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I've just been having a look over on testlive, and crafted items are now much more useful. Default crafted items now rank somewhere between world drop blues and dungeon blues. The "City" recipes are a bit better, and Culture recipes are better yet, with culture items being near to raid items in power. So there is now definitely a place for crafters to have a shot at making good money, as long as they can get the recipes of course. The most profitable would probably be armoursmithing, followed by weaponsmithing.
As far as the gemcrafting system, it's changed significantly, but I'm still not sure how much depth it actually offers. Each crafted item now has either 1 or 2 coloured slots. One can only put into the socket gems which are of the same colour as the socket.
Each gem colour plays a different role now, for example, blue has many mage-oriented benefits plus the abilities to resist same. Green is focussed on melee dps roles, particularly on the assassin or the ranger, and white is defensive, so is ideal for a tanking role. There are some strange inclusions in colours (e.g. + combat rating (electrical) in green), but these may be errors.
Gem cuts are no longer random, and you can rely on what you're going to get. Whilst the colour of the gem determines the effect type, the level of the item determines how powerful the effect of the gem will be. E.g. socketing a white gem with the effect of increasing protection vs elemental stuff into a L80 item will make that gem offer much more protection than if socketed into a L60.
The system seems intended to allow people to have some choice, although this is constrained as to type, as well as by the fact that there are now a lot less slots to play with.
Sadly, I have no idea how it compares to LoTRO.