SOE invited a little over a dozen community leaders from EQ, and about the same from EQII, to a community leader summit this past weekend. Due to there being sufficient coverage of EQ tradeskill interests by others (including Nolrog, tradeskill correspondent), I participated on the EQII side.
We were invited there specifically to provide input about the game, but before folks get too excited, and expect some huge list of discussion items regarding tradeskills, realize that the expansion, the combat/spell system changes, and things like the newbie experience were on the discussion agenda, with tradeskills being discussed at the end in an open discussion part of the session. This is not because tradeskills aren't important to SOE, but because there were so many other important things that have been happening with wide-reaching impact.
Tradeskills are something they feel are important, they do plan on giving them lots of attention in the coming months, but they're not boxing themselves in with definite word on all that's going to be done. They want to revamp and change tradeskills to make it so that refines take less time, and your attention is more focused on the finished product. Just how that will be done, however, is still under discussion, as there are many ways to approach it, and they're still seeing which one will work out the best.
There were some things that Beghn and the others were willing/able to reveal that are in the works, though, so it wasn't all "we can't tell you yet, but it'll be good." Again, no ETAs on these, but it will give you an idea of what they're working on:
The general perspective at SOE on where tradeskill items should fall on the valued item scale goes something like this: bought items, normal tradeskill items, dropped items, player-made rare items. There are exceptions, of course, but players shouldn't expect that all their normal items will be hot sellers, nor that they should be able to compete with all the drops out there. (A bit of market research should help you figure out which items are marketable, vs. which are skillup paths to sell back to the vendors.)
Beghn expects to spend 3-4 months on making the entire tradeskill system more workable, including simplifying some things, fine tuning other things, and so on. My feeling from that time quote was that this is going to be a really intensive and time-consuming effort. While typically a programmer doing that much in-depth work isn't always available for regular comments and updates, we've got a request in for a few more updates now and then from someone at SOE, so that we know that things are progressing on the tradeskill front.
As mentioned above, I plan on putting several hours of work into the tradeskill bug report lists. It actually will take hours, not minutes, because I'll not only be merging lists from two place into one master list, but then adding Beghn's comments, where available, as well as splitting out into sub-lists those tradeskill bugs that require work from other SOE teams ... not everything that's listed as a tradeskill bug is actually handled by the tradeskill dev, and having things split out helps not only to educate the community about why some things have been taking a while to address, but also makes it easier to forward those issues on to the proper teams.
But first, I need to hibernate for another day or so ... I am one tuckered out redhead. So, who's got a nice comfy pack for me to nest inside of?