Besides, fewer crafters means less competition and less undercutting.
On its own, yes. However, the issue is that there is very little incentive to craft due to dungeon loot superiority and the hassle applied to generating profit.
Assuming 3k per run and a run takes, what, 20-30min? You're looking at 9k gil generated per hour, at best.
Yes, I jumbled your post a bit, but here's an example of what I'm talking about.
3 days ago I made an HQ Electrum Choker from NQ materials, which is basically BiS for a crafting neck at 50 for the moment. After roughly 68 hours, it sold for 6501g after fees. But let's break down its cost further. The craft itself requires 2 electrum ingots and a raptor leather, as well as 6 wind and fire shards. I'm going to document all material expenses, though.
1 wind shard = 30g, 26 needed, 780g total
1 fire shard = 25g, 6 needed, 150g total
1 earth shard = 35g, 5 needed, 175g total
1 electrum ore = 35g, 16 needed, 560g total
1 raptor skin = 250g
1 black alumen = 25g
Total "craft if yourself cost" = 1940g
6501 - 1940 = 4561 profit.
Sweet, right? Well, let's introduce that gil per hour metric.
4561 / 68 = 67.07g per hour.
This is ONLY if you can make everything yourself. You'll need leather in the 40s to make the raptor leather. Otherwise you can figure the cost of earth crystals, skin, and alumen, with a little more on top. Realistically, I am far better off boring myself to death in farm 300 shards in an hour, selling them much more quickly, and seeing more profit. But this creates a catch 22 where if everyone abandons crafts and gathers, you oversupply materials and their costs diminish. This ebb and flow will not be smooth and all it takes is one person to crash a market. Which is basically what happened with my choker because it was at 10k when I originally made it.
Keep in mind I was referencing a BiS item above. I could sing the same sad tale for other jewelry in the 40-50 range. Perhaps Goldsmithing has it worst of the durable crafts at the moment? Hard to say. We could try to say, "Well, you have 40 sale slots, so your per hour could be around 2700g if you filled them all!" And hey, I'd be down with that if we didn't have to worry about competition or basically camping the retainer to restock. I'm of the mind that doesn't really make an enjoyable game, though. Things only get cheaper and less profitable as you climb down the material scale, however. Exceptions might be had in things that require diremite webs, but they're an anomaly as a needed material you can't gather.
2 dungeon monsters, however, will match that gil per hour. Hell, the choker NPCs for 81 gil. One pull. Less time to collect and synth everything up. And some wonder why I question the incentive to craft? You can't smoosh everyone into crafting HQ AF for profit. That's just inviting crashes. Yet someone could run each dungeon enough to gear themselves up perfectly fine for the next. And let's consider something like housing coming in the future with deeds starting at 850k. Do you really want to play a game where you creep toward that at 67g/hr?
But if people really want to leave dungeons as they are now, two things need to happen. The first is to add more synths at all level ranges to rival their dungeon counterparts without materia or needing dungeon drops/currency. The second is to improve NPC sale costs significantly. For my given example, I'd actually say at least 5x higher. That way if I literally spent an hour gathering everything myself, I could convert them into instant gil. Let's say 30 synths' worth in that span. Then you can let all the other little obscene gil sinks do their thing. "B-But the RMT!" Yeah, you can't let them rule the economy out of fear. Hell, that's part of the problem now with current NPC costs on everything. Edited, Oct 21st 2013 6:36am by Seriha