Synthesis (合成, Gousei?), also known as various game-specific terms like fusion, is a feature in the series that revolves around customizing items and equipment, combining different types to create a new item altogether. Final Fantasy VIII started the practice of modeling weapons from items rather than simply buying them from a weapon shop, although it was not called "synthesis". The system was expanded in Final Fantasy IX, where synthesis is heavily used to acquire certain rare items and equipment. Whereas remodeling weapons from items is the only way to get new weapons in Final Fantasy VIII, using synthesis in the series afterward is supplementary, equipment also being available from shops and treasures, though in some games synthesis with rare ingredients is needed to obtain the ultimate equipment pieces.
Materia Fusion allows Zack to fuse two Materia together to form a new Materia. The player can earn the ability to include items in the fusion to give the new Materia enhanced stat bonuses. Many rare Materia can only be acquired through Materia Fusion.
Weapons are upgraded at junk shops for a fee. The ultimate versions require rare items that can be cumbersome to acquire. Recipes to create new weapons are found in Weapons Monthly magazines, though the magazines themselves are not needed to create weapons: one simply needs the appropriate components. The Guardian Force Doomtrain allows the player to visit a junk shop anywhere via the menu.
At the Synthesis Shop (or Synth-Shop) the player can combine certain items (for gil) to make new items that cannot be purchased at the present stage in the game (and with the last shop, at all). Many items can be crafted, but synthesis is most notable for being the best, and early on only, place where Zidane can create polearm-weapons.
Hades serves a secret synthesis shop where rare items can be crafted. It is the only place where the player can get a Pumice without having to defeat Ozma. There is also a master synthesist in the Black Mage Village that the player can return to in endgame to get some of the most powerful weapons and add-ons.
Once Rikku explains adding new auto-abilities into equipment in Guadosalam, the "Customize" option is unlocked in the menu, and the player can craft weapons and armor to their liking by expending items. Brotherhood, Celestial Weapons, and non-empty-slotted equipment cannot be customized.
Synthesis allows a player to use a crystal plus other materials to create another object. Crystals can be obtained by defeating creatures. Only creatures that grant the player experience can drop crystals. These crystals, one for each of the eight elements, can be used opening an item synthesis menu. There are recipes for hundreds of items that can be made.
The player can create new items in the bazaar by selling loot dropped by enemies. Most of the best weapons are only obtained from the bazaar, and some are meticulously difficult to obtain the components for. The notes in the bestiary give hints to the kind of items that are needed, and the enemies they are obtained from. Most bazaar items can only be made once, and many ultimate weapons of their type are obtained through this system.
Cu Sith crafts weapons from three Scavenging materials for each, in addition to the instructions from a Recipe Book. Once a weapon is selected to be crafted and the materials have been supplied, Cu Sith will ask the player three questions. The answers and the Grade of the supplied materials determine the weapon's statistics. The higher grade of the Scavenging materials, the higher bonus to various stats. This gives the player versatility in weaponry. Once a weapon is crafted, the player can name it.
The term "Synthesis" refers to each weapon or accessory having a Synthesis attribute, which can produce a special attribute for the wearer if using the right combination of equipment pieces. Equipment upgrading with components is a separate system: each weapon and accessory gains EXP from items, and can be transformed into a new piece of equipment with the right catalyst. The party's ultimate weapons are obtained by using the ultimate catalyst item to a maxed-out second tier weapon, but the ultimate weapon's properties depend on which weapon the player decides to upgrade.
Equipment synthesis is also present, as some weapons and accessories require materials to be bought from Chocolina aside from gil. The equipment upgrade system from Final Fantasy XIII does not return.
The player can synthesize abilities, which act much like items and equipment from previous entries in the series as being drops from enemies, found in treasures, and equipped at will similar to weapons and accessories. Sorcery Shops offer two main services:
- Synthesis - Synthesis allows the player to "fuse" two abilities of the same level and type to boost their parameters.
- Level Boost - By synthesizing abilities with strengthening components called malistones, one can level up abilities which have reached their limits. This becomes available from Day 6.
Weapons can be upgraded from the second playthrough onwards after the player has defeated the final boss. Weapons can be upgraded at forges for a small fee and various materials. Most materials can either be bought from Adventuring Essentials or obtained from defeated enemies, although the best materials are only available as enemy drops.
It is not possible to upgrade weapons to their maximum values because each item can only be upgraded a set number of times. While it may be possible to maximize some of the stats of a specific weapon, it will not be possible to maximize every parameter. One can also downgrade weapons, but this will not refund the materials used to upgrade them, although it does "refund" the number of upgrades. Downgrading can therefore be considered as the backup plan in case one upgrades a weapon the wrong way.
Synthesis is a major gameplay element. Synthesis allows crafting classes to create weapons, armor and tools for various disciplines among other items. It requires materials and crystals before it is begun, and requires leveling a Disciple of the Hand class before it can be performed in the Crafting Log.
The Disciples of the Hand classes are Alchemist (ALC), Armorer (ARM), Blacksmith (BSM), Carpenter (CRP), Culinarian (CUL), Goldsmith (GSM), Leatherworker (LTW) and Weaver (WVR). The items produced from crafting can be used for the Adventurer's own classes, used in quests, or sold to gain gil. As Synthesis is not required for the Main Scenario Quests, it can be skipped and is completely optional.
Cid is a mechanic who upgrades the player's weapons designated by a "+" symbol so long as he is provided with the corresponding material. After giving Cid the weapon and the material he needs for an upgrade, the player must wait for the upgrade to be completed. The first two upgrades for Engine Blade and Drain Lance are immediate, but for the following quests the player will need to pass time and wait for Cid's call. The time passes by doing quests. The next time the player rests after the requirements have been met, Cid will call Noctis when he wakes up in the morning to come pick the upgraded weapon up. The amount of time it takes for Cid to upgrade a weapon is different for each one.
Synthesis refers to a combination of two or more entities that together form something new; alternately, it refers to the creating of something by artificial means.