I like this alot, seanw. Here's my post from the other thread, just to keep it out there. We probably need a "general (warleader)" path and a "administrator" path as well.
The decision when a hero is hired should be what the hero will do, either sit in your capital or other city (in which case he/she/it should have faction wide bonuses, not city bonuses), or be an adventurer. I know it was discussed elsewhere for city bound heros getting some exp/season for sitting home, and my suggestion to that is that all the administrator heroes gain exp whenever a building or unit is built in any city, or if any city is successfully defended against attack. That's the role of those heroes, making your civilization stronger; reward them for that.
I'd like to talk mostly about the adventuring heroes, and how to differentiate them.
It looks like there's only one type now; arcane warrior. A person with armor and an axe that can cast spells. There aught to be 4 types: Gimli (melee/aggro), Gandalf(defensive spellcaster), Saruman (offensive spellcaster), Strider (ranger/leader).
Melee/aggro should be able to wear plate, and should have traits that make them more likely to be targetted by the AI. Some damage output.
Defensive casters should be able to wear robes only (and there should be robes in the magic/warfare crossover tree that can be built with crystal that gives advantages to this kind of hero), and should have faster access to buffs/heals
Offensive casters should be able to wear robes only, and have access to DD and AOE spells faster.
Rangers/Leaders should have some ranged attack, and have traits/levelups that allow the whole army to gain bonuses.
My personal opinion is that we should be leveling up more, not less, to get more specialized traits, but not have any (or very little) intrinsic level up bonuses like HP. If I want a Saruman, he's gonna be a paper cannon, and I need to defend him on the battlefield. Don't give him 100 hp at level 15.
But I'd like to see level 30 heroes with lots of specialization. There doesn't seem to be that much right now.
I also like the differentiation between melee soak (warrior) and melee dish out (rogue). Limit rogues to leather, increase their initiative. Give them invisibility traits, but make them only able to handle single units (or few units; I don't see a rogue backstabbing a whole company). But to get rid of that caster in the back row making things not go your way? Bring a fast, invisible, high initiative rogue, and get the job done right.
Traits ARE the key, though. And we need to be able to put traits on built units that allow for spellcasting, but that's a different discussion.
I am hoping that at this point, we're working out game mechanics, and that all this stuff we're talking about can be modded in using XML closer to release, but the Stardock guys are looking to see if any basic mechanics are broken or need fixing, and of course stability.