Not that anyone cares, but the way I would change this system is everyone gets one commodity, that they can trade with other nations whenever they want. Bump them all up by a lot (like instead of a 1% commerce rate increase, make it a 5% or something, and do that to all of them). Then, get rid of the less expensive project, and make the more expensive project increase the rate of the commodity (so using the commerce rate example, it takes it from 5% to 10% or something like that) [By the way, these are just ball park numbers,
I'm just saying overall increase the impact of a commodity]. Obviously we would have to change what commodities are out there, but this has a couple of benefits to the game. Firstly, this will actually have an impact on the game. Secondly, it will allow nations to better choose what kind of nation they are. (i.e. whale, raider, balanced, etc.) this gives them the ability to double down on what kind of nation they are, or moderate what kind of nation they are. Thirdly, it increases the amount of interaction that nations have with each other, as nations would have to find nations to trade with (with more details than your regular trade interaction). Lastly, this is going to help alliances choose what kind of alliance they are. For example, aargh and mythic might want all players to have the raiding commodity, but other alliances might want to split up their alliance by commodity to better benefit the game. This also leads to more nations choosing for themselves what role they have in an alliance. Those are my two cents on it .
[none of the above statements reflect the beliefs of my alliance nor are they endorsed by my alliance, government, or members. They are simply what I think would benefit the game]