Anno Online: buildingPlace buildings anywhere there is open space. Remember that certain buildings have requirements like nearby fish or trees. Also re...
Anno Online: questThe tutorial is an important aspect for any strategy game. Complete tutorial missions in Anno to set up a village and get some rew...
Anno Online: resourcesAfter you build resource gathering buildings, like the fisherman's hut, you will start earning resources. Remember that the key to...
Anno Online is a strategy browser MMO developed by Blue Byte and published by Ubisoft. The developing company was formed in 1988 and in 2001 it was bought by Ubisoft. Blue Byte Studios is in charge of Settlers and Anno game franchises. Anno Online is a new game but it’s an old Ubisoft IP (intellectual property). Anno Online is based on famous Anno 1404, a city sim game where players build settlements and develop an in game economy system based on trading and treaties. Anno 1404 takes place in a fantasy world with a medieval theme. Anno Online has the same city building features combined with RTS elements. It’s a browser game accessible to anyone and it’s free to play.
All Anno Online players are in charge of an island. At the beginning of the game this island has nothing more than a warehouse and a harbor. Starting with these 2 basic buildings players have to develop and manage an economical empire. Anno Online has an impressive building selection with more than 1500 different building types. There are functional buildings and also decorative items like small gardens and even large monuments. This is a very important feature for city sim browser games. Players like to personalize their city so having lots of buildings to choose from is a crucial feature. Resources are needed for buildings but resources are not endless so Anno Online players must carefully manage them. One way to get resources is to trade with other players. Anno Online allows trading by ships just like the original game. Players are encouraged to interact and work together. Anno Online guilds support up to 25 members. Guildies unlock access to a private guild channel. The guild hall is an Anno Online building that serves as gathering place for members of the same guild.
Island expansion is another Anno Online feature. When there is no more room for buildings, players board their ships and start exploring the seas for new areas to conquer. New territories and the main island are connected by trading routes. Anno Online empires are inhabited by citizens. All citizens have constant needs that must be satisfied. As empires become more powerful, citizens become more demanding. Anno Online free MMO has customizable content. Players get to select from many Anno Online avatars. Ships can be personalized as well. Anno Online has a medieval inspired art style to stay in line with Anno 1404. City animations and sounds are nice details that build atmosphere and make Anno Online a lively game.
Anno Online, Ubisoft Blue Byte’s browser MMO entry into the city-building sim market, and it looks quite good for a browser game. The buildings are detailed, and you’ll see your villagers wandering around the streets you’ve built, which makes the city feel truly alive. The water, which you’ll see quite a bit of due to the fact that the whole game takes place on a series of islands, is wavy and watery, as it should be.
There isn’t much for sound here. Essentially, one tune plays endlessly on repeat, and there are a few notification sounds that play from time to time. Since you’ll most likely be running the game in the background of whatever else you’re doing online, you’ll want to mute the sound almost immediately, or risk a splitting headache from the repetitive music.
There isn’t much story to speak of. Essentially, you are set on a tiny island and tasked with founding a colony there. You’ll get some letters from old friends from time to time, but Anno Online feels perfectly comfortable not pretending to be a plot-based game. It’s the gameplay that’s the real focus here.
It all begins simply enough, with you building houses for pioneers and lumberjack huts that allow you to start gathering wood. As your settlement grows, however, your residents become more demanding. Suddenly they’ll want religion, so you’ll have to build them a church. They’ll want entertainment, so build them a tavern. They’ll demand a firehouse so they can feel confident about not dying horribly in a fire. Fair enough, I suppose.
There is a natural progression that’s aided by a series of quests that will pop to keep you on track. Generally, the first time you’re required to build something, you’ll be given a quest to do just that. Building such thing will fulfill your quest requirements and you’ll get a little something something extra for your efforts.
A problem begins to emerge though, as the city progression could certainly use some refinement. First of all, your basic pioneers have fairly low expectations, so you’ll find them pretty easy to please. However, as you unlock more building types, the concerns of the citizens increase. Suddenly, the village you built has a completely new set of requirements, and all those settlers who were initially happy are complaining. This becomes a problem if you’ve built your village with a specific pattern in mind. You’ll have to retroactively add new building types in order to keep your residents happy, so you’ll find yourself moving things around.
This is a minor concern though, as you can usually plan your city growth around the fact that you’ll see new satisfaction requirements emerge in your people later down the road. Also, you have the ability to move your buildings around without any penalty. More problematic, though, is the way the progression tends to feel far bumpier than it should.
For example, you’ll see a considerable jump from buildings that cost $5,000-ish to buildings that cost $50,000-$70,000, even though, at this point in the game, your bank can only hold a maximum of $150,000. The sudden jump in expenses smacks hard, and you’ll see the speed of your progression drastically decline as a result. This is only the first of such hurdles, though, and you’ll find yourself getting comfortable with the price increases only slightly before a new jump in pricing acts as a hindrance to a smooth progression.
With each spike, you’ll see your active gameplay time decrease suddenly, as you’ll go from spurts where you can play an hour or so at a time to dry spells where you find yourself playing for five minutes before hitting another wall that you’ll have to wait until the following day to get over, once your resources replenish enough for you to build whatever your residents are demanding from you.
Of course, this is mitigated a bit by the Petitions, which are basically little side quests that get assigned to you when you leave your game running, giving you random tasks to perform for your villagers. Sometimes, they make sense, like when they ask you to find settlers that have gone wandering off into the unexplored territories on your island. You’ll complete the task by actually finding them on your map and clicking on them. Other times, however, the relationship between what you’re asked to do and what you are actually doing doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Like resolving a villager dispute by clicking on a lumberjack hut. It is nice, though, to have little distractions that allow you to keep playing while you’re waiting around for your resource pool to grow.
Later in the game, you’ll get access to more things. You’ll be able to send ships off to explore for you. You’ll get to manage multiple islands at a time. You’ll have access to larger and more effective building types. You’ll have more social options like trading with real players and whatnot. But it’s a long climb before you’ll get here.
Now, I should point out that you can always drop some real-world money in the game’s online shop. Ubisoft kindly invested 6,000 gems into my account to speed me along my way, and I actually found myself unable to resist the pull of buying 50 wood here and 10,000 gold there so I could keep up my momentum. This speeds up the process of getting you to end game. The only problem is that when you get to end game, all that’s left is to look back on your time and decide whether the grind was worth it or not.
Unique Fun Factor
The real fun of Anno Online is taking ownership over a city and watching it expand. The entire progression of the game is built around this, and even when you’ve fully colonized your little island, you get to explore and find more islands to take over.
For players who want to play in five-to-ten-minute bursts here and there, it’s a perfectly fine little game. You won’t have to feel obligated to keep checking back, because you won’t have to worry about your settlers getting angry or perishing in some sort of natural disaster.
However, if you prefer binge gaming, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere, as Anno Online is really designed around letting you leave for hours at a time and coming back for tiny little play sessions. You can hypothetically keep playing, but you’ll likely start spending absurd amounts of money in order for that to happen.
Pros and Cons
-Highly detailed visuals for a browser game
-Free-to-play, no download required
-Very playable in short bursts
-An active online community that is willing to help you maximize the potential of your city.
-The progression tends to be bumpy
-The game is designed to constantly force you to wait for things to happen
-You’ll want to mute the audio almost immediately
-If you want to play long sessions, expect to start shelling out real-world money
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