This has been discussed before, but I think it's still a game design issue that needs some attention. I love my pre-order Pillager axe, but…. these things are just too much, compared to what can be made in-game. A tribemate and I did a test of my pre-order vs. a Master Quality Manaba axe. The MAQ axe did only 2/3rds the damage of the pre-order.
To put that in perspective:
-We’re talking about an MAQ axe here. Not a High Q or Very High Q.
-To have a chance of crafting an MAQ weapon, the player has to be in the area of 99 Weaponcraft skill. Close to maxed out in that skill, in other words.
-The player also has to use Master level materials. Off hand I don’t recall the exact materials needed for a Manaba axe, let’s just say: an MAQ handle (requiring 99 Woodcrafting), MAQ leather strap (99 Leathercrafting), MAQ screws and feathers (99 Scavenging). In other words, the item requires materials that come from maxed out skills in four different skill areas. To make one, you (or some trading partners) have to reached the game's very end goal in each skill area.
But, with all this, the Master level axe only does 2/3rds the damage of a pre-order. All other things being equal, with your Master axe you land 3 hits on the other guy for every every 2 times he hits you.
So the bottom line is, you can work your way to the very top of every crafting skill in the game, but you’ll still never produce something equal to a pre-order. And because pre-orders are soulbound, you’ll never be able to obtain one either (by trading or looting). IMO something needs to be done to balance pre-orders with player-craftable weapons. They kind of wreck the incentive to excel in the game and work your way to Master-level crafting skills. Thoughts?