yes, to craft anything;
1) You will need the "old skill" (Skill tutor npc inside the city gate)
2) you will need to put a profession point toward the type of weapon, or helmet or loricae (uniform) you want to make: Ctrl +s - or in the lower right in the ships wheel the crossed pistols....production tab...
the 4 types of weapons building skills are separated now so be sure to just choose the one weapon you will use... you only get a total of 5 profession skills per character
(this is one of the main reasons so many people have so many alts as there are 15 production skills and you only get 5 points to spend... and the points are granted at profession points 21, 41, 61, 81, 101
and you will later need the special trees, special mines, special "fishing" wood and metals, and special plant seeds/plant/cotton material which take profession production points for some items... be sure to check the guides for the lists.
3) you will need to learn the drawing (some drawings can be/ are still drops but most are just bought from blacksmith/weaponsmith, tailor etc..)
3a) dont forget sewing requires equipping a bag, foundry or shipbuilding a hammer, mining a pick axe, logging an axe, planting a hoe...
4) your foundry. sewing, ship building etc.. level will need to be 1,11,21,31,41,51,61 etc depending on the drawing
5) 120 is the highest level weapon and uniform a character can make
you can not upgrade a 120 weapon or uniform into a 140 (there are no 130 weapons/uniforms in game anymore)
140 items are/ are needed to upgrade at the npcs (we now have 170 gear, 180 in profession points)
6) it is possible to get drop weapons that are level 140 or 145, 150 but the only ones that will upgrade are the ones that come in "packs"/ packages that you see form time to time in players stalls... but you pretty much need a high level weapon to go farm those weapon packs.
Maybe if you have a really nice guild mate they will help you out with free gear.
7) you can buy the 140 weapons and uniforms at the tiger totem npc in Seville if you eventually need them as well
Answer to Questions
** To search the list of guides use your browser's search function ctrl+f on a word likely to be in the title of the guide you want
+ Are the regular /old school quests still in the game?
yes, some are, some npcs exist but wont give the quests, some are just gone.... you can still go through the old npcs (merchant alliance, handicraftsmans alliance, warrior alliance and discoveries), HOWEVER the old quests do not grant much if any profession experience making it hard to level by just doing the old quests.
(Search the list of guides for "Alliance tasks" )
+Which missions should I skip as they are immediately giving me a unreasonable amount of XP?
This is why the beginner quest line was created... as yes all the old quests give very little profession exp. and little money
+Which persons are there to avoid talking to, as they will give me refining items, etc.?
If you really dont want the items just drop them to the ground - though if you are doing beginner quest line some you HAVE to use or the quests will not continue so follow the guide.
+Is the game still balanced when I do not use rings, necklaces etc.?
No, you have to use rings + necklaces (we have always used them, they just were not as powerful).
+Is there any guide on how to play the classic game? E.g. dating back to 2007?
No,.. well maybe yes sort of... because you would level so slowly it discourages new players and very few people want to do it the old school way.
However the old old old 2006 storyline quests may still exist - but some of the npcs may be missing. IDK for sure which quests work and which do not, no one has reported trying them in many many years (search the list of guides for "2006" for the old old old story line )
+Does it even makes sense to try to pursue this vanilla game play? Or has it been made impossible as all items I get are trying to push me to level 100+?
As I said above... playing this way is pretty self defeating if you ever want to get above level 120 items.
You will spend many many hours killing bellwether and wolves when you need to be doing the instances collecting the items needed for gear upgrades... instances that you can not do unless you use refining items.
ps. you can do trade runs - use alts to make more money and TPC (Trade point cards).
you can use TPC to get lower level refining items, compressed provisions, and bag and ship space openers for free from the npc in Barcelona city
you can also get lower level refining items from doing the lower instances Madagascar, Bombay, Gibraltar straight and North sea especially for lower level players.
Farm North sea for cannon - sell them to npc for coin (ps game is designed so auto fire does not work in north sea instance)
Use the team a npc function to do instances solo; ctrl + x >> recruit members button
Though old school = weak so make sure you can survive Mallorca instance first before trying the mentioned instances
remember to only use almighty repair kits on anything you have not learned the drawing for... or you will loose durability.