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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: Ship vote has ended

It was an incredibly close head-to-head race but at the end, the Imperial Pride managed to reach the finish line in a true photo finish just ahead of its closest competitor, the Iron Dragon. But beyond a highly entertaining race to watch, it was also very insightful for us to see how the comments and the actual votes being cast can vary. We knew from the start of the vote that the Imperial Pride would be a strong contender, but given some of the comments about the design, who could have guessed that the Iron Dragon would almost steal the race? On the other hand, the tourist ship did not manage to rally a large enough number of voters, despite being one of the team’s favorites. However, we were all delighted to see that the little tug boat that could was so popular with the Anno Union members.

For the Union members who had high hopes that their personal favorite would make the race, remember that you still will be able to acquire all of the ships via gameplay.

With the closing of the Union Ship vote, we all can look forward to the second stage: the Ship Design Contest, where the Union will be able to hand in their own design ideas for an alternate variant of the Imperial Pride. The exact details for the contest will be shared next week.

When it comes to Union content during the summer, we are not planning to lay back and enjoying the nice weather. Instead, we will bring you exciting DevBlog’s in the weeks to come, among them features highlighting how we encourage player freedom as well as gameplay complexity and customization. The first one will put our new Influence feature into the limelight, a great way to customize and support different gameplay approaches. Gameplay complexity is a theme we mentioned many times since reveal of Anno 1800, but Influence is only one of the many features the game has to offer.

But it is not all just deep systems and mechanics, we will soon tackle one of the most important technological achievements of the industrial age!

Do not forget: English Community Roundtable this evening 7pm CEST
The last weeks German Roundtable session was a blast and today, we are looking forward to have a chat with our international Union community. If you missed the previous roundtables, it is a friendly chat session where our community team and Anno Union members come together to discuss everything Anno 1800 and Anno Union related.
Join our Anno Union community roundtable in our Annoverse Fan Discord at 7pm CEST: https://discordapp.com/invite/V4xhZ8Z

Our communities are important for us: let us know if you run your own fan project or want to share some cool or even crazy ideas how we could highlight projects and content from our Anno communities out there. Just get in contact with us vie the comments, our Anno Ubisoft forum or just hit us on Twitter our official Twitter channel @Anno_EN

We are looking forward to this week’s DevBlog and if you have anything to add, feedback to share or just cool ideas for the Anno Union and our communities out there, let us know in the comments below!

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Anno Union Ship Vote

“If I may say, an excellent day to visit. A lot of new stuff came in only last night… by moonlight. We have all sorts, something for every taste. I can’t just give them away – I have a family to look after! – but we can’t afford to hold on to this stock too long either!”
The Imperial Pride
“Stunning to look at and surprisingly well-armored, this steamer is a showpiece of Imperial power”

We had to pull quite a stunt to snatch it from the empire’s greedy hands. You can tell they have spared neither expense nor effort, from that swanky design to the absurdly powerful steam engine, all wrapped up in enough armor and firepower to make the enemy think twice. As if its teeth weren’t enough, it also has a capacious hold for storage.
The Iron Dragon
“Some like it hot!”

Armed with weapons that spit fire straight from the pits of hell, this beast comes with a monstrous engine and such thick steel plating; you’d wonder how it ever swims. But it swims fine; as we learned the hard way. I’m surprised we managed to get hold of one! Don’t worry though, I’ll get you a discount for all those strange symbols scratched everywhere.
The Black Pearl
“Sailing under the black flag is a commitment to an alternative lifestyle.”

She looks a bit worn, but I’ll get you those sails stitched and decks scrubbed of blood stains. I’ll be honest, this here is one of my favorites: reliable, fast and easy to repair; I often take her for personal use. Doesn’t have the most guns, but she’s quick and deadly. Leaves our enemy regretting they bet their lives on some new-fangled steamer.

Tourist Boat
“A real dandy. For those leading a life of leisure.”

Talking of new-fangled, here is a fashionable paddle steamer. Longing to leave the promenade for a tour around the bay? Here’s your chance. And if for some reason you want a ship with no chance of defending itself, you get a whole host of accessories as compensation. Deck chairs, parasols, and colorful pennants. It’s a proper showboat.
Tug Boat
“I have no idea how it ended up here.”

Ah, the crown jewel of the collection… Okay forget it, we woke up aboard this tug one morning, don’t ask how. She may be small, but she’s mighty, and you should never write off an underdog; especially one with a steam engine, storage enough for a good bit of contraband, and maybe even a nasty surprise or two.

