So, recently we seem to have had an explosion of discussion regarding crafting and the economy. Mark Jacobs really kicked it off in his recent series of Camelot Unchained principles, arguing "while this feature is quite popular... it has come at the cost of decreasing socialization between players and... increased sense of disconnection with the game as a world." He has promised us that Camelot Unchained will be a player economy driven game where crafting, not PVE adventuring, will determine the gear of the day.
Bill has also contributed to this discussion. In a preview of the Elder Scrolls Online, he theorized that crafting should (a) make players discover paths to finished goods, (b) drop leveling from the crafting system and (c) force interdependency in crafting. Garrett added to this in another TESO column, pointing out that (a) player vendors beat the heck out of auction houses and (b) theme park games cramp crafting because they (from necessity) preclude crafters making the best gear.
All of this comes on the heels of a Raph Koster blog last year which argued that letting players play out their fantasy of Intergalactic trader (in Star Wars Galaxies) mandated that no auction house could be present. In his view, even in a system with randomized resources, resource scarcity and significant variation in crafting quality outputs, is ruined in an auction house model since such a model "is a world optimized for the buyer."
[Note: both Raph Koster and Kruunch have some very well reasoned disagreements with me, you can find these in the comments to the first companion post]
So, with all that to digest, what's crafting and the economy going to look like in FFXIV:ARR? Well, Beta is right around the corner, so we'll get a closer idea very soon. However, with FFXIV, we have the advantage of a pre-existing product and some producer letters for the direction change, to help us clarify where some of this will go. In this column, I want to look at gear acquisition, crafting in general, and the FFXIV economic model.