I agree that the starting items are too costly. Maybe adding manufacturingup grades to towns that would let you make them at reduced cost by using resources and time to reduce the cost. With some limitations like having to go to that town to pick them up and/or not being able to train troops at the same time.
I would like to see heros in hp and abilities in addtion the current point system. Maybe something like gaining HP Equal 10% of your constitution every level and abilities improvements like producing 1g at level 1, 2g at level 2. I don't think it would have much affect on game play but would give you the feeling that your heros are growing.