H-ok then. Repairs don't work, we have already noticed that, but if you don't want a back-log of things of people who don't use them any more (buildings, vehicles, weapons etc) then you DO NOT need to use rot as the only way of getting rid of them.
I don't like rot, in any way shape or form, because it means that we have to repair, and you are right Chris, people would not accept rot without repairs because they would lose all of their hard earned things within weeks of building them. The game would suck. But
you said that detereration is essential to the game. Wrong. Getting rid of items is essential to the game, not deterioration.
If you need to get rid of items then let's have some sort of smelting device. That way large towns will simply put their unused weapons, vehicles and things into them to make steel again (all other materials except iron should be lost) and that'll let them build the new things.
Or another suggestion. If there are already enough things in the world then let's make there a collecting a limit on resources, say 5k of limestone per year, but it builds up if you don't collect it. That way an undiscovered island could have a town with 500k of limestone ready to e collected when the main islands are struggling to collect enough, are being greedy, and are having to vie with each other for it. It would encourage exploration that's actually backed by towns and not just done for the interest of the players majorly, also, with lacks of resources it's going to make some interesting events happen "Who gets the resources! Hey, I'm leader of this town so I should get the resources! You must die!" or "Town C has more limestone than us, they can also collect 9k per year whereas we can only collect 5k, let's go to war with them!"
And, on top of that, if towns begin to become greedy, then more wars will happen - especially if they have more time because they're not repairing. This'll solve your over-amount of buildings and weapons problem! An invading army should be able to pack a portable smelter, to throw any enemies weapons into once they find them that they don't need and turn them into steel, and should have some kind of siege equipment for razing buildings, which should include anything inside it, including people
Also, if you are still worried about there being too many buildings include that the sledgehammer can destroy one, but it takes many days. The benefit is that you get the resources back, once towns start running out because they can't get hold of any any more because other towns are hoarding theirs they will have to break them down
Now, there is one small problem you may see with all this, the resources are going to be ridiculously abundant if towns start to smelt everything and raze their own towns to the ground. BUT I have a solution to that as well. Make towns need almost every resource for some small function. Steel for upgrading items, yes you heard me, every item should start as a "small" or "weak" item, including all items already built, and adding two thirds of the amount that it took to build it in the first place worth of resources, steel in most cases with tools, and wood too, but also iron, should make them "medium" then "good" then something else. You get my point, and anyway, it should make them better. This'll also make sure that people only ever really need one of each tool, so it'll stop there being huge backlogs of them, people will smelt the rest.
If there is still too much steel then yes, I will let you at least make vehicles deteriorate so they can be used for repairing them
. Oil of course used for keeping cars running, and clays etc for adding to deteriorated buildings (ie repairing, but with NO repair time, otherwise everything I have just said goes to pot), and then I'm sure that you can think of uses for the others items too
Now admit it, this is the greatest idea EVER
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we" - George W. Bush