The Anno Union ship vote

Presented here are five ships that are normally reserved for use by various NPC factions in the game. While you won’t be able to construct these AI ships in your shipyard, there will be a chance to acquire some of them during gameplay, such as buying stolen ships from pirates.

Today, we want to know which of these ships is your favorite, before we enter the second stage of our contest.
The second phase will challenge your creativity, as we want you to design a ship variant of the first stage’s winner. Similar to the island contest, you will be able to go all in with ideas, drawings and descriptions of the model variant. Whether you envision a mix of speed and transport space or an interesting combination of weapons of special features, we will gather all your submissions at the end to put the best design ideas up for the second stage of the vote. The winner of that contest will make it as a true community ship into Anno 1800!

The first stage of the vote will be up until July 2nd. After the end of the first phase, we will provide further details about the upcoming ship design contest!

After you hit that vote button, let us know what your favorite of the five concepts is, and why you would like to get your own hands on it in Anno 1800.

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Vote: Community Island

Annoholics have discussed the art of island design since the dawn of the Anno series. With our Anno Union island contest, we put your knowledge, design skills and creativity to the test to create a truly community-shaped island for Anno 1800. You impressed us with almost 100 entries to the contest, ranging from well thought gameplay concepts to the craziest playgrounds.

It was far from easy for us to make the final selection. Over the last weeks, our team went through every single entry and finally, we have a list for the five islands competing in the next Anno Union vote.

And the finalists are:

VulcanixFR
We liked VulcanixFR’s entry especially because of the well thought out mix between bigger and smaller construction spaces. With its opposing beaches, this island offers an iconic vista to build an interesting harbor installation.

MW.TRIBUN
The natural form of this island convinced our team. Hills, beaches and rivers are well placed and come together in a harmonious overall concept. The arrangement of the construction site and the fascinating landslide in the south create an interesting hotspot.

fabian_eiter
This islands got our attention because of its unique shape. The narrow parts of the island offer a great challenge for city builder and the jagged hills surrounding the bay add an adventurous element to it.

Phyllus1
The crazy idea to use the hat from the Anno 1602 cover was creative and humorous, while the nice curves and long cliffs offer a great challenge for Annoholics.

GmExpresso
We liked this isle for its simple form, providing ample space for huge cities. The high plateau in the north allows you to play around with the new uneven terrain of Anno 1800, which creates a great gameplay twist on a simple concept.

It’s now up to you, the members of the Anno Union, to decide which entry will make it into the game, as the first community created Anno island. We will further provide frequent updates about the state of the community island, including its creation up to all the final details. Keep in mind that we might need to change a few things, though we will be faithful to the general concept, feel and shape of the winning island.

Thanks to every single participating in the contest, putting so much effort and thought into all these glorious creations. If you want to browse through all great community entries again, you can do so here:
Island Contest entries international 
Island Contest entries German

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DevBlog: Union Exhibition Vote!

With our recent DevBlog about the world fair, we called on the creative force of the Union to provide us with interesting exhibition ideas, which would fit into the 19th century setting. Unsurprisingly, you all more than delivered, contributing to a huge list of ideas ranging from exotic takes, representing the technical advancements of that new era, to the progression and evolution of its society.

We spent the last weeks gathering all of your ideas and discussing them in detail.  We compiled them in a list of nearly 40 different suggested themes and added additional notes such as interesting stories we could tell, ideas for related items and possible gameplay impact. During those discussions, we had a hard time picking our favorites, so we mixed some ideas and story background from Union posts together and checked which of the exhibitions would work best to benefit certain features. In the end, it was not only about picking the best idea but also about considering which exhibition rewards would offer an interesting addition to the gameplay.

This also tells you that exhibitions will have an influence on various aspects of the game so this is something we always have to take into account.

Without further ado, let’s draw back the curtain on the three candidates vying for your attention and support as the third exhibition to make it into Anno 1800:

A: Agricultural Exhibition: The Cream of the Crop!

An exceedingly cultivated affair! Enjoy agricultural diversity, as strange seeds from every compass-point sprout before your very eyes! Join the rural revolution, as shiny new machines shake the tree of tradition, finding new and measurable agronomical efficiencies! Honk the horns of plenty, and let this fecund feast of farming foment

B: Urbanism Exhibition: Progressive City Development!

