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Category: Union Update

Union Update: Time to catch your breath

Has it really only been a week since last week’s Union Update? Time sure flies when you are as busy as we are. The final months of game development can be an exhilarating roller-coaster ride, but there is something quite magical about seeing the different strands of your game finally all coming together. And believe us, with a game as feature-rich as Anno 1800, that means a lot of strands to work with!

Between the actual development and the travel that is often necessary for various team members in the lead up to a big release, we unfortunately sometimes have less time to bring you new insights on the Union (though we have a feeling that you agree that we should first focus on finishing the game).

To cut to the chase – we will not have a new DevBlog for you all this week. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming next week with a look at Diplomacy in Anno 1800.

Community Spotlight
This week, we want to put the spotlight on the Facebook Group “Anno Polonia“, a polish-speaking Community:

Hej Annoholicy z Polski,
Znacie język polski i checie poznać innych fanów Anno z waszego kraju? Sprawdźcie Anno Polonia na Facebooku! Jest to nowa, ciągle rosnąca grupa, dzięki której będziecie nie tylko na bieżąco z Anno-News, ale również będziecie mieli szansę porozmawiać z innymi fanami Anno.

Stream Highlights
However, as we do not want to leave you completely devoid of any Anno-tainment this week, you can relive your favorite memories from last week’s AnnoCast 6 with us:






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Union Update: Sic parvis magna

Yo ho! This week we’ll feature not one but two streams, our game development show AnnoCast as well as our community favorite AnnoAfternoon.

Last week, we’ve shown off our two Pirate captains, Anne Harlow and Jean La Fortune. We were especially happy to see some of the feedback we’ve gotten to their island designs and that you like their stories. Mind you, these will not be the last of the NPCs you’ll get to see!
Furthermore, the blog has shown that many of you are curious about the various possibilities to interact with the different AI characters of the game. A diplomacy blog is currently in the making and will shed some light on the various interactions with future to be enemies, allies or trading partners.

Streaming Schedule!
Without further ado, here comes this week’s streaming schedule. You can find the Events with their times also listed on Twitch by clicking the links, which allows you to set up a reminder when the streams are about to start.

AnnoCast Episode 06 – SIC PARVIS MAGNA
When
: Thursday, November 8th, 4.30PM CET / 10.30AM ET
Where: twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte
In the next episode of our Anno 1800 stream, we will start a completely new settlement, from our first farm houses to the technical marvels of the first industrial revolution.

This week, we will not have a QnA in this blog due to the stream, though you will have the opportunity to ask us questions live during the stream. So what are you waiting for? Let us know your most burning questions in the comments below and we make sure that we take some time during the show to bring you the answers!

AnnoAfternoon – Anno 2070
When
: Saturday, November 10th, 5PM CET / 11:00AM EST
Where: twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte
This week, John from the Community Team will fly (swim? sail?) solo on this week’s AnnoAfternoon and continue where he left off two weeks ago. For those who might have missed it: The AnnoAfternoon is now every second and fourth week of a month.
We hope to see the first underwater settlement in the game by the end of this stream and maybe someone will finally show Hector that we have the strongest navy.

Community Highlights
While we don’t have a QnA in this weeks blog, want to show you some cool content we’ve seen from our community:

Bambierfurts Facts Telegram
Where: twitter.com/bambierfurt
Language: German

Many Annoholics count the days until February 26th. Bambierfurt goes one step further and brings you interesting Annofacts daily.

KatherineOfSky’s Anno 2070 Multiplayer Tutorial
Whereyoutube.com/KatherineOfSky
Language: English

KatherineOfSky, or KoS, loves to play building games and recently created a Anno 2070 Multiplayer Tutorial, which might even teach Anno 2070 veterans something new.

RhetioTVs Annolyse
Where: youtube.com/RhetioTV
Language: German

You like the Anno Union but you don’t have the time to read it all? RhetioTV is not only giving you an overview of the latest Anno Union Blogs, but doesn’t shy away from speculating a bit.

Those were just a few examples of what we liked this week. But let us turn this around now and ask you, what Anno-related content you like to check out, when you’re not building cities yourself? Do you prefer to watch a livestream? Have an Anno-blogger you follow? Someone who makes really good Anno-memes that make you smile?
Let us know down in the comments and we hope to see you tomorrow and on Saturday!

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Union Update: Look to the horizon

We are sorry for last week’s interruption; we found the culprit and made sure that he is under custody for his disruptive behavior, at least for the time being. We will ensure that we keep a close eye on him in the future, but we have a bad feeling that we have not seen the last of our dear friend, the Acolyte.

