HRE - Uniqueness, mechanic and army rant. There is a lot of potential lying fallow

This is a text I used in more than one occasion now, but I want to make sure as good as possible that Relic sees this as this is on the one hand about the HRE, on the other hand, however, about the game design in general and the illusion of difference. The HRE just best displays the lack of unique army mechanics and the little thought that went into it. I am not trying to shittalk the game, but instead want Relic to acknowledge that there is a lot of potential to be used for AoE 4 which they have ignored so far.

I am not talking about economy. I think the prelate is powerful in that regard, but as he needs to be invested in and doesn’t always cover all the villagers, this needs to be seen in relation to the long run effect and in comparison to the other civs. This needs to be seen, I don’t wanna talk about that. It at least gives the HRE some kind of uniqueness which they are lacking so hard. And that is my main complaint for this civ and for the game in general.

After seeing all the civs now I gotta ask: Where is the uniqueness in the HRE army? They have one thing going for them and that is Men at arms (+okayish spearmen). The rest of the army is lackluster and baseline, as it offers nothing exceptional or interesting. The cavalry? Baseline, although the HRE was famous for its heavy cavalry, not just the french. The archers? Baseline. The special unit? Absolute trash but insanely expensive, completely useless, a waste of ressources, historically inaccurate role as an auxiliary unit when Landsknechts actually were the elite and the core of the infantry that excelled even vs cavalry. They were widely feared and wanted by any European king. The reason for their light armor is completely ignored by the game and instead just turned into a double malus = little armor, pathetic hp. And the fact that they are susceptible to light infantry counter makes them even worse than terribad. Why call them powerful when they are the definition of weak? Even their speed is only on spearman level, they are not exceptionally fast. The chinese Palace guards have heavier armor but can be faster. The Yuan Dynasty allows all their units to move 15% faster. Where does that leave the uniqueness of the HRE? There is also barely any synergy in this Civ, nothing seems to work well together or compliment each other.

The Landsknecht losing his suceptibility to light infantry counter would be a start and is a good idea, but he should also definitely get a lot more hp. Or a little bit more hp (at least more than a friggin spearman, he costs 60 food and 100 gold for crying out loud) and the ability to occasionally (25-30%) dodge attacks and take no damage. He then should get a bonus against cavalry and archers. If a few Landsknecht can make it into archers lines, they should be the ones melting the archers down and not the other way around as it actually is rn. And historically Landsknechts actually were able to compete with heavy cavalry and could beat them. This should be displayed within this unit. It is fairly expensive and it is supposed to be expensive, but it needs to offer something in return. Simply making them lose their susceptibility to light infantry counters is not enough. Not if they are supposed to be a unit that you want to build and that is cost effective. There could also be different versions of the Landsknechts with different weapons as they used halberds, pikes, flambergs and gun powder weapons. The way the Landsknecht is right now, he should not cost more than 30 food and 30 gold. That’s all he is worth. What a great elite infantry special unit available from age 3 onward… There is nothing in the game that gives you as little for 100 gold as you get from the Landsknecht.

And then there are religious upgrades that don’t seem like a unqiue strength as they simply don’t work well or are plain lackluster. Inspiration for soldiers is useless as it is too short and takes too long to apply. It is not worth it. It should be an aura (which increases with the amount of prelates in the army: 1 prelate = small aura, 10 prelates = huge aura covering the whole screen) or area of effect spell. Carrying a relic with the army should also do something special. Inspire the army even more or give some kind of other bonus. Increase speed or offer health regen. But nothing. Prelates also don’t offer anything special for the army aside from being available early. They don’t even heal better than normal priests. Together with the Landsknecht the Prelate is the lamest and most boring unique unit in the game and I have seen all of them now. But it would be easy to change that.

