Hope this helps and is not just tl;dr.
Q: How many levels should heroes get in a typical game?
-- Usually I win at around hero level 6-7, so all the Hero XP+15/25% bonus level up traits seem useless?
-- Also it's disappointing how slowly they level, because you only scratch the surface of the skill tree before the end.
A: If your heroes are only getting to L6/7 then you probably have a bunch of them in the same army stack. One of the limitations applied to keep heroes from growing into "Unbeatable Stacks of Doom" is that they split experience between them when grouped.
Example: Lets say a given combat is worth 100 exp. If you have one hero and three other units, then the hero gets 100 and each other unit gets 50. If you have two heroes, then the heroes will only get 50 each (100/2). If you have three heroes then they will each get 33 (100/3). So you can have multiple heroes in a stack, but they will each grow only half as fast. Easy way for you to test this: Take a group w two heroes and some other misc units, move it near an easily beatable enemy and then save the game. Attack with your multi-hero stack and see how much exp you get. Next load the savegame, split one hero off, and do it again. You'll see a dramatic difference in exp earned. Many people on the forums talk about running groups with multiple heroes, I feel that's a waste in most cases.
Q: Obsidian golems. These are impossible and annoying. Any strategies for early-mid game? I always seem to start near them, but never was able to beat them before winning the game already. But they wander around my empire often innocuous, but sometimes randomly kill things. Since they attack randomly, you can't plan for it.
A: They are immune to magic and have very very high defense. The easiest way to kill them with with magic-staff troops. Ice/Fire/Lightning staff troops bypass physical defense, so they are incredibly strong against high-defense foes such as golems. One 3-man staff unit could kill a golem if you had other troops to keep it occupied while the staff guys blow it out of the water.
Q: Is there any way to collect all the magic skills with one sovereign? Collecting all spell books to cast every spell in was one of my favourite end game goals in MoM. But I guess you can't do both life+death here?
A: Unless you are playing with a modded game you cannot get both life and death magic books on a single hero, but you couldn't do that in MoM either. It is possible for your sovereign to have Water-Fire-Air-Earth-Life/Death magic, but in the standard game there are only two ways that can happen. 1. You use a magic spell to siphon the magic ability out of your heroes. This kills them but you gain one of their magical attributes if they were stronger in it than your sovereign. 2. The special faction ability of Decalon grants the ability to purchase basic elementalist spellbooks from the shop. The Pariden faction has this by default, and it is extremely powerful.
Q: How do the AI sovereigns/heroes kit themselves out with so much equipment & accessories? By the time I meet them they usually have every slot equipped, but my guys are half naked by comparison. This is despite that i'm usually more efficient at clearing monsters than the AI. Somehow I just get less loot?
A: They probably buy it from the shop.
Q: Upgrading Units.
-- Upgrading units never seems to be a good idea. My fortress can make a new max-tech unit in 3 turns, but upgrading the equipment+group size of a veteran will cost my entire gold reserve, so right strategy seems just send the old guys as suicide troops? Maybe I suck at generating income...?
-- Hero equipment is absurdly expensive. Buying one or two basic pieces to fill gaps in the loot for one hero usually bankrupts my empire for half the game. (. And buying seems mandatory at least because you can't seem to loot horses?
A: Upgrading units can be very important, as a higher level unit is much much tougher hitpoint-wise than a newbie one. My personal preference is I usually try to design early units with traits that I would like to have for the long term, and then try to upgrade them if I can. Yes it's expensive, and you can certainly create a brand new unit pretty easily, but the old veterans are often worth it. Try to increase your gold income by having a few more towns, making sure you build gold-producing builds as appropriate, and cast Propaganda if you can.
A: Hero loot is mighty spendy. I normally try to buy them a suit of leather armour as soon as I can, then upgrade as needed. I never buy weapons in the shop unless I have been terminally unlucky, my own experience is I have plenty of high-grade looted weapons and not enough armour to go around.
Q: Growth/city level: Is the +1 grain, or the +2 growth spell better? Why?
A: Grain increases the maximum size of your city, growth is how fast you achieve that size. If you've hit your population cap then you need more grain, if you're not there yet then growth is wonderful. I try very hard to keep my cities growing at an optimal rate, prioritizing research and production of food-producing buildings as needed. Towns can have a huge impact here through their ability to increase availble food across your entire Kingdom.
Q: I tried playing on a larger map and got paralysed by unrest. How do you control this enough?
-- Is there any way to get rid of unrest due to conquest/occupation? This makes conquest wars super difficult.
A: First issue w unrest is every town after the first gives you (I believe) 3% unrest per city, in addition to other factors such as taxes and your zone of control. So if you have ten cities that's +30% unrest in every one of them. So how do you deal with this? Lets see:
- A Commander hero can give your entire Kindgom -5% unrest. This stacks if you have multiples.
- A L4 Fortress City can build a Prison which gives your entire Kingdom -10% unrest. I am not positive if this stacks or not, but it seems likely.
- You can cast Bless on your cities for -25% unrest.
- Build the Bell Tower / Town Hall for -20% unrest.
- If your city has essence then you can build the Church line for -10% unrest.
- You can choose the custom 'Noble' trait for your sovereign, granting -10% unrest to your entire Kingdom.
A: Conquered cities start off with incredible unrest, but it slowly improves over time. Starting off it seems horrible, but if you park a Commander hero in the conquered city then it starts to look pretty reasonable.
Q: I downloaded the Quest DLC on steam. But I saw no new quests yet in a whole game. Random, or do I need to tell it to activate the DLC somehow?
A: The DLC will only become active in new games. This is true of all mods, DLC etc etc. When you create a game all of the XML code and settings are bundled up inside the saved game, and changes you make will not be applied until you create a new game.
- Manii Names