Trade Skills have always been an important part of MMORPGs. Most games tie them into combat though, and the higher end boss drops are usually more desirable than crafted items. Throw in the auction system and increasing those crafting skills is often just an unnecessary time sink. Many level based titles also tie combat levels into crafting levels, and then restrict how many trade skills you can have on a single character.
A goal of ours from the very beginning was to provide the opportunity for crafters to be productive, without forcing them into combat roles. Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies (pre-CU), and Vanguard are great examples of this. Players were able to exist completely as a crafter, harvesting their own materials and then using them to create things. We have designed our system in a mold similar to those games. If players do not wish to partake in combat, they can still be a successful crafter.
We have our next feature video available taking a look into the Crafting System and the present state of implementation for Alpha testing. The video mostly covers the ins and outs of how a recipe works and how a filter ingredient can be used to change the outcome of a particular recipe. Toward the end of the video we briefly cover the species extraction system for producing "loot" from dead creatures to be used in the crafting system.