The Anno series is the next economic simulation to make its way into the world of online browser games. The English-language closed beta officially started on April 23, 2013. Naturally, we here at sevengames.com took this opportunity to sit down by the fireplace, pour ourselves a mug of ale, and sharpen our quill as we traveled back in time to test the online version of the game.
Discovering a New World
Instead of overwhelming players with its complex gameplay, developer Ubisoft decides to take all gamers by the hand in a detailed and somewhat strict tutorial. While simulation rookies will appreciate this structured guidance, more experienced gamers might get frustrated with Anno Online’s caring, but fairly stringent help.
In the very beginning of the game, our friendly helper insistently popped up and told us what to do, never allowing us to independently evaluate a given situation. This got somewhat tedious because it prevented us from familiarizing ourselves with the game on our own terms. Our helper dictated where to construct what buildings, leaving no room for individual thinking. Accordingly, our hamlet successfully grew and developed into a thorp.
Economic Chain Reaction
One request led to the next as our city steadily grew. By providing for our citizens and accomplishing quests, we earned skill points and eventually leveled up. We found that completing quests was the quickest and easiest way to get ahead in the online game.
It was important to find a balance between spending and earning coins because one thing just seemed to lead to another and another... and another. Commercial businesses and industries were expensive to maintain, whereas residences provided money due to their capitalistic inhabitants. Accordingly, it was important to have a good amount of thriftless residents in our settlement who spent their well-earned money on our marketplaces.