Majesty was released in 2000 and did away with what most people knew about the rts genre.
You play the role of a king, but unlike most other strategy games you don't directly control your units. You can construct buildings, anything from guilds, to guard towers, to marketplaces.
From the guilds you can recruit heroes, but they have a mind of their own, so to get them to do what you want you can place bounties to explore parts of the map or to kill and destroy enemies and buildings.
Heroes will level up, and will buy things from the marketplace and other such buildings using gold they get from bounties, killing enemies, or finding in chests on the map.
You can level up buildings to improve them and to be able to research new things, such as better armor for your heroes to purchase at the blacksmith, or new spells for your wizards to learn at libraries.
Overall Majesty is an interesting rts, which Majesty 2 couldn't quite live up to.