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Do you want crafting to play an important role in an mmo?
Do you want to be able to give items to your friends?
Do you want your mmo to have a functioning economy?
If you answered yes to all three (or maybe just 2), then there is only one solution. Item Decay. Now just hold that rage inside for a moment. I know the thought of losing your epic purples from use might seem distasteful at first, but please consider a couple things.
1. In most modern mmo's crafting has lost most it's significance. Blizzard has in two different games introduced special items that you can craft, but if you don't care about them, then there's no point to crafting except something to do.
2. Similarly, we now have the concept of soulbinding, where we cannot freely trade or gift items around. Even if in practice it doesn't infuriate you, how do we tolerate something that makes so little sense? Oh yeah...
3. Economic inflation. As more and more gear floods the economy, currencies crumble and gear acquisition and ownership become pointless.
Unfortunately, the bandaid of soulbinding hasn't fixed the issue, while it creates it's own problems. Now let me sell you on Item Decay. First off, in at least WoW, you don't keep the same gear because blizzard releases new expansions that raise the cap and introduce new epic tiers, thus creating a gear treadmill that can lead only to OVER 9000 syndome. You become more powerful, enemies match you, doesn't it all get a little old?
Secondly, do you really want to wear the same gear month after month, year after year? With Item Decay, acquiring backup weapons and gear becomes interesting and necessary, and your game experience becomes more varied as you switch things up.
This can also alleviate a little bit of gear stingyness on the part of devs who want people to keep playing, and are afraid once they have the gear from a dungeon that it will no longer appeal to them.
For crafting, some kind of reverse engineering process can help crafters put together weapons and armor that mimics the power of that found in dungeons, and better yet, custom made with the stats and effects the player wants. A penalty to this might be a faster decay rate.
You could also modify soulbinding to attunement, where once a weapon has been used (or picked up in some cases) for the first time, it's attuned to that owner, and suffers half the normal decay rate (which would be somewhat fast). So tossing used items at friends won't be quite as good as finding it themselves.
If you don't want to forget about that time you had that great weapon with super rare stats, when it's become unusable, it could go up in some sort of trophy room.