And where is the reference to the high variation of soldiers and mercenaries used in the HRE? Where is the reference to the Teutonic Order? Why does the HRE have lame knights and not the possibility to get the Ritterbruder as a, let’s have it a little unique, monastery upgrade for Knights (could give more armor and hp and ofc the according style)? The HRE has baseline heavy cav and among the worst cav in the game. Are you actually kidding me? I feel like the HRE is the least finished civ that has gotten the least love, as they display the core mechanics of the game but little to nothing beyond that. They offer nothing except strong defenses and good men at arms. The rest is also fully available for the other civs and mostly even in better versions. But even these differences and boni seem quite superficial, yet they reach way further than what the HRE has going for them. They simply make more sense and synergize better. And if you go into the gunpowder era with this game, why skip the fact that Landsknechts also used gun powder weapons next to the halberds, lances and greatswords/flambergs? Why is the HRE so lame army wise when this civ actually offers sooooo much? I feel like there is a lot to be done yet, because the state the HRE army was in during beta was pretty damn underwhelming. Bugs, weird mechanics, useless upgrades and units and simply nothing special aside from men at arms. Even their artillery offers nothing outside the usual. And in every video the devs described the Landsknechts as powerful and glass cannons and it killed me inside. How can you be so blind in regards of the Landsknecht’s performance in the game and completely twist his historical role? Relic wants to be somewhat historically accurate, but obiviously completely forgot about the HRE. And why do the Abbasids not have Mameluks? I was wondering that as well. They have to have Mameluks… They were paramount for the Abbasid Empire.

There is still so much potential to make the civs more unique, but it seems like it is going to waste which is an utter shame as I actually really like AoE 4 and also pre-ordered it. The release should be postponed and the civs should get some real diversity upgrades and uniqueness. But that seems unlikely. The most lacking civ in that regard is definitely the HRE, but also the other Civ suffer from quite some superficiality. Maybe Relic manage to spice this Civ up until release and maybe they are willing to patch new stuff in after release. This game needs and deserves that as it does a lot of stuff right. But it definitely is not quite there yet.

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Suggestion for new unique units/techs for Civs that I feel are lacking:

  • A new HRE unique unit could be: The Ritterbruder (better knights with more armor/hp and resistance to conversion carrying the black and white cross design (white would be replaced by player color) or Black Riders (only in Age 4, melee riders with a high damage pistol (they could shoot and then charge into melee. Shooting should have a cd of a few seconds. They’d be similar to the Coustillier in AoE 2 but would have a pistol shot instead of a lance charge. As with the Streltsy they might go a bit too far beyond the medieval age. I do not know where Relic draws the line, but the Black Rider could be a future uu for the HRE if Relic thinks it fits the time and theme). And there would still be tons of special unit possibilities. The HRE used plenty of various mercenaries from Italy, Switzerland, Bohemia and so on. But I think the Ritterbruder should be the priority. It fits to this Civ as they were the greatest manufacturers of plate in Europe and that should be displayed in the game. The according upgrade could be in the Monastery and replace the useless Benediction tech. Call it “The Return of the Crusaders” if you like. I think the HRE desperately needs something that shows their affinity to plate armor. You can feel it with the MAA, but not with anything else. Thus the Ritterbruder or Order Knight would be my No. 1 priority.

  • Another English unique unit could be based upon the Assize of Arms of 1181 (“Every knight was forced to arm himself with a coat of mail, and shield and lance; every freeholder with lance and hauberk, every burgess and poorer freeman with lance and an iron helmet. This universal levy of the armed nation was wholly at the disposal of the king for defense”): The Fyrd militia, who could be a quick to train and rather cheap melee unit that is also quite fast (at least Spearman level), weaker than a MAA and stronger than a spearman that also gains benefits when being massed. Maybe there would be a similar mounted version of them in the stable that also are (much) weaker and cheaper than knights but better than Horsemen all around and also gain benefits when being massed.

  • For the Abbasids I would suggest the Mamluk, although they already have 2 unique camel units and the Imam. For balance reasons I think it would be problematic when Mamluks were better knights as the Abbasids are already an anti cav civ. So the Mamluks could be a heavy mounted unit that has less armor and less hp as the Knight, but deals more damage. They should excel in cutting down archers, but be more susceptible to heavily armored units. They should not be a better counter to archers than the Horsemen, but fare better than the Horsemen in every other regard. Maybe their melee armor could be weak, whereas the ranged armor is stronger. They could be 80 food and 75 gold and similar to the Tarkan in Age of Empires 2. — Or the Mamluk simply replaces the Abbasid Lancer, who have (maybe) 2 less armor, but are faster and deal a bit more damage than usual knights. Combined with Camels, they would regain 1 armor so it’d make sense to combine them. I actually prefer the second option as it would fit quite well into the existing game and mechanics and would allow the Mamluk to be a powerful unit without breaking the game. The style of the Abbasid Lancer already looks quite “mamluky”. You would only need minor tweaks if at all.

