Alchemy in most games is brewing potions until your eyes bleed. Don't worry, Aion is-
...more of the same.
But even though you'll be mixing vials in your hands for days on end, the results are so worth it. Alchemy is power in PvP. Consumables rule the Abyss. If you have alchemy access, you have the ability to heal, restore your wings, and move/fly/attack faster. You have the ability to turn worthless manastones into higher tier stones with a shot at high quality versions that will actually sell, or in the case of critical hit stones, sell REALLY well. You can even make some potent mage weapons.
This isn't easy though. It's expensive. Work orders will be inevitable at some level ranges unless you're made of money and can milk a market. You'll end up with thousands of some items in your inventory at times, and your basic item to work with in each tier isn't harvested from the land or the earth, but from the corpses of monsters. So you're unable to harvest these items specifically, you can only grind and hope for the best. This will lead you to the broker several times in your journey if you're looking to level this efficiently.
Can you handle it? We're about to find out. Alchemy 101 will begin now.
The bread and butter of alchemy is from Elemental Stones. You'll be using hundreds, if not over a thousand elemental stones each tier depending on how you go about it. The worst part of each tier is realizing you need to make more elementals and you don't get any skill off them. You will do nothing but make Lesser Elemental Water and Stone Powder until they are grey, I'd say about 9 to 1 ratio. The powder isn't used for much unless you're making scrolls and weapons down the line, and this tier doesn't have a lot to do for weapons. Load up on those lesser elemental stones and churn out that water in one giant load.
And just as the elemental stones begin to give no experience or chance for a skill up, we will begin using them to great effect. You'll be making potions in this tier for life and mana, preferably using all of the materials gathered from your lower days of vitality extraction. Start with the lesser skilled ones and make the instant potions as you approach the 40's. You can go all the way to 50 on these if you like, and by like, I mean have more materials than you know what to do with. If you plan to make some weapons in this tier, make certain you create a good supply of Lesser Magic Power Crystals and Lesser Wisdom Stones while you can still get crafting experience off of them.
35-65 "The Main Course"
Have you been leveling Aether Extraction? This is where it all starts to pay off. Lesser Wind Serum is the name of the game, and you will be making it en masse. It's used for everything involving your wings and can be liberally chugged while harvesting higher aether, since it can produce higher quality serum. Everyone wants wind serum. Everyone needs wind serum. I've probably consumed over 3000 in my lifetime and we're only a month in. Get in on the market or be self sufficient, it's your call here. If you don't have powder or the market doesn't allow it as a decent option? You can either make scrolls or do work orders past this tier. The scrolls are absolutely worthless though unfortunately.
65-99 "Where is dessert?"
This is where the party really ends on Alchemy. The middle tier weapons are pretty worthless. The scrolls at this level might as well not exist, they offer next to no benefits and you don't even have the real scrolls you'd want to make yet. The real highlights come at 90 when you can use the plethora of worthless manastones you've saved up and try to make some money on the high quality versions since the lesser catalysts used at this tier are quite cheap. How will you get to 90 though? Work orders. I really don't have a good answer for this, and I hope they address it, but alchemy 70-90 is just some suffering of work orders. It'll help you fill out your recipe book though, so only buy what is necessary for this tier to make yourself, and hope the work orders give you something you can use rather than some garbage 28 kinah work order materials.
The first stage of alchemy is a troubling one. We have access to very little in terms of good, marketable things aside from the potions. Just like the initial stages of crafting in other games though, it's just eclipsed too quickly to be worthwhile for the level 90-99 weapons typically. I would say unless you can get a real good deal on the required flux, it's not worth it. But this is just the first stage of the journey, and the real glory of alchemy starts to come into play in the 100-199 group and beyond. Corner the market on those elemental stones, people. You're going to need even more for the next class, so see you in Alchemy 201!