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Category: General

DevBlog: I want to be anarchy

The class struggle in the 19th century was a clash between capital and labor, between the money aristocracy seeking profit and the working people yearning for their individual rights and a sustainable way of living. To break the chains of the ruling class, many of them organized in unions and opened their minds to new ideas, preaching a more humane and progressive evolution of society. Naturally, some of those visions of what this new and better world could look like were more radical than others, stoked by agitators whose tongues were as sharp as any sword…

Dr. Hugo Mercier, the infamous Anarchist, will be the newest addition to Anno 1800’s diverse cast of characters. While ruthless robber barons like von Malching or visionary architects like Gasparov build their magnificent Metropolises on the back of the populace, the Anarchist is a true man of the people, breaking the chains of indentured servitude and freeing his citizens from capitalist oppression. At least that is what he will happily tell you, and anyone else willing to listen to his manifesto.

Us humble game developers, on the other hand, are happy to tell you how exactly he differs from other characters and what this means for you as the player, before we end with the cold hard numbers of content included with the Anarchist.

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought
Unlike other NPCs in Anno 1800, Hugo Mercier does not bend to the rules of capitalism, and many of his political beliefs are also reflected in his gameplay. While he will follow the general game rules that other NPCs (and human players) have to with regards of production of good etc., his islands will deviate from his competitors in some major ways.  One such drastic exception is that as a vowed opponent of capitalism, the Anarchist will not allow any investors to set foot onto his island, capping his progression at engineer level instead. He also has strong feelings about the monetary system and religion, so do not expect to find any banks or churches throughout his empire.

The same is true for tourism. While Mercier is happy to welcome any new believers to live on his island, he despises the notion of hordes of idling tourists dallying around his utopian cities. 

With all of those missing buildings, you may be wondering how Dr. Mercier keeps his citizens happy and following his party line? Those problems are nothing that a little bit of propaganda won’t fix. To this end, the Anarchist’s islands will have a unique look, as he will deck out his buildings with lots of banners, flags and posters to inspire his citizens’ love for the cause. To do so, he goes beyond just visuals- you will also see him constructing lots of speaker towers, which will play recordings of his teachings to his loyal subjects. You can of course listen in on them yourself to see whether you agree with his political leanings.

The Revolution devours its children

As it turns out, not all of his citizens do, which brings us to the defector feature. As Doctor Mercier’s grip on his islands tightens, many of his not-so-loyal-after-all subjects will be looking to leave his anarchistic experiment behind. To this end, they will offer you quests to accept them onto your islands. If you choose to do so, they will express their gratitude with rewards like new items or money.

At a certain point however, Mercier won’t accept you taking on all these defectors anymore, and may start to spread unrest among your own citizens with his agents. You will have to be very careful to manage this threat, lest anarchy and unrest can quickly engulf your own islands! To represent this in the game, we are introducing a new quest type related to his threat. For these, your citizens will make their demands known, leaving you with the choice whether you want to give in to their demand, or face the (sometimes dire) consequences, such as fires and riots in your city. Defectors will require players to constantly balance the benefits of receiving their rewards with the risks of anarchic mayhem spreading in your empire. Long-time Anno fans may recognize the conceptual similarities to the beggars in Anno 1404 (or Dawn of Discovery, as it was known in many regions).

Friend or Foe?

Of course, the defection mechanic is not the only way that players will be able to interact with the (fully voiced) Anarchist, who is a medium-difficulty opponent. Similarly to our other NPC opponents, he will also offer players a range of voluntary quests to undertake, during which they will learn more about the character and the beliefs driving him.

As part of that, he may occasionally ask you to print special propaganda articles in your newspaper on his behalf. These special marked texts will not cost you any influence to print and will provide you with powerful buys, though there will also be associate downsides for them.

Another aspect setting him apart from his peers is how trade-happy he is. Not only is he very easy to come to a trade agreement with, but he will also offer to sell you items, which is usually reserved for third-party characters like Madame Kahina. One of these items you will be able to acquire from him are the new sea mines, which speak to his defense-focused nature.

The Anarchist content and Game Update 3 (Release Notes on this coming next week) are planned to be released on June 5. He will be available to all owners of the Digital Deluxe and Pioneers Editions. Should you have bought the Standard Edition at launch, you can now upgrade to the Digital Deluxe Edition to not only gain access to The Anarchist once he is released, but also the digital art book, digital soundtrack and 4 unique company logos.

