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Category: DevBlog

Union Update: Meet your rivals!

Welcome to another week in the Anno Union, this time with an introduction to the cast of Anno 1800 second party characters as well as an update to the streaming schedule.

Meet your rivals!
Originally planned for the end of last week, we prepared a video for you showcasing the variety of AI opponents which will be able to choose as your dire enemy or future to be ally.

Every single rival will have their own character, which will not only define their general difficulty rating but also influence their playstyle.
Since the Closed Beta, we improved their behaviour in many ways and while old chap  Willy will remain let’s say, a slow and simple fella, the AI’s capabilities of defending islands or deciding on various tactics fitting to the situation has improved a lot. As an example, especially war savvy characters will make decisions such as attacking your Harbour directly, engaging your war fleet or launching attacks on your trading routes based on the current situation.


Are you looking forward to testing your skills in naval warfare against the Psychopath Graves or are you more interested in Tea parties with Bente Jorgensen? We are curious to know how important the second party opponents are for you and if you are more the player who likes to challenge themselves with the most fierce of opponents?

Streaming Schedule – 2 streams on the horizon!
As promised during our special German episode of our Community Corner last week, we will have another English episode this week Wednesday at 5pm CET.
While we won’t have a special guest this time, our Community Developer Bastian will not only give you further insights into the fourth tier but also answering your chat questions.

And as one stream is not enough, our Anno Afternoon community crew will return this Friday 5pm CET – Not only Guddy is back on board, we will also jump from the trusty old Closed Beta ship to a newer development version of the game!

We plan to bring you more live-streams in future, from development insights with our AnnoCasts to community focused shows like CommunityCorner and AnnoAfternoon.
If you do not want to miss a show, make sure to follow out twitch channel to receive notifications as soon as we are online.

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DevBlog: Multiplayer

Whether it is teaming up with friends to end Alonso Graves’ reign of terror or taking on three other players to see who will be the last man building- playing Anno 1800 alongside and against your fellow human players can make for tense adventures.

So today, we want to talk about Anno 1800’s multiplayer mode, what options it gives players and also give you some interesting insights into how we make it possible to run an enormous simulation with more than one player.

Multiplayer – conquering the world with friends(?)
In Anno 1800’s multiplayer mode, up to four players can join a match to settle and conquer islands in an alliance or in a race against each other to reach the victory conditions first. Players can freely trade among each other, and with the possibility of trading any goods, they can decide if they want to start a trading conglomerate with specialized production on each side. And should you find yourself short of a full set of human players to stage a naval battle to rival Tsushima Strait, you can always fill any open slots with an AI character of your choice. This choice of how to approach the multiplayer is very important to us, no matter if you want to go for an ultra-competitive race to be the first to construct a battlecruiser squadron, or if you want to play a relaxed Sunday afternoon match with some old friends.

And since this is a question that came up many times in the past: Yes, the multiplayer mode supports the full range of gameplay options in Anno 1800, including the second session in the New World! So will be the first to settle a tropical island?

Starting and victory conditions
There are several game modifier which allows you to set the stage for the game experience.
Alliance with shared victory conditions – You can start the match with an active alliance pact between all players and shared victory conditions. This allows for a truly collaborative effort for players who want to work together as a team.
Alliance without shared victory conditions – This game mode enforces peaceful matches between players while encouraging economic competition thanks to the personal victory conditions.
Free-for-all – A free-for-all, with no shared victory conditions and no active trading or alliance treaties. In this mode, it is solely up to you how the world (and your fellow players) will remember you.

And while it can be fun to build and expand for hours on end, we know that some players prefer a more defined game experienced with a clear goal. That is why we have the same set of victory conditions as in the Sandbox mode, such as being the first to construct a monument, reaching X amount of investors of generating a positive revenue of X. You will also be able to select whether players have to reach one or all of these goals to emerge victorious from your online match.

Custom sessions and the new quick match mode
Anno 1800 will offer two game modes to set up games, either allowing you to invite friends into your custom sessions, or to be paired up with random players via matchmaking.

You can either create or join a custom made multiplayer match, where the creator of the session can take full advantage of all custom settings of the classic sandbox experience. Once you set your various parameters and decided which AI should populate your island space, you can invite up to three players from your friend list to your match. And if there is this one friend of a friend who wants to join you, players who join also have the rights to invite players from their friend list. The game mode supports a maximum amount of 4 players in total, which also includes AI opponents who can fill the ranks of missing players.

