In Final Fantasy XI and most other MMORPGs, crafting is a side activity you can do. However, in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, each craft serves as a separate class. If you want to weave, you must unlock the Weaver class. Want to cook? You better unlock the Culinary class. Since you can't start the game as a crafting class, you will not have access to crafting until you have completed the level 10 quest for your starting class. Once that's complete, determine which craft(s) you'd like to take up, head over to their guilds and unlock the class.

Once you have a crafting class unlocked, you'll gain access to the crafting log. This is how Square Enix has simplified crafting. At early levels, instead of scouring the internet in search of crafting recipes, the crafting log is a list of recipes divided by level. As your level increases, you'll gain access to new recipes. At first, you'll only be able to craft items that require your class to be level 1-5. When you're within two levels of the next set of crafting log recipes, you'll unlock the next five levels. For example, at first you can only craft items that fall into levels 1-5. When you reach level 3 (two levels away from five), you gain access to the crafted items that fall under levels 6-10.

Crafting requires a crystal shard and the proper materials. In the crafting log you'll find the difficulty and durability of each synthesis. For example, to craft a hempen shepherd's tunic, you need one lightning crystal shard, one wind crystal shard, two pieces of undyed hempem cloth, one piece of hempen yarn, and one copper ingot. It has a difficult rating of 36 and a durability rating of 60. You can buy all of those materials from the Weaver's guild, and you'll find crystal shards as you defeat mobs, complete quests, or through the disciples of the land classes.

Once you have all of the materials in your inventory, press the synthesize button in the crafting log and you'll enter the synthesis screen. From here you use various actions to complete the craft. As you level up your crafting class, you'll gain access to more and more actions. Some will help increase the quality of the completed item, while others will allow you to complete the synth faster or with lower risk of failing the synthesis. The higher the quality of the completed item, the more experience points you earn. Even if the item does not end up being a high quality item (better stats than a normal variant), you'll still earn more experience points with a higher quality rating during the crafting process.

At first, you'll only have access to the Basic Synthesis action. This just makes the item. You have very little control over the outcome of the synth with this. When you reach level 5, you will learn Basic Touch. This ability increases the quality of the item you're crafting. It uses crafting points (CP), which are determined by your current level and the gear you have on. The higher your CP, the more actions you can use during a craft (limited only by the durability rating of the item). Using Basic Touch will not get you any closer to completing the craft, so you'll need to know how many times you have to use Basic Synthesis to complete the craft, and make sure the item has enough durability left to do so after using Basic Touch several times.

Once an item’s durability hits zero, if you have not completed the item, the synthesis fails and you may lose the materials. There are actions such as Masters Mend, which you receive at level 7, which replenishes lost durability. Use these actions to extend the length of your synthesis session. Always keep an eye on the durability of the item to make sure you complete the synthesis process before it reaches zero. If it hits zero as you complete the synth, the item will still be made. Early on, once you know how many Basic Synthesis actions you need to complete an item, use Basic Touch to maximize the quality (mixed in with Masters Mend to replenish durability) until you no longer have enough CP or the durability of the item is low, then complete the synth with Basic Synthesis. If the quality is high enough, you may produce a high quality item!

Sell the results of your crafting to NPC sellers, or via your retainer (earned around level 20) in the market wards. Use trade levels to earn more experience posts for your crafting class, but in the early levels they're only available in the city that houses the guild for your preferred craft. You won't make a ton of gil from crafting early in the game, but by the time you reach the level cap (50), your wares will be in high demand.