In Final Fantasy XIV, crystals (sometimes called shards or clusters, depending on their value) play the role of catalysts in the crafting process known as synthesis.
It’s safe to say that shards are an absolute necessity for any XIV crafting endeavor.
Each and every crafting recipe in the game relies on these little containers of elemental energy.
There are six distinct types, each representing one of the six fundamental elements:
The elements of heat, cold, wind, ground, sky, thunder, and water.
In addition to the aforementioned types, they are also available in three distinct sizes: shard, crystal, and cluster.
Simply playing the game will net you a large number of crystals.
However, you may never use them unless you engage in crafting through Disciple of the Hand tasks.
Why Do We Need Shards To Craft?
Story-wise, the process is kicked off by fragments of elemental matter.
Consider the occupation of the chef:
A Fire Shard is frequently used in the kitchen.
It could just be a quick and easy way to cook food.
Gameplay-wise, this kind lengthens the crafting process and increases its inherent complexity.
Even, in my experience, crystals are never in short supply if you’re just making things for fun.
To a greater extent if you are also training a gatherer to a higher degree.
They’re not hard to find, but if you plan on making a livelihood in the game through crafting, you’ll want to find a steady supply.
Why Are There Different Sizes of Crystal?
An increased quantity of catalyst ingredient is needed for more complex crafting recipes.
Really, it’s just that easy.
These larger crystals are rare, so the production time has been stretched out a bit.
For the player, this merely implies a little extra work here and there.
In the same vein, you can’t fragment crystals into smaller pieces or assemble smaller pieces into larger ones.
There was a time when alchemists could dismantle them, but those days are long gone.
How Do I Get More Crystals?
The good thing is that they are rather accessible initially.
Sometimes it seems like if you sneeze in Eorzea you’ll be showered with crystals.
You can get them by performing missions, killing monsters, desynthesizing things, or flying about the world on an airship.
Shards, crystals, and clusters can also be obtained through Botany and Mining nodes.
This means that you can get your own crystals if you’re leveling a gatherer as well.
This is helpful since it gives you a little more control than some of the other approaches by letting you zero on the element you want based on the area you’re cultivating it in.
When it comes to crystals, XIV is fairly liberal.
If you know where to look, you won’t have to put in a tonne of extra effort and you won’t have to worry about running out of crystals when you’re constructing.
Do I Need To Carry All Of Them Around With Me?
Quite a bit, no?
There are six distinct components, spanning three sizes.
You are probably cautiously glancing at your stock right now.
Don’t worry, your crystals have their own tab in the Inventory.
This tab can hold up to 9999 of each type without counting against your maximum capacity.
Please don’t tell me where in reality your character is keeping all of these crystals.
However, the main idea is that your crystal stash is safe.
I Don’t Want To Craft, Do I Still Need Crystals?
No, aside from the realm of creative endeavours, they serve no practical purpose.
Given that they have their own stock of items, ignoring them won’t affect your progress.
It’s best to ignore them.
Then, when the time comes and you decide you want to start crafting, you’ll have plenty of crystals in hand.