With only two months until the end of the year and four months up to launch, what is going on in the world of Anno 1800 and the Union?
As mentioned in a previous blog, game production is keeping our team very busy right now. We are currently working on our big Beta milestone, which means that by January, the game will officially reach Beta state, with all game elements and content fully playable. During this busy time, we are working on many aspects of the game, from polishing up buildings, balancing quests and checking thousands of voice lines to be recorded in a variety of languages:

We are also oiling the cannons and waxing the planks in order to bring you an exciting and insightful naval warfare blog before the end of the year. To get you in the right mood for your tense naval battles, this week’s DevBlog will shine a light on the pirates of Anno 1800, who cling on to tales and legends from a time long gone. They say the age of piracy, but their last stand is yet to come…
We are also busy laying the groundwork for our previously announced large-scale technical test with many more Union members (sign up!) and reviewing your contributions to the Expeditions contest.

The next episode of our AnnoCast is on the horizon!
The AnnoCast will make its (hopefully much anticipated) return next week Thursday, November 8. We heard many of you say that you want to see some proper gameplay and therefore decided to settle on a new island to show you the Farmer and Worker lifestyle. Let us see how far we ca get during our stream! As always, we are happy to answer questions both from the chat as well as from the Union, so leave us anything you want to see answered in the comments!

Save the date and join us next week Thursday, 8th of November for the next episode of our AnnoCast show on: twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

Let’s wrap up this week’s community update with another Community Q&A:

Fightfor3dom
Will you be able to enable/disable the pirates or set a game difficulty for a pirate difficulty? Or will it be just another enemy? Which city incidents will happen on the three different difficulty levels?
Answer: Second-Party characters all have their own difficulty rating, which in many ways reflects their personality and behavior. As third parties don’t directly compete with the player in military or economic warfare, they won’t affect the difficulty of your session. However, pirates are an exception, as they work actively against the player and even other AI. You will be able to choose the pirate characters for your session or even exclude the pirate characters from your match. For now, the two pirates have a set difficulty although both characters have different personalities and therefore, react differently on your actions.
When it comes to city incidents, fire, strikes and illness will haunt your metropolis while their frequency is based on the difficulty setting of your match. We will show you that system in detail in a future DevBlog, as especially strikes are an exciting new feature in Anno 1800.

kuskram
I like that you have so many options to create your custom session. I am also happy to see that the random generator in combination with the seed codes makes a comeback. But there is one question for me: in vein of older titles such as 1701, will the game have a world editor which allows us to place our own islands, fertilities, resources or starting position?
Answer:
We focus on the core features on the game, as we want to deliver true quality for old and new fans of the series. Therefore, there are currently no plans to develop a World Editor for Anno 1800. replayability is one of our top priorities, the game will release with over 50 handcrafted islands, and many of them come additionally with their own island variations.

mige0410
Where are the female characters in the old world – or will I be forced to only deal with men as long as I manage to escape to the New World in order to meet the female cast?
Answer: The world of Anno 1800 will be populated by a diverse cast of characters, among them Women and Men with their own special personality, which will mirror in their behavior when building cities or their reactions in our diplomacy system. You will also be able to choose your own player portrait, where you can decide, among other things, to choose a female or male portrait.

AyroV
Will we be able to set the map small/medium if we want to play multiplayer with multiple people? Anno 1404 does not allow us to choose map size accept huge when we try to play with 4 players.
Answer: Yes, you will be able to play on small maps with 4 players or non-player characters. But beware, on a small and densely populated map, there will be a lot of competition about the control of the more precious resources if players want to reach the fifth residential tier.

dAprillion
I like it when I have 2-4 options (easy, med?, hard, insane?) with useful defaults for the main mission?
Answer: You won’t need to dive into the custom match settings and can also choose one of the three pre-defined difficulty options:
Normal Mode: Will provide you a large world and island space, rich mineral deposits, challenging but not too hard opponents and free relocation and full construction refunds.
Advanced: Less money, harder opponents and an average world and island size. Many smaller options such as relocation of buildings won’t be free anymore.
Expert: This one will get you on your toes, only a few coins in your pocket while fighting for every single yard against the most cruel and efficient enemies on small and everything else than fertile islands.

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Union Update: Like busy bees

In today’s Union Update blog, we want to give you a brief Anno 1800 production update and provide some additional answers to questions inspired by some of our recent blogs. Later this week, you can look forward to a DevBlog on some of the game’s customization options for sandbox games. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Production Update
As our February 26 release date looms large and inches ever so closer, we have been busy little bees and made some great progress. We recently finished another milestone, so let us check in with our Production Team to get an update on was has been happening these past few weeks. Keep in mind that these are just two notable highlights, but by no means a comprehensive list of everything we have worked on, as all the disciplines and teams (like Art, Game Design, Game Programming etc.) have their own separate goals for each milestone.

  • All Guns blazing
    We know that many of you are very curious – or should I say burning – to learn more about our naval combat. Which is why we want to make sure that when we show it to you, it will all be live and in action inside the game, rather than with a lot of text and mock-up images. Which is why you will be happy to hear that we have made great progress with the polishing of the naval battles during the last milestone, laying the foundation we need for an in-depth look in the future.
  • Sights, meet the sounds
    We are also right in the middle of our localization and audio efforts for the game. During the month of September, we recorded all the English voice acting for the various AI characters and the cast of our story-based campaign. At the same time, with all the game text now largely finalized, we are also busy working with the respective teams to translate it into all the other languages we will support (some of which will have localized voice recordings as well). We are happy to say that we will be supporting localized text in more languages than ever before in an Anno game, giving all new audiences the opportunity to immerse themselves in the 19th century in the language of their choice.

