I'm glad I'm not the only one overwhelmed by the crafting system tbh. Every time I open the research and development menu I click around before clicking off and just hoping for the best in fights. Hopefully I can get a hang of it in the future but .... goodness. It's a lot for me to process.
Ok, so I FINALLY figured out the crafting, it just looks complicated when you open it because the game doesn’t really explain it, but it makes a lot more sense once you know how it works. Basically, there are just a lot of steps you have to take - instead of your standard “get 10 iron then press X,” you have to take a few steps before you can actually craft your weapon or armor. Hopefully this will help someone else. None of this is really a spoiler, but I’m popping it under a read more for anyone who wants to avoid any kind of spoilers.