POGD.com site posted today a preview of Fallen Earth from the recent AGDC'07. Here's what they've learned from the Lead Designer Lee Hammock:
Crafting is essential to success in this harsh world, as Lee illustrates, "If you're a 75th level guy a mob may drop a weapon that is in the mid 50's, so if you rely on creature drops, you will be at a sub-optimal level of equipment. A crafter can make gear up to ten levels higher than themselves if they max out their skills. All gear has skill requirements involved as opposed to levels. Players can use gear at up to ten levels higher than themselves if they have maxed out the applicable skills."
You will not need to go through a high level encounter twenty times in hopes of a 5% chance of a good drop. Instead, you go through it once and obtain a component that can be made into a good item by a crafter.
Crafting skills do not take advancement points in order to progress. They are dependent on use to increase skill. All of crafting has a real-time component with it. "If you are making a gun, for instance, it might take three or four hours, but you can log off and sleep while it finishes. You can queue up more items to be processed in sequence when the first one finishes." Most items take 1-5 hours to make. Bandages, for instance, take 5 minutes. Guns take 3-5 hours depending on the subcomponents and quality of the gun. A car on the other hand, being large and complex, might take 2 weeks.
Read the full preview on POGD.com