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The HRE is too big to contain to just a single civilization. They should really split it off into about 5-6 civilizations.

Like they split the English off from the French and there were many areas of the HRE that were larger and more important than England at the time for instance.

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Absolutely! Best thread in these forums so far

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I like the ideas! But in all honesty, the game comes out in 9 days. With the team in crunch mode, working on bugs will probably take priority over changing an entire civ. However, with your post, I wonder if they may add new units or techs to existing civs like Blizz did with SC2 with each new expansion.

Just my 2 cents! Thanks for sharing! :smiley:

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I wish I had all the cents you must have! I might be able to gift AoE4 to a friend with all those cents.

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Sadly my cents are limited :frowning: unless you want to get game pass for $1 lol!

I don’t think that it should be split; but I do think it should be a ‘bigger’ civ, similar to China, with many unique units and building.

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I am glad that im not the only one who thinks that the HRE are completetly lackluster and it feels like the devs was in a hurry to put together this civ.

I agree with all you sad and i think the HRE are the worst of the civs in funcionality and historically.

My suggestions:

Infantry: I feel like men at arms should be eu only just as knights where only used in eu. Im not saying the asian civs shouldnt have infantry but just different name thats all.

Also maa should automatically switch to 2h weapons for all civs as soon as you research elite in imperial. 2h will increase dmg but also REACH, wich is an important reason as to why 1h weapons went out of favor.

England should have the bill, halberd for HRE and glaive for France. Makes no sence at all to have a 13th century soldier with sword and board in the middle of the 15th century. Remove 2h wep and mace uppgrade for the HRE and add uppgrade for the knights.

2h axe and 2h mace have nothing to do with HRE. 2h maces where most common in asia

Remove spearmen and rename to pikemen. Give slightly better reach.

From what i have seen it looks like the LK is using a big longsword due to them carrying them as sidearms. RELIC, greatswords where carried as a poleweapon. I agree they should increase hitpoints and armour, also make them better vs cav

Maybe make LK lategame black powder unit??.

Knight: Agree with everythin you sad.

Maybe a paladins uppgrade in the monastery wich gives the knights +3 armour +50hp and makes the buff from prelate last for 1-2 min

Since knights where not only warriors, they where also trained to lead, the buff on the knight could be like an aura to boost the infantry as long as the buff doesnt run out or the knight(s) are killed.

The English knights also need some love but i cant come up with any good solution for them atm

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And I am also glad not to be the only one. :slight_smile: I feel like these issues in regard of uniqueness, mechanic and synergy are widely overlooked by the community. But the deficits of some Civs compared to others are astonishing. The worst and most lackluster Civs definitely are the HRE and the English.

After seeing the Rus in action yesterday, I gotta say that their Warrior Monks are the synergy par excellence. They profit from all the upgrades, Bloodlines, the monastery hp upgrade, the unique horse upgrade from the Rus and end up being quite tanky. They are fast, so they are always with the army. They can heal and carry Relics, thus they are very mobile when it comes to conversions. And if they attack the whole army gets inspired after you research a tech. Before that tech, the inspiration radius is rather small, but after that tech even archers are being affected. They also have better knights than the HRE, but that is not difficult as the HRE have the worst knights together with the English in the game, which is borderline ridiculous.

Now let’s see what the Prelate does. Let’s pretend he is not bugged and actually keeps inspiring the units. He moves very slow and has no protection at all. He can inspire, but only one unit at a time with a ~3 sec cast that has a 30 sec duration and he needs melee range for that. The HRE is supposed to be THE religious Civ, but Dehli, Rus and even the Abbasids are way better in that regard. The Prelate doesn’t do ■■■■ for the army and due to him being so slow, he either is not in the battle or dies as one of the first units as he tries to inspire —> useless. But does he really inspire, when he has the chance? Not so much, if the unit is injured. He then heals and inspires ■■■■. But wait, you can turn off the autocast. Yay! If it weren’t for the fact that all you do is switch autocast on and off to get any use out of this unit. And the best thing is: It doesn’t do squat. You maybe have a bunch of units that are inspired, but the expensive Prelates are long dead or just never where they need to be.

