Lategame Balance: HRE is lacking everything

I feel like HRE stops being a unique civ as soon as you hit imperial. You wanna get imperial to catch up in vil count and for elite upgrades. You can usually do so earlier than the opponent. But what then…?

With the recent Meinwerk change, HRE does not have a single unique upgrade in age IV. There simply is nothing. The lategame army is weak, expensive and doesn’t do anything compared to other armies. Every other civ has lategame scaleability, HRE only has discounted bombard towers, which were nerfed with the latest patch, and culverins (as do three other civs). The bombard tower nerf is mainly a HRE and ####### nerf, because HRE and Mongols were the only civs that actually spammed them. Mongols for the lack of keeps and to get yam, HRE because their army is just trash.

I just don’t get it. How can this be fine? How are you supposed to win longer games, when your army just doesn’t cut it? The eco is good, yeah, but Aachen for example also makes the army worse. And other civs also have great or even better lategame eco (Abbasids, China, English, even Rus with the right bounty and cabin setup) or discounts on strong units (French, Ottos, Rus again (Streltsy). Or they have a much stronger trade or outright superior units or mechanics (Mongols, Malians, English Network, Delhi (Elephants, 20% attackspeed on all inf)).

What does HRE have? MAA that are good, but not that good to make a lategame difference. Boot camp Abbasid infantry is much better in lategame than HRE infantry. MAA are one of the worst late game units anyway. Then they got 10% speed for inf, which is nice, but nothing that stands out or is unique. Other civs with speed bonus even have 15%. Landsknechte? The least cost efficient unit in the game. They just die in lategame, while not even getting close to a bearable ROI (all you need is a staggered formation or a lil bit of kiting to counter them). Meinwerk cav, which is nice, but nothing that wins you games in late + it makes your eco much worse. And then there is the probably worst mechanic when it comes to unit buffs: Inspired Warriors, which is just unusable in lategame, when you constantly produce and fight. Prelates just don’t inspire well enough and do not even work in fight. The fact that healing inspires units is also very much useless in lategame. There is just nothing. Not a single unique age IV strength. And I am waiting for something like that since release and frankly I am tired of it.

Every civ is getting nice things, new mechanics, units, buffs, but HRE is kept boring and lackluster just because they have Aachen, the stupid Burgrave and Swabia. Things that are either overtuned or outright oversold, since they only exist to balance out HRE weaknesses.

If you compare the armies and the unique boni of the civs, HRE is dead last. It’s my by far favorite civ, but it’s so frustrating to always see your army being chanceless compared to others. You can’t win vs Network, you can’t win vs Chinese, you can’t win vs Ottos, you are inferior to French, Rus… Everybody. It just sucks.

I’ve said it often and continue to do so. HRE lacks depth, lategame scaleability and a good unit comp. Stomping opponents with an overtuned Burgrave is stupid, not a sign of the civ being good. And the higher you get, the worse Burgrave gets as well, because people learn how to react to it. And Regnitz is nothing but a shadow of its former glory.

Don’t get me wrong. HRE is more or less fine in Feudal and Castle. But as soon as it goes into an extended imperial, the civ just stops working. You can stil win games, but the manner in which you do so is by spamming bombard towers, culverins and raiding the oppo eco. You cannot win with your army. Every other civ can, even Malians, but not HRE. Because there is not a single thing in age IV that gives them an edge or makes them interesting to play or poses a menace to the opponent.

Yes, this is kind of a ranty post, but the rant has substance. Everybody that is able to compare the tech trees and civ strenghts has to see that. The HRE as a civ has so much more to offer, but the resemblance in game is just pathetic in comparison. Every patch I get my hopes up, only to find them shattered. What baffles me the most: Already strong lategame civs become even stronger with the newest patches. I just don’t get it.


Prelates are a unique unit right? :upside_down_face:

I think HRE is meant to be somewhat simpler of a civilization. But, they definitely lack in terms of uniqueness. I don’t know if it is because they didn’t want to have potential overlaps with future civilizations, but a lot of what the HRE had in reality is not at all represented mechanically. The Landsknecht are cool, but are they really meant to represent everything in the HRE army besides plated men?

