One simple buff to fix HRE

Currently HRE is ranked the weakest civ on ladder amount top players, and lowest win rate from stat. The reason is quite simple.

  • HRE is terrible in early game

You are very likely just die to rush from French,English or Mongol tower rush. There aren’t much HRE can do against them. All other civ except Abb (Who is also bad in early game), can train units quick at early game (French& English from landmark, Mongol stone double production, Delhi and Chinese 200-250% training speed etc…), HRE also has one of the slowest age2 time.

It used to be with insane eco bonus from age 3&4, if you somehow survived you can come back, but with recent nerfs, you may not even able to catch up at eco anymore. Meinwerk buff is not helpful when you don’t even have units to flight.

My suggestion is quite simple

  • Reduce military buildings of HRE to 100 - 120 wood

Which allows HRE able to start making units earlier, in order to counter early aggression. Also allows to attack and others can’t just get free boom vs HRE.


Just buff back the Regnitz Cath into 3 Relics, with 250 gold per Relics.
The current Regnitz Cath is a joke.

Right now ranked has just started and a lot of people’s ranks havent settled in yet, like we still have a 1.2k elo and 1.5k elo at platinum 3. Also sample sizes at top levels are too small to really tell if the civ needs a buff.
That being said, I do have some suggestions myself that could help if the civ win rate remains low.

  • HRE could start with 5v + 1 prelet. Maybe adjust initial ressources to -50 food too if its too strong.
  • Give HRE 200w start like the english or give them + 50 gold since they are spending their initial 100 gold on the prelate.
  • Have their maa train time from the barracks improved to match the english early maa.
  • Make prelets cheaper.
    Obviously not apply them all at once, but one of these could greatly help hre on their early game.
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If the tech that makes infantry faster was made a bonus for the civ starting from age 2 I think that could be a great buff, pikes could chase off cav faster and Maa could chase archers more effectively.

I think a discount to melee infantry military buildings might be acceptable.

Right now ranked has just started and a lot of people’s ranks havent settled in yet, like we still have a 1.2k elo and 1.5k elo at platinum 3. Also sample sizes at top levels are too small to really tell if the civ needs a buff.

These are statements that I read way too much on here and on reddit whenever balance is brought up. While you’re right from a statistical standpoint it feels VERY frustrating to listen to the same “it is too early to tell” arguments while you repeadedly get smashed by early knights for example in quick play or ranked as HRE.

At some point I think it is important to consider that if so many people bring up bad balance of HRE maybe there is something more to it than certain people would like to admit.

I get that balance is very hard to judge especially in a strategy game where there are so many variables but to me and to most other HRE players it is blatantly obvious that we are at a disadvantage.

  • 600 gold from 2 relics
  • The current Regnitz Cath is a joke.

Cool story, bro.

I don’t want HRE with +50 wood or cheaper Prelate, since HRE is already good in water map. +50 wood could make them op for those maps.

HRE biggest weakest is French and Mongol, faster train MMA doesn’t help HRE at age2 vs them. Right now playing HRE at diamond, I feel like is better to just resign at the start, since not very possible to win vs same/higher elo unless French/Mongol misplay badly.

Therefore I think the best way is to lower military building cost, and also doesnt affect build order (I used to play a lot of China, and I hate that every patch changes China build order.)

Another thing I want, is allow Prelate to use seek shelter, and you are allow to build building when selected both vil and prelate.

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These sound reasonable requests to be fair. I think small things like that devs could implemented on server side patches weekly or maybe every 2 weeks.

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The HRE needs far more than only slight fixes. It’s an unfinished civ that was rushed. You can see that when you look at the moment when they were presented as a civ and when the game released. They were probably the last designed civ and then the release came closer and closer, so time ran out. The HRE was ridden with bugs for the first 3 to 4 months. And they still are quite buggy. Emergency repair still doesn’t work properly on every building, inpsiration still bugs out when around towers or mangonels. And the game is half a year old now… That alone proves my points. They felt terrible in the beginning and they feel terrible now. Clunky, counter intuitive and weak. Their bonuses mostly suck, the special unit is expensive trash that dies way too quickly (and they have only one. And that one is only somewhat acceptable when you are ahead. If you are behind, the Landsknecht won’t save you from anything ever), they have no viable play aside from Regnitz fc into Swabia which was nerfed heavily. They are hella susceptible to feudal rushes as prelates are expensive and paramount and losing one early is a really big blow. They lack the mechanics to feel actually good. They are not fun to play, nor are they interesting. But they could be. And it’s fairly easy to achieve that. Relic just needs to do little bit with them.

