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DevBlog: Seat of Power

  • 18.03.2020

“Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail,” wrote poet John Donne, an idea many a royal and tyrant appear to have refigured over the centuries, constructing extravagant and self-aggrandizing Palaces as an extension of the self— a demonstration of the power and freedom of divine privilege. The masses would look on in awe of what beauty and grandeur was possible, while they themselves grew ever more miniscule.

By constructing vast and lavishly-adorned palaces, rulers presumed they had the personal heft and prestige to fill the yawning emptiness within. Their gold oozed along every rim and chamfer, their Objet d’art cluttered the mantelpieces, and the oil paintings of their illustrious ancestors gussied up the walls. But mere appearance of power and status will never be enough.

Any such seat of power must also have some connection, no matter how moot, to the important business of state. Such an immoderate edifice as a palace must be more than the oppressor’s great white elephant— it must appear to the people to serve a purpose in their lives. It must be the constitutional heart of government, from which grave and meaningful decisions come to pass under the gavel, in chambers puffed full with the nation’s great political minds. An illusion of democracy. The Palace is the nexus of legislative limbs that reach out and touch every corner of the empire, where, as no leaping lord will admit, all of the real business is conducted…

The palace is as classic an Anno element as any, having been first introduced all the way back at the franchise’s birth in 1998 with Anno 1602. From then on, it would go on to serve in several other Anno games as something to aspire to in the late game, once you had mastered all other challenges. In this way, it would serve as the ultimate projection of your city-building prowess.  Now, the palace is ready to make its triumphant return in Anno 1800, kicking off Season 2 and living up to its predestined role as your “Seat of Power”.

A Seat of Power fit for any industrial ruler

Flexibility both majestic and modular

The first thing players will notice about Anno 1800’s palace is its visual opulence. The palace joins the ranks of the botanical garden, museum and zoo as 1800’s latest modular building, giving you a lot of freedom on how to arrange the 6 different modules (straight, gate, corner, junction, crossing and end pieces, plus some cosmetic variations on the straight pieces) to your liking. As with our other modular building projects, it all begins with the main building, which you will unlock once the first investor calls your empire their home (assuming of course you can afford the associated significant building cost). You will also be able to build an initial number of modules, based on your profile level. As you attract additional citizens and raise your profile level, you will unlock the ability to place even more modules. And guess what- there is no hard limit on the number of modules you can unlock, with one community member reaching more than 130 modules in a recent playtest! Now before your mind starts drifting off with visions of an all-palace empire, there are some limitations we have to talk about- namely that you can only build one palace in your empire, and it can only be placed on an Old World island (so either the original session, or Cape Trelawney from our “Sunken Treasures” DLC).

Beyond this limitation, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to building your palace, and we have already seen a variety of impressive setups in our tests- from extravagant gardens to museums and even a world fair constructed within a sprawling palace’s inner courtyard! And of course, both streets and railway tracks can be placed inside the gates to make sure that whatever you want to construct inside the place grounds is properly connected to the rest of your city!

Entering the halls of power…

Projecting your power, one buff at a time

But what about those players who don’t care pretty looks you, I hear some of you ask? Very well then- let us talk departments and policies! Once you construct your palace, you immediately gain access to one or more departments (based on your city attractiveness), with additional departments unlocking over time as your island increases its attractiveness. So, what do they do? For starters, each unlocked department immediately gives you access to a permanent buff, such as +200 tons islands storage per Harbormaster’s office on that island (each department is specialized on one aspect of your city, such as administration, culture or trade). In addition – and this is where things get really interesting – each unlocked department gives you a choice of several policies, of which only one can be active at a time (though you can switch them out). These give you a lot of flexibility to make sure that whatever the situation on your island currently is, you have full control of what boon you want to use.

The departments you can unlock over time

Of course, it would not be Anno if there was not also a logistical element to it all- these boons only work in a certain radius around the palace, and only along the street network (though only the palace main building has to be connected to the streets, rather than every module). And, to bring everything full circle and ensure that future palace builders will have to make some tough choices, the radius of these effects increases with each additional palace module constructed. Do you want a minimal palace to leave as much room as possible for the rest of your city? Or are you looking to construct enough modules to have the effects of your policies reach across all of Crown Falls? As always, the choice is yours!

There is one more piece of the palace puzzle, and that is the local department. These are essentially outposts of the palace that you can construct once per Old World or Cape Trelawney island to select a single policy (out of al your unlocked departments and policies) to enact locally. Beyond this limitation, local departments follow the same rules as the main palace- they give a passive buff (based on the active policy you selected), and buildings must be both within their radius and connected to the street network to benefit from them. And yes- more palace modules also increase the range of the local departments. Happy city-puzzling, everyone!

Start ruling from March 24

And there you have it! Seat of Power combines a lot of flexibility for building the modular palace of your dreams with some tough choices when it comes to which buff to select for which island and local department. On top of that, you can prove your mastery with five new achievements, and two new sets of ornaments you can unlock with the Ubisoft Club. You can start constructing the “Seat of Power” of your dreams when the first DLC of Season 2 becomes available on March 24th for all Season 2 Pass owners. Starting on that day, you can also buy the DLC individually for 9,99€/ $, or your local equivalent. However, please note that due to the current government advisory on the Covid-19 pandemic, we will have to skip our traditional release stream for “Seat of Power”. Please take care of yourself and the people around you, and as always, keep an eye on the Anno Union for the latest news.

An illuminated palace at midnight

Comments

4 Comments
  1. 7 76561198271430023

    Very cool DLC but it does lack a 2×3 block instead of having only 3×3, would help a lot with modularity.

  2. C Cooppeeer

    I bought separately the first DLС from the season’s pass, 12 hours have already passed, and in the game it is blocked. I tried to check the integrity of the files, restart Steam and even rebooted the PC, but nothing. Who knows what could be the problem? help me please

  3. A AugustAvinhon

    In the background of one of the screenshots there is a courthouse. Will it also be added in the new DSL?) In any case, it’s a very cool job, thank you, the team of the BlueByte!

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