We are also analyzing the feedback from the recently concluded playtest to see which items need to be addressed. Given this late stage of development, we have to always consider what changes are feasible, and how they may affect development of other features to make sure that we make the best use of our remaining time. With that said, the feedback from our play testers is still highly valuable for us, especially as we will focus more and more on nailing the game’s balancing. This is also where the data from our upcoming larger-scale test will come in handy to give us insights from a big group of players.

Reminder: Our Expedition Contest ends next week
A reminder for all you writers and expedition event designer out there: the expedition contest submission deadline ends next week on October 22.10 so make sure that you hand in your event ideas until next Monday. And if you have any questions regarding the contest, we will try to answer them in the comment section of today’s update.
You can find the contest details here.

Vienna calling: Play Anno 1800 at Game City Vienna
For any of you who live in or visit Vienna this week, our game will be playable at the Game City event in the city hall. You can find all (German language) information here: http://www.game-city.at/

Community Questions and Answers

Hexagon19
I like that products from the old world will be required in the new world, so my ships won’t have to make the return trip with empty loading bays. Talking of which, the production chains shown in the blog include wood. Could this also be imported from the old world?
Answer: Yes, you will be able to just import goods from your Old World to use them in your production chains in the second session and vice versa.

Phyllus1
Will it be possible to save blueprints for future use, for example to save entire production chains as templates, which could then be quickly placed in the future?
Answer: It won’t be possible to save whole layouts as this would require a lot of work on UI and UX, as we would need to develop a whole interface for that feature including menus, possibilities to save and to sort your layouts. However, we like that feature and closely watch how players will make use of the blueprint mode and how much feedback we get regarding that feature after launch.

Mr.Beko80
You mentioned a botanical garden in the blog. I already suggested this when you first revealed the zoo, so I was wondering if there is still a chance to see such a garden in the game?
Answer: At release, Anno 1800 will come with the Zoo and the Museum as large building projects supporting the new city attractiveness feature. Both projects come with a huge amount of assets, from modules, animations and dozens of items each. As always, we will watch feedback closely and see what the post-release future may hold for Anno 1800.

BlueBreath
So the small stuff in your exhibition you can only see as icons, isn’t there some form of a magnifying glass to show you what is inside? Like when you click the building , the roof get’s stripped off and you could see what’s inside but magnified a bit?
Answer: Small items will all have their own artwork for their actual icon but with the huge amount of museum items alone in mind, this would mean that we would have to model 80 3D assets just for the museum alone and also find ways to display small pieces like a necklace inside a building. We just implemented a nice overview window accessible from the zoo or museum entrance that will allow you to check how many items from which set you own.
The museum wing buildings in combination with the amount of huge open-air exhibition pieces will nonetheless offer a lot of visual variety to express your inner museum curator to your heart’s content.

Viper_R.K.O
Will I always get the same results when I do an expedition again and pick the same option, or is there a random numbers generator at work behind the scenes that will allow for different results? And will there be rewards for nice and beneficial decisions, or only if you act mercilessly and reckless?
Answer: Every decision you make has a chance of success based on a general difficulty and the skill ratings of the items and characters you brought along. In addition, some items will offer unique additional decision options on specific events and some combinations even guarantee a success. If an event fails, there are various outcomes for the story to progress. As you might have seen during the various instances of our Love Island presentations (RIP Captain, Comedian and Bishop).
The type of decisions you make won’t have an influence on the final reward pool of items during an expedition, even though special decisions and events can reward you with items from the event pool.

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Union Update: Something big is coming

We are knee-deep in the de… the final development phase of Anno 1800, and while the big event season with the likes of gamescom and EGX lies behind us, there is still plenty happening in the Anno Union world. Another Union focus test round just concluded and we are working to finalize our content roadmap for those all-important last few months prior to the release of the game. Due to that workload, it can happen that some content might suffer a slight delay, as some of you might have already noticed, but we are working hard to ensure you are well entertained leading up to the big launch date.

To give you a glimpse at our upcoming content: We plan to host Livestreams more frequently, will provide fan material such as wallpapers, highlight your community projects and will tackle important outstanding topics such as naval combat or multiplayer in detail. And not to forget, we will also open the floodgates of our focus playtesting to allow more Union members than ever before to test the game.

While we are on the playtest subject: we need to talk!
The players of the latest focus test provided us once again with a large amount of incredibly helpful feedback and we are still going through the extensive test reports. But we are confident to say that the latest results show that Anno 1800 is on the right track to deliver a game Anno fans can get excited about, even though there is still a lot of work to do prior to the release in February.