It’s not done with a few number tweaks. The whole design of the civ is questionable and needs fine tuning in somewhat every regard. The civ’s design can work, but it needs some love. If you play French, Rus, English or Mongols, these civs just work. They have a flow. They feel polished. And if you play HRE afterwards, you have to think you play a different game. The HRE is a civ that gets already ruined if you use the all army hotkey. It’s so obvious that the HRE was developed last and not tested enough. Now they have been tested and they need quite a lot of help to actually feel good. It’s not about band aiding this civ into being somewhat viable and yet clunky and weird, but about finishing them altogether.

I have also made quite a lot of suggestions how to fix the HRE myself. I put them at the end of this post as a summary. Numbers can always be tweaked, but the mechanics need to be there. And that’s what the HRE is lacking.

  • Make relics grant 150% gold in any capable building and make it a civ baseline.
  • Aachen Chapel gets additional effect: Towncenters build costs are reduced by 20%.
  • Aachen Chapel also inspires military units after “Inspired Warriors” was researched.
  • Introduce sale of indulgences as new Regnitz choice rewarding multi tc play and lategame.

Sale of Indulgences would be a historically accurate mechanic to generate gold for the HRE. This was actually a thing back then and Relic lets the HRE - despite the fact that it lasted until Napoleon - end at 1517. That’s the year of Martin Luther’s proclamation and critique against the Catholic church that he expressed with his 95 theses. In the eyes of Luther the Sale of Indulgences was a fraud. The Sale of Indulgences ceased to exist in the process. Luther made it end.
Thus it would actually fit perfectly into the AoE4 HRE design and mechanic. It just needs to be realized.

Suggestion No. 1: [New Regnitz Cathedral] The Regnitz cathedral can now garrison up to 9 prelates. Each prelate will gather 0.75 gold per viallager per minute. It’s called “sale of indulgences”. With 9 prelates garrisoned and 100 villagers, the Regnitz would give 675 gold per minute. It would give a slight gold tickle for castle age, but really starts to pay off in imperial age or late castle depending on your playstyle as it is a landmark for booming. The Regnitz will no longer be able to hold relics, but can produce prelates and offers the monastery upgrades. It acts like a monastery+, but can’t hold relics. Granted this would be a big change that needs some coding. But the HRE cannot be saved without some new coding. So…

Suggestion No. 2: [New Regnitz Cathedral] Just like above, but the Regnitz can still garrison relics just like a monastery, while the (up to 9) prelates need to be stationed outside the Cathedral like the IO. That would make the Sale of Indulgences mechanic more susceptible to raiding and would also allow to inspire military units rather handily when being attacked.

  • Make Burgrave units 25% cheaper as well. Extend it to all infantry units. That means ranged units should be included. Reduce unit and upgrade build time from 400% to 300% if necessary.
  • Make Elzbach additionally reduce the cost of keeps, stone walls and stone towers by 20%.
  • Improve LK altogether. They need more hitpoints and movement speed. They should be slightly above spearmen in both regards (or more hp and increase marching drills to 15%). They are an elite mercenary for crying out loud. You can even up their cost to 120 gold, but make them better! The way they are designed right now does not make them cost efficient at all. They are too expensive in most situations for how weak they are and only actually help in mirror matches. No other civ needs to really be afraid of LKs. They are just expensive fodder with situational use that is just not good enough. Relic once said they wanted special units to be units you want to go for. That’s a long way to go in regards of the Landsknecht, who is underwhelming and underperforming since release. It is one of the worst special units in the game and their niche is even smaller than the camel rider’s one. You need to be ahead to even be able to afford them.

These changes would allow the HRE to be played differently and with more options. You could go for an Aachen into Regnitz play with a slow boomy feudal that allows you to pay for the prelates needed to be put into Regnitz in castle age and thus be much more self reliant, but slower as well. It would be the religious castle age play that also makes inspired warriors easier to access. Maybe you can snack a relic or two, or maybe you can’t. Both would be possible, but failing to get relics would not mean to be massively behind anymore. You would just put your faith into selling your indulgences -_-. With a solid castle age eco you could then go for the Elzbach, to be able to build cheaper fortifications for the rest of the game. With these changes I can easily envision people to go for Elzbach when the castle age eco is solid.

You could also mix it up and go Meinwerk into Regnitz fc, but that wouldn’t be as smooth. It’d be the greedy version of HRE play that can easily be punished.

Aachen into Burgrave would also be a possibility that would allow for a long and strong feudal, but will reduce the chances of getting “free gold” via relics or the new Regnitz. Worst case would be you have a solid eco with cheaper and faster production (Burgrave), but no “free gold” at all.

