This guide is purely to answer the question: "Which expertise should I pick?"
See the "Links" section below for answers to other questions.
On one character on your account, learn Tailoring, level it to 100 proficiency (apprentice level), learn Dismantling, Element Stone Crafting, and Gathering. Do this during a Hot Time event (double-proficiency gains).
What is it good for?
Almost nothing. Details:
-Unlocking Element Stone Crafting
Intermediate Element Stones are valuable - worth making in order to either sell or use. In order to unlock element stone crafting and dismantling, you need to get the proficiency of any of the four main talents up to 100. That means getting proficiency up to 99 through crafting, then buying and completing the Apprentice test story (from the expertise-specific trainer) to advance to Apprentice level. With Dismantling, you can dismantle equipment (armor, weapons, accessories) that has a gold value (not 0 and not AP) in the NPC sell price, and the "elemental materials" dropped by low-level raids and from redeemer boxes. Dismantling gives you materials that can be combined to make Intermediate Element Stones. If you want to sell them, make sure all input materials are unbound - see "Bindmaggeddon" link below.
Note that Dismantling and Element Stone Crafting are not shared expertise. However, you can still transfer all your dropped equipment or "elemental materials" to the one character that knows Dismantling and dismantle on them, and use that one character for Element Stone Crafting too. It's helpful if that character is your main, since that's where you'll get the majority of these items.
If you don't learn expertise, you can still sell the "elemental materials" from raids and redeemers, just probably not for as much as you'd get if you accumulated enough and made Intermediate Element Stones. There is a factor of randomness in there though, so it's hard to be sure.
-Crafting armor/weapons for fusion
There are a lot of decent-looking low-level armors. Crafting these and using them for fusion is a lot cheaper than buying outfits, and these supply a lot of versatility. I personally prefer using crafting and fusion to give my alts their cosplay or otherwise characteristic appearance, fusing to the free armor given (since I won't be gearing them anyway). You can do the same for weapons, though the appearances tend to not vary as much (depending on character class/weapon).
Because you can use shared expertise on any character, once you level up the talent on one character, you can craft on any. Thus, even if you need to buy materials from the marketplace (which will result in them binding, and therefore the item made to be bound), it will still be on the character that needs it. If you are fusing to a Brandish or an already-bound piece of equipment, this won't matter. But if you are fusing to a newly-composited (unbound) piece of equipment, you could use a regular Fusion Rune, so it'd be worth farming unbound materials to make an unbound appearance item.
-Compositing armor/weapons/accessories for personal use
Level 90+ equipment is made through compositing. You can
make these items through the expertise stations (which brings up the composite item menu). You will save on the (frankly minimal) NPC fee, and have a very small chance of getting 1, 3, or 4 stars of quality. However, as with any expertise crafted item, if any of the materials were bound, the output will be bound. Since most composite item materials end up being bought from the marketplace, it is extremely likely the output will be bound.
Using NPC/menu compositing will result in unbound items, even if the materials are bound. I prefer to share my equipment around between alts for initial enhancement (up to +8), quality coupon service (up to 4-stars), power infusion, and dyeing, so NPC-compositing is the route I take. If you have no alts, or won't use them for any services prior to binding the equipment, and don't intend to fuse, then I suppose there is no issue with using expertise to make these items.
-Selling crafted items
Same considerations as in the two sections above, but you also will want to farm all your material yourself. Otherwise you'll need to unbind the equipment before transferring it, which probably would cost more than the materials. People also can't send you materials they have, since those will bind on transfer.
For level 1-80 items note that, even if the item you craft is unbound, it will bind on transfer to the other person, so they will need a Premium Fusion Rune. The one caveat is that equipment transferred through Guild Storage will not bind. Level 90+ (composited) items will not bind on mailing except if there is a factor to the equipment that would cause it to bind (e.g. enhanced to +9 or higher, enchanted with rank 7 or better, etc.).
If you are title farming, there are four titles per expertise (one unlocked as you unlock each proficiency level). Update 2.96
introduced a change where one character can now learn all expertise, rather than requiring four characters to do so. The main benefit seems to be that you don't need three alts and you can get all expertise titles on one character without resetting your effort on three expertise.
These are some of the more expensive titles to work towards, so only bother if you're trying to get nearly every title in the game, and make sure you wait for a Hot Time event.
Which one to pick?
- If you are just doing this for Element Stone Crafting, any expertise works. Tailoring may be slightly cheaper to level, since it uses more cloth, which tends to be cheaper than ore.
- If you are doing this for fashion-fusion purposes, you'll get the most flexibility if you fully level-up all talents. Prioritizing, if you prefer more "vanity" armor (more clothes-like), go for Tailoring. If you prefer more "functional" armor, go for Armorsmithing. If you want a specific weapon, or want to wear outfits but use lots of brandishes, go for Weaponsmithing or Goldsmithing (whichever applies to that weapon type).
- If you are doing this for crafting the latest equipment for yourself, and binding isn't a concern, quality probably matters the most for weapons. Choose Weaponsmithing or Goldsmithing (whichever applies to that weapon type).
- If you are doing this to sell low-level equipment, check the marketplace to see what goes for more. I suspect selling full armor sets will net more than single weapons, and people probably pay more for vanity items than armor-appearance, so Tailoring would be my go-to.
- If you are doing this to composite the latest equipment to sell, go for Tailoring or Armorsmithing (both can make the latest stuff), since you're far more likely to farm up the 2-3 items required for an armor piece than the 5 required for a weapon (and thus be able to sell without unbinding). Honestly though, you can probably sell the materials for more than a clean piece of armor. If you're going to enhance it up to +12 before selling, then it'll bind anyway, so that's not really a concern. Armor will still probably sell more easily though (since everyone uses the same armor set, compared to however many weapons there are), even though weapons probably sell for more.
Is it worth it? Yes, absolutely.
Gathering (getting drops from luminary trees) is technically an expertise, but is a bit different. Learn it from Old Meb through the story once it becomes available (I think beginning of S2). Level it up by gathering from luminaries in S2 battles and Gathering Dungeon (if event is running). The only important thing is making sure your proficiency is above 30 before running Red Moon Energy battles and Guild Dungeon, since you can't gather from "Shining Luminaries" before then. The Guild Farm luminaries don't require you to know Gathering, nor do they increase its proficiency.
Is it worth it? Not really, no.
The only thing cooking is really used for right now is making Guild Feasts. These are useful to use before very hard content where you need every edge (Hell Redeemers, Space Time Distortion raids), and Guild Dungeon. Since one person can make and use the Guild Feast, they're transferable through guild storage, and the whole guild can partake of one feast, you theoretically only need one person in the guild to make it. In practice, you probably need at least one person in the group you run with who is able and willing to make them.
You only need cooking proficiency at level 30 to make the Exquisite Feasts, but it can be fairly expensive to level up. If you are good at the Alban Festival, you can get a cooking recipe from 2 gold trophies that uses just NPC-sold ingredients (rather than fish), which can at least get you to proficiency 10 for cheap.
- See this guide for step-by-step instructions with images on how to learn an expertise
- See this guide for crafting recipes (post-RISE).
- See the wiki for a basic overview of expertise (what is it, how to get it, etc.) (pre-RISE).
- See 2.77 patch notes for details on "Bindmaggeddon" that finished killing off expertise's usefulness.
- See 2.74 patch notes for details on equipment drop nerf and new "elemental materials" drops from low-level raids.
- See this guide for more information on binding and bind levels.