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Category: General

Vote: Community Expedition Event

After reading through dozens of creative, smart, surprising and sometimes funny expedition events, we are ready to open the next Anno Union vote!

However, before we present our final entries, a few words about the amazing work of everyone who participated.  Once again, we had a tough time making the final decision which events should make it into the voting. Some stories amazed us with their incredible love for detail while others impressed us with their visual design and representation.
At the end, we had many favorites, so our narrative and design team had to come together to make a tough call: deciding for the finalists for the community vote. Decisions were made based on the general idea, flair and design of the event, while we also had to take into account if the entry would fit into the game and whether they would make a great addition to the existing roster of expedition events.

Therefore, without further ado, here are the final entries:
Argurino: “Darwin Expedition” or “The Voyage of the Beagle”
Follow the footstep of great scientific adventurers like Charles Darwin, on a curious hunt for mother earth’s last great secrets. In a seemingly unknown and wild archipelago, will your discoveries cause furor among fellow scientists back home or will your curiosity take its toll among your comrades? If you want to change the world, you have to be willing to take all risks necessary.
Editor’s note: As Anno is merely inspired by history, but does not use actual personalities, we renamed the event to “The voyage of the Beagle” to keep the reference to Charles Darwin.
Our team thinks:
“Interesting to have the crew face the different dangers related to the exploration of a tropical island in a single event. Moreover, it is related to a real life discovery.”  Marie Rouzié, Narrative Designer
Hexagon19: “Isla de los Muertos”
A tale of old legends and auspicious treasures. This event leads your crew to a mysterious island, haunted by the ghostly remains of the last unlucky soldiers of fortune who tried to unravel the island’s mystery.  Are you brave enough to press forward into the depths of an old pirate cave and will you be able to reap the riches and to uncover the truth about the “Isla de los Muertos”?
Our team thinks:
“This one convinced me as Hexagon19 clearly understood the Expedition system and how it works which evidently shown in the structure. It’s a “classical” pirate story and reminds me of Treasure Island.” – Sebastian Knietzsch, Senior Game Designer
Hojny87: “The forgotten civilization.”
With great power comes great responsibility. In an age of exploration, where the old world taps into the last unknown corners of the world, you brought something with you that might decide the fate of a once untouched paradise. A dramatic event with high stakes where your actions will decide the destiny of an old civilization.
Our team thinks:
“Great idea to have the event starting with a disease carried by the local population, probably caused by the crew spending time with them. This feels really different from other events we have already created and provides an interesting look at a very real problem: discovering new cultures at the risk of endangering them.” – Marie Rouzié, Narrative Designer

The voting will be open until January 2nd, giving you ample opportunity to cast your vote in favor of your preferred expedition proposal.

We say thank you to all members of the Anno Union who participated in the contest. While we had to decide on three final entries based on a variety of factors, including how they would fit into the existing game, we are proud that there is so much creative power in our Anno community.

And before we go, a small reminder for all Admirals out there: save the date for the upcoming AnnoCast this Thursday at 4.30pm CET, if you want more details and answers to your questions on our Naval combat system – twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

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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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Union Talk: Player Feedback

Today, we want to present you our first Union Talk, where we sit together to talk about Anno Union relevant community topics.
With our big reveal in 2017, we invited Anno fans around the world to share feedback to help us developing Anno 1800. Thousands of comments and 120 blogs later, how has the community actually changed the game for the better?
Our Creative Director Dirk “Karrenschieber” Riegert will give you some insights how your comments and participation helped to shape the New World and other important game content.

Let us know if you liked the idea of our Union Talk, is that something you would love to see more in future and topics you would like to see tackled in the next episode?

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Union Update: Time to recuperate

Another week has passed, and gamescom 2018 is in the books- and what a gamescom it has been! After countless presentations, interviews and stage shows – not to mention an award (Best PC Game of gc 2018) that we are as you can see very proud of – the Ubisoft Blue Byte team has mostly unscathed returned to the studio to tackle the final 6 months of development before Anno 1800 ships globally on February 26th, 2019.

However, we do need a little bit more time to rest our vocal chords and to read your hundreds of comments on the Union, our forums and social media, so there won’t be any new Union content this week. Starting next week, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming as we start to review gamescom with you, and take a closer look at some of our newly announced features like South America and the expeditions. In the meantime, feel free to share some of the questions you would like us to tackle over the next few weeks in the comments!

