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Keys to a healthy economy are as follows:
- Keep the over-all number of tradeable items reasonable. Too many items makes it impossible for players to easily track what has value. We don't want the situation where a guy is sitting on a backpack full of fortune, but doesn't know it because he has 8 valuable items mixed in with 1,000 worthless ones.
- Every item should have value. It doesn't have to be much, but you want to avoid the scenario where a recipe involves 6 items that are worth a fortune, and 10 more that are so common as to be completely worthless.
- Ensure trade-up is possible. This goes with the above, but is important enough to spell out. What you want is a situation where the lesser/more common items are still worth something in order to ensure they still have value. This creates an environment where if I'm not able to farm the big expensive piece, I can still trade into it with lesser-valued items that are still sought-after.