Also, I’m gonna say that AOE4 has some weird obsession with monks, priests, shamans, imams and prelates. In AOE2, bonuses to these units were mostly that. Bonuses. In AOE4 they are front and centre, taking up way too much design space for the amount of relevancy they have as a fun mechanical unit. I’m sorry, but these units can’t compare to the likes of a Camel Archer, an Elephant, a Mangudai. Maybe mechanically they are good, but they are just not interesting units to play with. Especially when they lack the most basic function from AOE2: single unit and building convertion.


HRE is not as simple if you really wanna max out your prelate eco. That can be quite tedious. But there are definitely harder to play civs. That, however, is not a reason to make this civ worse in so many regards compared to other civs.

Just take English. The by far easiest to play civ, but it is so well if not too well rounded and works great in every age. A civ being theoretically simpler does not justify to make it worse in so many ways. And it’s also just not true, if you take English or also French. French suffered from their slow eco, but that has been buffed and now French are back again. The only problem French had was their slower eco. The army, mechanics and techs are very fine, tho. HRE, however, lacks in so many departments, which is kinda adressed with strong landmarks. But these landmarks are either only compensations for the missing stuff or simply do not scale well enough to offset the weaknesses in the longrun. I’d be totally fine with a nerf or better rework of some landmarks, if the civ then gained more overall depth and uniqueness.

And I agree with what you said about monks. The prelate seems to be a unit that is supposed to counter all the unique techs and mechanics of the other civs. The problem just is: He doesn’t. He is blessing and curse at the same time. I often feel like that the devs think that since there is inspired warriors, HRE does not need anything else. But that is just not true and that makes the whole civ suck in regards of army and lategame scaleability. If you take the Warrior Monk for example: Remove that unit and Rus would still be one of the strongest late game civs in the game. And yet the Warrior Monk is so much better for the army than the prelate, has been buffed big time with Season 4 and Rus still is very fine without him.

That’s why I think it’s not a general problem, but a HRE specific problem. HRE lacks uniqueness, techs and mechanics; especially or mainly in lategame scenarios.

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Addendum: When I said that HRE is fine in Feudal, I was only speaking for the Aachen variant. Meinwerk still is not an alternative, as it is much worse. The problem is that Aachen is integral for the HRE eco. Without it HRE eco is much worse. In my opinion that’s a design flaw. Meinwerk could have the best techs in the game, but would still not be chosen, because it pays off way too late when you are already behind. HRE without Aachen should simply work better, it lacks flow and comes with a tradeoff you can almost never justify. Fix that and make the HRE lategame a thing and we have a civ that is more than just Burgerrushes, Feudal all-ins or tower spam. Every civ has something you can look forward to when going age IV in regards of techs, units and mechanics. Except HRE. It just falls short.

The landschenkt + MAA combo is pretty brutal, definitely wins any infantry vs infantry battle with other civs. Abba doesn’t get anything unique in Imperial either. I think almost all the civs get all their units available in the castle age. The culverin is really good too. It feels like 1/5 games I win are because of the other team not having culverins.

the +6 of the men-at-arms is so good that I could almost match it in a battle against heavy cavalry

It doesn’t win you games in lategame. Esp. not when there are mostly ranged comps and light inf. That’s also true for the MAA + Landsknecht comp. It is very expensive in lategame to barely do anything. Staggered ranged comps and static defenses ruin Landsknechte easily. The culverin is also not unique to HRE.

Abba gets Camel Rider Barding, Camel Support, Grand Bazaar, Proselytization and Improved Processing in Imperial. HRE gets Reinforced Defenses. Abbasid boot camp also scales way better into imp and their Handcannons end up having 150 hp. And 33% faster attack speed archers also scale very nicely as does Phalanx. HRE MAA upgrades do not scale so well, because they are a frontline and are supposed to tank, while the lines behind them dish out the damage. That’s why Abba late always wins vs HRE late, when you disregard player skill. 248 hp 10/10 armor maa with camel support just outshines HRE completely. And again… Landsknechte and the MAA upgrades are the only unique boni of HRE, since Meinwerk is just not good enough.

These are huge differences. Every civ has way more in imperial and scales also way better into it than HRE. Also every pro says that HRE is kinda lackluster in Imperial. From Demu to Beasty they all say the same, because it is true. There simply is not a good comp. Landsknechte don’t cut it. And Inspired Warriors neither due to its bad and unreliable mechanic. The effect is also kinda weak for the way it works. Any attack speed buff is better, because ranged units benefit so greatly from it. Landsknechte are good for mid to early imp, but they fall down terribly in lategame when cost efficiency per pop and res really comes into play and static defenses are plentiful.

