Here's my thoughts on this matter.
Yes, let crafting take place in the field. If you really feel you need to add a penalty for doing so, make it take take longer to make than it would to make it in town, where you have all the proper tools you need for the job.
As to the other topic going on in this thread, I think Kachi pretty much summed up my feelings toward the issue with this:
So yeah, I think I prefer a system that requires a little more effort and involvement.
But, is a minigame the best way to remedy that? I mean, sure i think it'd be fun.....for the first hour. It'll probably feel like a chore after a while.
Allow crafters to prioritize which aspects to focus on when making a particular weapon/armor.
Weapons: Speed Attack Power Accuracy Durability
Armor: Defense Stamina/HP/Vit(Assuming the "no exp" system, it's most likely that your HP pool is tied to your armor somehow) Elemental Resistance Durability
With this system, you have a more involved method of making an item, but if you choose to just churn out gear for points, it's as simple as checking a "Create All" box after your initial choice. Or even better, allow the crafter to save templates on how they create items.
Want more depth? Add a crystal! And not like FFXI where you needed a specific crystal to even craft the item. What i'm thinking of is something like adding a crystal infuses the item with special properties. Whether you should only allow this to be done in town or not, well I'll leave that to you.
Example, Leeroy just made Breastplate using an Earth Crystal, giving it a small chance to gain "stoneskin" when taking damage. He makes the same Breastplate, this time using a Wind Crystal, and gets a "blink" effect instead. But, this will make it too hard to search for gear in the AH.
Not really, You could add a Prefix and a Suffix to the base name of the item to indicate what kind of enhancements are on it. Say the item (let's say the breastplate again, because i like that word) focuses on elemental resistance, with an earth crystal infused in it. It's now called Spellwarding Breastplate of the Mountain
or a weapon that focuses on speed (using no crystal) is called Swift <weapon name>
, using no suffix.
All one would need to do is search for the base item's name, and if the AH permits, use a filter function to search for specific enhancements. Simple.
To summarize: keep the mechanics simple enough, but give it more depth than a point-and-click factory line.