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Union Update: Closed Beta and a special Announcement

In today’s Union Update, we reflect on the Closed Beta. Plus, make sure to read all the way to the end for a special announcement!

Thank for making our Closed Beta a full success
Wow, what a week it has been for all of us on the Anno Dev Team! So, where to start? First by saying “Thank you” to every single one of you who has participated in our Closed Beta- you managed to not only help us reach, but actually crush our expectations for this test. From the number of players, to how often you came back and how long you played during these few days, we were truly humbled by your dedication to helping us test Anno 1800.

We also want to thank everyone who created content for the game, be it live streaming, videos, screenshots or even creating the first cheat sheets and tools to calculate the most efficient production chains. Many of us on the team were glued to our various screens to watch streams and videos throughout the test, and we have to be honest with you: seeing “our baby” reach the #5 spot for most viewed games on Twitch on Friday night was more than just a little bit surreal. Fair to say that you all made our day(s), and that seeing all this excitement will be a great morale boost for the team as we tackle the feedback reports in the weeks to come.

But of course, it is not just about making us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Watching so many different players of all experience and skill levels was also very helpful for our game and UX designers as they were able to check many of our assumptions and guesses how players would behave as they get familiar with Anno 1800 against real player behavior.

Your Feedback, and how we will act on it
Which brings us to your feedback. Not surprisingly, we have received plenty of feedback from you, ranging from crash reports to bugs, wishes for improvements and praise for new gameplay elements you love (like the blueprint mode).

While we will not be able to comment on all of them, there are a few hot topics for Closed Beta testers:

  • Game Balance: As you know, we recently made the difficult decision to delay Anno 1800 to April 16. Between these additional weeks of development and all the feedback from our testers, you can safely assume that nothing you have seen balance-wise should be considered final. This is also true for the influence system (more on that in a second).
  • Desyncs: First, a big thank you to everyone who helped test the multiplayer mode. A test at the scale of this Closed Beta is immensely helpful for us when it comes to testing multiplayer functionality, as having so many players (on many different ISPs, routers etc.) out in the wild helps to find lots of issues we would never come across in our internal testing. Thanks to your help, we have received a lot of valuable data to improve the multiplayer experience at launch. One thing to keep in mind here is that a lot of different behind the scenes issues can result in a desync error for the player (for example, you could still experience desyncs after our Closed Beta Update 1 fixed several different issues causing them, though we managed to dramatically decrease their frequency).
  • Performance: Another topic that we saw many questions around was in-game performance. This is another aspect of the game where we are hard at work optimizing and improving to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy playing Anno 1800. This large-scale test helped us to get much more insight into the plethora of system configurations in our community.
  • Influence: We addressed this topic in our notes for the Update from Friday, but want to reiterate our points here. We know that your experience with the influence system during the Closed Beta was not optimal, for a variety of reasons. Three of them are especially noteworthy.
    • As you know, the game is still in development, and this is especially true of the influence system. The current balance you have seen in the Closed Beta is not final, and we will keep iterating on it, as we get closer to launch. You have already seen some live changes to that during the test.
    • One important aspect to keep in mind when evaluating the influence system in the Closed Beta is that due to the content being limited to tiers 1-3 and lacking the endgame, the player behavior was artificially changed from normal play patterns. Watching players engage with the full content, they are more likely to try to make vertical progress by reaching tier 4, rather than spending many hours creating their own endgame on tier 3. To give you an idea about the influence balancing in the full game: The fifths residential tier, the Investors, will provide a huge boost to your influence pool which will allow players to customize their experience way more freely in the late game of Anno 1800.
    • We absolutely agree with your feedback that the game needs to do a better job giving players the right information and context to make educated decisions on how to invest their influence points. Internally, we have already made some improvements here with better tooltips, though they sadly did not make it into the CB build in time.

Announcing the Anno 1800 Open Beta
With all that said, we want to leave you all with a special treat to show our appreciation- the Anno 1800 Open Beta, coming April 12th-14th. So what does Open Beta mean? Just what it says on the cover- it will be open to anyone interested in testing the game prior to launch! No need to sign up, no need to cross your fingers to receive a key- just download the Open Beta client, and start playing once it goes live on the 12th.

AnnoAfternoon – The Age of Steam – February 8th 4PM GMT
Save the date once more, as our Community Team takes to Twitch again to play Anno 1800 with you. We’re going through the Closed Beta Build and will be happy to follow suggestions from the community as to how we should build.

When: February 8th, 4PM GMT
Where: twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte

And that’s it for this week’s Union Update. Thank you, and se… oh, you want one last final teaser? Okay then: the Open Beta will give you access to some new content that was not playable in either the Technical Test or Closed Beta.

