I want to make an online game with a leaderboard. A player must be able to gather tools / resources to continue exploring / harvesting. The problem I want to solve is that someone can find an infinite way to harvest things like money, food, ammunition, craft resources, etc., but I don't want it to happen, because: 1] it can ruin the leaderboard 2] potentially disconnects old players from new players because they are interested in different things without having anything to talk about to share the gaming experience. The player should sometimes be forced to start over, but it should still be fun.
For example, games about zombies. AFAIK, the game that Project Zomboid had the number of zombies grows and resources are limited in such a way that I was losing somehow. Why would it still be fun? Because there is a challenge in how many days can you survive.
Another example: Kingdom of the Mad God. There you enter the leaderboard only when you die. Then, once you reach the goal, you start from level 1 again. You can't be in the rankings and keep progressing. Why not ruin the fun? Maybe because you don't lose the loot you have stored in a "vault" and while you're on level 1 and can't use most of your loot immediately, it's still there, not lost.
Rogue games like Nethack, Stone Soup, Cogmind: basically, the world has a limited size and once you clean the level you have nothing more to do than move on to the next level. It's still fun because once you master your skills in the game, competition changes from maximizing your progress to minimizing the steps you have used to reach the ultimate goal. Like spent steps, time, skills used, etc.
Rust: In this game, players play against each other and lose almost everything when your base is attacked. The base is an object in the 3D world and to attack it, the opponent must make almost a straight hole towards the center. So The amount of resources you have to spend to shield your base is X ^ 3, where X is the amount of resources needed to attack you. This makes it impossible to arm yourself infinitely and eventually assault you anyway. Why is it still fun? Maybe because everything is cleaned once in a few weeks and there are game updates That makes it not boring to start over because the game will be a little different.
There is a game mechanic in The Elder Scrolls Online that prevents commercial guilds from becoming infinitely rich, as I understand it. I am not the guild owner, so I may be wrong, but every week there is an offer that forces the unions to pay as much as they can to win an offer To say simply, have a profit during the week. AFAIK all offers are gone and this is how the amount of money that guilds have in the MMO game without wipes is limited.
I want my game to have some kind of "death" that restores progress to keep players away from having an infinitely large base, an amount of money, etc., while it's still fun to start over. What are some other game mechanics that I missed?