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Union Update: Feedback, website and answers

With the first development blog, we gave you some insights into our vision and concept for the game. With the next DevBlog, which will come this week, we will give you a much deeper insight how we actually develop Anno 1800 and what it means to design and build a complex strategy title. But today, it’s time to kick off our first Community Update, where we will give you frequent updates about the Union, answer some questions and, in the future, also want to spotlight your creations.

Fun fact: you might have noticed the different frames for the preview pictures for each blog. The different colors indicate the type of content, with grey used for community updates, the nice painting style for dev updates, and green for votes (and so on).

Website improvements
Our Anno Union launch was crazy so far and you can clearly tell that the passion and dedication of Anno fans out there is something truly special. We are currently working on improving the experience of the website in various ways. We got many comments about a Union forum and for that reason; we implemented a forum link to the Ubisoft Anno forum where you will also find the Union subsection. As not everything might fit into the certain theme of a blog, please feel free to use the Anno Ubisoft forum if you want to discuss certain ideas further or start new discussions. The comment section here will remain as our main way of gathering feedback to a certain topic, which does of course not mean that we will not have an eye on the Ubisoft forum or other platforms. Please try to stay on-topic to the specific topic of a blog!

Visibility and readability will be our focus with the next Anno Union website update. We will provide full update notes about all these improvements as soon as everything is ready.

Streaming Room Do you know that feeling when you ordered new toys and still wait for some of them to arrive? Our dedicated streaming room will allow us to create video updates and insights, but not all tech is here yet and we still have to assemble everything. But hey, that should be good fun!

Feedback gathering
Yes, we are reading your feedback, even with the sometimes-overwhelming amount of reactions on our blog. We choose to use blogs and later on videos and streams for that, as we think that these answers deserve to be as visible as possible for all Union members. That also means that if we pick your question, you get a cool spotlight out of it. If you want to get an overview over all the answers given at this point, just hit the QnA category tab at the bottom of the blog. Please keep in mind that we will not be able to comment on everything, as our team is still busy creating your new Anno game! Many of you asked how we actually use that feedback: we collect your comments, analyze your feedback and create a report, which we then discuss within the development team. We hope that you are looking forward to learn how we structure development (what sprint planning is etc.) to get a rough idea about our development roadmap, which will then lead to further articles you are waiting for: in-depth blogs about certain features in development and how you can help us shape them. But more about development with the next blog J

And to close our first Community Blog, here a few of your comments and our answers.

Sebi5445
A big part of the game concept seems to be set in stone (great job!). How much impact on the development process will the Union actually have? Are there any open questions about gameplay features, which could change the game in a major way or is it more about the small things?

Basti: Creating a big game like Anno is a very complex task, including dozens of disciplines, a huge team of experts and years of hard work. We want to use community feedback to help expanding, polishing and balancing features based on your sentiment and there will be room to add a few of your ideas but as you mentioned, the feature list is one of the things you decide at the beginning of development. Using feedback on the extensive features in an Anno game is a big commitment and task in itself and the whole team is excited about the concept to let our fans helping us with that. I recommend checking the next DevBlog, which will dive more into details about the development structure of Anno 1800.

Moonwalked
If you need any help checking all the comments, maybe there is a way the community can help you out with that?

Basti: We are just happy if you guys share your feedback and stay on topic with the specific theme of each blog. As mentioned in the community update, our team collects and analyzes all feedback in order to create a report for our development team. That gives us a good indicator about the sentiment of our communities, topics you care about most and general feedback and suggestions regarding game features and other gameplay elements.

HarroLP
How will the playtests work; I have read somewhere that it will work via applications as soon as you announce an Alpha/Beta test. Basti mentioned that, if we involve ourselves here, we will have a good chance to get access. Maybe @BastianThun can say something about how it will work.

Basti: The first tests will most likely be focus tests with a small group of people rather than a big Alpha or even Beta test. There will be various ways of inviting people, we might contact some very active members directly to invite them to test a certain feature up to tests where we need more people, which might go along with an announcement. Either way, registering here is the first step to be in our database but being a constructive member of the community will also be an important factor for us to choose players. Most playtests will run under NDA, which means that you will not necessarily know who is participating in a test. Nevertheless, rest assured that we will talk about that in more detail in the future, so just stay active until that time comes.

stolperprinz
I have a few suggestions regarding the game concept, how can I share my ideas.

