OK I have been working on gear and made a lot of mistakes but since we learn from our mistakes I thought I would pass along what I have learned so that you do not have to duplicate my mistakes!
This may not be the best way to get a Hard Cap 20 STR Sword but this is the way that it makes sense to me.Getting Started
First of all before all else there are two things you need to look at when picking a base, Durability and Block. Durability is the most important of the two since the block stat CAN NOT BE UPGRADED AND IS SO LOW THAT A FEW POINTS MAKES LITTLE DIFFERENCE! You will be looking for the highest durability you can find with a block of between 6 and 8.
Next you will want to look at min damage and max damage. It really does not matter how high they are BUT it DOES matter what the difference between the two is. You want the difference to be between 0 and 4.
After you find a Sword with high durability and block you will adjust the damage to be where you want by combining stats of other same quality swords by upgrading minimum damage and maybe even downgrading maximum damage. There will be no need to upgrade while doing this.
Once the desired relation between Min Damage and Max Damage are reached it will be time to start building.
Prior to building I think you should see the estimated AAA quality Hard Cap of the stats. I could not find a chart for 20 Str Combatant so here is a Conservative Estimate.
Minimum Damage : 4094 <--- Damage stat to watch!
Maximum Damage : 4100
Attack Bonus : 4090
Max MP : 65400
MP Recovery : 4090
Critical : 4090Chart of Hardcap Values
I would try and keep my numbers a little short of these just to be safe because if you go beyond Hard Cap it will reset the stat back to F quality! If this happens I would save that piece for a fuser, a very expensive fuser.
Once I start upgrading to Hard Cap the only Stats I care about are Minimum Damage, Attack Bonus and Critical. They are the ONLY ones that really matter. DO NOT add gems for Max MP and MP Recovery will be your upgrade stat.
The last upgrade that you will do will be fusing a High Level Fuser with MAX AAA MP Recovery. You could add a Max MP Fuser but I do not think it needed. The MP Recovery Fuser may be as close to Hard Cap as you like but that may be overkill and not needed. Adding a Hardcap MP Recovery Fuser would give you the following Stat:
Minimum Damage : 4000
Maximum Damage : 4000
Attack Bonus : 4000
Max MP : 17350 <-------- The Result of upgrading 347 times without adding Gems. Adding Final Fuser Optional.
MP Recovery : 2047 <-------- More than Needed for Farming or Combat
Critical : 4000
*There are Giant Gems in Game but due to Conversion rate of Large to Giant I feel it better to use Large. Large has been figured in for this Guide and numbers will drastically change if Giant Gems are used.Upgrading your Main Sword
There will be two types of upgrading for your main sword. Briefly your sword will be in Pre-Soft Cap state where you can save on mats but it does not last long so enjoy it!
When you notice that one of your Yellow AAA Stats gets brighter in color and you will receive a new warning when adding metal you will know that you have now reached your Soft Cap!
You will start out Upgrading your Damage Stat with Large Red Gems until it reaches 2900 then upgrade your Attack Bonus Stat with Large Black Gems until it reaches 2000 then Finally Upgrade your Critical Stat with Large White Gems until it reaches 4000.
When Critical reaches 4000 then Damage and Attack Bonus should be very close to 4000 as well depending on your starting stats. You may continue to level the Stats to get them as close to the hard cap as you wish taking into consideration the additional changes that will happen when you add your final fusers.Pre-Soft Cap
Use Yiterni Stones to get to Sword Upgraded 7 times. Use Tear of Blacksmith to upgrade 8,9 and 10th time. Once the sword is upgraded to max, +10 it will have gained +4 to Minimum and Maximum Damage, +8 to Attack Bonus, + 50 to Max MP and +1 to Crit. Forget about MP Recovery for now as it will be your Fuser Stat.
Next you will slot 5 Large Red Gems this will add an additional +30 points to both Minimum and Maximum Damage.Post-Soft Cap
There are two ways that I do this depending upon the metals I have, with Ice and without Ice.
Make one attempt with Yiterni Stones. If it fails make 7 upgrades with Ice Crystals then 3 with Tear of Blacksmith. Add Gems.
You can only use Tear of Blacksmith 3 Times in a Row then you must make 1 attempt with Yiterni Stones. The three times in a row will count even after you combine your item! So if your last 3 upgrades are: Titerni Stones, Tear of Blacksmith and tear of Blacksmith then after you add gems then combine your sword your first two Upgrades will be Tear of Blacksmith then Yiterni Stone.Upgrading Fusers, AAA Stat and Upgrading Stat
You will be using the "Without Ice" method as described above to upgrade all fuser swords except the Final two that will be for Max MP and MP Renewal.
We will use Crit as the AAA Stat and MP Recovery as the Fuse Stat so you will need White and Blue Gems for Fusers.
When your fuser reaches +10 you will add White Gems until it reaches AAA when it reaches AAA you will have a between 1 and 3 open sockets depending on your starter stat.
Compare the MP Recovery stat from your main and the fuser.
If the MP recovery on the Fuser is Greater than the Main then Upgrade the Main.
If the MP recovery on the Fuser is the same as the Main then add one Blue Gem and Upgrade the Main.
If the MP recovery on the Fuser is Less than the main then Downgrade the Main.
*See upgrading and Down Grading Section*
When you build your Final two fusers you will be upgrading the same way as your main but only increasing the Max MP or MP Recovery Stat to as close to Hard Cap as you like. When building MP Recovery Fuser use Critical as your fuser stat.Upgrading and Downgrading
This is THE MOST DANGEROUS PART! Very easy to make a mistake and completely destroy your work!Upgrading:
Select Stat Transfer from Blacksmith
Drop in Main Sword Click Next
Drop in Fuser Sword
Select Upgrade Stat
Select Stat Transfer from Blacksmith
Drop in Fuser Click Next
Drop in Main Sword
Select Downgrade Stat then REMOVE MAIN SWORD
Remove Fuser Sword and replace with Main Sword and Click Next
Drop in Fuser Sword and double check that it is fuser sword.
*There is a Downgrade Metal in Game but I have yet to obtain it. When I do I will add information about it here.