How important are good crafting systems and the ability to make money in the economic game to players? We'll start with crafting. 60% of players thought that having a good, robust crafting system was either very important or extremely important. There were no gender differences.
We see a very similar pattern in terms of being able to make money in the economic game (via auction houses, etc.). The responses were skewed towards the more positive end of the graph. And here too, there were only minimal gender differences.
There were some mild age differences. Older players were more likely to be interested in crafting (correlation of .13 for women, .08 for men), while younger players were more likely to be interested in making money in the game (correlation of -.07 for women, -.04 for men). These correlations were fairly small though, but it's interesting that they were in the opposite direction.
The ability to create something from nothing has always, for some reason, appealed to me gameplay-wise. When I played Ragnarok Online, I really enjoyed using Arrow Crafting to make my own arrows. I also tried to create a secondary character - an alchemist - to make my own potions. Currently in Mabinogi I'm working on both potion making and handicraft to make my own weaponry.
Making money is secondary, not as important, but the higher the prices are, the more important I find it becomes. It's just a natural progression. Perhaps crafting ties into making money - after all, creating something from nothing then selling it can net you a nice profit sometimes. =D
Ever since I discovered crafting I have tried to excell in my chosen trade. I do so for enjoyment and of course there is the monetary aspect. I enjoy owning a shop and providing low cost quality goods, especially to new players. I loved the tradeskill system in Starwars Galaxies, and am enjoying the one in Vanguard. If multiple characters per server are allowed, I will have one of each tradeskill. This removes the need to deal with overpricing and availability. I am happy to buy from others, but am annoyed by stupid pricing.
The difference between older and younger players might be this: younger players generally make little or no money in real life, so when they enter the game world, the prospect of earning money and possibly becoming wealthy are appealing. Most older players have a steady income and may not be as drawn by the prospect of having to be solvent in yet another economy.
Working stiffs may also be more likely to fantasize about taking on different professions of which crafting is an integral part. Who's going to relish the ideal of being an sword-making blacksmith more, the youngin' who has yet to invest in a career, or the adult who is sick of filling out TPS reports?