You're applying real world economics to virtual world economics. There are key differences, the biggest one being gold sinks. It doesn't matter how easy materials are to farm if the surplus of gold is so great that no one has any incentive to earn more gold. For virtual world economies, currency needs to be treated as commodity with inherent value. Think of it like this: If every player suddenly had 1million gold right now, very few people would be willing to sell items for more gold. If no one is selling, then gold has no inherent value outside of... you guessed it, gold sinks, such as regs and portal shards. Increasing the demand for gold via gold sinks encourages people to sell items / participate in the economy, it also incentivizes niche farming for market demand. This cycle perpetuates and compounds itself, but only if there is a high demand for raw gold, and the only way to create that demand is via creating inherent value through gold sinks. Even when gold sinks are in place, these sinks can easily be overwhelmed by an overabundance of gold faucets, as seen with reagents and the current inflation of gold after the removal of shards from vendors, and subsequent addition of villages as another gold faucet. Like I said in my original post - The sacrifice of portal shards as a player driven commodity is a small price to pay for the overall health of the economy. By creating the inherent demand for gold that portal shards did, every other transaction that took place was encouraged.