- Anno 1800
- Season 2
DevBlog: Land of Lions – Shepherds & Irrigation System
“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”
None are more faithul to this creed, laid down in contemplation by philosopher Mawlānā Rumi than the selfsame Shepherds of Enbesa. The Meniga, as they are known by other populations in Enbesa, revel best in the open heartlands, the bountiful beauty of Enbesa, stretching across valleys and dells, with boundless horizons across the water.
A people of the land, respectful of all that came before them but ever intrigued by new opportunities, new prospects of peace and betterment for their peers. Kind-hearted and hard-working, Shepherds look to those who rule to guide Enbesa to a united future, one of justice and consideration for all. Long centuries of unhindered pastoral life draw to a tantalizing close as the Emperor raises his mighty capital from the ground, drawing all in Enbesa to him, birthing a new culture and a novel way of life.
Though they relish the deceptively simple arts of landwork and animal care, Shepherds are well aware that a new age is dawning upon Enbesa, one which they hope will see mirth and tenderness and friendship be held high in the hearts of the mighty –manifold lights to guide and heal the people of Enbesa.
Earlier this week we gave you an overview of what you can expect regarding Anno Union content up until the release of Land of Lions. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise therefore that this week we’ll be talking about the beginnings of your Enbesan settlement: The Shepherds and the irrigation system!
Shepherds are the first of two residential tiers in the Enbesa session (the second being the Elders). Similar to the farmers in the Old World, they live in smaller houses, usually a main dwelling with a stable, outbuilding, storage hut or small workplace attached. Together these houses form small communal places where the Shepherd population can, for example, gather around a fireplace.
The Shepherds loves nature and stories by the campfire. City life and politics seems to tire them, much as it does the game’s Farmers and Artisans in the Old World.
Instead they prefer to spend time out in nature with their animals, because the Shepherds’ skills lie in agriculture and animal husbandry; for example, herding goats and sanga cows for milk and meat or growing linseed to darn clothes and hibiscus flowers for hibiscus tea. The Shepherds rely solely on the goods they produce locally, and do not require any imports from the other sessions. Though they have many talents and much wisdom, they are always quick to play these things down, being modest and humble.
To satisfy their needs for community and culture outside of the company of family and friends, they will, however, ask you to build a musicians’ court to enjoy some music together with their fellow Enbesans.
At the heart of all construction and expansion in Enbesa is the new building material Wanza Timber. The Wanza trees do not require fertile soil but their wood is needed for most buildings in the new session. This means you cannot rely on old-world timber imports but must plan for sufficient local production to fuel your construction needs. Later on, will you also need to produce mud bricks for advanced buildings… but the Elders and their production chains will get their own DevBlog.
And while the use of these local goods and the Enbesan architectural traditions influence the construction and style of all buildings, you will see and easily recognize familiar buildings like the Trade Union, various harbor buildings or the Fire Station, which are buildable at the first residential tier. The last building already does provide us with a good segue to the next topic, since the Fire Station now has a special requirement: it needs a water connection!
So, let’s talk about Land of Lions new irrigation system.
Veterans will remember the irrigation system of Anno 1404 in which norias were responsible for pumping water up from below ground and watering the desert or savannah in a certain radius around them. This created fertile green spots in otherwise dry land that allowed for the cultivation of e.g. dates, indigo and almonds. Some might also remember that these norias had to be refilled manually, creating a lot of busywork.
Therefore, when approaching the design for Land of Lions, we knew that a) we wanted to include an irrigation system as a regional challenge due to its popularity with our community and b) we wanted to improve on Anno 1404’s system, reducing unnecessary micromanagement, while on the other hand providing another kind of challenge.
In Enbesa this challenge comes in the form of water canals, using the various rivers crossing the islands as a source for irrigation. Under their Emperor Ketema, the Enbesans use self-developed water pumps that are placed on dedicated river slots. The water taken from the rivers is then distributed via the canals, which fertilize the soil within a certain radius. The lush green areas that have been watered can then be used to grow Hibiscus or Indigo flowers, among other things.
This of course brings with it the challenge of creating an efficient canal system, squeezing in your farms and fields, and making the most of what little fertile ground you have, in addition to the usual limitations of building space on the islands. We’re sure min-maxer will have a great time working out the best layouts.
Each water pump can only pump its water so far, so there’s a limit to how many canal tiles you can place. However, combining two pumps also combines their irrigation capacity, allowing you to build a much longer canal than a single pump would’ve been able to support.
While most Enbesan farms require fertilized ground to function, animals can also graze on the dry savannah – though they prefer fresh green grass, which will directly improve the productivity of the relevant building.
Given the importance of water for agriculture, make sure to check for the number of available river slots on each island: it’s worth keeping in mind that aside from the irrigation pumps, these slots can also be occupied by clay collectors, and later, paper mills – prioritization of the valuable river slots is another water-related challenge you will face in Enbesa – just to ensure you won’t get bored!
Finally, when talking agriculture: Owners of the Bright Harvest DLC will also be able to bring the knowledge and advantages of modern farming to the lands of Enbesa by constructing silos and using tractors. However, this does require the import of oil.
Next week we’re going to look at the second residential tier, the Elders, and present you a bit more about the setting and story of Enbesa which sets it apart from previous DLC.
Land of Lions livestream
But wait, don’t leave quite yet. We still have one more announcement!
Next Thursday, October 15th, we will be holding a Land of Lions livestream, showing you the beginnings of an Enbesan settlement and talking about what’s currently happening in the world of Anno.
Join Ubi-Volty and Ubi-Thorlof at 5PM CET over on twitch.tv/ubisoftbluebyte
We’re looking forward to chatting with you!