Anno Online closed beta
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 24 April 2013, 3:34 am
Just to let you know, the English version of Anno Online went into closed beta (me, I play in the German language open beta). There are a number of reasons why this game stands out from the usual Free2Play browser game crowd: The game is not dumbed down from the single-player versions, only slowed down in time. Anno Online is a complex economic simulation game with no combat. Not only is there no "Pay2Win", as there is no conflict, but also the Free2Play model is based on the most advantageous purchases being one-off payments. You don't buy some double xp scroll over and over, you buy an additional slot for another island once and that is going to be helpful as long as you play the game.

Now I am very much aware that this is by no means a mass market game. Generally browser "strategy" games in which you need to think very little, but can grief other players a lot appear to be selling a lot better than complex games without combat. But I would hope that as the market for games evolves, there is more room for more mature games. For me Anno Online is the perfect "play for 15 minutes twice per day" game. A game about careful planning, not instant gratification.

Compared to other city-building games I very much like how Anno Online handles the economy. In many games you need to supply resources to your inhabitants to make them happy, and then those inhabitants pay taxes to finance you empire. In Anno Online the inhabitants don't pay any taxes, but they pay for the resources they demand. You don't produce linen shirts because something terrible happens if your people don't get their shirts, you produce them because your people pay more for those shirts than it costs you to produce them. And while producing goods to sell them to your people is the standard way of making money, you can also sometimes buy those goods for less than it would cost you to produce them, and thus make even bigger profits through trading than through manufacture.

By splitting your economy up over several islands, with restrictions on what you can produce where, Anno Online adds a nice level of complexity where you need to ship goods from one place to another, and optimize transport. I find it deeply satisfying to have a game where I succeed by thinking instead by pressing buttons quickly. Recommended!
Tobold's Blog

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