Our new Quick Match mode will match you with random players around the world in preset multiplayer sessions. The presets allow you to look either for a match with two, three or four players or alternatively just look with “Random” where a slot is available in any of the three presets. Unlike in custom matches, you won’t have any non-player characters in Quick Match other than NPC traders and every game mode comes with preset victory conditions.

Under the hood – large scale multiplayer simulation
Simulating a vast and complex strategy game like Anno 1800 in a multiplayer match is quite a challenging task. To make it possible, we make use of a “lock-step” mechanism, a system which allows simulating the whole game state on every single PC and as a result of that minimizes the amount of data traffic between the players.

In case the game states of the players will differ at some point in time, the game will detect it (we call it a desync) and immediately provide a simple one-click solution to repair the game state with automatic synchronization of all parties participating in a match.

You will be able to save the state of the game to continue the match with your friends at another time or to switch hosts if the initial creator of the session is not available. This also means that when you are creating a session from a previous multiplayer savegame, players in the lobby can decide which island to control during the game. And if you cannot remember the party of friends from your last session anymore, we will display the players which played with you before.

This large-scale simulation and synchronization process is also the reason why fast-forward is not available in multiplayer sessions. Speeding up the simulation would have a big performance impact on the CPU of each player. However, you will be able to pause a multiplayer game to allow everyone to take a break or get a refill of your favorite beverage.

Build an empire together
While the Anno multiplayer experience always had its vocal fans across the years, we hope that with Anno 1800, more players will team up to experience the game together. We received a lot of valuable feedback during the technical test and Closed beta, giving us ample data we currently use to improve the multiplayer experience for the launch of the game.

And as your feedback is always important to us: While there won’t be a classic Co-Op mode in the game at launch, we will add it as part of our post-launch plans for Anno 1800.
#coopiscoming

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DevBlog: City Incidents

Working from dusk till dawn, skin tanned from the smoldering heat of molten steel, just enough time to swipe the sweat out of your eyes. The Baron demands his guns and there is no time to breathe or room for compassion. And in one misfortunate moment of exhaustion, a hand slips and the massive calciner first starts to sway, before seconds later, its scorching load burns its way through the factory.

Incidents such as blazing firestorms bring tension when managing a sprawling metropolis and they also mimic the realism of catastrophes which can throw life out of balance. You are the major in charge of the fate of your citizen, as you have to strike the balance between relentless progress and the glooming danger that one catastrophe might be enough to throw your city into chaos.

City Incidents in Anno 1800
For the seventh title in the series, we decided to expand on the city incidents from the fan favorite Anno 1404. The rule is that incidents can happen at any time while the likeliness is determined by several factors. Working conditions and happiness of your residents, as an example, affect the chance of a strike to happen while your heavy industrial districts have a higher risk of a fire breaking out. While every incident has its own chance of dying down on its own after a while, the chance of a fire spreading wildly through your streets is way more likely, especially in cramped residential districts.
You won’t be able to disable city incidents completely, as they are intertwined with different game systems, but if you like a more relaxed experience, you can turn the likeliness of them happen significantly down. Or if you like a real challenge, how about scaling them all the way up to the max?
In total, Anno 1800 will have three different types of city incidents to keep you on your toes.

Fire: Blazing heat and explosions, what’s not to like?
Fire is not only the most traditional incident, as firestorms eating through rooftops of a densely populated cities are a primal nightmare since mankind erected the first cities.
In older Anno titles, fire could only appear and spread in residential areas but now, they will be also able to attack your production buildings, with your modern factories especially being a welcome target for the flames. To expand that system further, different production chains have a higher chance of catching fire than others, representing the brutal industrial expansion and workshops growing to enormous factories.
A factor influencing the chance of a fire appearing are the working condition slider, as pushing your workers into overworking themselves might boost your productivity but also raise the chance of an unfortunate incident happening. An increasing problem during late game, as oil production chains and the electricity feature, which can boost some production above and beyond, provide great benefits but are a real safety hazard.
While other incidents such as sickness can spread even faster than fire, the flames are way faster in shutting down buildings, which means cutting you off from taxes and workforce from the affected area.

