Several players have been concerned the middle step of the supply chain, the processing step, is going to be boring and nothing more than turning raw materials into craftables. While this is commonly all there is to processing in other MMORPGs, in Ashes it is going to be much more than this.
While Gatherers are the professionals who acquire raw materials (gatherables), Processors turn those raw materials into processed goods. Additionally, Ashes of Creation is very much like Eve Online in the sense that craftables can also be obtained from breaking down finished goods into their component parts, and this should be a task accomplished by the Processors as well.
NOTE: Just like gatherables, a percentage of your processed goods are dropped on death. You will never drop finished products (made inside the Crafting branch of the Artisan System) unless you are afflicted with corruption at the time of your death. Even then, it is only a percentage chance. For more on corruption check out the corruption section on the PvP page.
Much like gathering, there is no artificial limit to how much processing work a character can do at any given time. Players are not time-gated by an artificial limit such as labor. Instead, they are going to be limited by their craftables inventory limits and the availability of actual work to do a specific location which has the appropriate processing station.
NOTE: Before anyone expresses concern over the fact that the list of processing professions listed on the Artisan page is quite limited, the two that are listed on the chart are the ones with hard confirmations. Other logical ones such as Milling, Spinning, Tanning, are all highly probable based on some previous cosmetic freehold skins that have been sold in the cash shop. Keep in mind, any cosmetic sold in the cash shop is cosmetic only, it grants no additional bonuses to your building.
Just like Gathering, characters do not have an infinite storage for craftables in their backpacks. This means you cannot smelt 10,000 Iron Ingots, throw them all in your backpack, and move them from your freehold to town in a single trip.
Individuals will have a limited personal inventory, which is expandable using the same style of specialized backpacks that gatherers can; however, even with the best specialized backpack an individual will not be able to move the same amount of materials that a mule (x10 a player’s capacity) or caravan (x100 a player’s capacity) can. To keep things neat and concise; the detailed player carrying capacity is broken down on the Caravans Page.
Much like crafting, processing will require the use of specialized stations. Interestingly, just like gatherers can make their own gathering tools, processors are able to build their own processing stations. While we do not know much about this mechanic, we do know that players can construct processing stations on their freeholds using a blueprint. If processors will also build the crafting stations, or if these stations are conjoined crafting and processing stations we do not know. There has been no mention of crafters building their own crafting stations, so processors may function as the construction experts for both types of stations.
I currently have a question pending with Steven about the processing stations for both processors and crafters trying to get some clarification.
Also, while it is possible to build crafting stations at freeholds, the top tier processing stations will only be available inside the high-level nodes and only in nodes where the mayor has dedicated a constructible plot to certain buildings.
Death Drop Rates
As stated, numerous times, upon death you will drop a percentage of your gatherables and your
craftables. Unless you are corrupted you will not drop finished goods.
As a non-combatant you drop a full death penalty worth of goods.
As a combatant you drop 50% of what you would as a non-combatant.
As a corrupted you drop 300% - 400% of what you would as a non-combatant.