- Anno 1800
The “Speicherstadt” of Hamburg, a UNESCO world heritage site, translates merely as “city of warehouses”— a near-unbroken chain of upright red brick structures, standing proud and composed on the waterfront, behind whose facade lie carpets, cocoa, tea, spices— you name it!
It is often captured at dusk in photographs, under mellow orange lamplight, when the day’s tumult has subsided, its alleys and avenues of water lying smooth and still, its wares securely under lock and key.
There is a particular pragmatism and confidence to Speicherstadt’s arrangement, with its neat canals and lifting bridges, that speaks to an era of Hanseatic free trade— commercial agreements brokered with efficacy between Hamburg and ports along the chilly Baltic coast. Such places evolve only by necessity, when there is really nowhere else for the vast and collected goods of the globe to go! Such a place can surely be justified in dubbing itself the heart of maritime trade.
What are the Docklands?
With the “Docklands” DLC we’re focussing on one of the central points of every Anno empire: the harbour area and trade. To help you turn your ports into massive trade hubs, Season 3’s first DLC gives your access to the modular Docklands.
As with so many things in Anno, the Docklands’ art design is a happy medium between real-world buildings and those of the Anno world: In order for the player to visually distinguish the different parts and functions, certain features of the buildings had to be exaggerated in a way you wouldn’t find if you were to visit Hamburg.
Considering the historical success and distinctive architecture of these Docklands, it’s a perfect fit for the world of Anno 1800. Especially since we know how many fans the historic warehouse monument in Anno 1404 still has.
In Anno 1800, however, the Docklands are not a single monument but a modular one, like the palace. After constructing the “Main Wharf” (unlocked with 250 Artisans) you can add a variety of modules via its menu, each with their distinctive own functions. Some of the modules are alternatives to already existing buildings like the Harbourmaster, the Depot or the Repair Crane – they are, however, more space-efficient than the regular versions. Others are new, like the Loading Wharf (reduces load times) or the Exports Office (increases number of Export/Import Contracts you can have).
You can increase the limit of how many of each module you can build by successfully exporting vast quantities of goods – but more on that later.
The Docklands Main Wharf and the modules have to be placed in your harbour area but differ in one key aspect from the palace: modules do not have to be placed next to each other but can stand separate! If you prefer to combine all modules to one big district, you will be rewarded with a bonus to your island’s attractiveness.
You can therefore design your Docklands district in any way you want, and we have already seen a lot of creative designs in previous tests.
An ever-growing Anno empire is made of a multitude of islands and trade routes, with hundreds of tons of resources being transported and unloaded at all times. To support all your trading needs, the Docklands can be built once on every island in both the Old World and Cape Trelawney.
No worries, though, we have made sure to provide you with an experienced guide to lead you through all the new mechanics in the game. Through a short series of quests, Captain Tobias will provide you with an overview over the construction of the Docklands and the aforementioned Export/Import Contracts.
There are few waters Captain Tobias hasn’t plumbed, and fewer ports he hasn’t berthed in. Armed with an amiable disposition and an insatiable curiosity, this grizzled old seafarer is something of a legendary figure among the close-knit world of global trade, and it just so happens he’s taken an interest in helping you bring your company to new, boundless lands of opportunity and profit.
He will, however, also request your aid in a matter of personal importance to him when you have convinced him of your skills as a trader. Without wishing to spoil anything, let’s just say that as a reward, the Captain has a rare blueprint for your shipyard which you may certainly find interesting…
Now, we have mentioned these “Contracts” often enough, time to explain one of the core new features of the “Docklands” DLC.
Captain Tobias not only serves as your guide, but primarily is a traveling merchant by trade. Via the Docklands you can make use of a new trade mechanic that lets you exchange one good for another. Instead of selling or purchasing goods using money, you can create Export/Import Contracts by selecting one good to export and one good to import.
The exchange ratio partly depends on the “value” of the good (calculated via the complexity of the production chain and the amount of building space it requires), meaning, for example, that a single ton of sewing machines is worth several tons of raw fish. This opens up completely new strategies and, for example, allows you to specialise in certain goods based on local fertilities or deposits and trade them in for other goods you don’t produce enough of. Or even substitute whole production chains with imports – the choice is yours.
If you own “The Passage” or “Land of Lions”, you can also set up contracts with goods from those DLC.
By building Exports Office modules, you can increase the number of Export/Import Contracts you can have active at the same time and the Captain will do his best to fulfill them all – based on how many goods (or how much free storage) you have left.
Tobias will enter your region at regular intervals and fulfill current contracts at each of your Docklands. His ship is a massive vessel and its stocks basically unlimited.
The second factor to impact the exchange ratio is your export volume. When you produce and export large numbers of a specific good, you will establish yourself as a serious business partner in this product and see it gain an “exporter level”. That means that this good becomes one of your export “specialties” and its exchange ratio against other goods improves— you will now receive more tons of other goods in exchange! Take a look at these specialty goods in the pyramid below— the higher the total export volume of a certain good, the higher the good will rise in the pyramid, and the better its exchange ratio will become. You can move and even remove goods from this pyramid to fill the limited bonus slots to your preference.
Even if all slots are filled, you can still export other kinds of goods of course, but you won’t profit from an improvement to the exchange ratio.
Better ratios are not the only advantages of mass-exports, though:
The more your reputation as a respectable trader grows, either via the number of active trade contracts or your exporter level, the more goods will unlock for you to import. You can see the requirements you need to meet to unlock a good in the overview on the right of the Export/Import screen.
Furthermore, you will also increase the building limit of each module by unlocking more “specialty” slots in the pyramid, allowing you to add more and more modules to your Docklands and create a massive trading district.
It’s worth keeping in mind that you can build a complete Docklands on every single island, allowing for potentially vast amounts of imports and exports of goods that you can then still transport within your empire via normal trade routes.
Don’t want to produce soap but prefer to have a clean population? Then Import soap in exchange for that beer you’re producing and make your citizens (and most likely Tobias’ crew) very happy!
Since we know this new feature might need some getting used to, we’ve developed a completely new type of in-game help. Clicking on the “question mark” icon at the top of the Export/Import Menu will open a tutorial screen with explanations of all steps involved in setting up Export/Import Contracts.
Now, we all know how much you all love ornaments and we may have seen one or two comments about having a lighthouse in your own city – maybe…
The “Docklands” DLC is a great opportunity to combine both, so we’re happy to announce that you can look forward to not just one, but two types of lighthouse and a sea of additional ornaments for your harbour – both in the Old as well as in the New World!
We’re excited to see your new harbour layouts with Docklands and its new ornaments!
As announced in our Season 3 live stream as well as the Season 3 Pass trailer (you should re-watch them, just in case), all DLC releases will be accompanied by a Free Game Update. Game Update 10, which is going to release alongside “Docklands”, will for example make changes to your trade route menu and allow you to build streets onto the water in your harbour area.
We’ll go into detail on all these topics later this week.
This leaves only two questions, right, “when” and “how much”?
Well, the “Docklands” DLC will release on February 23rd at 6PM CET / 12 PM EST in the Ubisoft Store, the Epic Store and Steam for 6,99€ and is also included in the Season 3 Pass which is available for 19,99€.
Make sure to check out our blog with an overview to the Season 3 Pass and last week’s live stream where you can already see some gameplay from the DLC.
Stay safe, take care – and keep an eye on the Anno Union for the latest news.
*Please be aware all screenshots of the Export/Import UI are taken from a development-in-progress version of the game and may contain unfinished elements and placeholders.