This post is about the world section of gameplay.
The World: The world will consist of a variety of zones containing monsters, NPCs and other challenges. Each zone will allow gathering of resources, marking of claims, and other activities. Higher level zones will allow for higher level crafting materials. Zones will also contain bosses that can be fought, each boss having specific crafting drops.
Loot: Loot will not drop in the traditional sense. Everything that drops will be a crafting component of some sort or in-game currency. I do not want anything that is useless in this game, so vendor trash isn't going to be in it (it serves no purpose but filling bag space). Bosses will drop special crafting addons that will enhance weapons or armor to make that boss or later bosses easier to fight. Bosses can also drop "fun" items, like non-combat pets, appearance changing items, or quest items.
Rewards: Since I want all of the equipment used by players to be player made, there's the problem of quest rewards. I think these should be rare or even unique components or cosmetic changes to the character. For example, a high level quest may reward you with an attachment that makes your weapon glow or adds fire damage to an already existing weapon. Quest rewards should be useful, and worth finishing a quest, but also not unique crafting items (which would just be ground out and sold) or items (as everything should be crafted).
Skills: World skills are an interesting concept, and I think I will go into some detail about them. Skills in this game only increase if you use them. Example: If you dodge an attack, your dodge skill has a chance to increase slightly. If you gain enough skill increases to level your dodge skill, your dodge chance increases. If you hit someone with your sword, your sword skill increases. In addition to direct skills, like dodge, swords, armor use, etc, there are subsidiary skills that work with a variety of items. For example, accuracy would work with all aimed weapons, critical proficiency would work with all weapons, defensiveness would work with all armors (and even unarmored). The chance to increase these skills is less likely than a direct skill, but overall, they will level up and cushion the blow between changing weapons from one you use a lot to one you've never used. This skill type extends to gathering and crafting skills as well, so you may be great at mining, and that has built up your stamina or strength, which comes in handy when you start chopping wood. (your workers will have a similar, but simplified, system). As explained earlier, making longswords all day makes you good at metalworking, so when you want to start making axes, you have some skill at it.
Limitation on Activities: Most facebook games impose some limit on activities by limited energy or health or something....I do not want to impose any artificial limits on people. If they want to play 24 hours a day, I should let them, as it drives more ad revenue and encourages them to buy addons. I do think that there should be limits on fast travel, to help casual gamers keep up with more extreme ones. I don't think its a hindrance to the extreme gamers, but rather a boon to the casual ones.
Why have a world in a crafting game: In truth, its because there has to be something to do with all the items that are crafted. You make the items so that you can use them in the world (or so you can sell them to others who play in the world). The other reason is to expand the game's audience to a non-crafting player group as well.
How to keep the non-crafter's playing: This is a challenging point. The game's focus is crafting, and that is its primary concern. However, there needs to be a market for crafted items, and that market will be in the hands of those gamers who adventure into the world and use up the items that are crafted. The problem is, that if everything is crafted in the world, then there are no real reasons to kill bosses. The proposed loot I have thought of includes crafting components to make bigger and better weapons (krayt dragons in star wars galaxies dropped scales, pearls, and armor parts that made bigger and better weapons and armor). I also think that non-combat pets and cosmetic awards (or some sort of scoring mechanism) would keep people playing.
What if I included loot: I also think that including some looted items, that would be rarer and comparable to high end crafted items. Since all items will have a durability rating and be destroyed after consistent use, some loot drops would not harm the overall crafting market.