcraft, or clear demimateria. The clear ones (yellow) are just for autoselling, at a nice 5,000 gil per piece.
If you find yourself scrounging for items to donate to the Doman enclave every week, you could hold onto these and use them explicitly for that purpose (4 per week to reach the maximum donation allowance).
The battlecraft (red) ones are mostly just lower value autosell fodder since the items they’re used to craft aren’t really useful anymore.
However, battlecraft III demimateria is needed for crafting the glowing primal weapons from ARR and HW trials. These ones may be worth keeping so you can make those when you get the drops from trials, or at least checking the marketboard and trying to sell them to other players.
Fieldcraft demimateria (blue) sell much better on the marketboard since they’re used in crafting some nice glamour and housing pieces, and fieldcraft demimateria III specifically is used to craft items needed for getting the lower level master crafting books in Mor Dhona.
How Do I Level Desynthesis?
Each crafter has a separate desynthesis skill level, and you level them up simply by breaking down items. You get larger increases in desynthesis skill for items that are of comparable or higher desynthesis levels to your current skill.
This means you can’t just buy a bunch of low level gear from a city vendor and use that to power level. If an item’s level is more than 50 points below your current desynthesis skill, your skill won’t go up at all.
One of the great changes since 5.1 is that there is no chance of failure when desynthesizing, so you can use any item, even if it’s much higher than your current skill level. This significantly lowers the pressure on you to rush to get your desynthesis skills up.
Of course, having a higher skill than the item’s level does mean you get a chance at rarer item results so it’s still useful to level up eventually.
Overall this is a very welcome change in my opinion, since it allows you to use quick ventures and endgame dungeon drops to level desynthesis right from the start. So you can continue doing your dailies and simply funnel that excess gear towards desynthesis skill.
Endgame dungeons should take care of GSM easily, and WVR, LTW, and ARM at a slightly slower pace. There isn’t much gear in expert roulette duties for BSM, CRP, or ALC, but they can break down various weapons from the levelling dungeons or trials. CUL only desynthesizes fish.
Two very useful items to have while levelling are Bacon Broth and Tinker’s Calm. These increase the amount of skill you gain for their duration. The Tinker’s Calm buff only lasts 10 minutes, while the Bacon Broth lasts for the regular meal duration of 30 minutes and is extended by things like FC buffs. You can buy these craftable items on the marketboard.
If you’re slowly levelling through dungeon drops then it may be worth stockpiling a bunch, putting these buffs on and then doing them all at once. If you don’t have the inventory space, or if you don’t care about spending extra gil on buffs, then you’ll probably go through more of these medicine items.
If you’re using NPC vendors to level, look for the cheapest types of items. You don’t need to buy a chestplate for 40k gil when a 15k gil shield will level your ARM just as well. You may have to do some browsing in menus, but shields, belts, and accessories are less expensive options. Weapons, tools, chestpieces, and pants are the most expensive items, while helmets, gloves, and boots are in the middle of the pack.
Jewelers tend to have cheap accessories for GSM (battlecraft), LTW (fieldcraft) and CRP (tradecraft). The Armorers have belts for WVR and the Arms Dealers have shields for ARM. BSM and ALC usually have to rely on pricier weapons, and CUL has to find fish on the marketboard.
Levelling Desynthesis Skill 1-70
The main city vendors have appropriate level gear for you to buy for gil, and you can also trade seals to your Grand Company for gear up to level 70. However, there are also a few level 160 items for CUL, ALC, BSM, and CRP under the Material tab of the GC Seal Vendor.
The GC items can be pretty pricey in terms of seals, but if you find you’re always capped on them anyway, you might as well put some of them to use levelling your desynthesis skill.
Levelling Desynthesis Skill 115-260
There’s a bit of a gap between ARR and Heavensward, but you can just skip straight to Ishgard once your skill gets too high for ARR items. There are four NPC vendors of interest in Ishgard at the Jeweled Crozier. A Jeweler, Armorer, Weaponsmith, and Fieldcraft Supplier. Between them you can find a lot of different level items going up to 260.
Levelling Desynthesis Skill 260-390
The Kogane Dori Markets in Kugane are where you’ll find the relevant vendors. A Jeweler, Armorer, and Arms Dealer.
Levelling Desynthesis Skill 390+
In The Crystarium’s Musica Universalis Markets, there’s a Jeweler, Armorer, and Arms Merchant that should have you covered with level 70-80 gear. Between these and the Tomra vendor you should have everything except Culinarian taken care of.
If you have a level 80 combat Job, for a cheaper option I recommend just using the Expert Roulette and Level 80 Dungeon Roulette loot to level up GSM pretty quickly, and even LTW, WVR, and ARM more slowly.
The only incentive to max out your desynthesis is to improve your chances at getting rare crafting materials. This is a small enough benefit that I wouldn’t recommend dumping tons of gil and resources trying to get it done in a hurry.
Remember to make use of Bacon Broth and Tinker’s Calm buffs if you have them handy, and use your retainers’ quick ventures for more desynthesis fodder. It will take a lot of time (and/or gil) to level these skills up, so just keep plugging away at them.
Then again, there’s no real hurry. The only incentive to max out your desynthesis is to improve your chances at getting rare crafting materials, but you can still obtain them even without being max level.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend dumping tons of gil and resources trying to power level. If you’re levelling desynthesis casually, at least Goldsmith will still probably be pretty quick because of the abundance of accessories in max level dungeons.
Have you tried your hand at the new desynthesis mechanics since 5.1? What do you think of the changes: better, worse, or about the same? I expect more people will be getting into it now that it’s more accessible. Let me know down below.