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I'm not a poster, but I have lurked for a while on these forums, and I have played MMOs since Ultima Online off and on.
One of the things I like to do most in MMOs though, is to craft things. Making items used by other players, working with said players to get materials, balancing your books to make sure you can produce with the largets margin of profit with the least amount of time invested. All of this excites me just as much as when I'm thwacking a dragon on the head with a hammer, or crawling through caves filled with rats and undead
Recently, and not so recently for that matter, though crafting has been nothing short of a shiny medal. 'Yay I'm a level 513 Enchanter, I hope people check my profile and read this' seems to be about as deep as it gets.
Some games go half-way, allowing you to make some pretty good gear for lower-levels but after a certain point it just falls out of style. Soon, big boss monsters start dropping shinier and shinier gear, and crafted items are forgotten. Only philanthropists really continue to craft.
Why is this necessary? I know it breaks realism to have a dragon just happen to whip-up a hammer as it dies and say, 'Here you go guys, good job, take this!' So why not just incorporate crafters in this step?
At the moment, I am playing FFXIV and don't see why Ifrit can't drop 1-2 horns, 1-2 hooves, some scales, and just have that be it. Afterwards, the players bring loot to a level 50 (current max level) crafter of the appropriate type, and they make said Ifrit weapon / Darklight Armor / etc.
Need/Greed could be linked to the dropped items type, horns for lancers/pugilist/archers, hooves for marauders / gladiators, you get the idea.
One game that DOES do this, is Monster Hunter Freedom Online. Monsters drop monster things: eyes, hearts, skin, and then you have to take that back and make yourself an appropriate piece of gear. It's not a perfect system, but why not throw in crafting for some inter-dependency?
I'll also just mention EVE online, a kinda dark horse I admit of MMOs, as being an economy run nearly 100% based on crafted materials, and that's doing just fine.
I want to know the counter-arguments and why people are scared to do this, when it seems so simple and logical from my point of view.
Before I ramble on too much, I'll leave it at this! What do YOU guys think about crafting and what can be done to improve it? I gave an example of game play interaction, but systems and such are there to consider as well!