Rethinking Crafting and Dilithium - my stab at constructive criticism of something I hate (dilithium in crafting) into something more acceptable
Crafting has never been all that great in STO, and the recent simple tacking on of Dilithium to high end items is simply offensive given that we are already grinding anomalies which takes more time than it does to simply grind the dilithium to buy an item outright from a vendor. This also simply breaks fleet community crafting.
Here is a rethink of the crafting system to make it both far more interesting with increased complexity instead of being a modified vendor system and also add in both energy credit and dilithium sinks. (With thanks to Nikola_Tesla and Irish_Darkshadow from whom I cribbed or based several of these ideas from)
My energy credit vs dilithium values are set at 1 dilithium = 100 energy credits for simplicity as an example, not because of their actual relative values.
Having crafting only available on Memory Alpha is too limiting, but I'm opposed to having it be ship based. I think that all social zones should have a crafting area near the bank and exchange. Crafting at Memory Alpha might result in a schematics cost discount so that the location doesn't become useless and abandoned.
All gear is available in all quality levels. When you buy schematics you pay various amounts of energy credits for uncommon (10,000 credits), rare (100,000 credits), and very rare (250,000 credits) schematics. This adds a badly needed energy credit sink into the game. Schematics could also be available for dilithium instead (100, 1000, 2500). Increasing the cost is a good thing, there are simply too many very rare items floating around at commonly affordable prices and this is a better way of increasing cost to craft than making people spend many more hours grinding anomalies in the horrible genesis missions.
When getting their schematic, crafters should have the option of whether to make items bound on equip (no discount), bound to account - so they can mail it to themselves or use a future account-wide bank - (10% discount), or bound to character (25% discount). The "bound" discounts would encourage people to learn and become interested in the crafting systems themselves instead of just relying on fleet crafters.
Risk and Insurance
Add risk to crafting. Failure should not be common - happen less than 10% of the time, but if you do fail you should risk your schematic being downgraded one notch and/or losing up to 25% of your resources.. There should be varying degrees of failure. Loss of common anomalies is generally acceptable for the most common failures (base 10% of attempts), loss of rare particle traces or downgrading schematics should be rare (base 1% of attempts). Failure should also result in the gain of knowledge - or an increase in R&D lab skill, which reduces the risk of future failure.
Add insurance to crafting, insurance is non-refundable. If you insure your crafted item with energy credits (1000 energy credits per tier * rarity being crafted) you guarantee that in the event of failure your schematic is not degraded nor rare particle traces lost. If you insure your crafted item with dilithium (a modest amount such as 100 dilithium per tier * rarity being crafted) Dilithium insurance would ensure that no loss of resources occurs in the event of failure. The cost of insurance could also be reduced/mitigated based on a players R&D lab skill.
Example insurance for a rare MK III item would cost 3x2=6000 credits or 60 dilithium, insurance for a MK XII very rare would be 12x3=36,000 energy credits or 360 dilithium.
DOFFs and R&D labs
Have uncommon and rare DOFFs staff R&D labs on your ships - in addition to the other parts of the ship they can staff. The better your DOFFs are or the better your combination of DOFF abilities are the better your R&D skill is - in addition to other ways to earn R&D lab skill such as learning via crafting and reverse engineering.
Improved R&D skill would modify the risk of failure when crafting an item and would rarely result in your producing an item with a quality level greater than the schematic your purchased. The additional attribute would be randomly issued and this surprise reward would never apply to crafting very rare items as they already have the maximum of three attributes.
Instead of having massive lists of predefined items of great variety to craft reduce it to a handful of drop-down boxes with 1, 2, or 3 attribute drop-down boxes available depending on what quality schematic you are using. All available attributes should be available in each drop-down list to maximize flexibility and open up experimentation by the crafting community.
 It could be restricted that you could only use up to two of the same attribute, with an unlock-able very rare ability to use 3 of the same attribute via reverse engineering.
All looted items - except unique items issued by missions - should be able to be reverse engineered. Reverse engineering should always result in a handful of common anomalies, uncommonly result in rare particle traces or uncommon schematics, rarely result in rare schematics, and very rarely result in very rare schematics. Reverse engineering should also result in earning R&D skill of varying amounts depending on the quality of items returned.
 An enhancement of the crafting interface and reverse engineering would be that you start with a limited set of attributes that you already know, and you gain new attribute options via reverse engineering loot that includes attributes you don't already know. If you reverse engineer uncommon loot you only have a very rare chance to learn the new attribute, if you do this on rare loot you have a rare chance to learn the attribute, if you do this on very rare loot you have a merely uncommon chance to learn this. In addition to simply learning an attribute, when reverse engineering very rare loot you gain a chance to unlock an ability to use 3 of an attribute when crafting.
That actually makes good sense. Basic schematics are already available for an EC cost, and by revamping the system with the addition of higher quality schematics for additional EC or Dilithium, rather than simply tacking on dilithium to recipes seems like it'd be less of a headache for everyone. I also like the idea of being able to choose the effects a piece of gear will have based on the schematic, however, I'm not so sure about having a failure chance added. I don't know of any MMO that has that kind of system implemented, though i see it in several Single Player RPGs. One thing I'm curious about is if a reverse-engineering mechanic were implemented, wouldn't it be more interesting to be able to earn added effects from items that have them, rather than have the effects available from the start?