Wait a moment, you said….EXPLOSIONS?!
As fire isn’t enough of a hazard, there is now a chance for some production buildings to explode. Dynamite might be the best example, but every building which makes use of heavy machinery and chemicals can literally blow up. If a production buildings explodes, it will immediately put the building in ruined state but if that wasn’t enough of a problem, burning debris fly around and might set nearby buildings on fire. There are various factors for the likeliness of an explosion to happen:

  • Type of the production (dynamite has a very high risk, Schnapps or Motor factories significantly lower)
  • Working conditions and production output (high production output raises the chance)
  • If the building is on fire (will raise the chance of explosion for these buildings significantly)

Imagine a rare chain reaction such as a schnapps facility burning down, bursting into spitting debris, sets more schnapps distilleries on fire causing a nightmarish chain reaction.

Illness: Big city life
The chance of a sickness spreading through your cramped metropolis is affected by two elements, working conditions and pollution from nearby production buildings.
Different than fire, illness is targets only residential districts. This way, it will still affect your available workforce but you won’t need to build hospitals close to your factories.
Once a sickness breaks out, residents will stay home until they have recovered, which functions as a temporary de-buff to workforce and taxes provided.
But beware: in the overcrowded and sooth blackened cities of the 19th century, an illness can spread rather fast and you will probably never underestimate the danger of a outgrown plague ever again once it hit a large amount of your population. And if you thought your outposts or getaway islands are safe – sickness can even jump over to your or ships from other parties to spread across islands or even travel to another session.

Riots: The birth of the social movement!
The workers movement marched through the 19th century and was the most influential factor to change the society as we know it today. Riots can affect residential and production buildings of your city, although with a different reasons why people go on the streets or lay down their tools.
In residential areas, the chance of a riot is affected by the general happiness of your people while in production districts, working conditions are the biggest cause for a strike.
That means that if you overwork your people, they might stop working and go on a strike even if the folks in the residential area are happy and vice versa. It goes that far that it can even affect specific production chains as you are able to alter the working conditions for each production separately.
A strike can start small, just affecting one specific building but might erupt to a general strike which can cripple a whole type of production chain.
Strikes can further spread as people will gather together, shouting their demands and sprawling through the streets on the look for sympathizer and fellow comrades.
Don’t underestimate the frustration of the populous, when a situation goes out of control, a strike can become a grown movement including heated arguments, raising fists and Molotov cocktails.

City Institutions
Traditionally, there are ways to mitigate the situation or even to take immediate action, namely city institutions such as the fire brigade which will reduce the likeliness of a fire in their influence radius.

There are three different buildings for each incident (remember, explosions are a part of the fire incident): the fire brigade, the hospital and the police station.
The fire brigade is the first building to unlock, has a medium influence range but also don’t needs as much constructions space. You might want ensure that your residential as well as production facilities are covered by enough fire brigades or additionally boost their effect with specialists items in your city hall. The hospital has higher upkeep and construction cost, but makes up for it with a higher influence radius and a general lower chance of illness spreading compared to a fire.
To avoid strikes, you could become a man of the people or you can make sure that enough police force has a watchful eye on streets and neighborhoods. Police stations reduce the chance of a riot in residential and production areas and if things get out of hand (or you just prefer the stick rather than the carrot), you can mobilize your force to put the revolter in their place.

Keep in mind that similar to the transport of goods, the street distance affects the time a Red Cross volunteer or police cart needs to get to their place of action.

City institution have a limited amount of units which they can send out to fight the incidents. However, you can activate their ability to mobilize additional units in case of emergency: you can call happy residents into civil service, from Red Cross volunteers, neighborhood watch and civil firefighters.
Using that ability will spawn more of the specific healing unit and its cooldown is determined by the happiness of your population. Remember: Don’t count volunteers if people are too busy throwing eggs at your counterfeit, if your residents hate you, the cooldown will completely freeze.

Another interesting counter to incidents happening in your overcrowded late game metropolis and power economy are items, which you can slot in guild halls to either affect the likeliness of incidents happening in production buildings or specialists like very effective and renown police constables in your city hall to make your institutions more effective.

From riots to explosions, we build on the complexity of the incidents feature while working conditions or the use of items leave players the agency to let the benefits outweigh the risks or to minimize the chance of catastrophes to happen. What do you think of the new system and is the thrill of a full grown emergency situation part of the fun or do you prefer a more relaxed approach?