Not all civs are good at all ages (you say English, but after the Castle Network tech nerf, I think their Castles Age is somewhat weaker than the rest of their ages).

Delhi in Early Imperial is the biggest trash civ in existence.

All civs have their weaknesses and it’s up to the player to find out where they can improve.

In what I do give you the reason is that there is a lack of variety of units in some civs, one of them is HRE.

English have 10000 bonus, Hre has 2 thats the problem lol

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  • Place Relics in Outposts, Stone Towers and Keeps for defensive and economic bonuses.
  • Relics placed in Docks increase ship attack speed by +5% per Relic (Max +25%).
  • Early Man-at-Arms in the Feudal Age (II).
  • Emplacements are -25% cheaper.
  • Villagers’ carry +40% more resources.
  • Prelates can heal and use Holy Inspiration in the Dark Age (I) — inspired Villagers gather +40% faster for 30 seconds.
  • Buildings within influence of a Town Center gain the Emergency Repairs ability which can be activated to repair the building.


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This thread is a good example of “The grass is always greener on the other side.” HRE is the second most popular civ across every rank above silver and there is a valid reason why it is there.

Tho, I agree that HRE late imperial army is not very outstanding. The word nothing to look for to age up in imperial is quite overexaggerated, I mean at least, in most situation, you have swabia to look for, and research in university which most Delhi won’t get it on time.

I think the real power of HRE is it can age up faster than other civs “in every age”. This creates a good tempo for HRE as it can enjoy the advantages of premium tech, better economy, and landmarks at least a few mins ahead of your enemy. Making you have a good high ground and snowballing enemy on that.

I think that is the point of why we have landmarks, you have to choose which economic or military bonus you gonna have. Besides, even if you choose Meinwork, you are only behind your typical aachen schedule, but you still miles ahead most enemies. Once you age 3, you can train ur cheaper-than-other-civs prelates from monetary anyway.

Though, may be some mechanic could be added if you want more fun, like if a relic placed in the production building, it adds 5% attack speed for the units trained there (can stack up to 15%) (would make burgrave more attracting a bit ig). Or a tech in imperial that allows Prelate to garrison in the production building to have the unit trained there auto-blessed for 50 sec. might be too op or IDK.

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That’s the thing. Swabia is more of a catch up mechanic, which is why HRE wants to kinda rush to age IV. In today’s open tournament one could see that this does not necessarily help much. Marinelord’s three TC Rus outboomed Lucifron’s Swabia and then ML kinda steamrolled Luci while still being in age 3.

The other thing is that a lot of boni require you to actually get relics. Fast castle is not really recommended in most MU’s for HRE anymore since it takes too long to stabilize just to be quicker at the relics. Malians completely outperform HRE in most regards, they often reach castle age earlier than HRE, because HRE is not very good at making a feudal army and getting to age III quickly. Burgrave is just a means to offset the lack of production boni HRE has, which can either save your fast castle making relics much less potent (since no Regnitz) or invites you to all in the opponent, which is on the one hand always kinda lame imo and on the other hand leaves you rather weak, if the oppo is able to defend the all in. The problem is that HRE wins a lot of their games, when it does not get to lategame. And that is pretty much my point.

The discrepancy between HRE and the great majority of other civs in regards of lategame possibilities is big. Inspired Warriors is a single target buff that does not even work really well in fight. It takes quite some prelates to buff up a bigger amry in a reasonable fashion. And once the buff runs out, it is hard to reapply it. Every other civ has area of effect buffs, which are just outright better.

Meinwerk in most cases delays your castle age robbing you of one of your biggest civ advantages. Or you go Meinwerk and simply ignore the landmark in Feudal in order to reach castle quickly. Which leaves you with a weaker eco and no other benefit. I watch many pro streams and no one goes Meinwerk, because of the conviction that it is the better choice. If they do they are memeing and also say that they are. It just takes too long to pay off and you would need to make additional prelates from the TC, whcih then again slows down your vil production. One prelate can buff up 8 villagers. 8 villagers gather 40% quicker. And it is either wood, gold or food. The rest is on Ottoman levels without military schools. The 40% only come in really handy when you go Aachen or stabilized in castle age. If you 2 TC with Meinwerk and get around 3 prelates (which only is 24 villagers, while you prolly have 40+), you also have a prolonged Feudal. And then most other civs reach castle age quicker and relics are unlikely to get. I see no point in that.

