With every new Atelier trilogy developer Gust mixes things up and introduces a new synthesis system. Atelier games are, of course, famous for their synthesis. A very important part of the game, so one you will have to master. For the Mysterious trilogy, they went a whole new route. And though the game tries to explain it all, but I feel it doesn’t do a very good job at it.
So, I decided to make a Guide to Synthesis, detailing all you need to know. Let’s start with Atelier Sophie: the Alchemist of the Mysterious Book. Later on, the guides for the other Atelier games will be added too.
For this article, the images are based on the Vita game. The DX version on the Switch works in pretty much the same way, but the buttons are of course different.
Here we go!
The Info on the Screen
As an example I’ve chosen the synthesis of an Ice Bomb. When the cursor is on the Ice Bomb you can bring up some details of what you’re about to make. Clicking to the Details brings up more info.
Like what the base price is should you wish to sell it, what the category is and who can equip an Ice Bomb. Clicking further you can also check with materials you need and it shows which effects it will bring to the table but we will go into that in the next chapter, Synthesis, the Material Selection.
The level shown next to the ice bomb drawing is the alchemy level Sophie needs to have to synthesize it. If her level is lower, the quality of the item she makes will suffer or the synthesis might even fail. (You can use Grandma’s Cauldron so this doesn’t happen, but more on that later.)
Plus, there’s a coloured circle shown for the items element. An Ice Bomb is blue, which means the main effects you give the Ice Bomb are brought on by materials that have a blue icon too. The info screen also shows the effects you can give an Ice Bomb. There will be Ice Damage for sure, but there might be two other effects in the mix too.
Synthesis, the Material Selection
Time to look at the synthesis itself because if you like this part of the game, I can promise you will spend a lot of time tinkering to get the best results. The actual synthesis is split in four parts:
- Material selection
- Choosing the Cauldron
- Effects influenced by material placement
- Trait transfer
Lets look at the Material Selection and take this Ice Bomb as example. All materials you have to use for synthesis are categorised. If a material that you need to add is between brackets, then you can add any material from that category. For example, if you need to add an ingredient from the plant category, there are various to choose from (see below (water) and (neutralizer)). If a material is not between brackets you need to use that specific material, not one from the category to which it belongs, like the Hakurei Stone.
The Hakurei Stone (also blue) will give the Ice Bomb its Ice Damage effect. Depending on the quality of the material used you’ll get a small amount, medium or large amount of damage. (Water), also needed to make an Ice Bomb will inflict the effect slow and there’s some more to discover, seeing the question marks. The (Neutralizer) might bring some extra effect too, but we don’t know what yet.
When choosing your materials to use to synthesise an item, then don’t forget that by clicking on the submenu you can filter or sort the materials to use. You can sort for Quality, Size, Category Value and more. You can also filter for a certain trait, a special item or category.
Every material has a Category Value which shows how powerful a material is. Higher category values will give the item made more powerful effects. And the item you make starts out with the basic numbers of effects added up from the materials you use. Take this Ice Bomb again. As you can see I have chosen the highest quality Hakurei Stones. They have the blue color dot next to the image and in the list there’s a number in blue as well. I have chosen one with Category Value 12 and another 12. The Ice Damage on the right has added 12+12=24 (out of 40).
Next we choose our (Water). I want to go with Spirit Tears, which has a super quality level of 125 and a Category Value of 30. The Good Water has a Category Value of 27, also blue. Both added up show 57 out of 60 in the second effect bar that is still titled None.
Last thing to choose is (Neutralizer). Let’s go with another blue one with a Category Value of 27, which is added to the third effect bar (27 out of 100).
Next step is our choice of Cauldron.
Synthesis, choosing the Cauldron
You start out with the Practice Cauldron, but further in the game you get a choice of several Cauldrons.
Each cauldron has unique effects like no failing possible (so your alchemy level is never too low), synergy which means it gives bonuses in the same color as the concoction in the cauldron. As the size of ingredients is important, you can also choose a cauldron because it allows you to flip the ingredients horizontally, vertically or either way (rotate) which can come in very handy.
These are the cauldrons with their properties (there may be even more, but I haven’t stumbled upon them yet):
- Practice Cauldron:
Effect: Synergy, Vertical Flip, Bonus Display Level 1, Panel 4×4
Bonus lights: smallest +3, middle +5, large +7
Obtaining bonuses that are the same color as the liquid in the cauldron increases effect by 50%
- Grandma’s Cauldron:
Effect: No faillures, Vertical Flip, Bonus Display Level 1, Panel 4×4
Bonus lights: smallest +3, middle +5, large +7
Performing synthesis at quality value 0 won’t result in failure and produce the desired item
- Expert Cauldron:
Effect: Time limit, Bonus Display Level 1, Panel 4×4
Bonus lights: smallest +30%, middle +40%, large +50%
60 second time limit. Exceeding this time will result in failure. Countdown begins after selecting materials and you cannot reselect the cauldron
- Fairy Cauldron:
Effect: Color surroundings, Rotate, Bonus Display Level 1, Panel 4×4
Bonus lights: smallest +20%, middle +30%, large +40%
When a material is placed, the synthesis bonuses in all 8 directions around it become the same color.