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DevBlog: Newspaper

“Breaking News! Breaking News! The despicable tyrant Graves strikes again. While his fleet of buccaneers wears itself out on our superior coastal defenses, the Governor assures all citizens that the attackers constitute no threat to our brave city. Cheer and sing the song of our proud metropolis, while we pity the poor souls getting torn apart by our brave soldiers!”

In the wake of the modern world, information became available for everyone, whether it was in the smoking clubs of the aristocracy or in the crowded working class pubs after a grueling shift in the factory. In the 19th century, the newspaper allowed everyone to get a grasp of what was going on in a time of dwindling empires and rising nations, a powerful tool to bring the truth to the populous- or to twist it in the most convenient way to reach one’s goals.

Hot of the presses – the newspaper in Anno 1800
The newspaper is a new addition to the game, which not only highlights the milestones of your empire but also looming issues in your ever growing city. It’s a flavorful tool which helps newer players to understand what’s going on while Anno veterans have a satisfying stage to showcase their big achievements (or being reminded of their failures). Reading the headline “grand opening of the wondrous World Fair” or the shocking news about an outbreak of war also helps to immerse yourself in Anno 1800’s colorful but often dramatic setting of the 19th century.

The “Anno Chronicles” keeps track of everything noteworthy happening in your city, both good and bad, and will highlight the top three news on the front page of every new issue released. And as your residents are always eager to get the latest rumors, word of a beer shortage in your city can spread like wildfire, affecting the happiness of your entire population. In the same way, news about your newly opened school will have a positive effect on the mood in your city.

With that, news can have either a positive, negative or no effect on your city, depending on the nature of the event. While ravaging fire is naturally makes for a menacing newsflash, the other two articles can also generate positive effects, if there is something positively exciting to report.

The range of possible positive or negative effects of the newspaper on your city includes happiness of your population, consumption of goods, the chance for a riot and taxes gained from your residents.
Once an issue is published, the global buff or debuff on mentioned categories can last up to an hour.

The system tracks all important milestones of your empire, with usually one issue of the Anno Chronicles being published roughly every 30 minutes, reflecting the actual development of your metropolis. But if dramatic incidents happen, such as a sudden declaration of war from your neighbor or your first expansion into the new world, the newspaper won’t miss the chance to publish a special issue to cover the breaking news.

Furthermore, as old news become less interesting for the esteemed reader, ongoing issues will lose priority over time. As an example, the scarcity of bread is surely a matter people care about but they can get used to it, especially if there are more emergent issues on the horizon. That way, the Newspaper always ensures that you get interesting and not overly repetitive news. As you can imagine, a well-developed empire will give your newspaper plenty to work with. And should there ever be a time where nothing noteworthy has happened in your city, your always-reliable editor will back on his stock of humorous anecdotes and filler stories.

In total, we have prepared a total of over 250 possible articles, ensuring that the release of a new issue of the Anno Chronicles always makes for an entertaining diversion. On top of that, all published articles will get archived which allows you to browse through the history of your empire.

PROPAGANDA
The newspaper is interested in the latest rumors and breaking news, which can be rather inopportune to a besieged ruler of a troubled empire. Thankfully, there are ways that you can make your influence work in your favor, persuading the editor to instead publish some alternate, more helpful news- all for the greater good of your island, of course!

Enforcing propaganda allows you to change or erase unloved articles by temporary spending influence points. But backing your editor into a corner will not only let you get rid of the thorn in your side, but also benefit from some of the positive buffs that propaganda can (temporarily) apply to your city.

The different propaganda articles vary in strength, effect and influence cost. There is also a progression curve attached, with more effective articles becoming available as your empire and company level grow.

While standard articles have only a limited amount of effects, we have a total of 9 different positive propaganda buffs which additionally come in three different levels. And with that, taking control of the newspaper can have a high impact on your economy and other game elements.
From simple announcements, which erase negative news articles up to morale boosting propaganda which lowers the riot chance, reducing the consumption of certain needs or improving your tax income.

During an island siege, propaganda can unfold its real power of influencing your residents. Use war speech to make your people less willing to surrender during a siege, mobilize your workers to speed your military production or encourage your soldiers to increase the firing rate of your harbor defenses.

But spending influence is not the only downside, as some propaganda articles might have additional negative effects on your empire or on the standing with other third party characters. Depending on their nature, they might dislike the idea that you manipulate your people; other NPCS, who themselves are not opposed to exploiting their citizens, may however feel attracted by such behavior.

