Living in the Materia World
Item Enhancement in FFXIV:ARR
This guide is an overview of the Materia process. (If you have already read this, go to our advanced materia guide) Materia is a game system which ultimately produces customized, enhanced gear. This is a very intricate system, integrating elements of adventuring, gathering and crafting. Each aspect of the materia system becomes available when you have a class of the appropriate Disciplines reach level 19. Materia can be produced by others and traded, though, so you don’t have to be able to do everything to be involved in Materia!
In the northern portions of Central Thanalan is a bonfire (near Black Brush). At that bonfire is a Goblin, Mutamix Bubblypots. Mutamix holds an important secret. A secret he’ll only reveal to players following the central storyline. Fortunately, though, Mutamix has a bunch of associates who will spill the beans to any level 19 who happens by!
The Materia system is part of the customization process of the game. It is also part of the item sink element of the game. In the process of performing a materia enhancement, other items permanently leave the game economy. It is also part of an interdependent system, it is unlikely that most people will have classes of all three spheres to make/install materia, so people are likely to need to rely on each other to finish up their materia needs.
What is this Spiritbond thing?
It is quite likely that, over the course of your gameplay, you have seen one or more chat messages telling you that your gear is now spiritbonded with you. You can see a gear’s state of spiritbond by hovering over the item and looking at the bottom of the detail window. As you can see in the image below, my Hempen Doublet Vest of Gathering is only 2% bonded to me at the moment. When an item reaches 100% spiritbond, it is eligible for conversion.
You can only convert an item once you, yourself, hit level 19 and talk to the NPC’s at Mutamix’s camp. Be warned, conversion is permanant and it destroys the spiritbonded item. In it’s place you receive a random piece of materia. You convert a fully spiritbonded item by right clicking on the item and choosing “Convert” from the drop-down menu.
Materia is a crafting component used to enhance other pieces of gear. Materia provides benefits to all three spheres of gameplay (adventuring, crafting, and gathering) and the materia gained is typically affiliated with the type of gear converted.
In the image above, I have two Savage Might Materia pieces. Each one can be applied to a piece of equipment, and each one will add +1 Determination to that piece of equipment. I have seen materia for critical chance, accuray, parry, gathering, control and a wide variety of other materia item enhances. This particular piece of materia can be affixed to an item of level 15 or great item-level and it requires a Grade 1 Carbonized Matter to affix.
Any type of adventuring creates spiritbond with the gear currently equipped. Disciples of War and Discipes of Magic gain spiritbond with the gear they have equipped while fighting creatures. Disciples of the Land gain spiritbond while harvesting. Disciples of the Hand gain spiritbond while crafting.
Carbonized Matter – The Harvesting Component
On the materia item in the above image, we observed the need for a catalyst. Specifically, a Grade 1 Carbonized Matter. This is where the Disciples of the Land enter the mix as Botanists and Miners are the only two classes that can find the Carbonized Matter. Kokosamu, at Mutamix’s camp provides instruction on finding catalysts.
Grade 1 Carbonized Matter can only be found on specific Tier-4 (level 20) harvesting nodes. For Miner’s these are found in Middle La Noscea right near the Western La Noscea zoneline lies. There, you will find secondary node types (requiring use of your hammer). These nodes contain Grade 3 Dark Matter, Fire Shards, and Grade 1 Carbonized Material. I believe, but can not currently confirm that Botanists will find their nodes just north of Aleport in Western La Noscea.
The Carbonized Material is a level 20 harvest. You can not access this tier of node until you are a level 16 miner (or botanist at the respective location). It is, though, fairly difficult to “discover” the carbonized material at this level. I strongly recommend high gathering, use of a mining food like Apple Tarts, and use of the Sharp Vision III ability (+50% success chance for 300 gathering points) until you succeed at “discovering” the item.
Once discovered it is reasonably easy to harvest. Harvest quite a few, as you will consume one carbonized matter on each materia combine. There appears to be a relationship between the level of Carbonized Material and Dark Matter itself, we can expect to find higher tiers of Carbonized Matter as we progress through higher tiers of Dark Matter.
Affixing the Item: I Need a Crafter
To finish the materia process you need four equally important things:
- A piece of gear that can use materia
- A type of materia that you want to use
- A piece of Carbonized Matter
- A crafter of appropriate class and level
Once you have these four things, you are on your way.
Gear that can hold materia is found from item level 15 and up. You can tell a piece of gear is materia eligible if it has green circles under the “materia” heading of the detailed item tooltip (hover over the item). In the item below, you can see that this Bronze Cuirass has two materia slots open for materia.
It takes a crafter of the appropriate class to affix materia. For this cuirass, it would take an armorer of around level 19 to affix materia to it. The crafter begins the materia process by right clicking on the item and choosing “meld” from the drop down menu.
Choosing “Meld” brings you to the Materia Melding interface. This interface places eligible materia items on the left panel and eligible materia on the right panel. Choose an eligible item (dropdown list checks all of your armory tabs if needed) and a piece of materia. The popup resulting from this will tell you the type of crafter needed for the combine. In the example below, my armorer can easily affix this “Heaven’s Eye Materia I” to a “Pair of Decorated Bronze Mitt Gauntlets.”
Choosing “Meld” from this popup begins the materia affixation process. Once complete, one of the (formerly) empty green circles will be filled in with the materia stone used. These gauntlets now have a permanent +2 accuracy applied to them. It appears that affixing materia is permanent, once you place it, it is there forever.
The crafter does not appear to have a choice as to which slot is written to. Thus, it may not be possible to overwrite materia if you come across something better. I have attempted to try an overwrite and was met with a ‘can’t proceed, no available slots’ type message. See Shea’s comments in the next section regarding removing/replacing Materia.
Final Thoughts on Materia
If it turns out that there is no way to unslot, or overwrite, materia it will complicate end-game materia gearing. For leveling gear this isn’t terribly important since you will blow through gear fairly quickly. Just put the best you can into the best you have and go forwards.
Shea, in comments below, addresses this concern!
A good guide, but yes you can remove materia. It is mentioned in the original learning about materia and they mention to come back at level 25 to learn it, I believe. Also there is a relationship to a cap on stats an item can have to its item level. So if you have a +3 acc and a +3 crit materia with a piece of gear that has +acc already you might want to put the +3 crit on it vice the +3 acc. Since you might only get +1 or 2 out of the +3 acc materia, but if you had a similiar piece of gear with a higher item level you might be able to get the full +3 acc.
Additionally there is the question of gear quality and materia. At present, only crafted gear can have materia affixed. This includes most quest gear as it’s just the same as the crafted counterpart. However dungeon drop gear of both pink and green quality does not have materia affix slots. Dungeon gear does, though, soulbind and produces some very good materia.
Added: 30-Jun (Advanced Materia)
I’m doing some skimming on how advanced materia worked in FFXIV 1.0 and looking at how the lodestone describes materia today. If things go the way I suspect they will, materia will have a huge role in the end-game.
Once you hit level 25, continue on to our Advanced Materia guide.