Inspire for HRE needs a massive boost. The Prelate needs a massive boost as a military unit. The Landsknecht needs a massive boost, because he is the worst, the weakest, the most useless special unit in the game. Every Civ has more special units than the HRE (and the English) and all these units are actually useful. The Landsknecht is the only unit that might have a slight niche with the right timing but other than that is completely useless. It is expensive trash, garbage, a disgrace for this civ. That’s it. The HRE has the Prelate who is terrible for military purposes and the Landsknecht who is nothing like his historical example and a 100% waste of expensive ressources.

And then the HRE cavalry… What the actual hell? The French, Rus, Chinese, Dehlis, Abbasids (combine them with camels and their knights outperform other knights) and Mongols have better cavalry esp. knights than the HRE who have utterly baseline knights and are the worst together with the English. 2 of the 3 Knighthood civs have the worst knights in the game, while civs that never had a similarly strong heavy cavalry have all better cavalry. It drives me completely nuts.

The HRE also doesn’t even have good hand gunners. They have nothing aside MAAs whose techs cancel each other out style wise and feel like they were just put there because the devs had no clue what to do with this Civ. If the HRE doesn’t receive massive overhauls in regards of what is supposed to be their strenghts and historical role, then there will be no reason to play this Civ. None whatsoever.

Let’s compare the Civs a bit more in detail:

The Rus have the Warrior Monk who does everything the Prelate does but better. They have the Horse Archer who is a mobile raid unit that is very deadly when being massed. And then they have the Streltsy, an end of medieval age unit (it shoudln’t exist in the game) that is insanely strong, much stronger than a handgunner and can only be countered by siege or longbows. If you run in there with infantry and cav, everything will die as Streltsies counter everything. After a few secs of standing still, they get a 30% increase in damage and attack rate plus they get inspiration from warrior monks. That is by far the most deadly late game army in the game if you leave out mass artillery with the Chinese. The HRE has nothing to answer that. Nothing. Aside from all that the Rus have a very unique Navy. I dunno how strong it is, but it is hella unique. Oh yeah, and ofc all their Cav has at least 20 hp more, they have early knights that are simply better than the HRE knights…

The French have extra strong knights who are also potentially the cheapest knights in the game, they have the Arbaletrier who can fight cavalry, infantry and archers due to his ridiculously high melee armor (higher than plate units!) and pavise. A jack of all trades so to speak that actually also requires you to use siege to counter effectively. They can build every Artillery unit there is in the game except for bees and most of them even come out 20% stronger if the according landmark is chosen. There is so much synergy in this army, the HRE doesn’t even exist in their world. On top of that they have a unique ship that seemed quite useful. I do not know much about it.

The Abbasids have their Camels, the best spearmen in the game and all in all a very sturdy infantry. I do not see how the HRE infantry is noticeably stronger than the abbasid infantry. They have double range spearmen, they get 1/1 armor when camels are near and they have 15% more hp. That all applies to archers as well. On top of that the Imam can single target convert enemy units without a Relic. The Abbasids thus bring a very strong infantry in combination with anti horse cavalry camels and camel archers who eat everything but especially light infantry. In addition to that, Abbasid Knights or “Lancers” are stronger than enemy knights due to the synergy with Camels.

The Dehli Sultanate have their Elephants and scholars. The Elephants can be used in every situation, are very sturdy and have a place in the game as they do fulfill a very unique role. Their army composition speaks the language of synergy as well. The melee elephants can tank and eat every cavalry, the tower elephants answer to range and are like a moving tower and their scholars seem to be marathon runners. They are so quick, they are always with the army. I do not know all the techs they have, but one tech improves knights and maa damage by 3. So their knights are also stronger than the trashy baseline knights from HRE and the English, which really does my head in, and their maa are also blessed with some love as they end up dealing 22 damage to all types. Again the HRE speciality is ONLY maa and to a minor extent spearmen (+3 melee armor, herp derp…). The HRE is just one dimensional, boring and lackluster. Just like the English. But they have at least the Longbow who does quite some work. The English have at least a special unit that is useful. The HRE doesn’t even have that.

