Crafting in Elder Scrolls Online differs from crafting in other MMORPGs in three very distinct ways: time commitment, customization, and quality of items produced.
One major difference is the amount of time required to master crafting. It requires a significant amount of crafting to gain just one crafting skill level in ESO. Additionally, players must share the same pool of skill points used to level up the crafting trees with skill trees for combat aspects of their character.
Contrary to popular belief, there is not limit to the number of professions you can master in ESO. You can easily master a few professions and have enough skill points left over to have a several fully functional builds. However, if you want to undertake every profession, you will not have many skill points left over for other trees, limiting the flexibility of your character as an adventurer.
The second difference is the sheer amount of customization available to players through crafting. Rather than getting distinct recipes, players are just able to create a base set of recipes. Items can be customized through the addition of materials during the crafting process. As their skills go higher, they can use higher level reagents in the same recipes to producer higher level goods. Players can then take their base items and upgrade them through the improvement interface.
The third difference is that unlike in other MMOs where crafting never is capable of creating goods better than other drops or rewards from end-game activities, crafters can create items on-par with rewards from all of the game’s content. By using the improvement process mentioned earlier, crafters can create legendary items. This process however is not without risk and requires expensive reagents.