DevBlog: Let’s go on an adventure
By the dawn of the 19th century, the majority of the globe had been accessed by various trade conglomerates and empires, but there were still curious adventurers willing to conquer our world’s final frontiers and history’s last big secrets. From the journeys of Charles Darwin and Alexander Humboldt to various novellas and tales about curiosity, bravery, and hardship – we had plenty of material to inspire Anno 1800’s new Expedition feature.
Expeditions allow us to experience the world of Anno from a completely different perspective from our usual view through the lens of an architect. From dangerous scientific expeditions to the arctic regions, exploring the heritage of old civilizations hidden in dense jungles or the hunt for infamous freebooters, playing through these exciting stories will reward you with precious and rare items. These can be anything ranging from exotic animals for your zoo or artifacts to be displayed in your newly opened museum to specialists who can boost your productivity, accompany you on future expeditions or even lead your flagships as seasoned naval veterans.
However, these undertakings were never without risk, and many scientists and explorers paid the ultimate price to follow their dreams; similarly, some of these dangerous ventures may pose a grave threat to your ship and crew.
Let me take you on an adventure
The new Expedition feature adds “choose your own adventure” style quests to Anno 1800, where you send a ship and it’s crew on a journey with an uncertain outcome. During that adventure, your crew will encounter scenarios based on the type of expedition, and you have to choose wisely how to tackle these events to guarantee a safe and rewarding outcome. There will be a variety of expedition types, such as archeological, zoological, rescue missions or even bounty hunting pirates.
Available at the third residential tier, these adventures will become available in your expedition menu and as a marker on your world map. Here, you can also see the title, type and difficulty indicator for each expedition. Naturally, lengthier and more dangerous expeditions will offer higher rewards for the risks you have to undertake. There will be many different stories with a variety of events to play through and you will be able to run several expeditions at the same time. Once you have decided which journey you want to undergo, you first have to prepare your ship.
The moral bar of your expedition serves as a health bar during the long journey into uncharted waters. The moral bar is a combination of the ship’s basic morale rating as well as the various items on your ship, including rations, goods that provide special abilities and any specialists who join your crew. The general rule: the higher the morale, the more likely it is that your expedition will be successful.
Your seasoned naval advisor provides you with information about an expedition, such as potential rewards and the types of encounters you may face. And there will be plenty of those- from foreign cultures which require diplomatic tactfulness, to diseases which can befall your crew to superstitious rumors about stranger things which befell the last unlucky souls who sailed through that mysterious passage, our expeditions can get pretty eventful. If items are a good fit for the challenges you can expect on an expedition, they will provide a significant boost to your morale bar.
Specialists with diplomatic experience might help you out with foreign encounters, canons or an experienced cannoneer will help against hostile ships and extra rations will help to endure the month long trips on the high seas.
As soon as you loaded up your ship with specialists and other items based on the Captains recommendation, you are ready to send the brave crew on to their journey and your ship will leave your session in real-time until entering the world map. There, it will travel to the expedition’s destination, indicated by a marker and a line showing the ship’s course.
Events – Captain, there is land on the horizon!
During their journey, which will take time based on the distance to the destination, events will happen, which are more frequently and challenging based on the expedition’s difficulty rating. These events will each have their own story and different stages, based on the decisions you make and their outcome. The key here is that almost every encounter has multiple possible outcomes, both joyful and negative. The decisions you make and even the items you brought with you can have an impact on the said outcome. The chance of success is affected by the quality of your items, as your specialists, the ship itself and other items and goods have their own skills and modifiers.
Let’s look at the example. Your ship took serious damage during a gruesome storm, but a carpenter might be able to repair it with his skills and some wooden planks. You have neither the needed material nor the craftsman to fix the damage? It might be worth taking the risk to ask for help on the mysterious island on the horizon. You may even boldly decide to ignore the damage altogether and just venture forth, even if your crew’s morale will take a heavy hit from travelling on a damaged ship.
As mentioned, Characters can have special traits, such as an anthropologist who can help you when encountering foreign cultures, which might lead to unique decision options based on the traits of said specialist.
Example: We have an event in which your crew makes landfall on an island in search of potable water and while doing so, meets a native tribe who currently performs a sacred ritual. A tricky situation as you don’t want to antagonize the inhabitants of the islands. Luckily, as your Anthropologist spent years studying foreign customs, he can show respect for the tribe by joining their ritual, which will reward you with a special item if successful.
Sometimes, you might have the perfect item to solve a tricky situation, which will enable a special decision with a guaranteed chance of success. But even some basic goods can help you through certain scenarios; for example, soap gives a bonus to medicine, wooden planks help if you need to repair your ship during an event and the trusty parrot gives you a bonus on faith when “pining for the fjords”.
Risks? There are always risks
In the spirit of the great scientific journeys of the 19th century, there is always something at stake but a higher skill rating can weight the odds dds when making decisions. Failing events or ignoring them when you are missing needed materials and skills will cause a hit to the morale of your expedition.
On our “Love Island” expedition shown at gamescom, an encounter with a tribe’s chieftain could lead to various outcomes: if you are lucky (or well prepared), one of the tribesmen might join your crew as a specialist but if Lady Luck is not smiling upon you that day, an ill-timed “knock knock joke” could even cost your comedian her life. Space is also precious on your ship, as you might need to leave someone behind or throw goods overboard in order to make space for that rare reward which you managed to catch during an event.
Going through events during an expedition costs morale (even during events with positive outcomes). All food and drink related goods you have on your ship count as rations, and after every event, you will be able to spend extra rations to lose less morale. The morale will sink over time or even suffer greatly when facing grim circumstances. If the morale bar falls to zero before you finish your adventure, the expedition is lost – including your ship, your crew, the precious schnapps, and even any trusty parrots you had with you.
But you are at the helm of your ship and if you feel that the risk is too high or that an expedition may take an unfortunate turn, you can always recall your ship from an active expedition.
Fortune favors the bold- and so do the rewards
When finishing an expedition, you will be rewarded with several rare or even legendary items. Every expedition has its own loot table based on the difficulty and the type of the venture, such as archaeological expeditions giving you a guaranteed cultural artifact if you succeed. Furthermore, individual encounters can also have their own loot tables or grant fixed items for specific outcomes, which are separate from the rewards for finishing the overall expedition. The rewards for finishing an expedition can be rich and plentiful, and we are looking forward to reports on your adventures and players comparing their rare items.
Besides items you can get from the event encounters themselves, expedition loot will not take up any space on your ship to make sure that you receive the deserved loot for the efforts you went through. After finishing the expedition, your ship will return to your main island and dutifully unload your spoils into your imperial harbor.
And so our story ends… for now
Expeditions are an exciting new feature that allows you to enhance your city-building experience with opportunities to get deeper immersed in the world of Anno 1800, while being able to snag some helpful items and specialists along the way. As a team, we can’t wait to hear your thoughts, and to read the first tall tales of players relay their expedition (mis)fortunes and what spoils they managed to bring back home to their islands!
What do you think of the expeditions? What stories and adventures do you want to see? And what kind of rations are the best for long expeditions? Let us know in the comments what you think.