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Anno 1800 sets sail!

It was all the way back at gamescom 2017 when we announced Anno’s steam fueled step into the industrial revolution. 15.000 comments later, we can say that we have not only created the biggest Anno game to date, but also that all of this was made possible thanks to the collaboration with and the unwavering support of our Union members. 

Today, we are happy to announce that Anno 1800 is leaving its harbor here in the Ubisoft Blue Byte Mainz office for its grand maiden voyage, ready to bring its proud heritage of 21 years of city building and exploration to players around the world.

We also want to send a big, heartfelt “thank you” from the whole development team to all Anno players and Anno Union supporters out there. This journey has been something truly special and the result is a game made with an incredible amount of passion by old veterans, new talents and our dearest fans alike.

Join our AnnoCast Launch Party
To celebrate the big launch of Anno 1800, we want to invite every one of you to celebrate with us in a live stream, which will happen tomorrow at 1pm UTC.
We will host the AnnoCast Launch Party where we will go on a serious trip down memory lane, eat cake, raffle out Anno swag aplenty and chat with you about the development or maybe even turn the tables once and comment on other streamer’s playstyle.
This stream is dedicated to you, our loyal fans, who made the game possible in the first place: April 16 1pm UTC at twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte
Our first taste of our upcoming fan site kit
We have been talking for a while about our fan site kit, but so far kept you waiting. That wait is finally ending, as the first version of the fan site kit is now available (though we will add more stuff to it over time).

For now, you can grab a customized Anno 1800 streaming layout, as well as the first wallpaper and a variety of social media assets here: Anno Union Fansite Kit Preview

Release times and day one time
As a reminder, below are the global release times of Anno 1800. While Annoholics in Asia and Oceania have already set their sails, other regions of the globe will get to join them over the coming day. Should you find yourself craving some Anno-tainment in these last hours of waiting, you can already pop over to twitch and YouTube to see more of the game, or read up on the first reviews that came out today.

Keep in mind that the below world map only applies to unlock times for Uplay. Timings on the Epic Games store and Steam vary, as we are reliant on our partners for these launches on their platforms.


We also want to remind owners of the physical copy of the game that there will be a 23GB download for our Day 1 Patch, as we have been busy further improving the game since we started producing the game discs a few weeks back.

In the spirit of reminiscing on 1 ½ years of the Anno Union, we would love to hear your stories about your favorite memories and moments from this exciting time.

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DevBlog: A message to the Union!

As the release of Anno 1800 is drawing close, we want to kick off our launch marathon with a message from our dear Union friend Artur Gasparov.
Starting today, we will push the engines to launch mode where we will provide answers on the last burning questions (such as Open Beta details next week), bring you DevBlogs about the campaign and the soundtrack and – of course – more live-streams such as our EGX panel and a ceremonious unboxing soon!

And with the last sprint before launch, what are you looking forward to and what are your last curious questions for the big maiden voyage on April 16?

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Union Update: Meet your rivals!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Union Update: Streaming and multiplayer Q&A

As the release date of Anno 1800 draws closer, we are in the final sprints to polish and balance the game. Creating the DevBlog takes a lot of time and much of the games content has been highlighted in some shape or form already, the game developer insights will take a short break this week. We brought you dozens of DevBlogs since launch of the Anno Union in 2017 and we still have some articles in our pocket leading up to the launch of the game.

But we won’t be lazy as we will ramp up the amount of Anno 1800 live-streams on our twitch channel with the AnnoAfternoon stream returning this week and the Community Corner coming back in the week ahead with a German episode including a special guest.

Livestream: AnnoAfternoon
It’s time once more for our Community team takes you on another Anno 1800 Twitch adventure! In the next episode of our AnnoAfternoon community stream, we will venture forth into the new world together, when we listen to your suggestions as to how we should build and name our cities.

When: March 8th, 4pm GMT
Where: twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

Annoverse Roundtable recordings
Last week’s Annoverse roundtable was an absolute blast! Over the course of two hours, we made a challenge out of answering as many questions as possible and thanks to the Annoverse team and community member Domo, you can listen to the recorded German and English session here:
Annoverse Anno 1800 Roundtable German
Annoverse Anno 1800 Roundtable English

Last but not least, we have prepared some answers to your most burning multiplayer questions in today’s community Q&A.

FerudaFarstaria
When we add friends from our friends list. Does this include the Steam friend list and Uplay? Or do you have to find your friends in the game, and add them to your friends list? I’d really like to know if this does link to friends lists in Steam, and Uplay.
Answer: Anno lists steam friends as well as your Uplay friends. In case you invite someone from you friend list, Anno does automatically select the right backend (Steam or UPlay) for the invitation and also receive and handle the invitations from both systems.

