People don't AH worthless drops, they NPC them. You're gaining the same "inflation" (aka, none at all as long as there are appropriate sinks) as if each "earth crystal" instead directly dropped 15 gil (or w/e it was), w/o all the inventory waste, running around, system abuse, general stupidity, excess coding, etc.
You could replace all the junk item drops with gil drops, but you wouldn't be any further ahead. Those items were worthless for a reason: they were too common and too easily obtained. The market would demand that any amount of gil dropped in their place would be equally worthless, and if the devs didn't choose an appropriately low amount from the start, the prices of items would quickly raise to compensate. So now you're getting junk gil instead of junk items, which saves you a trip to the auction house (cutting out yet another inter-player interaction -- why do people want to do that?) at the cost of steady inflation.
Alright, if all you want is 15 gil to drop from mobs, I guess it's not going to harm anything. I just have no idea what the point is -- we seem to be agreed that meaningful amounts of money can't drop from monsters, so it's not like this is going to make getting cash any easier. And those cheap crafting drops still have to come from somewhere.
That said, general gear progression in endgame can follow an evolutionary scale. Let's just use the Haubergeon, for example. In XI it can get crafted up to a Hauberk, and then the Adaman Hauberk if you also happen upon the abjuration. They could repeat this with crafts, even having ingredients come from HNMs or whatever, or the equipment itself could be the catalyst for a Leve that gets you to the next tier. Losing shouldn't ***** you out of your item, but the higher up you go, the harder you should expect the content to become.
I think I like this idea. In a game like WoW, I hear complaints that because they're always adding better items, the old items and the old content required to get it become useless. FFXI tried to get around this by focusing on sideways instead of upward growth on its endgame items. That must have worked reasonably well, since I think people are still fighting every day to obtain both the new and old items (and it probably encouraged the devs to come up with more creative enhancements than just +52 damage instead of +50), but it didn't exactly make for really exciting new additions with each update. Adding new items that must be upgraded from the old ones avoids both problems.
The bottom line is that in general, getting a lot of gil isn't fun. However you go about doing it, it's extremely tedious. Frankly, I would rather have gear be more common than be inaccessible, and if it's going to be really rare, it should be because it requires insane skill, not a level of dedication that's plainly not fun.
Nobody levels a craft to 100 just as a chore to pay for their other activities. When you're looking at that kind of time commitment, you need something more.
There are whole communities of people who are interested in nothing else but crafting and gathering. Enough of them exist that SE is creating entire dedicated crafting/gathering jobs in this game. Clearly there are a lot of people who think the work of earning gil is fun.
Is the only point of playing to get gear? I think if you're only playing to get gear, and not having fun, you should just stop playing. See, I thought the point of the game was to have fun, not to mindlessly and tediously progress your character so that you can "reach your goal."
I'm probably just going to retread the last long-*** argument we had about this, but what the ****.
If you have no interest in gradually progressing to reach a goal, you are so playing the wrong kind of game. Incremental upgrades are literally the defining feature of the RPG genre. There is nothing else! If you freely explore a big world and chat with NPCs, you might have an RPG or you might have an adventure game. If you've got strategic, menu-based combat, you might have an RPG or you might have a tactical game. If you've got a complex story, you might have an RPG or you might have just about any game these days. But if a big part of the game is working to get a new shield and training to upgrade your clobbering skill to level 24, you've got yourself an RPG.
There are a million genres out there that you could be playing if all you want is to jump in and out for some day-to-day fun with no lasting progress. If you still want the persistent world and social aspects, you might try something like All Points Bulletin.
Now of course I agree that the activities that make up the "grind" -- fighting, crafting, fishing, or whatever -- should themselves be fun. And sometimes they weren't in FFXI. But saying you want to cut out the grind altogether is like saying you want to play Tetris without all those **** blocks in the way.
If you've played action games and shooters and all that and still keep coming back to RPGs, then I think you enjoy the "tedium" of working towards a goal much more than you're aware.
Edited, Oct 11th 2009 3:59pm by Borkachev