Here's something I've been thinking of - another customization option to be added to the create-a-hero-screen.
How about making it so when you first make your hero, you also get the option to pick a weapon item for him. There would only be 3 options to choose from, one based on your chosen hero's race, one specifically based on the profession you have chosen and the other is a generic / default option which is based of the type of profession chosen (Warrior / Wizard / Rouge / Priest).
The weapons to choose from would all be low level stuff, so nothing fancy. Some probably could do with minor tweaking to ensure that the choice of items are on par with each other (so there's no blatant better options) and also so that other low level items that you'll encounter in your battles are still worth considering at an early stage in the game. Perhaps maybe some new weapons could be made specifically for this purpose?
Also, AI heroes that lack an item could be then made to choose one of these items, too. So every hero would be carrying something in their weapon hand.
The Minotaur race would offer the "Axe of Slaying" as one of their options, as it's a dedicated damage dealing axe - a Minotaur's preferred weapon, as modeled by their hero.
The Pyromancer profession would offer the "Mageblade", as it's a wizard class, but also the "Flame tongue" as it's a fire weapon which relates closely to the profession's theme.
This means a Minotaur Pyromancer would get to pick from one of those 3 weapons when starting out.
Undead would offer "Banesword" for their racial weapon.
The Ice Mage profession would offer both the "Mageblade" (as it's a wizard class) and "The Frozen Needle" as that relates to the profession's theme.
Needless to say, an Undead Ice Mage would get to choose from one of those 3 weapons. But, of course, an Undead Pyromancer would get to choose from: Banesword / Mageblade / Flame tongue.
This would mean that you would be somewhat making reference to the old categorize professions that the past games had. You could look back to those games to see what professions came from what class, so you would only need to think up the classes for the new professions.
The class based weapons could be something like:
Wizard = Mageblade
Fighter(Warrior) = Slayer's Blade
Rouge = Jewelled Dagger
Priest = Gnarled Staff
And there are plenty of race based items in the game to easily pair them to the chosen race, like "Dwarven Shortsword" for Dwarves, "Elven Rapier" for the Elven races, "Serpentslayer Axe" for the Empire etc...