The action in the game is going to be tick-based and text-based, but there will be a graphical representation of the sector of map that you are in showing the basic positions of you, other entities, items etc...
I want the game to look like you are in a control room, looking at a radar representation of what is going on.
I want the items to be attribute based, so for example, you might have a collection of sticks that you have pulled off a tree. One might have a sharpness of 87% another might have a sharpness of only 4%. You wouldn't be able to use sticks with a sharpness of less than, say, 30% as tent pegs, but you would need sticks of a sharpness of at least 70% to use them as eating utensils.
This way, the crafting will hopefully have a lot of depth. Using a rock to bang a stake in the ground might reduce the weight or strength attribute of the rock etc...
It would be interesting to see how players would use this from an emergent gameplay point of view. One famous example is Minecraft, YouTube is choc-full of videos showing how to make different player-designed mob traps - so hopefully, by giving the players some sandbox elements, and a robust crafting system, the game items will design and evolve themselves in some way.
To this end, short of basic elements like trees and leaves, I want to keep the number of non-player-made items to a minimum. The whole architecture of the game is up to the gamers, if this happened, the players might even form an online civil society (they won't).
Good suggestions everyone.