I like how Altar quest spam is self propagating. Use the quest reward from one henchmen. Recruit another henchmen. 2 henchmen finnish a quest each... 4.... 8... 16... Though you would reach a bottle neck where you cant afford enough scrolls and influence would need to be traded.
Given influence is worth more than gildar and very adaptable, the reward from heroic is many times better than whatever the quest reward would normally be.
It doesn't guarantee that someone won't attack you early on, but if someone does, your side will be A-OK.
How come? Were your henchmen and heroes really that strong that quickly? Or was it no big deal since they couldn't die? Pull of the Earth on a full hero army and turn every fight completely one-sided?