Europa Universalis 4 is one of the most rewarding games you can play. It certainly looks daunting from the outside because it requires you to balance diplomacy, combat, and the instincts of a true world leader. But once you’re firing on all cylinders, the game experience is unforgettable.
However, many players have a very specific white whale they have been chasing for years: joining the Holy Roman Empire. It’s a pretty straightforward goal, but it’s also one of the most difficult alliances to achieve.
Wondering how to join the HRE in EU4? Keep reading to discover our complete guide!
The Benefits of Joining the Holy Roman Empire
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you join the Holy Roman Empire in EU4. However, we need to address the obvious question before we dive in: why, exactly, would you want to join the HRE in the first place?
The first reason, though a shallow one, is that it’s pretty damn cool. The legacy of the actual Roman Empire continues to dominate so much of our culture and our way of life. For a video game rooted in deep history, becoming part of such an important cultural force is downright awesome.
The second reason is a bit more strategic. EU4 is a game where your success or failure often hinges on who you ally yourself with. Because of the sheer power and influence that the HRE wields, joining them is one of the better moves you can make to increase the odds of your own success.
The final reason is, of course, that it’s a challenge! It’s not easy at all to join up with the Empire, which is presumably why you’re reading this guide. Whether you’re a new player or a veteran hungry to try something new, overcoming one of the game’s greatest challenges always feels pretty damn good.
Now that you know a bit more about why you’d want to join the Holy Roman Empire, let’s dive into what you’ll need to do.
Low Total Development
One thing that surprises most players is that you need a relatively low total development to join the HRE. If you’ve been playing your game for a while, you might need to start over in order to pull this off.
Regardless of cultural development, you’ll need a total development of 200 or less. On top of that, you’ll need to have good relations with the Emperor. That part is less surprising: just as in real life, you can expect to ally yourself with someone who dislikes you!
Now, watching out for your development level and your relationship with the Empire is only one part of this equation. Another part of it is about where your capital province is located.
All About The Capital Province
You can’t actually join the HRE until your capital province is part of their empire. Making this happen is something that is easier said than done!
If you’ve kept the development level under 200 and have a good relationship with the empire, this may be sufficient for you to move your capital province into the HRE. Relatively speaking, this is the easiest strategy if you simply want to become part of the empire.
We’ve got some alternate methods below, and they may be better suited for your particular gaming style. As always, we recommend you try each method and see which one yields the best results.
Very Careful Conquering
If you’re a combative player, you may be wondering if it’s possible to join the HRE through conquering. The answer is yes, though you need to conquer very carefully!
For example, if you attack the owner of a province outright, you will anger the Emperor and pretty much kill your odds of conquering your way into the HRE. Instead, you need to go in with a very specific strategy.
First, you conquer a province within the HRE without directly attacking the owner. Second, you need to give up your non-HRE provinces. You can do this by making peace deals or releasing vassals.
Why take this weird steps? It will cause your capital to be moved into the captured HRE province. Just like that, you now have a capital province located within the Holy Roman Empire!
The Hard Way
So far, we have focused on simply becoming a part of the empire. But what if you’re dreaming a little bigger? With a little work and a lot of luck, you can join the HRE by becoming the Emperor!
When the existing Emperor dies, a new one must be selected. And this decision basically comes down to who has enough influence over the voters. If you diplomatically vassalize enough OPMs (One Province Minors) within the HRE, you will be selected as Emperor and can then join the HRE.
Doing Your Homework
Though EU4 has been out for a while, players are still discovering all the secrets for joining the Holy Roman Empire. If you don’t mind doing a bit of homework, you can do a deep dive into how the game’s AI makes some of these important decisions.
For example, it’s rare to see a minor AI country join up with the HRE. When it happens, you might be wondering what caused that. With the console command “mapmode aihre,” you can look at how the computer weighs the threat and strength of a country before it can join the empire.
By studying these numbers and patterns, you’ll get a better understanding of the game’s AI. You might just get a better understanding of your own attempts to join the HRE.
How To Join the HRE in EU4: What Comes Next?
With our guide by your side, you’ll be able to join the Holy Roman Empire in no time. But do you know who can help you overcome your next major gaming challenge?
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