The crafting ideas clearly aren't 5 minute fixes, but also nothing as complex as creating entirely new level systems or 'uber' missions.
What motivation do I have for bothering with this? Well, I just tried 1.0.5 after about 6 weeks off. Found some hints of improvements even for me, a pretty casual player by any standards. Before trying 1.0.5, I was thoroughly bored and frustrated by the lack of interesting things to do. So, I'd like to think there is hope. At the same time, there could be so much more to the game...
A quick comment on general gameplay philosophy before going into the thread topic-
IMO, sustained interest in a game like this comes from:
Complexity- there need to be many different options for developing a character. D3 currently has basically one- farming to buy on the AH. Nothing else is remotely competitive in terms of time spent. (Bug or feature? I realize this may be completely intentional. No one needs to post that comment for the 3 millionth time...)
Sense of progress- having paths and strategies available that reward planning and thinking ahead. Being able to control the development path rather than just be herded to the only viable option.
Loot lust- Having interest in items that help along the way, rather than just high-end unobtainables until characters are well into Inferno. There is a huge dead zone for items before level 60, and even after 60, only a small selection of stuff worth getting. Everything else isn't just trash, it's litter on the ground with such vanishingly small chances of not being trash that it may as well not exist.
With that in mind, Recrafting Crafting.
Crafting currently has no complexity. No sense of progress or development. No control. No loot lust. Thus, it's really dull, basically useless, and one of many dead zones in the game.
Here are 3 basic proposals to change this- some of the ideas are original, others are probably stolen from other threads that are now buried 5000 pages down in GD. Thanks to anyone I'm unknowingly cribbing from.
1) Crafting recipes.
Recipes need to drop as loot right from the start of the game, for all different item types. Having them as pre-sets that become enabled as the Blacksmith levels up offers no complexity, no sense of progress, no control. (Yes, I realize recipes can exist as loot. I also know that 75% of the way through Hell, I have yet to see one drop. They clearly aren't part of any viable strategy for development.) Allow variations and upgrades of basic recipes- complexity is good. See below. Sure, make them tradeable on the AH. If not immediately, then in a follow-on patch.
2) Crafting components.
Use whites/blues as base items. Want to craft better armor? OK- go find some to start with.
Use various other items (gems, etc.) to improve the outcome of the crafting recipe. Want a better crafting outcome? OK- find the stuff that improves the recipe.
Immediately, this gives at least a little more sense of purpose to farming grinds. Some hope for developing on your own. Some control, at least if done well. Complex little informal side missions will develop organically if players see a point to them. The need to get the right set of recipes, items, improvement consumables etc. creates a little loot lust. What's more, it gives at least a minimal excuse for the white/blue litter laying around. Why not bring that dead zone in the game back to life while we're at it.
Tons of variations on this could be implemented- I'll leave it as a thread expansion topic, but here are a couple that fit the complexity, development, control, and loot lust themes, IMO:
a) Option to retain blue affix(es?) from the base item in the final crafted item. At a price, of course. Maybe a nice gem or two gets consumed in the process. Maybe crafting gets more expensive. Many possibilities.
b) Item upgrade during crafting. Instead of the base item crown, maybe you want a higher ILVL Basinet or Great Helm to be crafted. Add the right consumables to the crafting job, and you can do it. Maybe some gems. Maybe consuming a higher ILVL rare that gets transmuted into the new item. Many possibilies.
3) Crafting ILVL.
The current system in which item ILVL is dictated by Blacksmith lvl and pre-set recipes is dull. The fact that it is frequently impossible to craft items with ILVL above your character level takes any incentive out of it. (Lack of the right kind of tome, etc.)
Changing this immediately adds some control, development potential, and loot lust into the system: if you've assembled the items, components, and recipes, you should be able to craft nice items with the intention of using them once you level up. Alternately, you can make nicer stuff to sell. Whatever strategies develop. Complexity is good.
I'm sure there are lots of variations and improvements to these ideas.
I'm also sure that mentally challenged fanbois, AH flippers, and general trolls will miss the forest for the trees, nitpick, and generally derail whatever follow-ons this thread generates. By all means, have at it. I've done my small share of snarking, trolling, and playing the forums- it can be fun. Please have a little self respect and be creative, though. Try not to bore the rest of us to death.
On the other hand, constructive additions and criticisms would be good too. Any signs of interest in something potentially relevant to gameplay and game improvement by the CM crowd would shock me and break the single most iron-clad precedent for their involvement on these threads, but we can all hope.