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I'm not in the beta, but crafting is going to be a lot more common in D3. This is because crafting requires materials that drop, as well as you get from salvaging them in the Nephalem Cube I think.
You craft at an artisan, who has a bunch of recipes listed. You can increase the numberof recipes the artisan has by leveling up your artisan through Pages of Training drops.
The main thing is it has moved from the Horadric Cube to the Blacksmith/Mystic/Jeweller.
If you want more details look at the Diablo 3 items pages, as well as YouTube videos.
In Diablo 2 you "crafted" using the Horadric Cube to combine an item type with the other required items to achieve a new version of that item type with one fixed abilitiy and additional random abilities. The item type remained the same, but a number of different base item types could be used for each crafting plan.
In Diablo 3 you train up your Artisans to teach them new plans. You then ask them to use your materials (including gold) and follow a chosen plan the Artisan knows to craft a specified item, again with one or more fixed abilities and one or more extra abilities. Only one item type is involved. The Blacksmith is available shortly after you start the game, much sooner than you could craft in Diablo 2, and the initial materials are easy enough to come by that crafting immediately becomes a major source of gear. I find this a more satisfactory means of crafting.
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