Mattly
We did find that once we had expanded into the new world we had to give up due to constant desync’s. As we are all on fibre and all in the same country (New Zealand) could this have been caused by the need to communicate with the host server where ever that is located or was it a known issue that has been worked out in these final weeks?
Answer: We identified and fixed many reasons for de-synchs thanks to the great participation of Closed Beta. This also includes many de-syncs related to the South America session. It is not very likely, that your desynch problems as described where caused by network issues, as because Anno tries to keep the connections “as local” as possible. Only if the NATs of the participants are not compatible, we are forced to route the traffic over Ubisoft servers to enable the players to join. But this also can be resolved by players by adding Anno to the exception list of your router.

elmoh1one
I would be interested in a whole Devblog about the topic synchronization. Which kind of data is exactly synchronized? How is the system checking if there are disparities between the different computers and how does that coherent with the simulation of the game?
Answer:
Simply speaking, every single player action will get recorded and synchronized before the system shares all input data of for the simulation with every other participating player (every PC in the session calculates all steps of the simulation for every player in the match).

Drake-1503
Does that mean that saved multiplayer matched can be continued with different players? That would mean it would be possible to create a staged savegame with already established cities instead of an empty map.
Answer: You are able to continue mutliplayer savegames even if the original players are not available anymore. When new players join, they can “overtake” an empire and continue to progress and expand with that game state. While it is technically possible to create scenarios that way, you would need to have a dedicated player for every single party as you cannot take control over two or more empires.

The_Waith_Lord
I would love to see that you could also do a search for players based on language and region to make it easier to communicate with the other players.
Answer: When looking for a player, our matchmaking takes the region as well as language into account. Should the system be unable to find a player after a while, it will expand the search for players with the same language across the globe. If the system is still unable to match you with someone, it will also widen the search to global players with any language.

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Union Update: Conquer together

Welcome to another Union Update, with our latest news from our Anno communities as well as an outlook on this week’s content.

Upcoming DevBlog: Multiplayer
For some a neat extra while for others vital for the gameplay experience – playing with your friends in Anno 1800’s multiplayer mode can add countless hours of fun when competing over islands or going on a joint venture to end the regime of the tyrant Alonso Graves. The classic multiplayer experience celebrates a return to the series and we want to give you insights how the system works, what options and game modes we will provide while also give you a brief outlook on the future.

Community Roundtable AmA happens this Wednesday!
It is time for the next round of our Anno Union Community Roundtable. The Roundtable is a Community AmA where we, the Community Developer and Community Team, answer your most burning questions, hosted by our Annoverse Discord fan community. Everyone is welcome to join us and to ask questions about Anno 1800 and the Anno Union in chat.

To allow everyone to participate, we will have two sessions Wednesday evening, one in German and one in English. The German session will start at 18:30 GMT while the English panel begins at 19:30 GMT.

When:  Wednesday, 27th of February
German session: 18:30 GMT
English session: 19:30 GMT

Where: Annoverse Discord

We will take a short break from live streaming this week but do not worry, we will return as early as next week with more live streams from our Community team.

The Anno Union started as an idea and grew to a huge platform providing tons of Anno relevant information and details for players and fans out there. Is there anything you would like to see more in future or is there anything you miss on the Anno Union and specifically the Union Updates?

As always, we are eager to hear your feedback in the comments below!

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Union Update: Winter QnA

While some of us enjoy the snowy surprise and the resulting winter themed skin applied in many parts of Germany, we bring you another round of our Community questions and answers and streams for the cozy winter days.

With this week’s DevBlog: Ornaments, our blog series revolving the development of Anno 1800 returns from its winter hiatus. Next week, we will conquer the winter season with some heat: we hope that you look forward to city incidents such as firestorms, strikes and the season appropriate illness before we raise the curtain for the big feature reveal before our Closed Beta at the end of the month.

The next episode of our AnnoCast and Anno Afternoon
Save the date as our Twitch devstream will return next week Wednesday January 23rd. This time with Narrative Designer Marie who will demonstrate us how we applied some fresh paint to the quest system in Anno 1800. Nevertheless, that is not all as next week Friday, January 25th, Chris and John will be back with their aspiring Anno 2070 utopia.

