many economies work without degredation, this has literally been evidenced by multiple games, and some real life economies aren’t based on goods that disappear.
FFXI, FFXIV, GW2, irl: intellectual property, virtual goods, real estate, minerals.
degredation is not a required factor in economics, or economic theory.
and this doesnt mean items never leave the world, just that their degredation isnt intrinsic
Many goods and services last a lifetime, and yet there are still economies based on providing them. You said imagine that, as if its not the case. You bring up micro transactions, when that is an example of a non degradeable good that they sell, as being a great business plan.
As far as relying on endgame, item degredation would not effect much other than endgame. All other gear is transient. So if we are talking about the value of item degradation, its an endgame consideration. I literally destroy my old Leveling gear as is.
As far as an endgame where people only need to buy one, that is fine. If the cost/effort/resources to create is high, Then that is an acceptable driving force for an economy. For example, most people irl only have one house at a time. (many never do)
You haven’t really looked at the actual game mechanics and how that effects the economy, You are looking for general concepts when every economy has different considerations.
the reality is, it will take a dedicated crafter on average 1 week to create a max gear score item, it will probably not have the best perks. The endgame dungeon is on a one week lock out, and the drops are rng, and non tradeable.
each player needs at a minimum, 10 pieces of gear per combat build. Thats a minimum of 10 weeks of player power after being max level, per build. That doesnt include gathering, crafting, or other gear sets, and that is not even BIS, thats just max Gear Score.
so the top end player will spend months pursuing these goals, using mass amounts of resources and creating massive demand along the way. The average player will spend twice as long, and casuals will probably never reach full BIS before the meta changes, new items are introduced, new caps or whatever.