In the name of giving more unique feel and gameplay possibilities, I am describing how EWOM can be played in a refreshing way.
Choose a map, either Randomly Generated or Custom made one
Decide the frequency/severity of weather effects
Decide the game era
Decide number of fractions, which ones are allied
Decide for each fraction, the AI/player start as a Hero or Soverign
Decide if certain AI can be substituted by on-line players
Decide individual fraction's Victory condition (or make it random/default)
Decide if Victory condition is hiddened/public
Decide other gameplay mechanics (spellbook etc, not discussed here)
Start turn 1
If the Game year is set in the B.C. era, cities are less developed & weaker units are gaurding/roaming the map. If it is later in the A.D. era, fractions already control most map areas & their hero/stack strength is strong. Independent roaming monster/hero stack raiding is will be of high level too.
If a player choose to start as an hero, he will start with 1 stack with some units representing his own fraction. He can roam the map and do whatever he wants as an Independent. When he enters a city of any fraction, he does not capture the city. Instead he is given the opportunities to use some buildings of the city; e.g. purchase units available in that city, exchange material to gold or vice versa (i.e. trade).
For this fraction (where the player start as an hero instead of the Sovereign), it’ll be initially controlled by AI. The human player can control the entire fraction, ONLY AFTER he manage to kill his fraction’s Soverign. If somebody ease kill that Soverign, he will never be that fraction's Sovereign.
The player's hero can press the "Capture this City" button to fight against the stack garrisoned in the city. The exact garrisoned stack is not known; however, the player will be given a % chance of winning for his reference be4 he choose to capture it. Once suceed, the human player can build more building structure there etc; but the player still cannot do any fraction related task e.g. diplomacy.
Alternatively, the player hero can purchase an expensive Settler unit to establish the first city of his own.
All cities have a tavern that offers hero quests. Quests are generated by an automatic quest generator; one quest is generated per fraction per month. When the hero accept the quest, new quest will not be generated for the player until it is failed/completed for that fraction.
If the player plays as a Sovereign, the player has the ability to design the monthly quest. The way he can influence unknown/known independent hero stack to fulfill his strategic need. The player can requests them to capture known city, guard an area/structure, kill certain known hero/monster, explore an unknown area etc, etc for a period of time. When the quest is completed successfully, the agreed amount will be subtracted from the treasury. The game will always suggest the minimum gold amount needed for the quest. But when the player tops it up, a stronger hero/stack will emerge to improve the odd. The player always see whatever the hired hero sees when the hero is doing the quest. Player has no control of the hired stack; the game AI is doing its best.
Any player, including the AI will always try to work toward its victory condition. For example, when my victory condition is to kill the super Dragon stack somewhere unkown in the map, I can choose to be a hero only all the game. If my fraction's AI Sovereign (or anyone, really) kill the dragon, I lost the game.
When a player controlled Sovereign is killed, there is a % chance that the player will be reincarnated as a hero of the same fraction; on top of whenever SD has planned. The Victory condition remains the same.
I hope the suggestion is not too much work for SD & is technically possible. I sincerely believe these concept will make EWOM a fantastic game. The suggestion should work well in MP online/PBEM & SP games.