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Union Update: PC Gaming Show, Community Roundtable and more

Welcome back to our regular Union Update, as the last week has been quite busy bringing Anno 1800 to the PC Gaming Show in Los Angeles. However, before we dive into the news, let us talk about upcoming Union content.

This week, we will reveal the last residential tier of Anno 1800. The 19th century was not only a time of progress; it was also the time of big business, from old aristocrats to soldier of fortune trying to build the next big company. New production chains will be challenging and exciting alike and as mentioned in our last Q&A, the last tier will unlock interesting end-game content. After that, it is time for the anniversary of one of the most influential Anno games of all times: Anno 1404. After the anniversary content, you can look forward to blogs that will tackle the technological marvels of the 19th century. On that note, we are still looking for any 1404 anecdotes from our community. If you have a special, funny or just awesome 1404 moment to share, let us know in the comments below!

Anno 1800 at PC Gaming Show 2018
Last week, Anno 1800’s Executive Producer Burkhard and Community Developer Bastian traveled to Los Angeles to present our game during the PC Gaming Show. To show the game to PC players and strategy fans out there, we revealed our new trailer, kicked off a new Anno Union vote as well as talked about the game, setting and why community feedback matters. However, the PC Gaming Show was only the beginning, as we are looking forward to see Anno Union members and Anno fans at this year’s gamescom 2018.

Save the date: Community Roundtable
The next community roundtable is happening! Meet our community developer and members of our community team to chat about anything Anno 1800 and Anno Union related. Our Annoverse Fan-Discord will host the roundtable session, in which you can join, ask us questions, discuss or just listen to the ongoing conversation.

This time, we will run the two roundtables (one in German and one in English) on two different dates:
Second Anno Union community roundtable German: Monday, June 25th, at 7PM CEST
Second Anno Union community roundtable English: Monday July 2nd, at 7pm CEST

We use Voice Chat to communicate during the roundtable, but you can also ask questions in the chat if you don’t have or want to use a microphone. We will share some further details with the next Union Update.

You are hungry for more Anno or want to get in touch with other Union members and Anno fans out there? Check out our growing Anno fan Discord community: https://discord.gg/V4xhZ8Z

Current vote and availability of the AI ships
Many of you mentioned that they would love to get their hands on every ship and we heard you. We will make sure that you can get the hands of most, if not all, of the special ships via gameplay. While you will not be able to build them in your shipyard, there will be different ways to acquire the ships when playing, if it will be from third party NPC’s or via other features. Do not worry about the variety of ships you can construct, they will cover a lot from sail to steamships and we will share some details when we highlight the while Naval system in a future Union blog.

With the current vote, we want not only to get insights which ship is your favorite (and especially why from gathering your comments), it will decide for which ship we will create a second variant designed by the Anno Union itself. Do not worry about the missing details; we will share some examples and details when the contest starts.

Next focus test has already started!
The next round of our Anno Union focus tests is currently live. We invited a new group with over a dozen Anno Union members to test Anno 1800 inside out while providing daily reports to the development team. If you did not make it into this round, do not worry, we will continue the focus test program throughout the year and will invite bigger groups of players later on.

We heard your feedback that you want more details on what and how focus tests affected the development of Anno 1800. When the current focus test round concludes, we will provide you with a more detailed update about our insights and findings from this session. As always, our “player stories” are a combination between Anno Union blog feedback, discussions in our forum and fan groups as well as detailed feedback from our focus groups.

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Union Update: Livestream week

This week, it’s all about the upcoming next episode of our Anno 1800 development live-stream. AnnoCast 04 will be the most ambitious episode as of yet, as we not only show the latest state of the development but also present the city attractiveness system in action.

Our first guest, UI Designer Khajag Jabaghchourian, will demonstrate our big UI overhaul, as also provide insights about the importance of a well thought UI design for Anno 1800. A perfect chance for Anno enthusiasts and future game developer to learn something about intricate UI designs for complex management and city building games.
Our second guest might be familiar from our Monument and City Attractiveness blog. Game Designer Natacha Hentzien will take you to a small trip to our island paradise, when we follow our tourists through our panoramic city including a nice trip to the zoo but also not ignoring the smoking dark side of your modern industry.

As always, you will be able to watch the stream on our twitch channel twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte as well as on our Anno Union website. We will make the blog including the video player available by Thursday noon, to give you enough time to share your questions in the comment function.