Do your dreams lack design? Then here is the architect-tonic! The finest draughtspeople gather under one roof, to conceive cities of style and character! Discover blueprints to enrich and beautify your metropoles, yet still provide the conduits of modern convenience – sewerage, electricals and gaslight – with their fair share of logistical love. Truly ornamental!

C: Naval Exhibition: The Pride of the Ponds!

Ships galore! Immerse yourself in oceans of possibility as to what the future harbours! See what pier-led researches have in store for quay areas of interest! Render trade and travel trivial with the latest innovations, and if feeling nautical, discover naval deterrents to really float your boat! Behold an era of sea change!

It is now up to the members of the Union to vote for your preferred exhibition. Once you have made your choice, let us know why and share your ideas on how your favorite exhibition might have an impact on the world of Anno 1800.

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Union Update: Our Union vote has a winner!

“Our big Anno Union election has been a thrilling race between our candidates. Union members across the world made their voices heard to choose a Union representative who should venture forth to expand the Unions influence and settle in new waters. Representing the Unions voice is a matter of responsibility and all candidates gave their best to convince members that their vision and ideas will be the road to success and in the best interests for the whole Union.”

Thanks for your participation in our first big vote from the whole development team!

Today marks the announcement of the winner of our big Anno Union NPC character vote. Thousands of Union members gave their voice but a strong lead made it easy for us to declare the winner.

While the Anarchist had new and revolutionary ideas of change to progress in the 19th century, it was the visionary ideas and the open mindset, which convinced the Union that Artur Gasparov, fittingly called “The Visionary”, was the right candidate for the task. Dr. Hugo Mercier, the Anarchist, was able to secure a respectable second place with his radical ideas while his direct opponent, Silas Grendel, found great support for his ruthless and oppressive plans for the coming century.  Following in midfield was the nebulous Florence Morel with her unconventional theories and weird tales, which got her quite a following. While one of the dev team’s favorites, she was not able to secure a win but will not be forgotten by all her fans and supporters.
The diplomat Hafsa Sultan as well as the gambler Jake Turner lagged far behind their contestants.

So what is next?
There is no time for the Visionary to enjoy his moment of success as we will move ahead to prepare him for the next step. There is still a lot to do for us in order to implement him into the game, such as final artwork, 3D model, animations and a fitting voice. We will provide you frequent updates about his development, so that can partake in his journey from start to finish.

We know that you are all curious about the next vote. We will not announce the next vote today but keep a keen eye on this very website, as we will reveal the next topic very soon. This time, we decided to make your voice count from the very first steps, so keep an eye out for a future DevBlog.

QnA Part:

AegriMiles: I wish possibilities to translate the game to other languages (not everybody understand english or german). Here in Hungary there are lot of people who couldn’t play the lasts Anno because lack of translation possibilities.

Basti: Translation will come at a later stage and we cannot confirm any localized territories as of yet. We will share details when we can confirm localized territories.

OneklickLP: How are things with the harbor? It looks pretty rigid in the video, will we be able to build/place it on our own like in 1404/2070?

Basti: Many Union members are curious how much freedom in placement of the harbor they will actually have. To clarify that, let us have a look at the placement system:

Please keep in mind that this is not the final version how it will appear and be usable in the game. While you see some empty gaps, you will be able to place the harbor smoothly on the spot, which fits it best in your opinion.

MellamoEjooo: Are there any details about the music yet? I hope you will add some sentences like “Your citizens starving!” “Your shipyard finished a ship” “You are running low on tobacco” …. 😀 Good old times!

Basti: Music, ambient sounds and voice lines are an incredibly important part to immerse you in the world of Anno. We got many comments about audio and the music score of Anno 1800 and decided that we will give that topic a highlight in future DevBlogs. Speaking about voice lines, Artur will get, as many other NPC’s, his own fully dubbed voice lines.

 

Marc_The_Miner
How much time do we have before you close the screenshot contest for the streaming room?

Basti: There is no ETA right now; we want to see how many screenshots and other art we get. Especially as some of you want to go nuts and create crazy screenshots or pictures made out of buildings. We are currently thinking about just leaving the thread open, as we might want to swap artwork or expand the decoration in the streaming room over time.