The Mongols have so many unique mechanics, it is difficult to list them all up here. And I probably don’t even know all of them. But they have, just like the Rus and the French, early knights and the Khan that reliably boosts the army (if you look out for him) + they have defensive mechanics that allow their units to move 15% faster. And since they tend to move with their base, the 15% speed is being applied way more often than you’d think. It is save to say that the Mongol knights are better than the HRE ones. And why not? The HRE ones get nothing as I am not getting tired to point out. The Mongols are very unique mechanic wise, but do not offer many special units. There is actually only the Khan and the Mangudai that I know of. But the Mangudai is very useful and strong. I feel like this whole Civ works like a homogeneous unit. Their mobility is what gives them an edge over others because it is where all their synergies lie.

And then we have the Chinese. The defensive powerhouse with the very most number of special units and a dynasty mechanic that grants buffs on top of all their techs. They get the speedy Palace Guards, the chu-ko-nu or Zhuge nu, the Fire Lancer, the Imperial Offical (no military pupose, tho), the nest of bees, the best bombards and handgunners (except for Streltsies) in the game and Grenadiers. They have so many possibilities and by far the best artillery in the game. Their knights are either 15% faster or have 10% hp more compared to the HRE and thus have to be considered better as well. The Chinese have better knights than the HRE. What is this? This is madness. The Chinese can do so much different stuff, their mechanics reach very widely and if you compare them to the HRE, you wouldn’t even know what to compare.

The HRE is just a basic Civ with nothing special in comparison to all the Civs I listed up now. They get the useless Prelate and the pathetic Landsknecht. They have good maa and all their infantry moves 10% faster, also the archers. This is only nice thing about this civ in regards of military. There is nothing else. And this 10% bonus is nothing other Civs need to be scared of. That’s it. That is all the HRE offers:

  • -Worst knights and cavalry altogether in the game
  • -Worst archers in the game
  • -Worst special units in the game
  • -Most useless techs (inspire for army is useless, but also needs to be researched, “Benediction” is complete nonsense (15% more build speed when inspired → boring and to 99% useless), 2 unique techs for maa that go in the same direction. Why not merge them? Why does the attack speed get gutted with the mace upgrade? Why does the damage bonus vs heavy get reduced once you get the Zweihander tech? What is this mess? And then Spearmen can get +3 melee armor. This is ok, but also nothing that makes that Civ stand out. It’s just a nice to have thing, but not really good.)
  • +Maybe the HRE would win every infantry only fight with other civs. Maybe. But when will that ever be the case?

There is nothing for the HRE. NOTHING. Where is the power of the Landsknecht? Where is the use of the Prelate? Where is the HRE cavalry? Where is the reference to the Teutonic Order? Where is the affinity to plate as the greatest plate manufactures in the world to that time? Where is HRE gunpower? Where are the several mercenaries this Civ used? Where is the reference to the Kaiser or Emperor? Where is the reference to bohemian, swiss and Italian techs and units? There is so much that just is missing.

Why does every Civ offer so much different stuff with syngeries and unique mechanics, whereas the HRE (and the English) appear to come from a different game and simply have no place among these other Civs? How can the European heavy cav of core knighthood Civs like the HRE and the English be the freaking worst in the game? Why do Civs that didn’t even have or know knighthood have heavy cav that is plain better?

I really really hope that Relic improved the HRE (and the English) by quite a lot in the last month and will continue to add stuff to them after release, because if they don’t, this game only offers 6 civilizations as the HRE and the English just cannot be taken seriously. They do no fit in the Pantheon of the other Civs. I wrote Relic, I posted topics in the forums, I did everything I could to try to make them see what desperately needs improvement until release. There is nothing I could do anymore. Now we can only wait and see.

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Well written. You basically sum everything up in a great way. I was so looking forward to play as the HRE but as usually european civs draws the shortest straws. Its like we europeans cant acknowledge our own history in a way.

I think many people still think that during the middle ages and rennesaince we didnt have much going on in europe, that we where inferior to asian technology. This is a trope i see in games like this over and over again

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Its like we europeans cant acknowledge our own history in a way.

I think many people still think that during the middle ages and rennesaince we didnt have much going on in europe, that we where inferior to asian technology. This is a trope i see in games like this over and over again

It is a troubling sign of the times we are living in right now mate. Oikophobia has been coined as a term to describe it.

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Amazing post Jaysus04. Completely agree!
HRE should be given a bit more variation similar to China. It should be a more versatile faction.

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OMG. Yeah im not that suprised ~~

Why shouldn’t Streltsy be in the game if they were founded by Ivan 4, and they received baptism of fire in 1552 during the storming of Kazan.

