I have always wondered why crafting is the same?
I have thought that there should be some trial and error and even a randomness.
So you want to make a knife. As mentioned above, perhaps you learn from another, perhaps you quest to learn it, or perhaps you buy (ingame currency) a recipe. Or all the above. But the recipe is for the core item.
So in this example, a knife. You need 2 flint, 1 leather, 1 twine. 3 core ingredients and it makes a simple stone knife.
But the recipe has 2 other slots available. What could those ingredients be?
A color option? A jewel option? A skill option (ie throwable, or length etc).
So this take the dying or coloring of gear out of the individual player and puts it in the crafters hand. Hey, I do not buy a beautiful shirt and go home and dye it.
But play it forward… that knife recipe. Thats it. There is only the one recipe.
What if I use iron instead of flint? What if I use steel instead of iron? What if I use 10 instead of 2?
The self discovery could be amazing.
Now the reality. Some player will decipher the variables in no time. How the developer can make it ever changing is via the rarity of core ingredients and or the rarity of a 6 slot recipe etc.
You can definitely make this more complicated, or less complicated.
Less complicated, the metal or core ingredient always goes in slot 1….
More complicated, what if you use the core ingredient last? Hmmmm….
I can kind of feel a crafting developer bashing their head on their keyboard thinking about the numbers. I think it be fun to build that one out. Just a big unknown puzzle.