Annocast: Quests and Expeditions – January 23th at 5pm MEZ
AnnoAfternoon – January 25th at 5pm MEZ

Watch it live on twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyteand follow our channel if you never want to miss a show!

iyamaShiro
Will it be possible to change specific sound slider, such as voice, music and effects? I love to tune up the effects and dial down the rest of the game audio.
Answer: You will be able to change the following audio levels individually: Master Volume, Menu Sounds, Voice Volume, Music Volume and SFX Volume. Enjoy!

Ceib0
Will we only be able to exhibit artefacts in the museum or also art pieces such as statues or paintings?
Answer:Exhibits will mainly include cultural artefacts and sets will include statues. Bigger exhibits are displayed in open-air modules and come with their own unique asset while smaller artifacts will be showcased in museum wing modules. By the way: You will be able to place ornaments between your zoo and museum modules freely, which will allow you to create beautiful vistas with statues, fountains or other ornamental structures.

adriankowaty
Will there be a statistic overview like in 2205 which allows us to see how many units of a certain good we produce at a time?
Answer: We won’t have a statistic feature such as the one in Anno 2070 at launch of the game. But we are aware that many of you wish to see a comprehensive overview and statistics of your production, especially when reaching the end-game. We will keep continue to keep an eye on such feedback after the launch of the game.
The tooltip of each production building allows you to see how long it takes to finish one good and you will be further able to change the production speed with things like the working condition slider. If you compare the time it takes to create a good compared to the production time of the production of the needed resources, you can easily calculated the most effective rate of production and resource buildings.
Furthermore, you can check the overall amount of goods and if their stock is currently rising or declining in the kontor and warehouses.

g4mer901
Will it be possible to build sole production islands or will I need to create a new settlement with each island expansion?
Answer:
Reaching the fourth residential tier unlocks a new building: the commuter harbor. This new building allows you to connect different islands, which also have a commuter harbor and once linked; islands will share their workforce as one global pool. This means that you will not need to create settlements to support your production islands. But beware: an economy which mainly relies on a commuter network is an easy target during war, as one well-directed blow to your commuter harbors can cripple your whole production pipeline.

prgbrowne
I have read reviews on Anno 1800 where one of the downsides is the small size of land masses to build your empire. Is that a valid concern? It probably would be nice to have the choice of the size of the land mass you get to colonise, much like Civilization I guess. I don’t really want to see small islands close together. Varied terrain type options would also be good.
Answer: Anno 1800 will not only have the biggest maps in the history of the series, but also islands with vastest construction space. In the custom game options, you will be able to change the type of island world (which affects the arrangement of islands, such as atolls and archipelagos) and how frequents large islands are on your map. As naval exploration was always an essential game pillar of the Anno series, we further expanded on the ocean space to give you more room for trading networks or open water battlefields for tense ship fights on the high sea.

denNes_
Is a return of the research planned for the game? I loved it in 2070 and 1701 and would like if it celebrates a comeback to the series.
Answer:
We currently have no planes for a self-contained research feature in Anno 1800. We followed many community discussions revolving research closely and want to provide a few insides how Anno 1800 will cover that topic. In previous Anno titles, research served as an item generator and further allowed you to customize your playstyle with various perks and special abilities. Anno 1800 covers said options with several new features and as player freedom is important for us, we decided against a classic and often restricting “RTS” style research tree.
There are many different ways how to acquire items. In addition to quests or trading, you will be able to generate items with the new city attractiveness, the variety of expeditions or the world fair monument.
When on a zoological expedition, you will not only be able to acquire animals for your zoo, you can also get your hands on some cultural items or even hire specialists during events, which come with abilities which might not be related to the zoo at all. As an example, a specialist might join you who is able to boost one of your battleships with a special ability. If you want to focus on your fleet of warships, you can run naval themed exhibitions in your world fair or do bounty-hunt expeditions, which will reward you with naval related items such as weaponry or combat savvy specialists.
If you prefer to use the power of science to benefit your society, get marvelous new machines from the world fair, which you can slot in your guild houses to boost your factories with various effects.
Furthermore, you can make use of the influence system to get bonuses which suit your custom playstyle which are, in contrast to a research tree, are reversible at any time.
Add more elements such as electricity; Anno 1800 adds various layers, which allow you to optimize or to get experimental with your own unique playstyle.

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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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Union Update: Technical Test concluded

Our big Technical Test of Anno 1800 has concluded, so today we want to give you a brief production update on how the test will help us in the final months of development leading up to our launch on February 26th.

