Many people are finding themselves confused when crafting because the quality of the material they’ve selected doesn’t match the quality of the item created. This is because the crafting window’s material slot shows you the overall quality of your material, which is not necessarily the stat that your item needs.
For example, if I want to make an item that uses biomaterials, I might be tempted to use my awesome Bio-Organic Stintergels, which have a Quality of 978. However, Stintergels are a Mass resource, which means that their Mass rating is 978, and their Cores and Power ratings are much lower (645 and 323 respectively for the Q978 Stintergels). So if your schematic requires Cores or Power, you’ll get a much lower-quality item.
The material selection slot at the bottom of the crafting window doesn’t show you the value of your material’s preferred stat. Instead, it tells you the stat your schematic needs, but the number displayed is the overall quality rating of your selected material.
By comparison, the item quality number in the schematic stats on the right shows you the quality of the finished product. If the number in the material slot and the item quality number are not the same, that’s a dead giveaway that the material you’ve chosen might not be the right choice for the schematic you’re crafting, because it doesn’t focus on the preferred stat.
This is complicated somewhat by the fact that if you click on the material slot to select a new material, you’ll see a pop-up window listing all the possible choices for crafting that schematic. These choices all have a number listed next to them – this number is the material’s value for the schematic’s preferred stat, not the overall quality. For example, if I’m making a Power-related recipe, that epic Q978 Stintergel will show up as 323 in the selection list.
The final factor to consider is that some materials are going to be so good that they’re still your best choice for crafting items based on other stats. Again using the Q978 Stintergels as an example, they have a Cores value of 645. If I’ve never acquired any Bio-Organic Smartgels (the Cores biomaterial) of quality 645 or better, then the Stintergels are still going to make a better Cores-based item than my available Smartgels.
But if I’m making a Power-based item, then I only need a Bioactive Compound of Q324 or better to beat the epic Stintergels’ output. Given that we’ve already seen Bioactive Compounds at quality 376, 545 and 592 in the month since Patch 0.6, it really isn’t safe to assume that “epic is always better”.
Given all these factors, the easiest way to make high-quality items is simply to open the material selection list and choose the entry with the highest “Preferred Stat Value”. This will give you the best possible output for the item you’re making. Just be aware that you might be using a high-quality resource based on one of its lesser stats, and you might want to save that resource for crafting items where its full strength can be used.