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From my understanding this has less to do with laziness and more to do with the game originally being coded in spaghetti....
That's what happens when a punchy new dev team makes an engine from scratch! Though it's honestly really impressive when you consider the year, internet speeds, etc... Going through the patch notes, it really feels like they weren't even sure the game would survive past G2, so a lot of the skills, content and plot threads immediately after G1 sort of became far more inconsistent and weird, quality-wise. Wouldn't be surprised if the idea of 'updating' the game was, for a very long time, a far more arduous process than it had any reason to be... There's probably a photocopied developer manual with like a million post-it notes and scribbled-in addendums or whatever, explaining what anything even is with the engine. lol
A lot of MMOs came out back around 2004, and most of them became dead-dead within that same decade. However you feel about the game nowadays, Mabi's longevity is kind of really heckin' cool.
afterthough: I wonder if there's a collection of in-development/early alpha or beta screenshots or something of Mabi. I've seen maybe only one picture of an early build of the game, and the idea of Mabi being in pre-release development is a curiosity-grabber...
-Make NPCs in towns complain about a shortage of certain commerce goods
-have some towns get besieged by bandits making commerce goods more valuable in those towns
-have a commerce party system that makes bandit encounters harder/balanced for parties, with higher commerce sale prices if you succeed on long routes
-add player-crafted commerce goods that make crafting skills relevant to commerce, like maybe one 'kind' of good per each crafting skill, and the ingredients for them partially obtainable only as a sort of commerce bonus at certain towns - like you sell a load of goods, and you have a chance of getting a crafting material; when you make the player commerce item with the crafting skill, you can 'use' it to add it to your current cargo (maybe with bandit difficulty increase?)
So something like higher quality ingredients increase the chance of producing higher quality final dishes/crafts?
Pretty much! The best bit about the idea is that you wouldn't even need to waste a ton of homestead space on new gathering patches; you'd instead just need to plant the appropriate seed, wait for it to grow, then harvest when ready - ideally with a comparable growth rate to the existing homestead crop growth times.
Alternatively, if high-quality cooking/crafting seems a little underwhelming on its own... it could be that they normally produce standard-quality ingredients, at a faster or slower growth rate depending on your farm's upgrade level. But there's a very low chance of producing a high-quality version of that ingredient - this chance also scales with the farm's upgrade level. Instead of boosting the chance of creating higher-quality dishes, it does a percentage buff to the usual effects of whatever dish you put it in (e.g., +20%, +5%, etc?)
Alternatively or additionally there could be another, even rarer kind of high-quality ingredient that adds an additional stat or effect to a dish normal... This extra bit of the idea is like a 'food reforge', to put it simply.
Both of these might be a little overpowered depending on the dish, so it would be best to have a limit of 1 high-quality ingredient per dish at maximum, or have different buff % rates/effect roll tables depending on the ingredient in question...
aaAAAA I got a little carried away. lol
But yeah, the thought of farming your own ingredients and even getting some extra oomph out of the farms through those ingredients is a really fun idea to think about - way more cool than just generating kon from them.
Same sort of restrictions maybe - same reforge rank, same item type - but instead you use high-level blacksmithing/handicraft/tailoring/alchemy/whatever to do a horrifying fusion of one item into another, using some high-cost materials. Same result, has some more time investment than just buying an item, you destroy the fused equipment in the process - maybe with a chance to lose a line or two of the reforge just to add that RNG element that everyone loves. Win for Nexon if they sell an NX item related to it (like some 'fusion success increase' item,) win for whoever wants to get their preferred rank 1 reforge on some new equipment whether or not they pay NX.