First things first: We want to thank all members of the Anno Union who participated in the test.
Once again, you demonstrated that getting you in as early as possible on the game’s development was the right call, with thousands of comments providing constructive feedback and reports during the Technical Test week.

While we will be busy checking all your comments to filter out actionable feedback, what were the biggest takeaways for us? And how will they help us to improve the game?

A first brief look at our learnings
Besides reporting bugs, balancing was a very important topic for Anno veterans out there. Ranging from the “vicious Schnapps cycle” to fierce discussions about how demanding production chains should be in a classic Anno title, your voices will help us to find the right balancing for the game. Our vision is that Anno 1800 will be a callback to old classics such as 1404, offering great complexity and replayability while also allowing a satisfying first experience for players new to the series.

The new workforce feature was also a welcome change for most players, as it offers many new intricate ways to play around with Anno 1800’s mechanics. However, as the content was limited to Tier 3, players spent a lot of time playing the same game loop again, settling and expanding their empire to various islands without being able to transfer their workforce. To shed some light on that matter, workforce transfer will be available via the commuter harbor, which becomes available with Tier 4 (the Engineers).
In the full game, we expect players will likely advance to tier 4 earlier, instead of heavily expanding during tier 3. In order to get more quality feedback across the entire gameplay loop (including the late-game portion of Anno 1800), we will continue to make use of our focus tester program.

So what’s next for the development of Anno 1800?
As mentioned, we have received a ton of feedback, so these are just a few examples. But there are still new things to look forward even for our stalwart testers who played Anno 1800 during our Technical Test.
What could those things be? Well, how about our naval combat system- which we will unveil and explain in our next DevBlog towards the end of this week! We are very much looking forward to giving you an exclusive first look at our new naval and siege combat.

With that said, please keep in mind that the NDA for the test is still active, so please refrain from making any comments about the content of the Technical Tests in the comments.

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Announcement: Upcoming Technical Test (Updated)

Brace for the Anno 1800 Technical Test

As previously alluded to, we are currently preparing a much larger Technical Test than our previous Diary Studies. And if you are be one of the chosen many, you won’t have to wait much longer, as this test will take place end of November!

A few things to keep in mind:
–          It’s a Technical Test: You should expect that some things in the game will (and sometimes even should!) break. This test is intended to give us valuable insights into topics like balance and game performance. It won’t be representative of the final polished game you will be able to enjoy next year (and which will be even better thanks to all of you helping us with this test).

–          NDA: Should you be selected to participate in the Technical Test, you will have to agree to a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). That means that you are not allowed to talk about the game outside our special Technical Test forums, and you are not allowed to post any pictures, videos or to stream the game. We appreciate that you are excited to play the game and to share your experience with others, but given that this is a Technical Test where we know things will break, this is not the time to do so.

–          The Technical Test won’t include the entire game. Players will be limited to Citizen Tiers 1-3, and the Campaign won’t be playable.

We will send out invites to Union members a few days prior to the Test’s start, so keep an eye out to see if you are among the chosen ones. We look forward to seeing many of you in the game, and are thankful for your help in making sure Anno 1800 will be the best possible experience for all Anno fans when it ships on February 26th.

Update: 

Registration

As we are seeing a lot of questions around the registration process for the Technical Test: Anyone who has registered here on the Anno Union using their Uplay-Account has a chance to be invited. You can do so here: https://www.anno-union.com/en/register/

This is also true for new registrations. So if you haven’t registered for testing yet- now would be an excellent time to do so 🙂

System Requirements for the Technical Test

We have also been asked a lot about the system requirements for the Technical Test. So here is what we recommend for participating in the test:

Current Minimum Specs:

CPU: Intel i5 3470 or AMD FX 6350

RAM: 8 GB

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 670 GTX or AMD Radeon R9 285

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (all 64-bit)

Hard Drive: 46 GB

Current Recommended Specs:

CPU: Intel i5 4690k or AMD Ryzen 5 1400

RAM: 8 GB

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 970 GTX or AMD Radeon RX 480

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (all 64-bit)

Hard Drive: 46 GB

DISCLAIMER: THERE ARE NOT THE FINAL REQUIREMENTS! As Anno 1800 is still in the middle of development and performance optimization, you should not consider these specs to be representative of the final game. This test specifically should help us to find some areas where we can further improve the game’s performance.

Language

We are also in the middle of game localization, which means that the Technical Test will unfortunately only be available in English. Once Anno 1800 launches next year, you will be able to lead the industrial Revolution in the following languages:

Fully localized text and audio: English, French, German, Russian

Fully localized text: Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Chinese (simplified and traditional)

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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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