Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Preview: Anno Online

6:00 PM on 05.10.2013 // Chris Carter
  @DtoidChris

Quaint, peaceful browser-based city building

Simulation fans have had quite a storied history of games to choose from. While the genre may seem homogenized to outside viewers, sim-nuts can't get enough of the technical nuances of each title, and although they may look similar, it's one of the most varied genres out there.

Although the Anno series was one of my go-to games, it wasn't until Anno 2070 that I really became a fan. Two years later, Ubisoft Blue Byte is handling the all-new Anno Online, which seeks to marry the city-building genre with a persistent browser-based experience. It's not everything an Anno fan would want, but I have a feeling that more casual simulation gamers will enjoy it.

Anno Online (PC)
Developer: Ubisoft Blue Byte
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release: TBA
MSRP: Free (with microtransactions)

Anno Online is a browser-based game, which means you won't download anything, and will play it directly from the web. As such, you could say it utilizes "always-on" DRM, which will probably scare a bunch of you off. On the flipside, it is free, and doesn't force microtransactions down your throat every step of the way, even if it nudges you for them later on.

Anno Online will feature daily quests as well as a general questline, tasking you with typical city-building things like "attract 120 citizens," or "acquire 120 wood stockpiles." A robust but non-obtrusive tutorial serves to show you how to place buildings, and how locations of said buildings can influence production.

First you'll start off with a humble settlement with a marketplace, a few houses, and a fisherman's hut. Eventually, you'll start to make your mark on the world as you juggle hundreds of settlements, inter-city trading, and general empire management. The interface is fairly simple, with your economy indicators housed on the top left, social features on the bottom left, and the bulk of your tools on the bottom right.

Somehow, the social element of recruiting friends seems more fitting in Anno Online than other games. It also has an optional chatroom available on a per-server basis, which is extremely helpful when you feel the need to ask questions -- after all, everyone is working together for success. If you want both the friends list or chatroom to be hidden, you can do that. Right now it doesn't look like there's any annoying forced Facebook or Twitter integration, so the experience can be as isolated as you want.

In line with most free-to-play experiences, there's multiple forms of currency: in-game funds like lumber and stone, and real money funds called rubies. Just like any city-builder, all the in-game funds help expand your city as normal, and the rubies allow you to insta-buy more resources or upgrade buildings. You can earn rubies through questing and leveling up, but it offers diminishing returns as you progress.

Anno Online has a strict focus on peaceful city-building, as disasters and destruction have been turned off -- so if you're a more hardcore Anno fan, you may be left wanting for a bit more strategy. Alternatively, there are a ton of gamers out there who love simply city-building as a form of a zen garden, and turn off disasters anyways (some easy-going Sim City and Anno 2070 runs come to mind).

The world is persistent -- so if you don't manage your budget, go to sleep, and come back, you may find a lack of funds. Likewise if you kick ass at budgeting and increase your stockpile capacity through warehouses, you'll come back to more resources than you'll know what to do with. For the most part resources are constantly stockpiling, allowing you to play the game at basically any time, but exploring new territories do have a time-gate (around an hour or so until they open up).

The only major issue I've found so far is that after a number of days, things start to get stale as you fill your island(s), and wait for more resources to come in to progress into major transitions. Of course, that dirty word is involved with the project -- microtransactions. Thankfully, they're not really that intrusive, as you can play the vast majority of the game without them. For the most part, ponying up cash will just help facilitate faster construction and easier trade routes -- two features you can also get for free with patience and careful planning.

In the full game you can pay to earn more than six islands, but I'm nowhere near that point yet, even having extensively played the beta. There isn't an "energy" (wait-wall) mechanic per se -- progression is tied to how much your town produces. Still, you may feel the sting of waiting once you've progressed farther in the game, and I wish there were some sort of way to trade resources with other players to earn rubies to alleviate that.

An open beta test is planned later this year, and thankfully, the developers have announced that any progress through the closed or open beta will not be wiped. So far, Anno Online seems like a great alternative to the new Sim City. Although technically the new Anno has to be played online, the simple fact that it's free puts it streets ahead of EA's latest also online-only foray into the simulation market.



Chris Carter, Reviews Director, Co-EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Anno Online


  Jul 16

Review: Anno Online

Simple city building


  Jun 13

Anno Online is giving out some free currency for E3

Use them to attempt to satisfy citizens that will never love or respect you


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


What is Metroidvania?

Wanna Bet? Fall 2015 Finale

Conquest of Elysium 4 - Review

The PlayStation Vita: Twice as Bright

Video Gaming Bits -- Magical Date: Doki Doki Kokuhaku Daisakusen

Cheat Codes Ep. 83: Shut Up

Comments of the Week - Love Love Love

Sonic Generations Mod Retrospective 2 - COLORS

The meaning of The Witness (Part 2 of 3)

Venture into the Borderlands - Epilogue

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
If you don't like Jack Frost the best I feel nothing but contempt towards you.
Batthink avatarBatthink
Regarding SMT favourites, mine is Succubus.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Hey, I here theres some premium blog o' mine just lying around the cblogs right now. Should go pick it up, while its still in stock-which is limited due to artificial scarcity. Also for favorite personas, I am also a big fan of samael. Cool design.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Was going to start The Darkness 2 today but honestly I'm so into The Witcher I'm just going to keep that going, probably for the best, too. LETS GO SKELLIGE CAPN JACK SPARROW UP IN THIS
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Samael for me.
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
Am I the only one kinda turned off to Unravel because of the 10/10 score? I tend to see any 10/10 review as bullshit.
SayWord avatarSayWord
Gong Hey Fat Choy! Time to enjoy some delicious Shark Fin soup.
Occams avatarOccams
I've always been rather partial to Satan.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Every time Nekro changes his avatar, God lets a child in a third-world country starve to death. When will the killing stop, Nekro?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Undertale ending in anime version (don't watch it if you have not played it yet) !
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Pixie isn't my abfave demon, but this cosplay is hhnnggalicious
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
El Dango avatarEl Dango
What if the 'OOSE' thing in the new Bourne poster is deliberate? What if it's like the bad guy or something?
drmcscott avatardrmcscott
No more night Xcom. Cant sleep. No more night Xcom. Cant sleep. WOrk perofmence bad. No moe night Xconm. Nad. Cmat sleep. Hep me! HJkelp me!
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
SMT demons, huh? There's really only one choice.
Malthor avatarMalthor
One of my favourite demons from SMT is Samael, his death magic and Megido spell are always a great help( Megido especially made him the bane of golden hands in my last P4 playthrough). Plus he looks pretty badass.
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Favorite demon in Shin Megami Tensei, eh? Oh, I got many but so I'll just pick one for now whom is a beast in the Persona series. Yoshitsune--Hassou Tobi, Heat Riser = Don't fear the REAPER!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Played half an hour of Last Story. Yay, British voices! But the absence of colours makes me want to play other games instead, especially in this greyscale season.
HeyItsDad avatarHeyItsDad
There's not even enough reviews out to give Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth a rating on Metacritic...what's up with this?
ooktar avatarooktar
Dat Booty.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -