So as part of my current project I am creating an engine that can handle the character related tropes of role playing games. Notice I said character related. I have no interest in RPG combat or story lines because my engine is focused around RTS games. Not limited to, but the basics behind a game are intended to always include a map which you are trying to exercise real time control of.
There are countless examples of combat related rpg characterization to fall back on, improve on, iterate on but, its not so easy to look at successful implementations in the context of economics or trade or science.
Its also a little harder since it has to integrate in other systems in a way combat doesn't.
Basically I based my initial plan on crafting systems I've conceptualized for VOWs. I have to decide on a level of detail. I basically have 2 choices here. I can run a stat per resource or I can run one per field. I prefer resources, as a min maxer its more interesting, but it might be less memory intensive, for the player and the computer, to do fields like alchemy and cooking and so forth. Fields might also be better for size reasons. It might be nice to specialize in specific resources and processes to make specific potions to gain efficiency, but only if the map size is large enough to support a potion making structure for each kind. This can partially be offset by having labs functions as items, which have no corporeal 3D form, inside potion workshops. So you could have 4 labs per workshop. However you would still need a pool of educated citizens large enough to support a large number of potion makers.
Another issue I have is that time management wise it might be easier to run one guy doing all the potion skills instead of specializing. If my goal is to reduce micro it would be easier to run multiple projects under one guy who focuses on his field and not his specialty, instead of having several guys overseeing a smaller number of workers/projects.
Basically I feel like there is a sweet spot between how much control the player has and how much work is required to exercise it. I know that crafting works well at the field level from MMOs. So I have to decide if given all the other design risks I'm taking whether more granularity in production will pay off.