Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations – Where Should You Start?

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

It is no secret that Hearts of Iron 4 (along with most other Paradox games for that matter) has a massive – seemingly insurmountable learning curve before you actually can play the game with any meaningful degree of success. You can have thousands of hours – and still not really understand some of the core mechanics of the game (not speaking from personal experience there!).

All this is to say – Hoi4 is not an easy game – and it can be even harder to learn. Despite this reality – there are a number of things that you can do to make the process of learning the game far easier – this can range from playing with friends – watching YouTube tutorials, to turning down the difficulty. But in this Hoi4 best beginner nations guide – we’ll explain why choosing the right starting nation may actually be the most important aspect to learning the game – and who that starting nation should really be.

First Off – Why Is It Important To Pick The Right Starting Nation?

This is the all-important question, and it’s actually got a pretty straight forward answer. That being that every nation in Hearts of Iron 4 has a slightly different playstyle – has different responsibilities – and will open, or close doors to you accordingly. For example – take the UK.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

Britain had a lot on its plate during WW2, and you will benefit from having an in-depth understanding of every facet of your military – and sufficient knowledge in building a sufficient economy to battle the Germans with.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum – take Argentina – who has no obligation to even join the war – and can safely sit there for the entire game just building its economy.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

In each case – the way that you play the game differs massively – and this should be a major consideration when learning the game. Would you rather throw yourself in – to learn the game as quickly or efficiently as possible? Or would you rather take your time with it – and learn by taking a more backseat approach? Fortunately – there’s an option for everyone in Hoi4 – which we’ll discuss in more detail below!

Want To Learn By Diving Right In? Go With Germany

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations
Germany makes a lot more sense than you’d think!

Germany may seem like a really odd choice at first – but it does actually make sense when you think about it.

The first thing that helps new players with regards to Germany is just how much control it has on world events. For the most part – you as the player decide when – or even if, the Second World War takes place while playing as the Third Reich. This gives you an enormous amount of power to play how you want to play – while still getting a taste of what being a major in Hoi4 can offer.

The second reason why Germany is definitely on the list of Hoi4 best beginner nations lies with regards to the military that we spoke about earlier when discussing Britain. Germany – despite being potentially the most aggressive country, doesn’t really even have to use all of its military when fighting AI.

This is for a few reasons, firstly – Germany does the vast majority of its combat on land – meaning that building a navy is largely not needed in order to win against the AI. Italy will typically deal with this – and the only situation where it’s really needed is in order to invade the UK.

In a similar vein – fighting against the AI in single player means that you can kind of get away with not messing around with the air force on most lower difficulties – meaning that you can focus all of your attention and military might upon building the best army possible – which is probably the easiest military branch to wrap your head around as a beginner.

In addition, Germany has a solid starting industry that gives you a tonne of freedom and options with regards to how you want to play the game – and will allow you to experience the game to the absolute fullest. This will also help you when fighting the Allies – as you’ll probably be able to out-produce them – making a possible war of attrition only fall further in your favour.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

So, Germany already has two massive advantages for new players over other countries – the final one may actually be the most important one though.

That third advantage being Germany’s ‘Waking The Tiger’ DLC focus tree (it has the default tree without the DLC). This is another really important thing to consider, as you will spend a lot of time looking at, deciding between, and completing focuses in Hoi4.

This is the reason that Italy no longer finds itself on my Hoi4 best beginner nations list – as with the release of the ‘By Blood Alone’ DLC and its corresponding update – Italy’s focus tree went from being the easiest major country tree to use – to probably the most difficult – even without the DLC, not to say it’s a bad tree, it’s just a lot more difficult to wrap your head around than the Italy of old.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations
Italy’s new focus tree is absolutely massive and fairly complex – not recommended for new players anymore… Image courtesy of the Hoi4 Wiki

Germany’s focus tree however – is still as easy as ever to understand, it only has two major paths – those being to fall in line behind Hitler – or to ignite a civil war to remove him (obviously that path is a little more advanced). Germany’s historical path in particular is great for beginners – offering essentially free expansion without war – and indirectly teaching you to recruit more divisions alongside each major annexation.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations
Germany has a Fascist, Monarchist, or Democratic path to choose from!

So with all that considered – it’s no surprise that despite Germany’s major involvement in the war – it is a no-brainer suggestion for any new player – the nation that gives you complete control, a massive industry, free expansion opportunities, and a flexible and easy to understand focus tree. Give Germany a go.

Want To Learn By Supporting? Choose Australia, Canada or South Africa

The next Hoi4 best beginner nations are Australia, Canada and South Africa. Each of these nations are great picks if you still want a hand in the war, whilst staying relatively safe by being far away from most of the front line action. All three of these nations only really have the industrial capacity to focus on one branch of the military (that being the navy, army or air force), and this will obviously reduce the amount of micro management that you need to do.