The Anarchist at a glance

New medium-difficult AI opponent: Dr Hugo Mercier, the Anarchist

New defection system to keep players on their toes

Over 50 new quests

Over 50 new items

Unlock his portrait and logo for your own profile

6 new Achievements to challenge players

2 new ornaments you can unlock via Ubisoft Club to build in your city

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Union Update: Rumors of Anarchy (Updated)

Hello, and welcome to another short, but nevertheless important Union Update! This time we will cover the release of today’s Game Update 2, give you first information on GU 3, and also tease you about our next major content release, The Anarchist. What fun!

Game Update 2 is out now

By the time you are reading this, we will have already released our Game Update 2, which includes a broad variety of bug fixes and balance adjustments. You can find the full list of release notes for this 850mb update in last week’s Union Update.

Coming up next: Game Update 3

Of course, there is no rest for the wicked, so we are already hard at work on our next game Update. While it is too early to go into details on the many fixes we are planning to include, we wanted to give you a first glimpse of what you can look forward to:

  • Eli Bleakworth has been busy locking up criminals, giving you access to a wider variety of specialists you can acquire on his prison island
  • We have reworked the monument construction interface for the world fair
  • Get ready to go an expedition with the first community-submitted event from our previous Union contest and vote

This Game Update will be released alongside the coming release of The Anarchist. Which naturally brings us to…

Coming next week: Our DevBlog on the Anarchist

As previously announced, our first big content release after launch will be The Anarchist character, whom you can already secure today by buying the game’s Digital Deluxe or Pioneers Edition of the game (or via the Digital Deluxe Edition Upgrade). Next week, we are planning to give you much more insights into this unique new NPC opponent and content, and some of the major ways in which he will differ from our existing cast of characters. Without giving too much away, let us just say that you will want to keep a close eye on your own islands when competing with his charismatic demagogue. Never underestimate the dangers of anarchy…   

Update: The Anno Union Company Logo is now available

You asked for it, so here it is: The much asked-about “Anno Union Emblem” company logo is now available for redemption from the Club Rewards section on Uplay. So go forth and represent the Union!

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Union Update: Looking at our next game update

In today’s Union Update, we will be looking at the release notes of our second Game Update for Anno 1800, scheduled for next week; this essentially means you are getting two updates for the (nonexistent) price of one. Just what would Leonard von Malching think about our deal making skills?

Release Notes for Game Update 02 ( planned for May 15, 2019)

Update 02 will include several bug fixes, improvements to the game’s stability as well as balancing updates for Influence and some of our ships. We will continue to improve the game based on community feedback with future updates, including further balancing and quality-of-life improvements.

One focal point for this update was the Influence system and the rate at which players can gain influence points to spend. We have also received a lot of feedback on Royal Taxes, but rather than simply rebalancing some numbers we are looking at a rework of the system in a future update.  

Finally, we are happy to say that Madame Kahina seems to have found a new, more reliable supplier for European fertility items, so make sure to check out her Emporium’s stock.

Balancing Changes

Influence
With the newest changes, players will have an easier time acquiring influence from population as well as from investors. Our goal is that player are able to embrace their own playstyle more freely, which could be hard for players who were heavily engaged in war or complex trade route networks in the earlier stages of the end game of Anno 1800. We also changed the Influence gain population soft-cap from 14.000 to 16.000 citizens. 

Finally, we tackled some influence perks that players felt were not rewarding enough considering the influence investment required. As it is our goal to reward the commitment to a certain playstyle, we buffed the overall benefit gains from influence specializations.

Influence Rebalancing:

 – Influence gained from population increased from +10 to +15 per increase

 – Influence gained from investors increased from +1 to +2 per house

 – Exponential scaling for influence from population kicks in later, at 16.000 Global Population instead of 14.000

Influence Bonus Improvements:

 – Propaganda category: Newspaper Effectiveness boosted from 5%/10%/15% to 7%/15%/25%

 – Trade category: Movement Speed boosted from 5%/10%/15% to 7%/15%/25%

 – Military category: Attack Speed boosted from 5%/10%/15% to 7%/15%/25%

 – Optimization category: Maintenance Cost boosted from 1%/2%/3% to 3%/6%/10%

 – Culture category: Attractiveness boosted from 5%/10%/15% to 10%/20%/35%

Changes to naval combat and ship diseases
We are happy to see that many players are engaging with the naval combat of Anno 1800 and will continue to improve the system based on community feedback. With Update 02, we wanted to focus on the passive defensive stance, which was not working as intended as well as an overall balancing pass on our ships. Our goal has always been to strive for a balance where both sail and steam-powered ships have their place and uses in the game, but we may have fallen a bit short when it comes to making steam ships a viable and attractive option in the late game. With these changes, we hope that we are putting more of the “dreading nought” into our battlecruisers.

We also re-balanced the illness on ships, so pandemics spreading through a network of trade routes should be less likely now, as the overall timer for the spread chance to trigger was raised significantly. 

