Special heroe units are at your disposal. Those are unique agents of your empire, who offer a range of services and have special skills (1). They can improve the performance of your systems (2) or take command over fleets (3). They can also represent the Party in the Senate. As the admins/governors of your systems, they can improve production per capita, per planet or just boost the FIDSI factor (happiness). They have their own ideologies that influence their choice of parties and the way the inhabitants of their system think. As admirals, they improve mobility and sensor range. They can increase number of health points of units or make certain kinds of weapons more efficient. Each of the heroes has their own ship which also takes part in battles. After every assignment, a couple of turns have to pass in order for you to be able to reassign them. Transportation is instantenious, but they can only head to friendly systems or fleets within them. They are absolutely loyal, their race - even if you're waging war with that race - has no detrimental effect on their work or reliability.
Each hero has their own ideology, which he adheres to, same as the citizens of the empire. The heroes become political leaders, i.e. the representative of the given part (if it doesn't already have a leader!). It's pretty important, because some of the most powerful skills only work if the hero who's running a part is in the senate or his part is the Leading Party. Example: you get your first hero. They are a militarist and become the leader of their party. In time, you may get another militarist hero, but he won't become the leader, for obvious reasons. The third hero is pacifist. You don't have any pacifist hero yet, so he becomes the leader of the pacifists.
Each hero has three skill trees, to which you can allocate skill points, gained with every level. Every active hero (assigned to a system or a fleet) uses up the Dust, in quantities corresponding to their level. During battles, the heroes cannot die, and they cannot be dismissed. They can, however, be unassigned - then, they'll get back to the general pool of heroes, where they're inactive and don't get paid in Dust. The information about them can be found in the Hero Management tab.
Every playthrough begins with one hero, but sometimes, you'll get access to new ones. There are a couple ways of doing that:
- Discovering the technology that allows constructing the Academy Embassy;
- Discovering the technology that grants access to the Marketplace, where heroes can be obtained for some Dust;
- Finishing quests - some of them yield a hero for completing them;
- Performing basic tasks, such as discovering new systems, waging battles, building ships, etc. All of these add to the Hero Unlock bar in the Hero Management tab (more about that below).
Additional info about what sort of heroes can you expect can be found in the Hero Management. The side tab contains three important indicators.
(1) The first one is the bar. (1) This is the Hero Unlock bar. Everything you do grants you a certain amount of points added here, for example discovering new system, establishing an outpost, building a ship, diplomatic negotiations, bribing a faction, combat, destroying ships, etc. When it fills up, you'll be able to choose one of three heroes. They races are random, but their classes are based on your actions.
(2) Another important thing - Hero class probability. There are four bars, each is related to a different class. The actions mentioned above also add up in here, but they're distributed between the four. The more technology you discover - the better the chances of getting a scientist hero; the more you fight, the more warriors will spawn, and so on. Your playstyle influences your empire and determines what kind of heroes you get.
(3) The last one informs about the location of the Academy in the galaxy, as well as indicates the initial level of your heroes. Next to the name of the system, there is a button that allows you to instantly get to that location. If you control it, your men will gain experience more quickly. Besides that, you can also see how many heroes are there in other empires.
There are three tiers of heroes' skills:
The green one are general skills, which can be accessed by every hero. They can help with many different things, and can be chosen if other, more specific skills, don't seem to meet the requirements dictated by the circumstances.
The orange ones are race skills. Every hero of the given race will have the same skills available here. There are many of skills particular to a single race.
The blue tree, are class skills. Those are dependant on the specific playstyle or a domain. These skills include skills of commanding fleets as well as managing systems. These skills can even influence the Senate of your empire.
The heroes can be ascribed to one of the following classes:
(1) Seeker. Focused on exploration and sciences. His ship has an equal ammount of weapon and support modules. Unlocking seekers can be done mainly with discovering systems, factions, etc.
(2) Guardian. Those heroes are focused on combat and industry. Their skills mostly aim at improving the fleet they command. Their ships have more weapon modules. Combat, war activities and some industrial actions help to unlock warriors.
(3) Overseer. Responsible for developing systems and fleets, overseers are focused on defense. Their ships have more defense modules and can divert the attention of the enemy and withstand a barrage of fire. Any development you make in the empire increases the chances of unlocking overseers.
(4) Counselor. Focused on diplomacy and gathering resources from systems. Their skills allow obtaining more Dust and Science - as commanders of fleets, they can decrease the upkeep costs. Their best skills allow to set the system's happiness to the highest level possible, regardless of the circumstances.