And the time frame of Rus " In Age of Empires IV, the Rus civilization tells the story of a fledgling empire caught between powerful opponents over the years 882-1552 CE."

So that everything turns out by the years. It’s just not Rus fault that while Western Europe continued to develop knightly armor by creating more and more advanced models, in Rus they focused on the development and use of firearms and the development of artillery as well. After all, full armor is useless when protecting firearms.

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It’s just like with all the weebness in the various games. Oh, he has a Katana. He needs to be extra strong. Stronger than a Longsword user of course, because Longswords are easy and don’t need training or perfection (this is sarcasm ofc). In fact a Japanese Samurai would get eaten by a European knight. There would be rare situations in which the Samurai has the upper hand, but if it is a 1v1, each in their armor and melee Weapon of Choice, the Samurai couldn’t do anything against a Knight. The Longsword is not inferior to the Katana, it is just different. The Katana doesn’t do ■■■■ to plate, but the Longsword’s power would smash the Samurais armor. It might not cut through, but it would stab through. And it would break bones. Plate armor protects you from all that. The knight moves slower and needs to be stronger altogether to be at all able to fit in heavy armor and fight with a Longsword, the Samurai is trained completely differently and for different purposes. The Samurai was a warrior that was the elite in his culture. But if he had met a knight, he would have stood no chance at all. Most games, and Age of Empires 2 was no different, treat east asian weaponry and fighting styles with way higher regards than they actually deserve. Or they treat the European weaponry as something inferior to anything that appears weeby or exotic. I have never understood that and I never will.

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There is common sense about when the medieval age ended: It’s the time between the invention of book printing, the fall of Constantinople and the exploration of the Americas. Everything after that is not considered to be part of the medieval age. If you put Streltsies in the game, you need to go further with all the other Civs as well. The French, the HRE and the English were by no means inferior to the gun powder of the Eastern European Civs. Landsknechte also used gun powder weapons during the end times of the medieval ages, but that is not displayed in the game. That is why I say that Streltsies have no place in the game, as the other Civs don’t go far enough to answer them and are stuck with lame ■■■ hand cannoneers, who are strong, but nothing like Streltsies, who are insanely powerful and synergize so well. The chinese hand cannoneers are the only ones able to compete with the Rus Streltsies and that is just stupid. These units are way too powerful. And it feels like the Rus have a time machine while the other Civs do not.

Thanks :slight_smile:

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I think it has a lot to do with the culture that formed as a result of the catastrophes of the First and Second World War. It is no longer socially acceptable to talk with any form of enthusiasm about European history, while talking with disdain and contempt about European history has become ‘trendy’ and is even seen as ‘smart’ and ‘progressive’.

I have a friend who knows a lot about swords and shields. He even has a collection of all kinds of swords including a katana. He did his research and is basically saying the same thing that you are also saying.
He often finds himself accused of being a neonazi simply for being interested in these type of things.

Also interesting is how certain migrant groups in Europe do not seem to have this problem. While lunching in the cafeteria at work, the Turks brag about how noble their ancestors were and how the Ottoman Empire was the center of the universe.
Pointing out to them that the Ottoman Empire too had slaves, subjugated much of Africa and really didn’t treat women and ‘minorities’ better than the Europeans at that time is a huge social risk (they literally took sexslaves in the Balkans and played the ‘convert or die’ game wherever they went). And it isn’t a social risk because the Turks don’t like to talk about these things, but because the fellow European who is sitting next to me thinks it is “racist” to say these things.

Anyway, I am rambling on…

I just hope that this weird modern-day culture of European self-hatred doesn’t show through in AoE4. However, the lack of a variation of units for the HRE at least give the impression that the development team for ‘some’ reason was not willing to look into the history of this mostly Germanic (Oeh evil!) Empire that lasted for 1000 years.

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Accept it. These are game conventions and so it is intended. Just play and relax, what can I say. Nothing will change anyway.

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Not really. Samurai armour was more than sufficient to defend vs blade weapons of every kind. Had more gaps and open spaces though so it would for sure favour a knight slightly.

So not true. Yes in horse combat he would probably lose but samurai were very well trained
he would have a good chance on foot. Would be quite smaller on average so that would go against him in wrestling department where it would probably end if they were both armoured well.

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