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This is relating to a server for a game I'm setting up (the game isn't mine, but I have the ability to change all prices - buy and sell - on the server).

I could arbitrarily pick prices for all items on a server, including items that regularly produce other things that could be sold (eg. Cow cost $100, milk sells for $1, cows live forever and can be milked once per day), but I feel like I'm going to make the system unbalanced and ultimately exploitable. Is there a mathematical or scientific model that can be applied to this type of situation to determine the ideal ratio of prices between different object.

To give a bit of background, the goal is to accumulate wealth, by buying things that can be used to create other things that can be sold.

My first through was to run some sort of simulation of the game (people buy and selling things etc.) but this seems far to complex and unlikely to randomly determine the explotability of a set of prices. I'm way out of my depth here, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While there are absolutely techniques that can help, there is no one simple formula that you can just plug any game into and get the "right" answers. What you're describing is basically my whole job as an economy designer, and it requires choices and judgements and tailoring my approach to each challenge. See Magic Number Difficulty Balancing — your first challenge is to establish what your goals are, what should be true of your system when it's working "right"? Then you can solve those constraints to find what prices/etc. meet that. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Jul 26 '20 at 11:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ See also Formula For Finding Out Price of Item and How to determine the cost of new units for related discussions. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Jul 26 '20 at 12:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ To keep your question from being closed as too broad/opinion-based like that first one was, it would be good to edit your question to describe one concrete sub-problem in your economy (eg. "I have 10 items that work like this.... I want the gameplay outcome to be like this...") and ask for strategies to get that specific outcome. Note that "non-exploitable" requires you defining what you consider to be an exploit, since you do want players to be able to turn a profit, so the line between "savvy purchasing" and "exploits" can be fuzzy. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Jul 26 '20 at 12:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps implement two that you know of already: 1) Inflation and 2) Demand and supply. And while on it, maybe a small stock market simulation in the background? \$\endgroup\$
    – Stormwind
    Jul 28 '20 at 21:50

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