Soulridder
In the 19th century lots of factories got build, which leads me to wonder wether all that grey smoke will be there in Anno 1800. I’m thinking there a bit of the Tycoons of Anno 2070 with their grey islands and all of the smoke there produces. I guess having all of the smoke and maybe even something similar to the effect the Tycoons causes on their islands with all those factories would definitely give you more of the feeling that you are in the 19th century. So will this be in Anno 1800???

Basti: Heavy industry and coal based production chains are a major factor of that 19th century feeling. It will be represented in the game, so I would not recommend building your factories in the center of your city. But as Matt described in the last DevBlog, we want to show the other side of the coin but not force players into a specific playstyle or moral decisions which could lead to skip an important feature of the game. More freedom and less restriction is our goal in Anno 1800.

Swimming-Paul
I am very happy with the artwork included in this post! It´s not only extremely beautiful, but is it also hinting that we´re going to be able to produce bicycles in the game?

Basti: Concept art is an important part of the research process. That does not necessarily mean that all ideas and concepts make it into the game. But there are also various ways that certain elements of the 19th century are represented in Anno 1800, if not as a production chain than maybe as a part of the living and breathing world, as an animation or graphic in the game.

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Vote your favorite NPC into the game!

It’s about time to kick off our first Anno Union community vote. When creating a game, tons of creative ideas are flying around the studio but during the development process, we have to make hard decisions. That means some ideas have to go on hold, and eventually go out in order to ensure that the best one goes big.

A diverse cast of AI Characters has been an important part of Anno games for a long time. They help to immerse yourself in our game world and are your ally achieving victory or your bitter opponent during a session. With that said, we would like to introduce you to six interesting candidates for our last AI character for our NPC roster, and it is up to you who will make it on the ship when Anno1800 sets sail.

Find a short description below to make your choice easier, or maybe even harder. You will be able to vote for one of the characters (yes, only one) in the big voting highlighted at the right side of the Anno Union page. We will keep the voting up for a while and when it is time to make the decision of which character we will further develop, we will make that choice based on your actions.

Furthermore, we want to give you the chance to become a part of the characters journey. That means that with weeks and month to come, we will give you frequent updates about the development, from final artwork to 3D animation, classic Anno style.

A) Artur Gasparov – The Visionary
Descending from a noble bloodline, Artur studied mathematics, art and architecture to become the single most influential architect of the Empire. Artur strives for perfection. His works are breathtaking, sometimes even provocative. He dreams of creating the perfect utopian metropolis one day. Many call him the greatest visionary of modern times, still some voices question his inability to compromise, and point out Artur’s highly neurotic nature.

B) Hafsa Sultan – The Ambassador
A hookah pipe-smoking princess of the near-east, Hafsa revels in her wealth – loving jewelry and clothes best of all. She is a talented, enigmatic lioness, yet finds her duties as ambassador lack challenge. She only seems to have a vague interest in keeping her family dynasty alive, despite the fact it crumbles at home. Nevertheless, through her charm an ulterior plan appears, a plan she is keeping extremely secret.

C) Jacob “Jake” Turner – The Gambler
Regardless of his razorblade smile and shiny suits Jake is in desperate need of money. Always. He is extremely charming, wasting his talent on being a notorious gambler, con artist and dazzler. His enterprises are as expensive as they are risky, and in the end a lot of people lose a lot of money. Maybe that’s the reason why Jake, as he calls himself nowadays, changes his face like other people change their underwear.

D) Florence Morel – The Occultist
Florence Morel began her fascination with the occult as a morbid little girl, when she claimed to have found a mirror between worlds. Inheriting a vast fortune, her gothic search for truth now unfolds on a grander scale. Her army of acolytes seem bewitched, letting no one and no thing obstruct their leader. They say it is Morel’s destiny to set loose universal mysteries – for good or ill – and in doing so, change humankind forever.

E) Silas Grendel – The Mobster
Grendel is a vicious and ruthless racketeer, commanding his army of rats to get things done. He began running cutthroat carnivals, until his was the only circus in every town. Now his brutal concern only grows, with him king elect of the underworld. With dark nexus behind him, grander schemes are afoot; a man like Grendel wants to tattoo his name into the forearm of history.

F) Dr. Hugo Mercier – The Anarchist
Dr. Mercier did not spend five years reading politics at a great University just to toe the party line. No, his grand vision is anarchy – absolute freedom for everyone! It was a mistake of the Empire then, to think Dr. Mercier might make a suitable ‘governor’. Only in hindsight is it clear he is the definition of rebellion – a man with such conviction in his beliefs, he is willing to die for them.

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