Materials You Should Sell (Useful Information)
Here is a list of all materials that you should or should not sell, and why.
First, the following materials are only ever worth selling, for any purpose:
Now, the organic components. These generally provide little experience, and are used solely for making the Experience Bonus increase on a piece of equipment.
The most efficient buyable organic components are the following:
For all other organic materials, the choice becomes then: Do I use the item itself, or do I sell it and buy Sturdy Bones, Barbed Tails, or Vibrant Oozes?
The answer for almost all organic materials is: use the item itself. As a general rule, organic components provide a bigger Experience Bonus simply by using the item rather than selling it and buying from Creature Comforts.
This isn't true for all organic components. The following organic components actually provide more Experience Bonus by selling them and buying from Creature Comforts, so sell these:
Looking at mechanical components, we're looking at items that provide the most experience per Gil spent. The Ultracompact Reactor is the most efficient. It is considerably above its contender, the Perfect Conductor, which only marginally beats Superconductor / Particle Accelerator.
You have more choice here with each mechanical component. First, do you sell it so that it can go towards buying an Ultracompact Reactor? Or do you instead sell it to buy a Perfect Conductor, which is much, much cheaper (and less wasteful, if you only need a certain smaller amount of experience)? When you don't have a lot of Gil, it might be more worthwhile to invest in Perfect Conductors, since upgrading will allow you to earn more Gil faster later and it's the next-most efficient thing.
As a general rule, sell all of your mechanical components except for Ultracompact Reactors and Perfect Conductors. The main reason for this is because you generally want to give as many of a mechanical component as you can, so you can benefit from the highest Experience Bonus for each item. If you have many different mechanical items, you can't just use them all in sequence without wasting more Gil by building up the Experience Bonus whenever it drops. In addition, almost every mechanical item is more efficient if it's put towards buying an Ultracompact Reactor, and a large number of them are more efficient if put towards buying Perfect Conductors.
When selling them towards an Ultracompact Reactor, only the following items are technically a loss:
If you have a large number of any of these items, it may be better to keep them, since they provide more Experience in and of themselves than by selling them and noting their part of the contribution towards an Ultracompact Reactor. However, as mentioned, you generally want to stack up on a single type of mechanical component, so if these items on their own aren't going to give enough experience to level your equipment as high as you'd like, you'd probably find it more efficient to sell them.
If you're selling towards a Perfect Conductor, more items become a loss, due to the fact that Perfect Conductors are less efficient than Ultracompact Reactors. These items are:
So these items are better spent being put towards an Ultracompact Reactor than being put towards a Perfect Conductor. If there's no way you're going to afford an Ultracompact Reactor yet, and you have a nice stack of any of the above materials, you can feel free to use them in lieu of a Perfect Conductor. Again, keep in mind the goal of mechanical components: to provide one huge lump of experience in a single go.
Anyway, that's all for now!
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On a smaller note, there is no downside (except for the extra time it takes) to only using a single organic component at a time, over and over again. This gives you two benefits.
First, the Experience Bonus will take effect while you're feeding it the organic components. This is a paltry amount of experience, but every little bit helps.
Second, if you're using materials where you don't know how many you'll need to hit the maximum Experience Bonus, you might end up wasting materials by using more than you need. Using them one at a time prevents this.
There is a pretty hefty downside to using a single mechanical component at a time, since as I've already emphasized, that will allow the Experience Bonus to degrade while feeding these items in, making it extremely inefficient.
Do you know when Reactors start to be sold?
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Reagents are excluded from this list, since in my experiences, you might as well save all of them, just in case you might need them.
On the other hand, Millerite is only useful in upgrading Iron Bangles, so you might as well sell it.
In addition, Rhodochrosite is only useful in upgrading Silver Bangles and Whistlewind Scarves, so you can sell it as long as you're done making Aurora Scarves.
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You can buy Ultracompact Reactors as soon as you gain access to the R&D Depot shop, as early as Chapter 11.
You get this one by completing Mission 7, located deep in the Yaschas Massif (to get there, you return to Vallis Media once the story takes you to the Archylte Steppe and teaches you about Cie'th Stones, then travel through Vallis Media to Yaschas Massif)