Rework of the “Passive Defense” ship stance

 – Renamed to “Hold Position”

 – Ships using this stance do not move to attack a target

Steamship balance

– Battle Cruiser hit points increased from 5000 to 6000

– Battle Cruiser Damage per shot increased from 245 to 275

– Battle Cruiser Upkeep Cost lowered from 1000 to 850

– Monitor hit points increased from 2500 to 3000

– Monitor Upkeep Cost lowered from 600 to 300

– Collier hit points from increased from 3500 to 4000

Illness on ships

– Ship disease spread chance was 1% every 10 seconds; spread chance now is 1% every 30 seconds

– Ship disease duration was 15 minutes, and has now been lowered to 10 minutes

Changes to Madame Kahina’s item pool

Now, 20% of items offered at Madame Kahina’s harbor consist of  European fertilities, with rarities (uncommon, rare and epic) depending on player progress.

Improvements to game stability
With Update 02, we improved the overall stability of the Anno 1800 game client as well as fixed specific issues, which could cause the game to crash.

– Fixed an instance where toggling the Victory Conditions could crash the game when starting a new game

– Fixed issues which could lead to crashes If the game was running under DirectX 12

– Fixed an instance which could lead to crashes during campaign gameplay

– Fixed an instance which could lead to a crash while upgrading residential buildings

– Fixed several rare instances that caused general client instability

Fixed an issue which could prevent players from receiving  further quests or character notifications
We have fixed an issue that could prevent players from accepting any new quests or interacting with other characters in the game world, which blocked them from progressing in the campaign or with their sandbox quests.


Fixed some issues causing the railway system to stop working properly. 
The issue could cause trains to ignore the Oil refinery when the internal storage of the Oil Harbor was at max capacity, which could happen when players had a more complex network of different refineries connected to the harbor. 

Fixed an issue where happiness count would instantly drop 
when building a commuter harbor.
This issue could create a significant drop in residential happiness as soon as the commuter harbor was constructed.


Various gameplay fixes

– Fixed an issue that prevented the achievement “What’s that smell?” from unlocking

– Fixed a rare issue where the player could get locked out of expedition events

– Fixed an issue where losing an island with Trade Unions would not refund the influence spent on those unions

Fixed graphical issue in top-secret, nonexistent first-person mode

Various fixes and visual improvements to the First-Person Mode Easter Egg. Which totally does not exist. Enjoy the view!

Fixed a variety of UI issues.

– Fixed the button positioning on “Desync Detected” screen

– Fixed an issue where the button of “Father’s Diary” would shift positions at some screen resolutions

– Fixed an issue where “Unmute All” text shifted position on the multiplayer chat settings window

– Fixed an issue where City Incidents buildings would interchange their object menus

– Improved the info tips for fertility items, as they were unclear on what they could be used on

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Union Update: A Contest, and lots of videos

Today we are short on text, but have lots of videos to entertain you in-between those lengthy Open Beta sessions this weekend. But first- your chance to win something!

Show us your love for Anno and win a vinyl soundtrack
As announced during yesterday’s AnnoCast twitch stream, we are giving away one of the limited Anno 1800 Vinyl Soundtracks from our friends at Blackscreen Records (which we will happily sign if requested by the winner). We also have one runner-up prize, which is a signed Anno 1800 t-shirt. To claim this piece of Anno history for yourself, you have to get creative, and perhaps even a bit crazy. In short: We want you to show us your love for the Anno series. The more inventive, the better! Whether you create a music video or record an audio play, we want to see you express your creativity as it relates to Anno.

Show us your creations in this forum thread here, and make sure to use the hastag #Annophony if you want to share them with the world on twitter. You can submit your content until 11:59pm UTC on Friday April 26.

Enjoy our Accolades trailer
With only 4 more days to go until the big day, we have released a new trailer for you all to enjoy, including some of the accolades Anno 1800 has received from press so far.

 

Anno 1800 Influencer Challenge
Our colleagues at Ubisoft US have challenged four popular strategy gaming influencers to see which one of them would make the best 19th century island governor.

For challenge number one, they had to compete to see who could reach 5.000 citizens first. Fair to say that their the approaches (and ethical standards of living) they settled on to reach this goal differed a lot between our contestants…


Alex the Rambler

Blitz

Draegast

Drew Durnil

We hope that our contestants provided you with some inspirations for our own Anno 1800 adventures! Check back next week for part two of the challenge, as they race to be the first player to reach the New World!

Reminder: Play the Open Beta to claim your ornament

Don’t forget to play the Anno 1800 Open beta this weekend to claim your chess table ornament for the full version. The Open Beta is available to everyone via Uplay and the Epic Games store.

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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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