Biomes with essential/rare resources
I'm guessing this was going to be an initial plan for the game but either way might aswell talk about it! My idea is that different biomes and areas in the world can have special and rare resources that groups of players on large population servers can capitalize on and take for themselves thus having control over a resource in heavy demand from towns and other settlements that do not have access to the resource like Deserts and parts of the sea having deposits of oil for vehicles and factories, Certain hills and mountains having access to larger deposits of a specific mineral than others and the list can go on.
What this could enable is a higher need for trade and barter between players and communities and also another challenge for players to tackle with protecting the planets eco system! Even if it wont be included in the finished game this still seems pretty moddable :)
Recently I came across this article on map generation:
I think we will move more in this direction, as its far easier to determine exact percentages of resources and where those resources are spawned than the purely random method we have now. Because we definitely want to do everything you describe in terms of resource location.