Ryzom has the best crafting, IMO.
It depends more on the player's skill and knowledge in experimenting to achieve the best combinations of various materials, ergo the best item stats, than on level. There is a balanced item durability/wear-out mechanic.
There are several categories of materials, and within each of those are several types, and for each type there are five grades: Basic, Fine, Choice, Excellent, and Supreme. Supreme materials' stats usually look good, but in practice they aren't always the best choice. Materials react to each other, resulting in unpredicted combination effects, so to bring out the best aspects of one material you may have to use other materials of types and grades you wouldn't have expected.
The ecosystem a material is harvested from, along with its grade, determines its colour; the amount and grades of the materials of a particular colour you use determine whether the resultant item will be that colour, or the colour of other materials you're using.
Materials also have a numeric "quality" from 1 to 250, but this only affects what numeric quality an item using them will be, which determines the maximum values of its stats and its equipping requirements.
For each craftable item there are three or four versions of the crafting plan: basic, "Medium Quality," and "High Quality," and some have an extra with a special visual effect. For example, a basic Matis two-handed sword is called Slathe, and it's brownish. A medium-quality one is called Modi-Slathe and is beige with patterned greenish highlights. A high-quality one is called Kara-Slathe and is silver. The special one is called Living Slathe and drips green poison. Despite the reference to quality in the names of these crafting plans, they don't directly affect the stats of items produced via them - that's still up to the player. They do however require progressively more materials, so with the high-quality and special plans the player has more room to toy with combinations of materials.
Ryzom's crafting is independent of combat in this way: Your combat levels have no effect on your crafting levels, so a crafter never needs to fight. On the other hand, a player can choose to do only combat, but they have to rely on items made by crafters because mobs only drop craftable materials, in general, and those very few that don't either drop specialised equipment of one particular type, keeping 99% of crafting unaffected, or their drops must be assembled by a crafter. NPC-sold items are total junk, and expensive at that. Quests only reward fame with tribes, races, and/or factions. Materials dropped by named creatures and bosses tend to be desirable, and drops from lesser creatures can also be useful, so even if a crafter doesn't fight, they may need to procure such materials from players who do. This creates a reciprocal dependence between crafters and fighters.
Though Ryzom's unlimited skill system allows players the freedom to do anything and everything, including being both master crafter and master fighter, crafting must be levelled through use just like any other skill. Therefore not everyone pursues it. Of those who do, fewer have obtained all the crafting plans and reached the level-250 max that lets them craft the highest numerical quality (to meet the needs of players with high-level skills) in multiple craft skill branches. Of those who've done that, even fewer have the player skill to become truly notable for creating not only great items, but items with whatever particular strengths the buyer requests.
The harvesting system, though on a separate skill tree, goes hand-in-hand with the crafting system and delivers its own complexities. Scattered around the world are "nodes" of material sources; the vast majority of these are hidden and must be brought to light by prospecting...
To explain what I'm about to say, I point out that Ryzom lets you customise your actions and spells with a system of "stanzas." You buy various action components from trainers with Skill Points garnered from gaining levels in corresponding skill trees, as well as action credits. Then you right-click on your hotkey bar and select Create New Action. Now you're faced with a window where you choose a basic template for your action, i.e. healing spell, melee attack, crafting, material extraction, prospecting, etc. After making that choice, you add actions to change the methods and effects, then add credits to pay off the total value of the actions by expending HP, MP (called "Sap" in Ryzom), stamina, or focus (a pool used only by harvesting and crafting). Or, in the case of spells, increasing casting time and/or diminishing spell range.
...Anyway, you can customise your prospecting to fit different situations or achieve different effects. Harvesting in the desert? Add a stanza that provides a bonus to your success rate in the desert. Want to see the names of the materials in a source before you go over to that source and start digging at it? Add the "Knowledge 1" stanza. Want to find Supreme materials but don't know exactly where to look? Add "Supreme Only" and "500m Tracking" to turn your prospecting into tracking that can lead you to the nearest active Supreme node within five hundred metres.
The availability of some materials is affected by season, weather, and time of day. In a given place you may find Choice Motega Wood most of the time, but on a clear night in autumn find Excellent and Supreme Motega Wood. Everywhere but in the underground caverns called the Prime Roots, which constitute one of the five ecosystems in Ryzom (the others are Desert, Forest, Jungle, and Lakelands), Basic, Fine, and Choice materials are always available, with Excellent and Supreme being the only ones subject to season/weather/time conditions. In the PR Choice is also subject.
While you extract/dig materials out of a source, you have some bars to look after:
- One represents the tolerance of the religious-factional nature entities called the Kami, who as self-proclaimed preservers of the planet, will kill harvesters who dig too aggressively for too long in a concentrated area. This used to actually happen sometimes to large groups of harvesters, but at some point the Kami tolerance was raised so it can hardly ever happen anymore.
- The amount of time left before the source disappears. This is about a minute by default, but can be raised if you use certain stanzas in your prospecting.
- The number of materials left in the source.
- Source life. If this bar reaches zero, the source disappears prematurely and there's a chance the node will be depleted prematurely as well. This brings us to the third type of harvesting action: Care Plan. One of the stanzas available to the careplan action template is Resource Preservation, which, when used, increases the source life bar.
- Source stability. If this reaches zero, the source either explodes, causing immediate damage, or releases a toxic cloud that causes damage over time. The careplan stanza Ground Stability increases this bar.
How severe explosions and toxic clouds are, how quickly certain bars decrease, etc. is affected by the source mode, which changes occasionally and is displayed in the system info window. Though you can't change the source mode, you can directly affect the same factors it affects by choosing the stanzas in your harvesting action wisely. To calm a volatile source, you can use a higher ratio of Gentle stanzas. To take advantage of an already-stable source, you can use a higher ratio of Harmful stanzas to get more materials faster for less Focus drainage. Alternatively, you can have another player careplan the sources you dig, so all you have to worry about is digging and you can do so more aggressively because the careplanning is now constant instead of intermittent. With a careplanner or two, you have more room to experiment with prospecting and harvesting stanzas to squeeze the most out of every source.
I've probably neglected some details, but this post is long enough and I'm done typing. xD