Crafting actually works almost as well as it theoretically can. But, you say, crafting isn’t working! And you have company…
You can make money crafting, even as you level up. You can craft way beyond your level, so that you can always craft your own armor. I make money crafting, and you could make money if you crafted the same way. You may not enjoy it , and it may be difficult for you to make gw2 gold crafting the way you like… but you, or anyone, can make money. However, making money takes effort and time, it’s not the simple button pressing of basic crafting.
1. In economic theory, markets with good information are efficient. Opportunities to make more than a modest profit will be short-lived. That’s mainly true here — a given item will not remain profitable for very long. If you want to make decent money, you must watch markets, and make items when you see short supply and profit. The shortages will appear on the market tracking websites, and then the shortage disappears, along with profit. You have to price your item to sell before that happens, and try to take only a small loss when it does not sell in time. You also have to find the profitable situation before it appears on the tracking websites….
We expect this from an efficient market economy with good information — small or fleeting profits. Really profitable areas will disappear quickly. That’s just how a good market works. So, you can’t just buy materials, make whatever you want, and profit.
Markets are dynamic. You won’t make a good amount of gold unless you are willing to be nimble and constantly search for market opportunities. Opportunities are not going to wait for you to get off of work, or for you to sleep. Your competitors in the market are nimble, and are constantly watching the shifts in the market. If the competitive environment doesn’t suit you, then you shouldn’t expect to craft for money.
2. Parts of the GW2 market are not yet efficient. There are lots of places to save or make money while leveling up that are ignored. People leveling up may go for speed, and make batches of the least expensive thing. They dump the result on the market at a big loss, so those things (usually intermediate pieces that take one or two basic mats) are for sale far below manufacturing cost. This has persisted at most of the levels of the armor/weapons crafts [and even in cooking), so the market definitely isn’t all working smoothly. Finding the discounted materials and parts takes player time, just like finding the profitable items. For many players, it’s not worth the time — they’re interested in getting to 80, as fast as possible.
3. Have you noticed that, as you level up, there is often no market for fine and masterpiece items? A key raw material, the fine drop (bone, totem, etc), gets used to make rare items. The rare item market can be profitable, and it looks like demand from that market drives up fine drop prices. Like many profitable markets in the real world, there’s a barrier to entry — the recipes to make the rare part cost karma. In every tier except the first, many of the rare items can be made for a profit. (There are no rare items in the first tier).
“But this is not the crafting I was looking for! Too much playing the market!” What would you say to a player that wanted to compete in PvP without learning how to dodge, or without optimizing their build? If you want to compete, there are some things you have to do. If you want to make money in a market economy, you have to ‘play the market’ or ‘do finance’. Period. If you don’t, someone else will, they’ll undercut your prices, and you won’t make money. You have to look for cheap sources of raw materials or intermediate materials and you have to adapt to market conditions as they change. You have to avoid making items that are in oversupply, and make the ones that are not. That’s how people make profit in competitive markets.