In order to make sure that we get as much feedback and data as possible, we want to invite a significantly higher amount of Union members for the next phase of the focus test. This huge test will happen as early as this year and will be exclusive to members of the Anno Union. So if you are just a reader on our page, make sure that you register on the Anno Union page with your Uplay account as soon as possible to secure your chance at being invited.

And to give you some visual impressions from the latest test, here are a few screenshots from our testers (we won’t publish the names as the test is still covered by an NDA).

AnnoUnion_Focustest_ComShot_FarmsEverywhere
Okay this guy won’t have any issues with Tier 1 workforce anytime soon!
Parasite problems? EWWWW
Hey that’s what I call a teaser!

Keyword feedback: We have not missed your comments regarding the Ship Design Contest in last weeks Union Update. Because of that feedback, we will make sure that for future votes, we give you a chance to vote on a final selection on entries to determine the winner. When talking about the skill regarding the execution of these submissions, the idea behind an entry is as important for us as the actual craftsmanship of the community member, be it a drawing, writing or any other submission (even though we are often amazed by the true display of skills in some of your work).
When we are talking about content that is supposed to be added to the game, keep in mind that we also have to check if an idea is feasible within our production pipeline.

Notwithstanding the above, we want to honor exceptional creative takes and creations with a proper showcase on our Anno Union channels.

And with that, we are already at the end of today’s Union Update. Don’t forget to share your thoughts, suggestions and feedback in the comments below. Moreover, we are always eager to get your ideas for the Anno Union and the Union Updates.

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Union Update: And what a pretty ship it is!

Our team had to fight their way through a flood of incredible ship designs coming from our creative Union community, and as such, it certainly was not easy to select just one winner. While not every entry met the criteria of creating a variation of the “Imperial Pride” ship, but the general level of creativity and skill on display was highly impressive to us.

And while we can only immortalize the winning entry in the game, we will try to showcase some other creations on our various Anno union channels in the future.

So without further ado, let’s cut to the chase- the winner of our Anno Union ship design contest is (please imagine a sufficiently industrialized drum roll)…

While we liked many of the ideas for mighty warships or utilitarian barges, we fell in love with the idea of the touristic “musical steamer” „Haydn“ by Union member redtoasty. Conceptualized as a “top of the line” luxury ship, we could immediately imagine a crafty investor using lots of paint and decorations to turn a decommissioned steamer into the perfect ship to lure in the ladies and gentleman of high society.

Our team will now get to work to turn the „Haydn“ into an actual in-game model for you all to play with. In addition to seeing his creation immortalized in the game, redtoasty will receive an Anno Union shirt as well as our highly limited bronze pins.

We also want to say a big “thank you” – and ask you for a hearty round of applause – for all other community members and their submitted designs. Make sure to keep an eye on all of our Union channels to see some of them in the future.

Our „Design your own Expedition“ contest starts NOW

Ever since we first unveiled our new expeditions feature at gamescom 2018, we kept receiving the same question over and over- and no, it was not “why does your crew seem to die horrible deaths on love island during all of your live streams” 😉

Instead, many of you wanted to know if there was the possibility of running a contest where Union members could try to design their own expeditions. And since we love nothing more than to try and please our players wherever possible, this very contest starts… right this moment! We want to see your ideas and concepts for an expedition that you would love to see implemented in Anno 1800.

Some rules to keep in mind:

  • Come up with your very own ideas for an expedition- from mysterious encounters in lush jungles, to humorous adventures in a harbor tavern far from home or gruesome challenges on the high seas, there are few limits to what you can imagine.
  • Let’s keep it free-form: Simple concepts, short stories or even audio recordings are just some of the ways you could convey your idea.
  • Given that our team will need time to review and rate all of them, we would ask you to keep your submissions short and concise

The submission deadline for this contest is October 22nd.

You can post your creative ideas and submissions in this forum thread: >>CLICK ME<<

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Union Update: New focus test, QnA and more

The end of September is near and we are about to wrap up our big gamescom feature list with this week’s blog about the New Worlds residential tiers and a brief look over the museum and the blueprint mode in the week to come. To give you a glimpse of the upcoming month, we are working on some exciting DevBlog topics many of you want to see for a while now.
On another note, the next round of the Union focus test has started and we are looking forward to daily feedback reports from our testers. However, there is more to come, as the Union tests will be soon open for bigger groups, allowing the Union to test the game in a larger scope than ever before.

We will also add the first Anno Fan Initiative pages to the website and if you are a fansite admin or content creator, do not forget to apply for the program!
You can get further details about the program here: Union Fan Initiative 

As we are also working on some fan resources such as wallpapers, are there some specific things you think are a must have or other material such as streaming layovers or even emotes you would like to see?

