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
 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 moderators, 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.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Ben Davis avatarBen Davis
Apologies for the lack of Experience Points lately! I'm taking a short break from writing them, but don't worry. They'll be back soon enough!
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Am I the only one excited to play the Forza Motorsport 6 demo?
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
Adventure games are a big part of the indie scene, but there's a reason their popularity plummeted as graphics evolved. This clicking on everything, just in case, nonsense is for the birds. 90s birds, but birds.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Spotted some "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3" (1989) DVDs in a store. Hearing music and sound effects from the game is more amusing than it should be - although the running shrill gets old quickly.
extatix avatarextatix
Diablo 3 patch 2.3.0 equals more grinding. Good.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Funny coincidence: Last week saw the release of Until Dawn, which talked about a Canadian tribe of Native Americans called the Cree,and last night a Cree woman (Ms. Canada) won the Ms. Universe contest. Butterfly Effect updated.
MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
Playing UNTIL DAWN 1st time:I'm alright with QTE,but an option to use direction as choices instead of buttons poppin' on screen would be welcome!Also:NO SHINY ITENS TO INDICATE CLUES!LET ME DISCOVER THEM!All in all,it's fun enough...
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ntf3p5PqS2GteYfXUH33[/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=http://imgur.com/3yw3G8S][img]http://i.imgur.com/3yw3G8S.jpg[/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
#thanksnintendo.
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual. http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1103729&page=1
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xenoblade-Chronicles-Special-Edition-Wii-U/dp/B014LNTVGK I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
more quickposts


Contest!


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!



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 -