Right now Heroes stand for supports in armies wether it is via stat boosting (commanders, defenders), damage & crowd control (mages) or summoning (mainly mages), which I think is the way to go.
The major problems in LH imho comes from:
1) the swarm bonus, which negates entirely the point of having a warrior hero (or sovereign) who will get oneshot, several times during a game and to a certain extent, defenders in the late middle game onward who can't withstand more than a couple of hits.
i.e : my last in game in Ridiculous, Ridiculous difficulty on a standard map, I finally decided to put my lvl 12 Defender sovereign on the front line to see if he could hold a flank. He soaked up 2 hits from infantry units equipped with maces&longswords (if I recall correctly from a group of 4 city defenders and a group of 5 trained longswordmen). He had 86 hp and 40 defense. He got hit for something like ~80 hp off from those attacks. Pretty close one... I kinda expected he would do better since I outfitted him in full light plate armor ( 1100 Gold total).
2) Inability to choose traits of heroes that are recruited above level 1. Recruited heroes from the late early game onward, will often come up level 5-7. Without the potential perks, level 5 heroes will usually get to level 7 before the end of the game and level 7 heroes will almost systematically never get to lvl 8 because of the very, very, very slow grinding they have to overcome to reach it. Even if they reach level 8 and unless they are mages without the knowledge perk, they will probably never get any other level.
The real issue here is that you get a shiny new hero. But then you are unable to do anything with it because he does not have the appropriate traits (a.k.a 2 or 3 potential perks with knowledge for mages), hence its customization is impossible and you have a promising young mage, novice in 3 schools of magic but who will never be able to cast any AoE, curse or buffs spells. => So unless your sovereign is a defender with +hp/lvl traits to afford one, maybe two paragon spells (and even there it is basically a question of wether you'd rather have Air II for tutelage or Fire II, to get some damage out of him for a couple of flame darts), you are pretty much *censored*.
3) The fact that you never get really high level heroes (unless you play a faction with wanderlust). Assuming you capitalize on potential traits and knowledge if available. Getting from 1-6 is pretty straightforward. Getting from 6-10 takes some time but feels great. Getting from 10 to 12 takes a long time but still feels okay I guess. And then, well then unless you are a major warmonger, quest-thirsty, monster hunter like I am, then you you will probably never see the level 14 cap where some significant specialization of you hero is finally available.
But even at level 14-16 heroes are just getting halfway through one of their specific trait line.
Now I tend to wrap up my games relatively quickly due to the difficulty level ( expert and ridiculous ), And you could say that in a 1000 turn game then you have time to get much higher in level with your heroes, which i would again disagree with for the following reasons:
- Heroes recruited without xp% traits will NEVER reach past level 9.
- Assuming you don't (or do) kill everybody or win a SoM or an alliance victory, then clearing the map will probably require you to play until turn 320 ish.
- Letting time go by in higher difficulty is EXTREMLY risky due to letting other factions rising to power.
So there still is 680 turns of experience we'll never see in our games.
1) Honestly I'm fine with how heroes are right now, although I do agree that a bit more customization via skills could be great.
2) I think a drop in the shop price for all armor pieces would greatly benefit the weak spot in which heroes are right now, just as the price drop in weapons and trinkets allow for better customization right now.
Now when people come up with the idea of removing xp% traits like potential, and in general any xp% boost from spell or items I have to say that you have to tread carefully on this one. I don't think anyone would appreciate not reaching any levels past level 8-10 on there sovereign and lower levels on their main heroes. Unless of course, the xp needed to reach the next level is massively lowered and/or we are showered in one ability and one trait each time we level up. But I'm still very skeptical about it.