EGX Birmingham Anno 1800 Panel
A short update from our tour to the industrial Birmingham. During last week’s EGX expo, we had the chance to present the game on stage during a live-stream and if you missed it, you can watch the recording of that presentation here:

Our Expedition blog raised some questions in the Anno Union, let us finish this week’s Update with another Community Q&A

ako199
I am curious how you manage the availability of expeditions and how many different missions you will have in the game?
Answer: Reaching residential tier III will also unlock the Expedition feature. At that point, the captain will notify you about available ventures in the expedition menu. Expeditions will be randomly generated and spawn in intervals, while harder ventures will be available in the late game. You will be able to take on as many expeditions as you like, only limited by the currently available adventures.
We have currently four main types of expeditions: zoological, archaeological, rescue missions and pirate hunts. For every type, we have a large amount of various events you will encounter, with the challenge and amount of the events based on the difficulty of the expedition. All together, we have a large amount of events with many branching choices, depending on which items you brought along the journey or how a previous encounter turned out. The expedition window will only give you an idea about the difficulty, type and likeliness of challenges you might encounter during an adventure, which gives you a chance to prepare, but only hints on the various possible encounters.

AmpeImann
I really like the idea of the expeditions, but I have a couple concerns about how they will exist in the game. Are the expeditions going to be necessary to core gameplay? Or will they just be an extra thing you can do if you want some rarer items? Will expeditions be as useful or interesting in the late game? Are the rewards potentially game changing?
Answer: There will be various alternative ways to get your hands on items, such as trading with neutral factions, quests, the tourist harbor or the world fair exhibitions. The items you can acquire through expeditions are based on their various types, with the focus being animals, cultural artifacts, specialists and military equipment from pirate hunts. While you will have alternative ways to get your hands on all these item types, expeditions will be the only way to get the rare animals and artifacts for the zoo and the museum specifically. That means that if you want to have a collection of the rarest exotic animals in the game, you will need to take on challenging expeditions.
Drop rates of items are based on expedition type, climate, rarity stat and difficulty of the Expedition. Which means that a rare black panther have always the same chance of dropping in a hard zoological expedition to the new world. Furthermore, you will always get three items from the loot table with every expedition.
Bottom line: they will be a risk to acquire but you have an idea about what items you can get when choosing an adventure. We don’t want that expeditions are a necessary feature for Anno’s core gameplay and we will also make use of our Union focus testers to see if the feeling and the balancing is right.

Der3ine
How will you notice that you already got a reward from an expedition before finishing it?
Answer:
The rewards for the expedition will be always granted at the end of an adventure. First, your ship will travel to its destination and when arriving at the marker, encounter various events, which you have to go through.  During the events, your morale bar will sink but you will be always able to send your ship back after every encounter. If you send your ship back, you will not get any rewards from the expedition itself but will keep items you acquired from succession in special event encounter. These rewards will be immediate granted after the specific event encounter and therefore, you will be always aware if you got already items, which might be worth saving before finishing your expedition.

BfVorsteher
Is it possible that an Expedition has a negative effect such as bringing back an illness to your island. Imagine you don’t have enough doctors in your city which leads to 20% of your residents dying while if you have a good medical supply, only 5%?
Answer:
Expedition events won’t influence your city, economy or have any other effect on gameplay elements outside the expedition itself other than the items you get as a reward and can use in your city. While Expeditions are an exciting feature to explore the world of Anno and to refine your gameplay with items, we do not want that they become the central gameplay element for Anno 1800.

Schminky
I think it would be interesting if various original scenarios from the expedition which actually happened back than would be used for inspiration such as the competition to reach the South Pole of the Asmussen and the Scott. Will the background artworks for the expeditions represent the specific region and climate?
Answer: Many of our Expedition events are inspired by actual adventures, scientific journeys and stories from the 19th century. We will send you to various climate zones, represented by the markers on the world map, artwork and their own specific encounters.

CreatureotS
You often talk about difficulty levels, which was a thing in many Anno titles before. Will we be able to customize our own difficulty by altering parameters, such as the likeliness of fire, or will the game just have preset difficulties?
Answer: We will have three difficulty levels in the game: Easy, Moderate and Hard. But as the sandbox experience is part of our core DNA, you will be able to create your custom game rules affecting many different parameters of the game world and the AI. How does the idea of an own blog showcasing the customization options of a match sounds to you all?

 

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Union Update: Anno 1800 at EGX and Q&A

A new week has arrived and that, of course, means that a new Union Update chock full with Anno wisdom is here. Before we start the promised elaborate Q&A Session, let us first make you aware of two possibilities to see Anno 1800- live and in glorious color! Also, as a heads-up, in this week’s DevBlog we will dive into the world of Expeditions.

We’re at the EGXs – Plural!

As announced, this Thursday on the 20th at 1PM BST / 8AM EDT, we’ll be streaming a panel with Anno 1800 from EGX in Birmingham which you can view live at https://www.twitch.tv/egx

But wait, there’s more: We’re also happy to stop by the first EGX in Berlin! Our presentation where will be on Sunday, the 29th of September and it’ll be live at 5PM on Twitch, so mark your calendars – or even better: Visit us!

Enough with the prelude – you have questions and we’ll try to give you answers!