AnnoCast Episode 04 – A trip to the zoo
Thursday May 17th at 5pm CEST / 1 AM ET / 8 AM PT
Follow us on: twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

Other than that, it will be the first time we use our new streaming room. Expect a new look while we will continue to improve decoration and a few other elements in the upcoming episodes.
As there is another bank holiday coming up, we will do a short break from our regular Union Updates, which will not affect next week’s DevBlog.

But before we leave it to this week’s community Q&A part, we have another small announcement to make. Our Ubisoft community team taking care of Anno, among them some familiar names such as O5ighter and Seraxia, will host a new streaming show on our channel. Join them this Sunday, when they dive into old classic Anno games in our new Anno Afternoon Community stream. Feel free to watch and comment – backseat gaming is welcome!

AnnoAfternoon #01 – Anno 1404: Maiden Voyage
Sunday May 20th at 5pm CEST / 1 AM ET / 8 AM PT
Also on: twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

Community Question and Answer

loex1337
Is it possible to merge different enclosures to larger modules into each other, so that I can create a big elephant enclosure if I connect two of them?
Answer: Allowing the enclosures to merge into bigger compounds leads to different issues to tackle, such as what happens if you unequipped one of two elephant items or how do you expand visual feedback, as animals and visitors heavily rely on pathfinding. One solution would be to develop preset modules in different sizes, but that would also ramp up the workload to create said assets. The various different and free to place enclosures offer many customization options for your zoo project. As it is a vast feature already, we think that we are doing the zoo a favor if we invest that development time into quality and variety of the different animals.

Revadan
Will Anno 1800 have a mobile companion app like Anno 2205?
Answer: There are currently no plans for an companion app for Anno 1800.

banan1996.1996
In the devblog about artisans glass was produced by workers and here it is produced by artisans. Did you change your mind about it or is it a mistake?
Answer: During development, we continuously work on the balancing, from small bits and pieces up to the re-work of whole production chains. Just recently, we reworked some of the production chains, which are one of the biggest balancing points for an Anno game. Rebalancing, as well as minor and major changes to the game, will continue for a while, often fueled by feedback gathered by the Anno Union blogs and especially playtests.

HarroLP
How much impact had the last playtest, did you made any major changes based on player feedback?
Answer: The playtest gave us a lot of important feedback on the current state on the game. Every feature has its own “player stories” note in our development plan. The “Player Stories” are insights and findings we gathered from blog and forum comments as well as from our playtest groups. That feedback will be gathered in reports, which are then being discussed in the team. The last playtest lead to a lot of smaller and even some minor changes to the game, from pure balancing to altering content. We are looking forward to the next test, which is planned to start in June. From that on, we will run further focus playtests throughout the year.

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DevBlog: Beauty Building Part 1 – City Attractiveness

Anno is a strategy series that asks its players to manage complex economies and to build vast cities. Since its the beginning, the franchise has always occupied a special place in the hearts of players who love spending hours creating stunning city dioramas from different eras, be It futuristic or historic.

While past Anno games have offered a variety of aesthetic buildings and ornaments to support that playstyle, the focus of the core gameplay always favored efficient city layouts and optimized production chains. With Anno 1800, we finally want to give those players with an eye for beauty the option to turn their beauty building into a valid and rewarding playstyle.

City Attractiveness – Power to the beauty builders
With Anno 1800, we are introducing a new system called “City Attractiveness”, which assigns every island its own attractiveness rating, which will affect various aspects of the gameplay.
Six different criteria will have a positive or negative effect on the overall attractiveness level of your island. Three positive aspects will raise your level when reaching a certain threshold of points, while the three opposing negative ones can cause a downgrade of your city rating.
This will elevate beauty building to an engaging endgame activity where reaching the highest attractiveness level becomes a challenge in itself. Reaping the harvest of your efforts will be quite rewarding, as it gives you access to special benefits such as unique visitors, among them specialist which can boost certain aspects of your city.
Let’s talk about the three different positive criteria first, as they give a good overview how you can actually influence the beauty of your island:

Culture: The cultural rating consist of all the cultural elements you have placed on your island, such as ornaments and cultural buildings. With that, you can not only boost your rating significantly with a well-planned park area, but can also benefit from transforming otherwise wasted spaces between production buildings with small ornaments and decals. Large projects like the world fair or special attractions like the zoo will not only be popular destinations for your own residents, but will as also attract generous visitors to your metropolis.

