I'd say complex crafting gives you more stuff to play with (so more fun for me at least), while unrest ties your hands a little. Playing with tied hands can be fun, but sometimes I agree you don't want to have to get out a spreadsheet or a pen and paper to work out what's the best way to play.
On unrest, fiddling with tax rates each turn (or ever) in FE/LH isn't something I enjoy. But at least unrest was integrated into the mechanics well - affecting lots, linked to production, tax, buildings and ZOC. It's just that some of the links and the display felt artificial and opaque to me. That magic gold would be modified by tax or magical inspiration reduced by background levels of unrest somehow never felt quite right. Things like the +2 per turn enchantments actually meaning +0.4... that seemed odd. As did number of cities being linked to unrest (the core premise of the mechanic). War, famine, hostile creatures in your ZOC all I can see increasing unrest... but not having another city nearby. Also not for it to be worse for it to be a friendly city than an enemy city over the hill. Sometimes mechanics make you scratch your head and ask, why did you add that? What were you intending to solve and did you manage to do it elegantly? (Did it solve city spam? Did it allow for tall or broad empires? Does it work in a logical and thematic way? Does it feel good, or fun?)
Unrest... kinda worked, but I'm not sure it ever felt right. Well implemented, but not always logical. Plot holes, if it were a story. Now fame=growth on the other hand. More cities = less growth per city... people flocking to the cities based on stories of your deeds, spread out amongst the cities that have room to house them. That was a mechanic I liked. It sounds positive if nothing else, fame and growth are both positives... unless you have infamy. While unrest is only ever a negative... unless you have negative unrest... or order. Which the game never had, sadly.
But it wasn't well balanced, unlike growth from food it wasn't capped e.g. it could have been balanced so that you attract 50 people per point of fame, split between all your cities. Much like growth from food is capped. Your fame also never went down (ditto with food, no famine or plagues) and the actual bonus was small compared to every other growth modifier so the mechanic ended up being overshadowed and then scrapped. A shame really. I always liked it. C'est la vie.