But times have changed and your residents might not be willing to belief every news article you feed them as they might be able expose your web of lies.
The more propaganda you use, the higher the chance that riots occur as residents refuse to accept the manipulative doing of their leader. However, education plays a role in looking through your deception, so higher tiers like the engineers will be more likely to look through your lies than the more humble farmers. In that scenario, it can even happen that a propaganda article you use increases the overall happiness of your islands while the engineers rally on the streets.

A word from the editor
We will leave it at that for today, as many of you will be able to get their hands on the newspaper system themselves as soon as tomorrow, when our Closed Beta begins. Until then, we are of course curious to hear your first thoughts about this new system, which can have a profound impact on many other aspects of the game.

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DevBlog: Ornaments

For beauty builder, Anno games are a huge model kit, which offers hundreds of puzzle pieces to build the city of their dreams. For some of them, the sandbox is even a canvas for environmental storytelling and with Anno 1800 new city attractiveness and modular cultural buildings like the zoo; we will have more content than ever to support our city-building artists.

Today, we want to give a brief look on Anno 1800’s ornaments and how they complement our new city-attractiveness feature.

Every residential tier will come with a new ornamental set. From the first sets of trees, your collection will grow with fence modules, city ornaments such as statues, benches or city stands and with the later tiers, you will be able to create impressive gardens with hedges, fountains and pavilions.
In previous blogs and streams, we demonstrated how even your non player character opponents use ornaments to give their cities a more believable and unique look or how they can be included in your zoo layout to create a truly marvelous 19th century zoological park.

Visual Feedback in todays screenshots hasn’t been fully implemented yet, so the amount of people walking around is not final and the final game will feature a lot more.

The ornamental sets itself were designed as a modular toy box, coming in sizes from as small as 1 by 1 tile up to 3 by 3, allowing you not only to fill small areas in the back alleys of your workers district but also to create appealing park grounds. As we think that the construction costs and space is already enough of an expense, ornaments will not generate upkeep cost.
Once built, ornaments will generate a small amount of city attractiveness, which can sum up if you build large park areas, including tourist inviting vistas such as hedge labyrinth or a renaissance style garden.

Aesthetes like Gasparov or dreamers like Bente will not only comment on the beauty of your city, a higher city attractiveness rating will further have a positive impact on your reputation with certain characters in our diplomacy system. The robber baron Malching will surely not waste any breath to appreciate your ambitions as a landscape gardener.

Thanks to tourists now exploring your island for getaway trips, visitors provide satisfying additional visual feedback when sprawling through your city, stopping by attractions like the museum or even taking a break in parks or other ornamental structures. With that, a large park or plaza in your city center becomes a real treat for the eye when watching visitors and residents enjoying the provided getaway areas. If you need a break from managing your expanding metropolis, just sit back and follow the tourists closely while they explore the attraction of your utopia.

Ornaments play an important role if players want to get higher attractiveness level for your metropolis, which results in higher income from tourism and a higher chance of rare specialists arriving at your tourist harbor. As the zoo or the museum are real visitor magnets, how about building some nice walkways and resting areas between the animal enclosures and exhibits? To reach the highest city attractiveness ratings, you have to make use of your cultural buildings, the world fair and your ornaments.

Maybe you have already plans for city layouts or want even to re-create something you did in a previous Anno title? We are looking forward to your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

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DevBlog: Naval Combat

We hope that you like our brief look into the new naval combat feature in Anno 1800. Please be aware that the content shown is from the latest development version of the game and as we are still in Alpha state, it does not represent the quality of the final product.
The feature, as demonstrated in the video, was not part of the Technical Test version and was fully captured in-game. We are still working with full force to bring you a great Anno 1800 experience at launch and therefore, there will be more updates and Devblogs to look forward to until February 26th.

To give you a direct follow up on that matter, we will provide further insides on Anno 1800’s naval combat and answers to some of your questions in the next episode of our AnnoCast livestream, going live next week Thursday, December 13th at 4.30pm CET on twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

We are looking forward to your feedback and questions in the comment section below.

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DevBlog: Back-Room Politics

Hi, my name is Andrea, and I’m the Game Designer for Anno 1800’s Diplomacy feature. I’m pretty new to the Anno team, as I only joined in January of this year. Since I grew up with Anno, starting with Anno 1602 when it came out, I am still super thrilled to now work on this series myself! How cool is that?