Basti: We would love to see that you all stick to the topic of the specific blog, which is usually centered around a certain feature, content or gameplay elements. If you have general ideas, the best thing would be to discuss that with the community in the Ubisoft Anno forums. It makes it easier for us to create reports for the different blogs and for our forum team to check if a topic sticks out because of a good idea and a healthy and active discussion.

Julius A.
Do you roughly know how often you want to post new articles and votes for the site?

Basti: We created a plan for the types of content and how often we want to post. That plan goes along with our development roadmap but especially the content might change dynamically based on feedback and some development factors. What we can tell us that we want at least 2 articles each week. It is a bit harder to tell with votes, but our plan here is to have one active vote up most of the time (please note that not all votes will run equally long). So in general, weekly content to get your feedback and keep you up to date. It might fluctuate from time to time as we are all working together to bring you the Union content but also still pretty busy developing the game.

Pizzafighter
Morning, I’ve sent a mail to your info mail addy not long ago, where I talked about a few ideas (a lot about the train). Have you received my mail?

Basti: I am still stunned by all the cool ideas and great feedback we get and I totally understand that you want to share all your ideas with the team. However, the reality is that it is just impossible to react to every feedback and we have to concentrate on the Union blog, with help from the community team for the forums and other channels. For feasibility reasons, we will not comment on feedback received via e-mail outside of special circumstances.

ThmzV
Do we get more information about the gameplay :)?

Basti: I can tell that I am as hyped as our fans but there is still a lot of time between now and the final release. As teased, we will now start to show you how we develop the game and that allows us to dive into certain development aspects such as features and gameplay, in order to get important feedback from our Anno Union members.

8 Comments

  1. ruuti0 ruuti0

    Website has been super cool, because it is clear and allow us easily find information, and also forum is really good place to talk with other Annoholics and developers!

  2. DoomDutch DoomDutch

    I’ll be posting this both on Anno-Union and the Ubisoft Anno 1800 forum.

    Regarding the comments, forum and A-U (Anno-Union), I think it would be better to use both A-U and the offical fora to communicate with the fans. A-U’s UI isn’t very friendly (yet?) for bigger discussions like: “What do you think of this feature” or “Do we really want feature ‘x’?” or most other topics that could come up.

    Instead, A-U would be a great medium to do these blogs and votes indeed, getting direct and short feedback from us about the blogs and votes!
    But I believe it wont be the best place where you get general feedback about Anno 1800 from the people (as of yet).

    Though if it is the desire of Blue Byte to use A-U regardless as their primary source of feedback, you might want to have a dedicated A-U forum on *this* website, instead of the Ubisoft forumwebsite.

    Anyway, these are just my thoughts, and I am sure there could be people who agree, disagree of have a totally different opinion.

    Regard,

    DoomDutch

  3. Underp4ntz Underp4ntz

    Hope to see this kind of interaction with future ANNO games too. The series has great potential, and working with the community is even better. Of-course the game needs to keep its roots but on-top of that we always can add more!

    Anyways are we able to buy some Anno Union T-Shirts too?!

  4. DrDreaparN DrDreaparN

    Glad to see you so active with the community and I can’t wait for some game content to discuss.

  5. iruet iruet

    I like those blogs, it is easy to read and gives a small view behind the game we see as players 🙂

    I hope you will keep doing this 🙂

  6. BlueBreath BlueBreath

    I can’t wait for the first deep dive article.

  7. S.A.S_Potato S.A.S_Potato

    Can’t wait for more news, very hyped to see how a large part the Anno Union will play in developing. But there’s still a queation. Those small tests, even if they’re under a NDA, will everyone get some nice screencaps and or info about what you tested?

  8. DoomDutch DoomDutch

    I am glad to see how active the Anno-Union will be with two blogs a week! And I wonder, what kind of topics/items can we expect to vote on, keeping art, portraits etc aside?

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