This is not an ad for my game, since it doesn't exist yet. This is just a question about crafting.
I love crafting. Cannot stress this enough. Words cannot express my love, other than that I feel a fiery passion stronger than a super nova when I meet a good crafting system. I do not know if my system will be good or balanced. But I am attempting to design an entirely player run economy with an open skill system. NPCs can be hired to run shops and mine/farm/cut trees/etc in a limited capacity. They can also be hired as guards, because every building in the game can be conquered. But not so much that a small group of high level players can't stomp the NPCs. NPCs cannot craft items. They can only work in player owned mines/farms. And hiring a player during their offline time is worth many more res per hour than using npcs. You have to pay them though, this partly replaces npc quests.
That is all just background to my main question however.
In my system with its vast selection of crafting options each player can use all the skills, however this is not necessarily as time efficient as working with other players. It is better to have a sword maker, an alchemist and an enchanter and a wizard than to have one player do it all. Also because raising one skill doesnt raise the time needed for others, there will be no multies. And because players can own storage, mules will also be irrelevant.
Furthermore, monsters do not drop items or gold, only mats for crafting. The money system is closed to a degree. Using flavor reasons as an excuse, each player enters the game with an amount of gold. The gold supply is based on player population. Inactives will have their gold distributed evenly across all the players maybe every month as a divine blessing type event. This method is used to try and control inflation and remove the problems from a faucet/drain style economy. It has its own problems I'm sure, but thats what beta testing is for.
The reason you might use all the 4 classes above in making a nice sword is because multiple professions can be used to enhance one item. Alchemists can use potions to refine materials. Magic can refine them also, and the same to some degree for metal/wood workers. Alchemists and wizards/sorcerers/enchanters can also align the matrix, which allows lower level gear to hold more powerful enchantments. Alchemists cannot add spells per say only apply potions for effects, such as poison, acid, and so forth. Enchanters can add effects permanently, and they are added by inscribing words on an item. Each item type has a certain amount of space for this engraving. This space can be inreased by isncribing the words with acid(alchemists) or magic(wizards/sorcerers), and higher level metal working skills because obviously you can practice to learn to write small and clear. The refinement of a scribing allows a more powerful version to be used, where as the size means more possible inscriptions. Enchanters can imbue these inscriptions with power but cannot add temporary buffs. Wizards and sorcerers can cast temporary buffs on items, but not permanent ones that enchanters can do.
So weapons can be physically well made, have an aligned matrix, have more or better enchantments, and have buffs. Their edges can be sharpened with alchemical acids beyond what physical crafters can do. They can be poisoned and have weaker acids that damage people but not metal. Magic bufs and potion effects are temporary. Crafting work and enchantments are permanent. There may or may not be gem or rare metal additions to items like a crytal or emerald hilt stone, which can add more enchantments. The reason inscription quality is separate from enchantment quality is because you can reinchant items to be more powerful as your enchanter levels up, as long as the inscription level is high enough. You can also change the enchantments on weapons as long as you have access to enchanting or another player to do it.
Of course alchemists can also use potions directly, lke tossing flamable things, poisons, or corrosives on enemies/monsters. And wizards/sorcerers can use their magic in the standard spell casting way. Essentially crafting is cross professional, although you don't have to, and each profession also has skills to make them viable in combat.
Spells and enchantments and traps with or without potions may or may not be usable to defend buildings to help in defense if you are offline.
The goal of the crafting system is to force players to work together, and to work with people with different specializations. You can do it all yourself, but likely your items wont be as good unless you play a lot more.
Magic is an economic resource as well, as players who want to be mages must either explore the world for ruins to find new words of power to forge spells, or purchase a grimoire from another player. Grimoires contain spells but don't give away the nature of the words of power, which have to be sold separately, this allows a wizard to hoard his knowledge of words of power. After all if buying a grimoire gave you the words, you could make your own and put him out of business.
Now I know a lot of people despise complexity in games, and in many cases even real depth. Some players just hate crafting period. That is what WoW is for.
Some people might say that you can't balance such a complex system, I disagree but obviously we won't know until I try.
I guess now that you understand the system more or less, if any of you are crafters, does it interest you? I have written code to make an alchemy rpg simulator, this code can be changed only slightly to add the other resources and item types. What I am trying to figure out is, is there a playerbase out there for this kind of game? Why spend years making it if there is no audience.