I love city builders and management games, and adventures in the broadest sense. Recently I played They Are Billions, Project Highrise, The Red Strings Club and Deltarune.

The 19th century – a century of back-room politics
Creating a metropolis from rags to riches is one thing, doing that while competing with other characters over territories is where the Anno series stands out. During your journey through the world of Anno’s depiction of a 19th century, you will meet many different ambitious or even ambiguous personalities. It is up to you if you approach them as an opportunist seeking a profitable trading alliance or as a ruthless warmonger trying to dominate the other factions.
To breathe life into the world of Anno 1800, every single character not only has a standing with the player character, but also with each other, ranging from love triangles to hate relationships.
Every non-player character populating your island world has its own unique personality traits, and our diplomacy system allows you to interact with them in various ways: from forging alliances to raging relentless war campaigns.

How will the world remember you? – Anno 1800’s reputation system  
The motor of our system is fueled by reputation, which represents your standing among the various second party characters as well as Anno’s ruthless pirates. Neutral factions are an exception as they are not in an active competition with the player and therefore are not part of the diplomacy system.
But more than just a rating for the players standing, reputation also takes the relationship between the non-player characters into account. The rating itself is in constant flux, as war driven actions of one character will constantly affect the opinion and therefore the reputation with another second party who dreams of a peaceful economic utopia. The longer the game goes, the more likely it is both characters will break their treaties, and even start their own personal war against each other.

Reputation is also the deciding factor for any diplomatic action in the game, which allow you to negotiate different treaties with the second party characters or pirates.
Here a quick look on our Anno 1800 diplomacy window. 

Raging war or forming alliances – Treaties
There are four different treaties in Anno 1800. The success of signing a treaty depends on the reputation between characters as well as on their personality. A leery character might be way more open in engaging in a trading agreement than a selfish baron. Let’s have a look:

“Alliance” – Allies will protect your ships and harbors when under attack. When you declare war on somebody, your allies will follow you into war. Forging an alliance usually requires a high reputation between the involved parties.

“Trade Rights” – Easier to achieve as an alliance, this treaty allows you to trade goods with the involved party.

“Peace” – A peace treaty ensures that both parties are not engaging in any combat actions against each other. The treaty is effective until one of the two factions breaks the peace condition, namely by declaring war.

“War” – When declaring war on a party, your ships can attack all vessels of the other party. Any trading relationships cease with immediate actions, and other parties who might be in an alliance with your now declared enemy might also support the war effort of their ally. So you better check twice who might be your enemies!

In addition, there are pacts in the game which are agreed on only for a limited amount of time. While such a temporary pact is effective, both parties are unable to declare war on each other. This pact cannot be broken by either of the parties before time runs out. This is very helpful when you know that for the next minutes a surprise war declaration of that double-minded brute Alonso would ruin your day.

Family ties and popularity contests – Diplomatic negotiations
The likeliness of negotiations being successful is determined by the reputation rating. Naturally, it is in the interest of the player to change the standing with a character to have a higher chance for negotiations to result in the desired trade agreement or even an alliance.

The other party might just agree, or just say no. As a third option, the other party might request money in addition to the new treaty. This depends on the other character’s traits and his or her own “point of accepting” this treaty.

Depending on the character themselves, they might also ask *you* for a treaty instead. This will of course only happen with friendly characters that want to make progress through this treaty – or who only want to protect themselves via a Non-Aggression Pact for example.

For all decisions, depending on it being a military or an economic issue, the diplomacy parties will consider how much stronger or weaker they are than you. Friendly and easy characters will not deeply care how much wealthier they are than you when thinking about accepting trade rights. Strong and stern characters on the other hand will carefully think about a request for peace, and only accept it if they are way inferior to you.

Changing your reputation – Diplomatic actions

So how do you influence the other parties’ reputation towards you? There are four direct ways:

  1. Flatter – A compliment here, a compliment there… Just don’t overuse it so that the other party gets tired and will even dislike you more.
  2. Insult – A good way to ruin your reputation. But hey, maybe you want them to declare the war on you, so it might save your standing with other characters who won’t blame you!
  3. Offer a gift – Who doesn’t like money offered for free? Well, some characters in Anno 1800 actually don’t like to be bribed, so you won’t get far with them by using money.
  4. Complete a quest – For some, actions speak louder than words. Finish a quest for them to win their favor. But don’t abandon or fail it! That certainly wouldn’t be please your would-be friend.

