Suggestion 1: Split ratings by Region.
Regions offer a great opportunity for nuance without excessive complexity. Now obviously Imperial Reputation is a national thing, but Public Approval and Economy can both work as specifics. This would have the awesome advantage of allowing us to distinguish between regions. Some regions might be rich, while others could be poor and worth little. An occupied region might have a low public approval while the ruler is popular in the homeland.
It would be quite easy and simple to implement too. Simply list regions in the Dossier. Have a little list like this:
Public Approval: Unanimous Approval
Not only is this easy and effective, but it also opens up nuances for constructs. A building can boost approval in a region OR the entire country.
Suggestion 2: Expand the rating system to a 1-10 function.
This one is tied to the above suggestion. I devised the six-point rating system as a massive generalization because WE was a massively generalized game. Here we have the opportunity to zoom in a little and be more flexible.
By combining this with the specific region idea, we'll have a system where moderators can change ratings with much more freedom than WE. Changing Survaek's economy rating was a MAJOR effect, but changing one region by 2 points on a 10 scale would be much smaller, but still measurable.
I don't think we would need to label all 10 ratings. I would apply them to the current labels. 1-2 would be Despised, 3-4 would be Unpopular, etc.
Building on the suggestion above, we could label regions with even more detail without adding much complexity:
Public Approval: 9
It makes constructs way, way more flexible too. We could have constructs that boost public approval by a set number, or sacrifice one rating for another, or have some other function in exchange for lowering ratings.
Suggestion 3: Replace Economy with a regional Wealth rating.
Instead of having Economy modify your total Income, have each regions Wealth (on a scale of 1-10 as per suggestion #2) decide how much Income the region generates. A region with 1 wealth might not generate any Income, while one with 10 could generate a huge amount- maybe 100. The math could be pretty simple - say six times the rating for a minimum of 6 income or a maximum of 60. Luxury resources and constructs could boost the rating.
This would make constructs more flexible, but more importantly it would make regions strategically important. A high-wealth region could make or break an Empire, while a low-wealth region can be sacrificed relatively easily. If we also have static resources and factor in things like coastlines, we can make a situation where some regions are naturally more valuable, encouraging players to pick and choose which regions to develop.
Economic System could determine baselines for Wealth and Public Approval in the same way it does now. Controlled Economies might default in the low points, maybe 2 or 3 for both ratings, while something like Socialism could put Public Approval at 5 or 6.
Optional Bonus Suggestion: Add a Security rating for each region.
A regional Security rating could be a great function in a modified espionage system. Regions with high security would be difficult for spies to operate in, or even enter, while low security regions could easily be manipulated. It would also be a much more tangible and definite factor than randomness. Say a place with an "exposed" (3-4) rating can be spied upon and operated in with little chance of being caught, while one with a "Controlled" (7- rating would prevent sabotage of or spying on all military and government functions, but allow it against civic targets.
I hope you'll all think about these suggestions. It may seem like a bad idea to change so much right now, but I honestly think it would lead to a much more awesome experience. Most of the constructs and traits we have could be easily adapted, and the system leaves room for more by allowing other possibilities (A government that has higher security? An empire where the capital region gets a wealth boost? A building that raises public approval and wealth but lowers security?). In the end, I designed WE the way I did because of the setting and style. Rather than transpose that system, I think we should adapt it to suite this setting. If there's agreement I'll do what I can to help, but this isn't my forum to decide.