That was my initial impression but now that I see how it can work, I prefer the new way. The downside is that you have to dedicate 5 or 6 levels to grinding your way up and then some time traveling to get good custom orders. Boring but rewarding financially.Yep smithing doesn't feel right since 1.8.1 (I would say), the pommels for axes and masses don't work in my opinion, don't add any value and it's more difficult to upgrade because of the amount of item to unlock.
I love smithing from the beginning despite all critics but not any more. It's a chore now !
And please add the feature to pay the weapon we want. Blacksmiths and others, everyone, asking for that feature.