Apart from these direct actions, there are also some several passive, let’s say “hidden” actions. That’s also why we are not going to spoil too many examples here…

Artur Gasparov, the visionary architect, will love the effort you put into an impressive museum. On the other hand, his standing to you will sink if you build a lot of factories – pollution is a gross and detestable thing for Artur.

As a visionary architect, Gasparov is not really a fan of your unsightly factories!

Alonso, the war-hungry maniac, will grow to like you more when you start a war with another party. And Beryl O’Mara, the lady of organized crime, will not like it if you declare war on her underling Willie Wibblesock.

“You want to declare war on my dear Willie? NOT WITH ME!” In Anno 1800, different characters have various relationships or even feuds linked to their backstory. 

What kind of diplomat are you in the Anno games? Do you want to be friends and allies with everybody, or with just the ones you like the most? Or are you excited for the challenge of war and want to fight everyone? Tell us in the comments!

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DevBlog: Hoist the colors high

For centuries, pirates acted as privateers for aristocratic powers; henchmen that were often handsomely rewarded in blood money for their merciless deeds. But in the wake of the industrial revolution, the influence of the noble families was slowly dwindling and all of a sudden, stability was a much healthier and more sustainable motor for the modern economy than the disruption caused by constant fighting over trading routes.
The once-predators of the high sea became the hunted, and over the course of a few decades their centuries long legacy became mostly relegated to bedtime stories in romanticized novels.
The age of piracy was over, but the pirates of Anno 1800 won’t fade without a fight.

Overrun, but never outdone
Pirates have always been an important part of the Anno experience and even though the 19th century was the dawn of a new age, buccaneers will still populate your sessions to pester your and the other AI character’s trading ambitions. But more than just a serious threat for your fleets, Anno 1800’s pirates are real characters with their own flair, background and even their own ambitions.
As they are a part of our diplomacy system, they offer more game interaction than just simple combat. Even pirates have their own code of honor, but forming a fragile alliance with the outlaws won’t be easy to achieve. If you are willing to pay the price, they might allow you safe voyage through their territory, but keep in mind that they will remember how you treated them in previous encounters.

At the same time, they are cunning business people, and always have to find a new buyer for their illicit goods. If you visit their islands on good terms, they will not only offer their goods and items but are also happy to sell you some of their previously captured ships – including some real rarities you won’t be able to build in your shipyards.

Anne Harlow – The Banshee of the Old World
Young Anne’s future was paved in gold as her noble lineage guaranteed her a place among the powerful families of the Old World. But fate can be as cruel as it can be generous, even to those living in the ivory tower. Overnight Anne’s once prosperous future fell into ruin as a mad aristocrat convicted her father of treason.
And so, Anne Harlow became a fallen angel roaming the seas to seek vengeance for her family.
With the determination of an avenging banshee, she gathered a following of seasoned buccaneers, willing to follow her to the end of the world.

Anne and her fleet still haunts the waters of the old world, and while her fierce nature won’t make it easy to forge a peace agreement with her, it also makes her somewhat predictable. Once thing, however, is certain: she won’t quietly fade in history before taking bloody revenge on the nobles who ruined her family’s honor.

Jean La Fortune – The Wolf of the New World
It is one thing to fight for yourself, but another to you put your life on the line for someone else. Jean’s story is not so much a personal tragedy as a passionate dream of independence and freedom. And for that, he is willing to take on anyone and everyone to fulfill this dream. But it is not easy to life the life of an outlaw, especially if your dream puts the life of your family on the line.
When sailing under the black flag, his mind is always with his beloved wife and kids at home, well knowing that every battle could be the end for him as he takes the fight time and time again to a crumbling oppressive empire. As a man with strong convictions and principles, Jean is less aggressive than the vengeful Anne, though you may find him much harder to predict.

Where we will, we’ll roam
Are you looking forward to some good ol’ swashbuckling with pesky pirate fleets? Who were your favorite pirate antagonist in previous Anno games? We are looking forward to your Anno pirate stories and of course, your feedback on Anne and Jean who raise the black flag in a time where the old legends were slowly fading.