The panel that a cauldron gives you is important. But you start out with just a grid of 4×4. Don’t forget that you can do Cauldron Crafting too, they are in your recipes. When you do that, the last effect bar when you make an upgraded cauldron is the one that enlarges your grid to a max of 6×6, giving you more room to play. Below you see how I upgraded my Practice Cauldron to 6×6.
When you are making items, more powerful items sometimes give you a panel where there are holes in it. Can’t put any materials there of course, which is why it might be a good idea to sort your ingredients to size instead of quality for that one. That way, you can try and fill the holes!
Synthesis, Maximising Your Effects by Material Placement
Effects are the unique abilities an item has. The initial effect value of the new item is the total of the Category Values of the ingredients. You can increase it by the placement in the cauldron.
Back to our Ice Bomb. Above in the Cauldron chapter you can see the Practice Cauldron, with the dots in the squares and color percentages above. Let’s place our material in there. Now the size of the materials to use come in play. The trick is to place the size over as many bonus lights you can, preferably in the same color as the material. So in our case: blue.
The Cauldron adds a bonus light all along the squares adjacent to where I place the Hakurei stone, and not only horizontal and vertical, but also diagonal. When a square already had a bonus light, it is made bigger. You can see above in the details of the Cauldrons how much the lights are worth.
By placing my Hakurei Stone I made one yellow light grow as one blue light, both into level 3. In the Practice cauldron my effect Ice Damage goes up. It was 24, but now more value is added to 24+7+7= 38 (out of 40). Plus, the percentage above for blue goes up to 31%. When everything is placed, the colour that has the highest percentage in the bar above will get the bonus. And for this one I want it to be blue, as my Ice Damage effect is blue too.
As I have two Hakurei Stones of the same size I won’t be able to place it without overlapping. It may pay off to have a second one of a smaller size, even though my added up category value will decrease. Pressing L allows you to instantly swap for another material. Remember this, it comes in very handy!
Eventually I decided (by pressing L) to exchange my Good Water for a smaller size, as to not overlap. In the end I managed to get the Blue bonus up to 73%, maxing Inflict Slow to M and 120 out of 120, Ice Damage has gone up to M and 77 out of 90. The green neutralizer I decided to go for instead of my initial impulse of going for blue gives no effect anymore. You see, my blue neutralisers were all much bigger, and as the green one was smaller in size so it could be better placed.
This is the process you go through every time. Tinker, tinker and tinker again. The sequence in which you place materials matters, with the new bonus lights popping up beside a placed material. I try to not let them overlap, but there’s no rule against that. Try and overlap and see what the effect is. Choose the cauldron that fits the job you want to do, and that will influence the effects reached too.
Synthesis, Adding Traits
Every item you make has traits to enhance its abilities. This is the next step in the synthesis. The materials you use bring their own traits to the table. If you are wanting to get an item with a specific trait, be sure to filter your materials and search for one with the specific trait.
You can choose three to add, so I’d say, choose wisely! If you want to know more about the trait you can go to the details screen.
Where to Get Your Recipes?
Sophie can come up with ideas for recipes through different actions. Exploration, where the storyline is, synthesising other recipes and other things you do and witness in the game. They are all gathered in the Recipe Ideas Encyclopedia and are categorised in Beginners, Growth, Hope, Dream and Mystery Recipes.
Opening up the Encyclopedia shows the tree leading from one recipe to the next. Above is the one for the Beginners Recipes. In the same way the other recipe trees are built up. Clicking on one of the recipes and diving in deeper shows more info.
Let’s take a look for example at Gold Thread which needs 2x Silver Web, 2x Metal and 1 Fuel. It can also bring up the related entries, checking Silver Web shows you where it’s found (including a miniature world map with the locations dotted): in the Flower Garden, the Underground Lake, the Forgotten Nursery and the Sealed Temple. Plus, it shows the monsters who might drop Silver Web after battle.
It’s important for the progress of your game that you find new recipes. Let’s look at the Dream Recipes, that in my case still has some empty spots with ?. Clicking on them shows the Learning condition. In this case, to learn Flugel the condition is set as Memo: Soul Awakening and you’ll eventually get the idea from Angel’s Whisper.
That’s it for my guide on how to synthesise in Atelier Sophie: the Alchemist of the Mysterious Book. I hope it helped, and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
I don’t get this at all. I didn’t coirrectly grasp the game’s explanation as to WHY I should be placing the items wherever on that screen. So I was trying to solve a puzzle when I didn’t really understand how it worked. And once the screen was gone there didn’t seem to be any way of getting it back.
Do you mean you didn’t have a chance to work out how it works in the games’ explanation? When you go to the menu using X while at the Atelier or in town, you can access the help section where all the tutorials are repeated!