Nature: The industrial revolution changed not only our society, but also the surrounding environment significantly. With the expansion of modern industry, untouched and serene nature increasingly became a rarity. Every bit of natural landscape left on your island will benefit the nature rating which will naturally go down as your expanding city takes its toll. We will go more into detail about the nature feature at a future point, but we are planning that the player can have a direct impact on that rating by deciding to make room for Mother Nature by removing industry and other buildings.

Festivity: You remember how we emphasized that you are the writer of your own story and that your actions will decide if your people will see you as their progressive savior or as a robber baron? If you care about the happiness of your residents, supporting all their needs and providing them worthwhile distractions and attractions, your people will show their gratitude. Celebrations held by your happy citizen or from events such as the grand opening of the world fair will boost the attractiveness of your city greatly and impress tourists on your island. Similar to city incidents such as the Riot, celebrations will get a lavish visual representation.

The three positive criteria cover a variety of ways how maintaining a pleasant look-and-feel of your city will attract visitors. But rather than just adding attractiveness points in a linear manner, there are also three criteria which will have a negative influence and could even downgrade the attractiveness level of your island:

Inelegance: Certain buildings are simply not a good looker. A strolling pedestrian might not be very font of the scent of a pig farm and the remnants of ruined buildings will damage the scenic look of your city. The system calculates the amount of unpleasant, noise producing and even smelly buildings- the odor of a 19th century soap factory is something for the faint of heart, or stomach.

Pollution: Every production building has a certain pollution factor, indicated by a variety of visual feedback. While some smaller production and manufacturing buildings might only blow a small amount of white smoke out of their chimneys, the black clouds coming from full-blown industrial districts are not kind to the lungs of your residents.

Instability: City incidents such as groups of demonstrators rioting through the streets are a rather unsettling experience. From civil unrest to blazing fires, every kind of incident will have a negative impact on the attractiveness of your city, albeit a (hopefully!) temporary one.

Find your own playstyle
Influencing criteria creates a balancing act, in which every positive aspect has its own counterpart. You can imagine them as three axis: culture against inelegance, nature against pollution and festivity against instability. Here are a few example how this can encourage a certain playstyle:

Culture versus Inelegance: Will you spend time to beautify your city with ornaments and cultural buildings or do you not care about that, leaving ruins or dirty buildings on your island. The fundamental question: are you a beauty builder at heart or someone who does not care about the aesthetic look of your city?

Natural Landscape versus Pollution: While humankind was always interfering with Mother Nature for its own needs, it was the industrial age where exploitation began at a previously unimaginable scale. Do you want to be the magnate, repressing nature for your steaming industrial machine, or an idealist who wants to preserve the slowly dwindling natural landscape as much as possible?

Festivity versus Instability: Are you a progressive thinker, who roots with his residents like a father who takes care of his children or the robber baron who dominates everyone for power and profit. It’s up to you how your residents will remember you.

While every positive criteria has its own counterpart, it does not mean that you have to strictly counter one element with another. Your city can be a true sanctum for culture and architectural wonders while an ocean of industrial chimneys belches black clouds into the sunny sky. As the attractiveness level is an accumulated value, you don’t have to reduce the amount of factories to benefit your cultural buildings; your marvelous parks can also be supported by the natural habitat of a nearby mountain range or by happy citizen celebration their benevolent governor.

You tell your own story – you create your own playstyle in Anno 1800
With our new feature, classic endgame activities such as controlling the worlds economy or military domination get additional company and with that, expand Anno’s gameplay quite significantly. 
We want to create a meaningful gameplay feature for every Anno player, where keeping your city at a high attractiveness level is a challenge with different rewarding outcomes. Moreover, as we always like to emphasize how the world of Anno shall remember your actions, the attractiveness level will affect your reputation and standing with other second party characters.
We briefly mentioned visitors and large-scale projects like the zoo. Only two of the many features, which are not only new to the world of Anno, but are also intricately connected to the city attractiveness of your island. With our next DevBlog, we want to talk about another fundamental, albeit more familiar feature in Anno 1800 but we will come back to you with the second part of the beauty-building highlight in the very near future.

While you probably picture visitors strolling around your parks, leaving a small fortune in your cities treasury, we are curious about your comments on the new feature. As you might see, it is a significant addition to the gameplay and such your comments can become a valuable pool of ideas and feedback for our team. We are looking forward to your comments!

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