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Igne Natura Renovatur

Who have we here? You are in dangerous waters. You know not with whom you meddle. Leave if you value your life. Else all shall burn.

We are the fire bringers. The sixth age of man approaches. All must bow to the flames. You will be our fuel.

The fire will burn forever.

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DevBlog: Have it your way

Anno 1800 will offer builders a wide range of features, from time-honored proven favorites to all new additions to the series. One thing that is unchanged, however, is the ability to sink hundreds of hours into the game, and a big part of that is the ability for the players to set up their very own customized sessions, which has always been a cornerstone of the experience. We know that Anno fans love to be able to tailor the game’s challenges to their own (or their friend’s, of course) specifications and needs. So today, we want to give those veterans and newcomers like the first look at some of the customization options you will get to enjoy in Anno 1800.

Create your own island paradise, or meet a brutal challenge!
We have three basic difficulty levels in Anno 1800, ranging from Normal to Expert; they do not only affect the difficulty of your AI opponents but also include a set of predetermined rules regulating everything from the income you generate to the cost of relocating buildings. While we hope that the Expert setting should pose a challenge for even the most experienced players, we also allow you to tailor your own rule set and to select which (if any) AI characters you want to share your virtual world with. So if you want to create an unrelentingly brutal map with aggressive enemies and sparse resources- be our guest 😉

Similar to some previous Anno games, a dynamic difficulty bar that will give you a better feeling for how big of an impact your rule adjustments will have on the overall challenge.

Let’s start with the settings that will directly affect your game world:

Start World Size – A small archipelago for a quick match or a huge sandbox to play around in? This setting determines the actual size of your session.
Island Difficulty – A pancake will not provide a proper challenge for a true Anno veteran! Harder islands will challenge your city planning with a higher density of mountains, smaller beaches, and rivers.
Island Size – Some players might prefer many small islands for outposts or large-scale landmasses to give their cities enough space to grow.
Raw Materials – You said there isn’t enough copper on your island? A high amount of raw materials will not force you to expand as quickly and will, therefore, make the game easier.
Fertilities – Dictates how much of a factor the various fertilities your island can (not) have.

Next up are the various starting conditions, which can have a big impact on the speed and overall challenge of your game:

Starting ships – Is your flagship enough or would you prefer a small fleet of trading vessels? Or how about a fleet of warships? After all, there is nothing wrong with a good naval rush among friends!
Starting Capital – Money makes the world go round. The more money you have at the start of a game, the easier it is to establish your economy before getting into financial trouble.
Starting Harbor -> Do you want to start with an already settled island (maybe even fully stocked with some starting construction materials), or do you prefer to establish your first Imperial Harbor on an island of your choice?
Revealed Map – Being able to follow the moves of your enemies or friends in multiplayer can speed up things quite a bit.

After setting world and starting conditions, you also have some options to change the game’s rules:

Income – Defines the ratio of how much money your residents generate.
Refund of Construction Costs – If you destroy buildings to make space for your new leisure park area, do you want to get some previously used materials?
Building relocation – Decide whether you want to be allowed to freely move buildings around, or if there should be an attached cost.  
Trading Post Restocking
– Influences how quickly third-party characters will restock their trade goods on offer.
City Incidents – Some people want to see the world burn while others prefer a peaceful building experience without disturbing fires or riots.
Inactive Upkeep – Turning off building upkeep costs will make the game significantly easier.
Quest Frequency – If quests tickle your fancy, you can boost the rate of quests generated by AI opponents or neutral factions for you to undertake.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Anno game without a distinctive cast of characters and the freedom to decide if you would rather compete with the visionary (albeit slightly megalomaniac) architect Gasparov or would prefer for some easier going fellas to join your beauty building extravaganza match. As always, you will be able to choose up to three second-party AI characters as well as neutral factions such as traders or even those pesky pirates. Keep in mind that each character comes with their own personality, which also gives them their own difficulty rating.

And if you really like the world you find yourself in and want to share it with your friends, make sure that you note down the unique match seed code to recreate your experience at any time. You will of course also be able to have the game generate a random seed for you to get the proper feeling of venturing out into the unknown.

With custom game rules being a time-honored tradition of the Anno series, we’d love to hear from you. Do you have a set of standard rules you always go for or do you change the setup based on your current mood? And do you have any great war stories or tips for newcomers to share with the class? Take to the comments to let us know!

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