Using the above example as a guide I would be interested in other “crafting” professions can people think of that could work in a similar vein
Not exactly breeding based, but something different.
Have you played world of goo?
Imagine crafting a sword with goo balls. You are given a frame (walls enclosing a sword frame?). It will be put to certain tests (particulary tests for hardness and durability), and the results of these tests will determine the stats of the sword.
A crafter will have to gain profficiency crafting a type of item. The higher his level in crafting that type of item, the more/better goo balls he has at his disposal. Still it is up to the player to actually craft a good design, and it can't be copied, meaning every single sword will have to be handcrafted in this way.
The best designs will be available on the net, but there would still be minor variations. An unusually good result would sell for a lot. It's also possible to make the best designs quite difficult to accomplish, so that many might decide to use a suboptimal design which has a higher chance of actually producing something useful, so that they won't waste expensive raw materials.
For swords, I see general types of swords. sword, long sword, two-hander, dagge
r (can be many more). Each of these types will have their own frame. Additionaly they will be subdivided into group of materials used. This could be wood, iron, obsidian or steel swords. When creating an iron sword, you will be able to use your iron (in the form of goo balls) to craft your iron sword. The higher level the crafter is, the more goo balls can max be used (and pherhaps some other stuff).
Items with cheap materials (wood), could be given a frame with walls, acting as a very good support structure. Items with good materials could get a gradually poorer support structure. However, you also gain means to help your structure. It could be baloons, keeping your structure from falling, or goo balls (materials) which is meant for building your own support structure (probably much cheaper than the actual materials used in the sword).
A score could be given to the final product, and they could be named "fine iron sword"
, "dull iron sword"
and so on. You could also give an iron sword, a slightly different graphical appearance based on it's quality.
I've thought of possible mini games for crafting before without coming up with something very good, but I believe this world of goo mixed with crafting has good potential.