Eador's story takes place in a fantasy world that had been broken into "shards" by powerful magic. Each shard is a large island that drifts in the Great Nothing, and is populated by diverse creatures. Taking the role of a Master, the player must use diplomacy, military strength, cunning and magic to unite the lands under sovereign rule. The primary driving force in this quest are Heroes, which may belong to one of the four classes: Warrior, Scout, Wizard and Commander. Each hero class has unique parameters and style of play, and the ways of developing a hero are even more diversified by the ability to specialize in professions (for example, allow a Warrior to train in magic use) and acquire unique high-level abilities.
World maps are randomly generated and are comprised of provinces. While the player does not directly control a Hero's movement within a province, Heroes can be ordered to explore territory, and if a special location is encountered, enter it to get a quest, buy items or battle with hostile monsters. The more explored territory a province has, the more income the player will get from it, and the population will also be more content. Special locations and combat encounters can usually be left for the player to enter at any time, so that battles with more powerful monsters may be postponed until a hero and his troops have levelled up accordingly.
Each Master's home province houses a castle which can be developed much like in many other turn-based strategy games. There are no class-specific castle types, but instead a branching non-linear path of development, which is additionally affected by the player's global choices (for example, the alliances the player may have made with indigenous races). Similarly, players have free hand in developing their alignment, depending upon global decisions and affiliations with differently aligned characters. For example, the player can oppress their population and hire evil-aligned creatures such as orcs into their army, or develop a Wizard class hero into a necromancer.
Combat visuals are very similar to the Heroes of Might and Magic series but there are profound differences. There are no stacks, and individual units gain experience just as well as heroes. Sometimes a unit my be awarded with a medal for excellent performance, which grants additional bonuses to its stats but also raises the salary paid to this unit. Combat behaviour is affected by many parameters, including endurance, morale, terrain affinity and unit-specific abilities. Additionally, all hero classes are able to cast spells, however, Wizards are of course more powerful in this area that other classes.