If you have the (mis)fortune to need or want one of these two sets more than anything – and we really do mean anything -- you could be in for a long, arduous, and expensive journey. But no pain, no gain... right? Trust me, now is the time to take advantage of any extremely wealthy and generous friends who are begging you to take their kinah. Or, find and cultivate a kinah tree somewhere in Atreia. Short of that -- save, save, and save! Then save some more, and cross your fingers for some good drops to sell.
Hold on to your kinah while you can, then join me past the break to see where it will soon be going should you desire crafted gold gear.
If you are not planning on living in Dark Poeta while farming for your Anuhart armor or grinding AP for the Abyss armor, you are most likely looking at either crafting your own set of Balic armor or planning to run a quest to get it -- i.e., Miragent/Fenris. However, don't let the words "quest armor" mislead you into thinking "easy" or "cheap to get" (like some of us did); both options take millions of kinah, per piece.
Give me some skin
Those who choose to deck themselves in Balic armor, either completely or partially, will have to shell out a very large sum of cash, regardless of whether they craft it themselves or pay another.
For starters, you have to stock up on a variety of materials looted randomly -- and often infrequently -- off of the Balaur mobs, including solid skins, solid scales, and boiling bloods (you might want to keep your cube disinfected!). Gathering these materials is quite a time investment, as they are only available off of high level Balaur in either the Abyss or Heiron/Belusian. Here, the Asmodians have a definite advantage; they have non-elite Balaur to farm in Hoarfrost Fortress. Admittedly, Elyos can travel to that same area and try to farm them as well, but deep in the heart of Belusian does not make for a safe and hassle-free environment.
Now, if you don't think you can stomach grinding all of the materials yourself, you can pay others to grind for you by buying off the broker -- definitely a time-saver, if you have kinah overflowing your pockets. Luckily, there is rarely a lack of materials; start watching the broker for good deals as soon as possible.
If you can make the armor yourself, you are in luck -- or just lucky (obtaining the recipes themselves involves exchanging hot Balaur hearts to a Shugo on Tigraki Island, and the chances of receiving them are low). If you don't have the recipe, or cannot craft, you then have to rely on finding someone else who can and does -- not always as easy as it sounds. Another disadvantage to collecting the materials and handing them over to a crafter is that the armor piece might not even proc gold. If that's the case, and the piece comes out blue, you will most likely be forking over the resources and cash to try again. And possibly again.
There is technically a simpler way to obtain this armor: just walk up to the broker, search for what you want, purchase, and presto! You have your armor piece just how you want it: pre-made, gold, shiny, and ready to wear. Of course, this is assuming that the piece is actually listed on the broker. Unfortunately, it usually isn't -- partially because crafters do not have these materials just laying around in excess, and partially because of the high broker fees to list such items. You can hope for a personal store or call out in the LFG or trade channels when the broker fails you. This method, though possibly easiest on time, is murder on the pocketbook. Leather gloves went for over eight million kinah on the broker on one server.
However, don't let the words "quest armor" mislead you into thinking "easy" or "cheap to get"...
So, after discounting all of the previously mentioned options, you decide that you will obtain your armor by questing -- namely, the Miragent or Fenris quest line. If only the doing were as easy as the deciding! I have to admit, I didn't really give thought to my armor until the last minute, but I am slightly grateful for that; although it did not give me time to prepare in advance, it has given me ample opportunity to experience this quest line and share it with you. Hopefully, I can save at least a few others from the pains of procrastination... before it leaves a scar.
Luckily, any crafting profession will do, regardless of your armor type. If you haven't crafted anything before, nor have any preference as to what you craft, cooking is the best area to specialize in. In Sanctum you can stand in one spot, talk to the cooking master for your work orders, and then just re-click the stove to slave away. Need some qooqoo eggs or natural water? Everything necessary for a work order is on the merchant just a couple steps away. With the "craft all" button, I suggest having a book handy. Even more significantly, the greatest advantage to choosing the cooking profession is that the expert quest is the easiest and almost assuredly the cheapest of all to complete.
My next hint is to craft on double XP weekends as much as possible; skill-ups are twice as fast, which becomes especially important after you reach expert level. Once you complete the expert quest, you are forced to make consumable products because work orders are now unavailable. Read -- you now need raw materials that you can't necessarily gather, as well as recipes only available from Tigraki Island. At level 400 crafting, you can luckily obtain a recipe with only kinah; however, the next tiers (which offer more experience but also use increasingly higher Balaur meats) cost various levels of Balaur hearts instead. If you are hoping for a nice "money-making" recipe to help recoup your losses, don't hold your breath -- they are rare.
Now that crafting is out of the way, we are ready to lace-up our running shoes and sprint off on that road to Miragent armor. However, the path is quite long, and although we have taken our first steps, we have many miles to go before we reap our rewards. Join me next time as we continue this journey together. Besides -- I need time to save the four million for my first oath stone!