In addition, each of these countries are protected by the British – reducing the risk for you even further. Though it is worth noting that this does significantly reduce your ability to expand, as you are puppets of the British – reducing your diplomatic freedom. So these nations are better for those who want to invest deep into designing divisions, planes or ships in order to assist the British in WW2.

Finally – each of these nations have fairly small and simple focus trees that will allow you to do the essentials without overwhelming you with decisions or situations. But – there are some differences with each nation’s focus tree and general situation during the Second World War. Below is a summary of the situation of each nation, along with who each country is best suited for. Starting with Australia.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

Australia is probably the riskiest of the bunch – you’re the only one under a real threat of invasion – that being from the Japanese – so you’ll have to prepare for that. But in return – you get a solid starting industry, and great options for either a naval, tank, or plane focus – with solid bonuses and enough resources to build a specialised military to aid the British in Europe, Africa, or Asia.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

Canada is probably the safest of the bunch, it is very unlikely that you’ll be invaded from the East or the West, due to the vast distances involved, and the protection of the US and UK. Canada’s potential complexity comes from its focus tree and manpower restrictions. Canada has the more complex of the three trees.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

It’s nothing super complicated – but you will have to deal with the great depression and your manpower issues arising from the predominantly French speaking region of Quebec. Thankfully – paradox finally made the change to allow you to tackle both your manpower and industry woes, as covered here. Canada is also well placed to focus on Tanks, Planes or Infantry thanks to its focus tree – and probably has the best industry of the three options here.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

South Africa is the final pick for the ‘support role’. While they do start off as the weakest, and like Canada they have significant manpower issues – they make up for this by having a simple – strong focus tree, being a superb candidate to produce heavy tanks for the Allies thanks to the nation’s chromium deposits, and having the best/only expansion opportunity for these nations (assuming you stay with the British) by taking control of the UK’s colonies in Africa via your focus tree. South Africa can be a fun and effective way to learn the game by battling in Africa, and requires no care for the Navy or Air Force at all.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations
South Africa almost never has to worry about chromium in Hoi4!

Want To Learn By Taking A Backseat? Pick Brazil

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

Our final suggestion for new players in our Hoi4 best beginner nations guide is for those wanting to take their learning a bit more slowly – and that suggestion is Brazil.

Brazil starts off in an excellent position for new players, being located on the most peaceful Hoi4 continent (South America) and having a solid starting industry and population – this nation is practically designed for those who just want to sit back and build an industry and army.

Brazil has the default focus tree – which while a bit bland is an effective and simple tree that will get your foot in the door with national focus trees in Hearts of Iron 4. It gives solid research buffs to all facets of the military, and surprisingly sizable buffs to the economy. It is entirely possible to build an economy rivalling that of many European nations as Brazil.

Hoi4 Best Beginner Nations

Finally – it is incredibly easy to change ideology with the default focus tree – meaning that you can (if you choose to get involved) side with really any faction in the war – and use your large industry to build a powerful army and support whomever you choose. The only downside with Brazil as opposed to other nations in this Hoi4 best beginner nations guide is that its expansion opportunities are fairly limited. Attacking any of your neighbours is logistically difficult due to the terrain, and risks angering the United States – whom you could do with keeping on side.

So – Which Hoi4 Beginner Nation Should You Choose?

With all that said – which country is probably the overall best country to learn with in Hearts of Iron 4? 

I would have to say Germany. The immense amount of freedom and control that Germany gives you is second to none and should not be understated. In addition – I believe that jumping into a nation that has a lot of combat potential like Germany will lead you to improve much faster – with only playing with other people being a more efficient way to learn the game in my opinion.

A close second would be Brazil – similar to Germany in that you get a lot of freedom – but a simpler default focus tree – more peaceful playstyle and much lower risk of an enemy invasion do indeed make this a more appealing option for brand new players – and those who are not entirely confident in their ability to fight wars after just picking up the game. To be honest – you really cannot go wrong with either choice!

Hoi4 Best Beginner NationsConclusion

So, there we have it! A small selection of starting nations that you can utilise in order to enhance your knowledge and experience in Paradox Interactive’s WW2 grand strategy game – Hearts of Iron 4. If you enjoyed this article – you’ll be sure to love the rest of our Hoi4 game guides which you can find here! Have a great rest of your day – and we’ll see you next time!

Avatar for Emmet Bramley

Emmet started his gaming journey as a young child in the early 2010s. Sat in front of his Xbox 360 screaming at other children in Modern Warfare Lobbies... Since these early years - Emmet has continued to diversify his gaming portfolio - by mostly playing the same strategy and survival games for the last 7 years. Regardless, Emmet joined the Console Bandit team in order to share his opinions and insights on his favourite games with a larger audience, and bring a more cinematic perspective to discussing certain games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *