I agree. I kinda like how the game changes direction depending on your first hero. But for all choices that you simply "must" have, you need to incorporate them into your Sovereign.
This is my current Sov and Faction. I play to defeat monsters and quest, and I don't attack the AI players unless they attack me first. Difficulty for monsters and player AI is Challenging, all settings are maximised, max quests, random events, monsters, wildlands, resources and magic, normal production and tech pacing, opponent surrender often, Gigantic map from one of the mods, Tile mod for increased possible yields.