The grass is not always greener on the other side. I took my time to compare the civs and I found HRE objectively lacking, when it comes to lategame possibilities and scaleability. There is not a single civ that has that kind of poor lategame. There is no HRE comp that can beat an English NoC army. No comp to beat Rus Gigachad knights with Streltsies, since Streltsies cost 60 res less than HCs. Not to mention the far more potent Warrior Monk and all the Siege boni Rus get in age IV + the raid capabilities with horse archers. It is incredibly tough to beat Mehter Ottos or Abbasids. Mongol inf has 30% elite tactics instead of 20%, 30% biology instead of 20% and the Khan to give buffs. Let’s not even talk about Chinese lategame, HRE is completely chanceless there unless you mass towers and culvs, which both get kinda countered by fire lancers anyway… The only thing HRE really has is 2 upgrades for MAA and Landsknechte, which honestly suck in lategame. Their hp is too low or their costs are too high to actually build them and trade well with them. MAA can be spammed, but they just don’t do much in age IV anymore, since their boni is all dmg, not tankiness or outstanding mobility like the Palace Guard. That’s it. In age IV HRE gets one unique tech for buildings. Every other civ has more to offer. HRE builds and needs cannon towers in lategame not because of their discount, but because of the weaker army.

@Adribird90 Yes, NoC was nerfed. It only gives 30% attack speed to ALL units in castle age. It still is by far the best unit buff that is easily applied and covers a huge area. So I would disagree that English castle age is notably worse now, because the supposed English nerf patch gave them means to cover their greatest weakness, which was early castle. 40% was just broken and I honestly think that 30% is still too much for how easy it is to get it going and since it buffs all units, even siege. Said patch led to the English pickrate go through the roof. A real nerf would have led to a different result. NoC got slightly worse, while English altogether became much more well rounded and more fun to play.

When was the last time HRE techs or units got a buff? Every other civ has gotten nice things and reworks with the last few patches, but all HRE got was some in theory nice techs that get blocked by Meinwerk, while Aachen was robbed of riveted chainmail. HRE needs a rework like China got, like Delhi got, like English got… That doesn’t mean everything will be perfect afterwards, but it will definitely lead to more depth and more interesting mechanics. I am personally sick of going MAA every game because that is the only real strength this civ has. Until I reach imperial and MAA start to fall short. Then I am left with a complete baseline army without any boni, while I desperately try to make Inspired Warriors work. And it fails every time. I always have to realize: Yeah, snap… I need to build mass towers and culvs. It’s so poor. History offers so many possibilities for HRE and then it’s reduced to MAA and weird Landsknechte. Weird because they did not really exist in the timeline, which is represented in age III. And when you reach age IV, the timeline of the Landsknecht, you realize that it just is not a lategame unit.

The thing is HRE out eco most other civs, making it easier to outspam units to overwhelm enemy with number even in the same age. The ability to age up faster than others allows it to have a better tempo and gains momentum if you apply it correctly.

I think as the second most picked civ, it already implies that it is in a good position, it has it own strength and weakness depending on the player to apply. If you apply it at the wrong timing ofc you would get punished. The thing is HRE mostly ahead of other civs for the whole game economically. Military wise, you might be behind if you are too greedy, but if you balance it properly, with the boost of your economy and instant repair, it very tough to take HRE down.

If you have an ability to go imp few mins faster than other civs and have stelsy and best knight waiting there, don’t you think it will be too OP, and snowballing? Besides, Fra, delhi and imo otto late imp is also not that far better military wise.

My opinion is just change to play other civs if you are quite fond of it, it is easier for you as well as for others. (I am also quite fond rus mechanic as well since the game launch, but I wouldn’t go and ask devs to buff my civ to be like rus). I really c no point of buffing the second most popular civ to make it become the 1st.

Fast Castle is not a Meta, it is mandatory to go to double TC, it is better to take advantage of the deer and leave the transition from farms to the late middle game

As an Abba player, HRE is my biggest threat with feudal MAA. Whether your late game is strong or not doesn’t really bother me since HRE racks up significant wins in Feudal-Castle anyway. Here’s the AoE4World chart for win rate over game length. Looks like HRE does take a knee during early Imperial, but generally does well most of the time.

This shows it’s still one of the better late game civs, the highest win rate actually for 1 hour games.

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