When the two people I referenced introduced the concept of failure and insurance to me I had a negative gut reaction to it myself. However, after mulling over the idea for a while it grew on me and added another level of interest/complexity for me and turned it into less of a simplistic vendor like system that simply uses anomalies as currency.
A possible twist to the reverse engineering - though would probably require more server resources than Cryptic is comfortable with (given that is a known pain point for them) would be to have crafting start with a limited base number of attributes and have the additional attributes learned via reverse engineering.... I'm editing my original post to include this idea.
I like this. Cryptic wants to get dilithium involved in crafting somehow, and attaching the cost to high-quality schematics seems to be a reasonable route. It allows for other, more difficult means to get schematics, but the dilithium prices are weights so that it is "easier" to use dilithium instead of drops, reverse engineering or energy credits.
I think the failure ideas as proposed need some more ironing out. I feel insurance can be dropped entirely; risk is risk.
Overall, this is better as-is than what's in the game now.
I like some of the concepts from the OP. But the question that Cryptic tried to answer is how to make crafting harder and take longer? While these ideas do allow for complexity in the crafted object, they don't really help with the individuals that already have a ton of EC and could flood the market with those crafted items, gaining even more EC, and the cycle repeats.
The OP's ideas need to have a time component, or another step to accomplish, prior to crafting the gear.
Maybe a combination of this and Katic's time sinks? However, I would still like to incorporate the crafting system into the Doff system as it would make more sense that your crew is doing the 'crafting' than a captain.
Some really good thought went into this. I am inclined to agree with BDS. Katic's time sinks would help. Still this goes a long way toward making crafting less of another kind of courency and more skill based.
I really like how you start with a given set if skills that you can expand by way of reverse engineering. Would be nice if the starting crafting skills were flavored by your toon's chosen career.
On risk and insrance: I played World of Kungfu, one of those free Asian MMOs, which had a similar system and it added a touch of complexity to the crafting process. There the more crafting experience you had the lower the risk. It even put the name of the crafter on the item so you could foster repeat business on their exchange. The economy of that game was just about the best part.
Some real good ideas here and Crypic sould do itself justice by adding the needed tech to increase the data base so that thet could impliment something like it.
I had considered adding a time sink in the form that various quality levels of items would take time to craft and deliver/mail you the result from the factory, I ended up not including that in my proposal because the grinding of resources to perform the crafting itself is enough of a time sink in my opinion.
BDS, yes there are rich dudes like me with many millions of EC and toons that will collectively convert to well over a million dilithium, but if you aim crafting prices towards that crowd you price crafting out of reach of the majority. Do you have a link to "katic's time sinks" for me to take a look at how that person approaches the problem? As for your point that it doesn't make sense for your captain to be doing the crafting personally I fully agree. It could be better presented as your ship delivering the raw materials then getting shipped the end product from a factory.
I have another set of fleshed out crafting ideas for use once there is territory control and fleet starbases, but I'm only putting forward the ideas in this thread that don't depend on major updates in how other parts of the game work.
Or you can just do timers like Kirian_Darkstar suggests, by having flat timers on the gear itself based on quality.
Originally Posted by kirian_darkstar
So basically, Anomalies became "easier" to acquire thanks to Doffs, so Dilithium was injected into crafting to slow it back down?
Couldn't a simple "timer" been added instead to crafting instead based on Mark level?
No mark: 5 sec
Mark I : 10 sec
Mark II: 20 sec
Mark III: 40 sec
Mark IV: 180 sec =1 1/2 minute
Mark V: 360 sec = 3 minutes
Mark VI: 6 minutes
Mark VII: 12 minutes
Mark VIII: 24 minutes
Mark IX: 48 Minutes
Mark X 96 minutes = I hour 36 minutes
mark XI: 192 minutes = 3 hours 12 minutes
Then Rarity multiples that base time:
Very Rare x8
So a Very Rare Mark XI item would take 25 hours 36 minutes.
And like the Doff system, once you start a build going, you can leave and do other things.
If you absolutely HAD to put Dilithium in there, make it eliminate the build time back down to the 10 second mark, and it had to be paid at the start.
In both of these suggestions, the timers continue to work even when offline. So the casual gameplayer can still keep up with the hardcore ones.
I posted this in another thread but I am curious as to you guy's thoughts on this:
... they should make it where crafters craft items that wont drop. Lets say items that drop from missions are only greens and single modifier items (like, maybe you get an ACC or DMG boost). But crafters can craft items that have two or three modifiers'. The items they craft do not drop. The items you buy from the vendors are odd number commons and maybe the light blues with a single bonus modifier. This way crafters are not competing with drops or the vendors.
Take off the damn dilithium, increase the number of anomalies, types of anomalies, traces, maybe make other items additionally needed components (a cannon needs a schematic, dual cannons need a schematic and two cannons, dual heavy cannons need two dual cannons and a schematic).