Sir_Obelexxus
There were a few Anno T-Shirts at gamescom. As I didn’t have an opportunity to get one, I’m asking myself if it’ll be possible to get merch at some point, especially T-shirts?
Answer: The number of our gamescom shirts was very limited and the demand was huge, so we don’t have any shirts left. We’ll keep the interest for the shirts in mind for the future, however.

Grieswurst
Will there be visible ship crews?
Answer: We often hear the request for crews being visible at work on their ships, due to our love for detail and visual feedback in the cities, similar to how you are able to see your citizens doing their daily work. While visual feedback taking the form of crewmembers is technically possible, the implementation would be very time-intensive and require us to overcome a few technical hurdles.
One of the reasons for this is the size ratio. As you might be aware, the citizens of our Anno world need to have a good mix between visibility and realism, so there won’t be realistic size ratios all the time. And while the ships in Anno 1800 are bigger than ever, the ratios are not necessarily the same ones as with buildings and streets.
In short: The characters on the ships would have a different size as the ones in the city, as they would otherwise look out of place – especially when your ship lies in the harbor.
But there are other points, which made us decide against the visible crew. We wanted a big list of varied ships and ship types and having the crew would’ve possibly been at the expensive of ship variety. Visual feedback of the units you move around in fleets can also be taxing on the eye and make the game seem visually restless, even chaotic. And the further visual feedback that needs to be calculated would also be a strain on performance – and these are just a few points, that we have to take into account when thinking about these decisions.
As you can see, in production we always have to evaluate if the benefits of a feature outweigh the disadvantage or justify the expected effort at the expense of other content (which we could work on instead).

BlueCommander_
Is it now not possible anymore to play a game without switching sectors?
Answer: We played around with various ideas and feedback from the Union focus groups. Many goods that you can import from the New World to your original session are luxury goods for higher resident tiers. With the implementation of separate residential and luxury needs, this means that the rise of your citizens is not dependent on luxury goods, and opting not to use the second session will only partially slow you down. However, the New World will also be the main source of oil, so if you plan to supply your metropolis with electricity at a large scale, we recommend securing an independent influx of the fossil fuel. Trading with AI players, neutral factions and other players in multiplayer are other means with which to get your hands on imported goods. on higher difficulty levels, where other characters will be more aggressive and directly engage with you for economic and even military dominance, a beachhead in the new world can be more meaningful than in a relaxed game on a lower difficulty setting. With that said, we are already very curious to see videos of players, who will push through the highest difficulty without traveling to the New World at all. J

Mr.Beko80
How is it looking with moving buildings around, can you move them anytime or just for a short time after building them?
Will this option have any impact on the difficulty, like the reimbursement of building material in 1404?
Answer: There will be no limits as to when you can move a building. And while the moving of a building is going to be free on lower difficulties, on the higher difficulty settings there will be a cost in building materials.

BfVorsteher
I’m happy that aside from the Darwin Temple, we will also get an altar for the achievements of the „two-legged burrowing mouse“ to expand the cultural diversity of our city. The only question, will space be enough for that? Or will there be revolts due to lack of living space and resulting higher rent?
Answer: Juggling available building space with the needs of your city is one of the core challenges of Anno and of course this won’t change with Anno 1800. Depending on difficulty (which can also influence the size of islands), it can be a challenge to get all the necessary buildings on one island. Ambition plays a role here too, such as deciding whether you want to just have a small “alibi zoo” or push the module system to its limits. In the latter case, you can build museums and zoos that could cover  smaller island all by themselves- provided of course that you manage to find enough attractions to fill them with. We leave the worries about ever rising renting costs to the grey reality, however.

roka71
Will there be an Open Beta before release or a Closed Beta for pre-orders?
Answer: We can’t share any concrete details yet, but we plan to have bigger testing phases with a lot more players prior to launch. However, these will be independent of your pre-order status. If we had to speculate, we would recommend all Anno Fans who wish to play the game before launch to register right here on the Anno Union…

pritam87
Is day night cycle present in the time of release?
Answer: We know that the day/night-Cycle is a beloved feature that also has a lot of fans here on the team. However, we won’t have a day/ night cycle in the game at launch.

SirKju
What really bugs me is the hustle and bustle in the trailer. The graphics are breathtaking, but more people on the street would be nice! Is there going to be a change there?
Answer: Our work around „Visual Feedback“ is not yet done, so don’t consider anything you have seen final. Additionally, when we create a trailer (which have so far all showed actual game graphics), we often have to change the settings of the feedback units, so it can sometimes happen that the trailers show fewer units than you would see during gameplay.