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Anno 1800 Closed Beta Screenshot Challenge

While the Closed Beta is understandably on every Annoholic’s mind right now, we are already setting our eyes on the future to ensure that some of you can enjoy the full game in style come April 16th. To this end, we have joined up with our friends and fellow sailship-enthusiasts at CORSAIR, who are providing some of their great gaming peripherals as prizes. Introducing- the Anno 1800 Closed Beta Screenshot Contest!

To participate in the contest, all you have to do is play the game all the way up to tier 3 (the Artisans), cross the ocean and share your most beautiful New World screenshot with us. Moreover, if you did not get the chance to get an Anno 1800 Closed Beta code yet, CORSAIR got you covered.

Get all the details on the contest and code giveaway here!

The screenshot challenge starts today and ends February 5th at 23:59 CET. To give our team some time to browse through your scenic New World shots, we will announce the winners on Friday,  February 8th.

And here is the loot table for the New World screenshot challenge:

1st prize:

  • K70 RGB MK.2 keyboard (Cherry MX Red switches)
  • IRONCLAW RGB mouse
  • MM800 RGB Cloth Edition mousepad
  • VOID PRO RGB Wireless headset

2nd prize:

  • STRAFE RGB MK.2 keyboard (Cherry MX Silent switches)
  • IRONCLAW RGB mouse

3rd prize:

  • IRONCLAW RGB mouse
  • MM800 mousepad

Thanks again to our friends at CORSAIR for sponsoring this contest. Enjoy the Closed Beta, give us feedback aplenty and good luck for all participating photographers!

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Union Update: Closed Beta Information

Keeping it short and sweet today, as we’re in the middle of preparations for the Closed Beta! And we got a few details that could be of interest to you. Plus a small tease at the coming DevBlog! 

Get ready for the Anno 1800 Closed Beta
The Closed Beta will be a bit bigger than last years Technical Test. And if you were one of the lucky selectees, then you won’t have to wait too long. Invitations will be sent out in the coming days, so check your inbox (and spam folders 😉 ).

A few things to note:

  • As with the Technical Test, this Beta is not representative for the finished game, which we’re currently finishing and polish so it’s ready for the big launch in April. Some things won’t work occasionally or outright break. This is intentional, as the Beta gives us important insights into topics such as Balance and Performance of the game. So please use the Closed Beta Forums (which will be opened on the english Ubisoft Forums soon) to provide us with Feedback and Bug Reports.
  • No NDA: This Closed Beta won’t have an NDA. That means you can stream, record and share videos and discuss your experiences in public. And we urge you to do so! If you’re on Social Media, make use of Hashtags such as #Anno1800, #AnnoUnion, #AnnoUnionCB und #Anno1800CB, so other Annoholics and ourselves can find your messages.
  • The Closed Beta won’t encompass the full game. The campaign won’t be playable and you can only reach the third residential tier in Endless Mode. Additionally, you’ll be able to challenge or cooperate with other players in Multiplayer, as well as explore and build in the New World.
  • The Closed Beta will run from 31. January 2019 to the 4th of February 2019.

Registering for the Closed Beta
If you’re still wondering how to get a chance to participate in the Beta: Log into the Anno Union with your Uplay Account or register a new Uplay Account if you don’t have one. You can do that using the buttons in the upper right corner of this website.

So if you haven’t yet logged into the Union for whichever reason, now’s the time to get that sorted. 🙂

System Requirements for the Closed Beta
There are only minimal changes from the specs since the Technical Test, but please keep in mind that these still aren’t final, as we’re still optimizing the game.

Current Minimum Specs:

  • CPU: Intel i5 3470 oder AMD FX 6350
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 670 GTX oder AMD Radeon R9 285
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (jeweils 64-bit)
  • Hard Drive: 60 GB

Current Recommended Specs:

  • CPU: Intel i5 4690k oder AMD Ryzen 5 1400
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 970 GTX oder AMD Radeon RX 480
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (jeweils 64-bit)
  • Hard Drive: 60 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 still in the middle of localisation of texts and recording voiceovers. Therefore we’ll only be able to offer this Closed Beta in English only. Sorry about that!

When we release in April, the following languages will be available:

Fully localised Text and Audio

  • English
  • German
  • French
  • Russian

Fully localised Text

  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Chinese (traditional and simplified)

Livestreams and Videos
If you have no opportunity to play yourself or need to take a break from being at your computer, then you can still get some impression from the Anno 1800 Closed Beta. You can check out what other players show from the game on Youtube, Twitch and Mixer.

Last but not least, we’ll want to show off the Closed Beta Trailer here. It was first revealed during last weeks AnnoCast and gives you an idea about the Feature we’ll showcase in this weeks DevBlog.

And that’s it for this weeks Union Update. We wish you all good luck to get a Beta invite!

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