The more aggressive way of playing the HRE, however, would look as follows: You go meinwerk and build up a small feudal army to be competitive that is boosted by the Meinwerk upgrades (so you don’t die to feudal aggression, maybe you can even fc into Burgrave). You then go for a one base Burgrave play that allows for cheaper and faster unit production. Your eco, however, would be in a bad spot. So you need to use your early castle power to secure a few 150% relics, so you are able to still have a capable eco for the course of the game. You could then go for Swabia to round up your lategame while benefitting from cheaper and faster upgrades for your core army. The eco would be worse than with current Regnitz play, but still able to be viable even for lategame. The current Burgrave play leaves your eco in shambles and is not viable.

@SavageEmpire566 (Just wanna make sure you guys see all this, because it costs a lot of time to think about the game and post ideas. Please also take further notice of my big HRE thread. There has quite some effort been put into it as it aims to improve the HRE in a historically accurate and gameplay wise fun way. It’s also a rant thread, but out of passion and nothing but passion)


Thank you for all of the thoughtful feedback! Your thoughts and hard work are definitely recognized.

I’ll make sure the HRE discussion gets put in front of someone that matters.


That would be nice, thanks.
The discussion thread on rework has been building up.


That’s great to hear. Thank you very much!


While I do consider 900 gold as too much, I did’nt want them to remove it because it was the only thing HRE relied on.

I found yesterday’s ranked win rates pretty sobering in terms of HRE’s current 1v1 power level. I think in his latest ranking video, Beastyqt explains really well what fun to play, cohesively-designed civs have that HRE currently lacks–a solid viable strategy at every stage of the game. This makes a civ less predictable and more fun to play (and play against!).

I think the most recent patches were trying to even out HRE’s options across ages 2-4, but ended up bringing far more nerfs to age 3 and 4 without enough compensation in age 2 or making the less popular age 3 and 4 options viable.

My suggestions to try and give HRE better options across the ages:

  • Add ability for prelates to “inspire” military buildings to either decrease unit costs OR speed up production (i.e. add only one of these abilities)

    a. The goal here is to give HRE an option similar to many other civs to overcome unit cost or military
    infrastructure bottlenecks (e.g. imperial officials, scholars, English and French age 2 military landmarks; fresh
    food stuffs allowing more food spent on military)
    b. Provides more room for active prelate management in the early game
    c. Can make the building inspiration weak for a single prelate but stack with multiple prelates, to keep it
    balanced and emphasize a prelate tradeoff
    d. Can gate behind an age 2 tech to slow the tempo boost

  • Add ability for prelates to “inspire” town centers, either boosting villager production speed OR lowering villager food cost (again only add 1 of these, not both)

    a. The goal here is to give the HRE more flexibility than the current design which seems to be “catch up on eco
    by using Swabia”
    b. The vil food cost reduction version would function as a flexible military OR eco boost–you can either funnel
    the food savings into military units, or build more TCs in age 2-3 with less food bottleneck (similar to Abbasids)
    c. Could make the inspiration boost from a single prelate small, then allow multiple prelates to stack the
    inspiration up to some maximum value
    d. Can gate this behind either an age 2 or an age 3 tech (preferably age 2, to allow the military boost to be
    usable in age 2)
    e. Might require another Swabia nerf to compensate–maybe make Elzbach the discounted landmark?

  • Improve landsknechts, with many possible options:

    a. Reduce gold cost (80g?), to maintain synergy with the 2 relic Regnitz. The 100g feels tuned to a 3 relic
    b. Give Marching Drills a larger speed boost to light infantry or just landsknechts, enabling them to close the
    gap with ranged units (esp. crossbows and handcannons) better.
    c. EXTREME OPTION: let HRE make an “early” landsknecht with reduced health, damage, and/or area of
    effect in age 2

  • Misc other suggestions:

    a. Add an age 2 tech that enables HRE to collect just 1 relic in age 2, so they can use it for a key defensive or
    forward outpost; EXTREME OPTION: tech allows unlimited collection of relics, but this is likely way too strong
    b. Bring HRE’s unique MAA upgrades into age 2 (maybe just if you have Meinwerk?), this would allow HRE
    MAA to remain stronger than their faster-produced English MAA age 2 counterparts
    c. Allow Emergency Repairs on all HRE buildings, no influence required. This seems very modest compared to England’s Network of Castles triggering from a single outpost.
    d. Allow Aachen and/or Regnitz to train prelates. In the case of Regnitz could also allow it to research
    monastery techs, and offer a discount on the techs and/or prelates that scales with the 1-2 relics placed inside.
    e. Give Burgrave a cost reduction to units and/or techs, to make up for forgoing Regnitz gold. Maybe just a gold cost reduction for units and techs.
    f. Apply HRE’s 25% towers and emplacements cost reduction to stone towers. This currently seems to be a bug/holdover from when stone towers originally needed emplacements.

To be clear, I am not suggesting all of the above be added together. Instead this is a menu of options to consider and mix and match when trying to elevate the HRE’s design and synergies up to that of top civs.


Join in on our suggestion thread.