Cilitbangbang
The question that burns inside of me is if we (the Union) will be involved with future DLC? Those could be planned already with some feedback.
Answer: That is the case already! As we are only now starting to throw around ideas and plans for more content for the time beyond the launch for Anno 1800, we will definitely keep close tabs on Union and community feedback – as was the case with our recently announced Anarchist DLC. Here, the fan feedback in combination with the character’s gameplay potential made it an easy choice to include in the game down the road. We want to stress however that it will not be a “Day 1 DLC” – work on the Anarchist will start once the main game is done and we plan to launch it a few months after launch in spring 2019.

chris02918
How can I react quickly if something happens in the world, where I’m not looking at at the moment? An attack? Are resources missing in a settlement?
Answer: With two sessions with one or more settled islands each, it is indeed sometimes possible to somewhat lose track – especially if you also want to keep an eye on various ships and running expeditions. That’s why we put a lot of effort into our notification system which will keep you up to date on important or critical information and developments. With one click, you’ll immediately hop to the place that’s in need of your attention.

Chris9990306
I think that you should reconsider the settling of the new world. I don’t think that having the AI wait for the player to settle before they move in is the right way.
Answer: Our train of thought here was that we didn’t want to pressure players or give you the feeling that you have to explore the New World as soon as possible if you don’t want to lag behind the AI. However, after seeing the largely unanimous feedback on this matter we sat down again to discuss it, and have decided to change this slightly. Whether the AI characters will wait for the player before exploring the New World is now based on the difficulty level.

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Union Update: Union Fan Initiative

Union Fan Initiative
Many of our fans have been travelling with us on the Anno journey for the past 20 years. And as the Union has clearly shown, our communities are not only amazing at providing impressive amounts of invaluable feedback, but they also run many cool projects like fan sites or Discord channels, or create entertaining videos, fan art or whole short stories.

No matter what you do, the Union Fan Initiative is here to support fan creations with spotlights on our upcoming Anno Union fan creation list, streamer and Youtube highlights as well as offering general support for projects through visibility on Anno Union and on our social media channels, hosting for Anno streams on Twitch and much more.

Interested? Everyone who creates frequent Anno related content can apply for the initiative. You can find further details in our dedicated Union Fan Initiative thread here: >LINK<

You missed AnnoCast05? The VoD is now available!
Got held up in the office or were lost on an expedition in uncharted waters? Do not worry; the VoD of last week’s AnnoCast is now available:

After the big gamescom reveal, we are considering bringing you these developer streams more frequently. What do you think about that and are there other formats on our Twitch channel which you would like to see?

Livestream from Eurogamer Expo next week
You want another chance to see more of Anno 1800 on Twitch? Then we have good news, as some members of our team will be travelling to Birmingham next week to present Anno 1800 at the Eurogamer Expo. If you can’t make it, the presentation will be live streamed on September 20th at 2pm CEST/ 8am EST/ 5am PST at https://www.twitch.tv/egx

Report: Star Player at gamescom
We have another small throwback to this year’s gamescom for you. Here is a small personal report from our Anno Star Player and avid Union member Swimming-Paul, who was invited by Ubisoft to enjoy gamescom 2018 and to celebrate the games with us!

I have been playing Anno for over a decade now and an active member of different community platforms, but I would have never imagined that my love for this franchise would get me invited to join Ubisoft´s Starplayer Program or to visit Gamescom last August.

One of the biggest highlights was of course to try the new demo of Anno 1800. Any other fan out there will agree with me when I say that 20 minutes is a ridiculously small amount of time to test a game like Anno, but believe me: it was a satisfying and rewarding experience. If I´m completely honest with you, I was so thrilled to see that rivers are coming back to Anno that I spent a considerable amount of time building bridges everywhere! But I also reached the 2nd population level, created a small industrial district, and admired the extreme beauty of this new title. I can promise you that Anno has never looked any better!

It was also very special to witness the official presentation of Anno 1800 in the Gamescom´s main stage. I don´t really speak German, so I couldn´t understand much, but that didn´t stop me from being the proudest fan in the crowd, enjoying the impressive new trailer and watching Bastian doing his thing.

Finally, the Anno Union dinner was probably the best moment of the week for me. I would have never thought that awkward glances or uncomfortable silences are an option if you put together a bunch of Anno fans, and I was 100% right. After five minutes the conversations were bustling, the glasses were rising in a toast to the Best PC Game Award, and you could feel a shared passion and excitement in the air.

It was a beautiful experience and I will never forget the people I got to know during my time in Germany. We do have many reasons to celebrate Anno 1800!

Our Ubisoft StarPlayers gfrew, Swimming-Paul and Freeway enjoying Anno 1800 at out big gamescom booth.

This week’s DevBlog and upcoming content

Of course, we have more planned than just supporting fan projects and content creators: you can also look forward to the first Anno 1800 wallpaper and more material for fans in the weeks to come. This week’s upcoming DevBlog “The New World” will answer many of your questions about the second session, and we are already curious about your thoughts.

The focus of next week’s Union Update will be a bigger Community Q&A panel, which will cover questions from the Union, our communities, the stream and what might come up during next week’s DevBlog.

And as always, give us all your feedback, wishes, suggestions or just good Anno vibes in the comments below.

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Union Update: recap, stream and things to come

Another gamescom is in the history books – and what an amazing show it has been for Anno 1800 and the team here at Ubisoft Blue Byte! With so much going on, let us recap all the things you may have missed and give you peak on upcoming content!

