Okay, so while I like the current crafting system, there are a lot of ways to improve the current system.
One way, is to remove the store listing. Instead, you turn in anomalous data to Romaine, or whomever. And she'll say, "Hmm, very interesting..." or something along those lines, something technobabbly. Then, she may ask for, a common shield, or weapon, or something, and boom, you get your green item back. In addition, each time you repeat a recipe(since you can't see it), vary whats needed a bit randomly, make it somewhat unpredictable. In addition, slowly, if you grind a recipe many times, the resource costs should go down.
Then, as you unlock the next tier(include a notification!), the same process happens, but more specialized. Each researcher will say, "Oh, I'd like to see some mutagenic particles" for example, to help guide the players.
Finally, when you are Commander rank(or have a Commander rank BO), you can help "study" the data, and based on your skills, abilities, career, you can create items unique to what your build is.
These are some ideas I have for implementing crafting and craft-like tasks. I went with a primarily simplified form of crafting, an extension of the crafting already available at Memory Alpha. I have played with and enjoyed more complicated crafting in other MMOs, but I don't feel that that type of crafting gameplay has much of a Star Trek feeling to it. I have tried to come up with ideas that add crafting while still remaining Star Trek.
To extend the existing crafting, new resources are needed. These would be a physical version of the data that is collected at anomalies, and could be grouped in a similar way. You can have the physical elements of iron, copper, and nickel; the noble gases of helium, neon, and argon; The precious metals of silver, gold, and platinum; The radioactive ones of thorium, uranium, and plutonium. Many of these can be changed to items that are more Trek, such as having Dilithium crystals and including metals that have appeared in Trek lore.
The appearance and collection of these nodes would work in the same way as spatial anomalies. The frequency and quality can simply be an exact duplicate of the existing anomaly formulas, and collection of these can also work in the same manner. Approach close enough and a tractor beam is used to collect the resource while in space, and while on the surface, a tricorder can be used to scan the resource and mark it for transport up to the ship.
The most Trek way to create items with the raw materials would be to use the Replicator. A new tab can be added to the existing window to create new items. Each item would require a combination of raw materials as well as cost some energy credits to cover the cost of reprocessing the raw materials. An alternative to this would be to require going to a Starbase and performing the crafting there instead of having it available aboard the starship.
It would be possible to manufacture all the basic equipment through this. Starfleet ships can come pre-equipped with the knowledge needed to make the phasers and shields that are standard equipment, as well as deflectors, consoles, and propulsion devices. Starfleet ships would also be able to produce the phaser rifles and personal shields that are common place. Klingon ships would be able to make disruptors instead of phasers.
The grade of equipment available to be produced is based on the rank of the captain. As player's are promoted through the ranks, Starfleet will authorize their replicators to produce higher grades of weaponry, as well as authorize them for producing more exotic weapons.
It would also be possible to create uncommon (green) versions of the weapons using upgrade chips (see Extending Memory Alpha). These upgrade chips would appear as a requirement in addition to the resources for producing that item.
Extending Memory Alpha
Extending Memory Alpha would involve adding more NPCs and a wider variety of items that can be produced from the raw data. One of the items that would be manufactured are upgrade chips. These upgrade chips would have the same, or greater, cost as upgrading a weapon, but would not need the weapon at first to be upgraded. Instead, a chip would be produced that could be used later at the replicator to create an uncommon weapon. This would be the alternative to creating a basic weapon at the replicator, and then traveling all the way to Memory Alpha to upgrade it. This allows the player to spend the same resources, but have the upgrade in advance.
Another set of items that can be produced are uncommon weapon instruction datachips. Replicators would initially be limited to producing the equipment that is standard for their faction: phasers for Starfleet, disruptors for the Klingons. To produce a wider variety of equipment, as well as some of the less common equipment, it would be necessary to acquire instruction datachips (recipes) that would be uploaded to the replicators to produce the equipment. These datachips would allow players to upgrade their replicators to produce the more exotic weapons, such as tachyon based weaponry.
Memory Alpha can also be used to assist in training Bridge Officers. By taking the data collected, they can be turned into training chips. Captains who have the ability to train a skill can record that trained skill into the training chip. That training chip can then be given or sold to another player to be used in training a bridge officer. Once used, the training chip is lost. This enables and simplifies the process of a player being able to train someone else's bridge officer, and increases the value of skill points spent in the appropriate skill. It does, however, also complicate the matter of skill point resets greatly.
The raw materials can also be used to produce the commodities. This would make it possible for Captains to complete Planetary Aid missions without returning to Federation space to purchase the commodities. It could be made so that the raw materials required to fill out such a request would make it unlikely a Captain could perform this more than a few times before needing to spend a lot of time collecting more raw materials. Otherwise, it would make Aid missions too fast & easy for accumulating skill points.
I'd rather see "crafting" removed from Memory Alpha altogether. It is certainly highly canon that on-ship engineers and scientists designed and manufactured any number of devices or modified devices to solve specific problems. Clearly, novel and modified items can and are produced on ships in the canon. Why not just make all this guff happen on your own ship instead of having to run back to one spot to do everything?
good idea, memory alpha is a pain in the back side to get to the next rank, doesn't feel very well thought out, currently working on the next stage of equipment (and dreading at the same time), could really do with some kind of xp bar style thing, to see how far to go, and how big a jump handing in, each different type of item gives, towards the next vendor.
this is not how i envisioned memory alpha to be, in my opinion it needs ripping to shreds and starting from the ground up to make a proper or atleast more well thought through crafting system.
in the slim chance of change of that magnitude happening, id suggest possibly are making 3 different types of crafting, maybe based on the class we orriginally chose. engineering/science/tactical
for each class, craft upgradable or completely new original types of consoles, or even parts for weapons
i.e. engineer crafts something like plasma relays so a tactical officer can create a phaser weapons, or a scientist creates a new type of warp plasma enabling an engineer to craft a new impulse drive.
something like that, just off the bat anyway. certainly hope for more cool ideas and maybe a dev taking a look into it in the near future.