Anno 1800 releases February 26th, 2019
Let’s start with the biggest news coming out of gamescom 2018: Anno 1800 will ship globally for Windows PC on February 26th, 2019! To properly celebrate this news, we also had a new trailer that gave you a first glimpse of a new world to explore.

Pre-Orders for all our editions are now live
With the release date out in the open, many of you have been asking how and when you could be buying Anno 1800. And the answer to that is… you can pre-order it now, in up to three different editions (based on your location).

No matter if you just want the base game itself, are looking for some digital goodies, or you want a proper physical art book on your shelf, we have you covered. Regardless of which editions you are going for, your pre-order from participating retailers will earn you the Imperial Pack, including a statuesque throwback to Anno 1602, and exclusive alternate models for your command ship and train. Find the full edition breakdown here: https://www.anno-union.com/en/anno-1800-release-date-and-pre-order/

We won some awards!
gamescom started in the best possible way for Anno 1800, with an expert jury awarding us the prestigious “Best PC Game” award. As you can see, we were rather excited! And to cap it all off, Saturday saw Ubisoft win the fan-voted award for the best developer of the show. Thank you so much for your support and votes, we couldn’t be happier with the reception of our game!

Anno 1800 is great – but do not just take our word for it!
A large number of previews (both written and of the video variety) from influencers and press from around the globe have been hitting the web. So if you want to learn more about what we showed behind closed doors at our pre-gamescom events as well as the show itself, here’s your chance! Press were able to play up to three hours of the game, including most content of the first three citizen tiers. And they also got their hands on some all-new features, which brings me to…

The Anno 1800 booth, UbiLounge masterclass and stage presentations
But probably more exciting than anything else during the convention was our big Anno 1800 booth, where fans could get their hands on the game for the first time and take their own special gamescom memento with a 19th century style photo.
Chris aka Ubi O5igther from the community team was also at gc2018 and we found some time for a relaxing foto session.
And the booth was packed – with queuing times starting immediately to ramp up as soon as the convention opened. Even with long waiting times, thousands were able to get their first impressions for the seventh Anno title in the series and we tried to get as much feedback as possible. If you visited us and played the game, feel free to share your take on the gamescom demo in the comments!

Playing the game was obviously a highlight but we had some more Anno cards up our sleeve.
On our big Ubisoft stage, we gave you a glimpse on our newly announced features such as the expeditions, the museum and blueprints. Hundreds of Anno fans gave us not only great company during the daily shows, even in that loud environment of a packed convention hall everyone could hear the “Anno Union” battlecry of the Anno fans (seriously I was surprised how loud you guys can get).
Love Island, our throwback to the story “mutiny on the bounty”, became quickly a running gag during the convention.

During our UbiLounge presentations, we not only gave you a live gameplay demonstration of the actual savegame shown to the press, you could also ask questions in the roughly 1 hour long panel – all in the spirit of the Anno Union. While we mentioned in advance that you should be early, you guys managed to pack the Ubilounge to its absolute max of sometimes 60 and more people attending each master class. Altogether, several hundred Anno fans watched, listened and asked questions during the presentations.
The Union community dinner
A very special highlight for us was the Union community dinner on Thursday evening, where we invited almost 30 Anno fans to come together to enjoy the company, the food and chatting about Anno 1800 and the Union. Even after the restaurant closed its doors, we all had a hard time to call it a day, so it went on until almost 1am. A truly brilliant Anno evening and we are thirsty for more, it might now have been the last time we host such an event?

We compeletly missed to get all attendees on one picture, must have been the nice atmosphere which distracted us. 

But how about the Anno Union members being unable to attend?

To give you a chance to see what we have shown to press and fans for yourself, we decided to will host an AnnoCast stream this Thursday, where we will not only recap the convention but also show you the actual gameshow build in action, including the content we have shown to the press and to fans in the UbiLounge. Last week, we asked you for questions and as this Union Update is already quite long, we decided to answer many of them in this Thursday’s stream.

You also remember that we talked about some nice Anno 1800 goodies during gamescom? To give you a chance to get your hands on the Anno 1800 gamescom loot, we will raffle out several of the pieces during the show, including also some nice giveaways from our friends at Corsair Gaming.
Let us come together this Thursday at 4.30pm CEST for our post gamescom stream at twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

What’s to come in September and beyond
With gamescom 2018 behind us, there is a lot to talk about. In the upcoming weeks, we will dive into detail about the new world, expeditions and the museum and we start with putting the second session under the looking glass next week. We know that you have a lot of questions and we will make sure that the DevBlogs tackling the new features will answer many of them:
In upcoming Union updates, we will start to kick off a new fan initiative and present you the finalists of the Union ship vote.
But rest is for the wicked and there is still a lot to talk about up to February 2019. With a big Naval combat highlight in the making, more frequent streams, the next round of our Union focus test and even some not yet revealed features – there is a lot of things to look forward to so keep a close eye on Union Updates and Devblogs to come.

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