Seeds of Change is Season 4’s first DLC for Anno 1800. It brings to the game a fresh take on easy-island living in the New World. As a long-time fan of the series, I thoroughly enjoyed using the Haciendas and their many features.
For the uninitiated, Anno 1800, to its core, is a city-building/management RTS set in the Old World and developed by Ubisoft Blue Byte Studio Mainz. The game is primarily a solo player experience, but co-op and multiplayer work great.
However, given how intricate Anno 1800 already is with resource management, logistics, and diplomacy added to the mix, I stayed off the multiplayer for the time being. That being said, let’s jump straight into the review.
Anno 1800: Seeds of Change - Taking farming to the next level
To keep things straightforward and not get sidetracked by the many features of Anno 1800, I started a brand new game and kept only the Seeds of Change DLC active. The DLC primarily focuses on the New World, so there’s not much to do until players get their first Artisan and launch an expedition.
Once that's done, they can start exploring the New World in Anno 1800 and settle on an island. Now, here is where things get tricky in this region of the map.
Since resources and fertility are distributed randomly across islands, finding the perfect one can become an issue. Here's where the first Anno 1800s first DLC for Season 4: Seeds of Change comes into play.
After setting up shop and upgrading houses to Obrero level, players will be able to unlock the Hacienda. But what is a 'Hacienda'? In essence, a Hacienda is a hybrid between a plantation and a ranch. They are mini self-sustaining ecosystems with their own population, industry, and food sources.
However, they’re a bit expensive to build early on. Players will need to ensure that they have a steady stream of income on hand. Or they can bring cannons from the Old World to sell to Isabel. Once the Hacienda is built, that’s where the fun begins.
Hacienda’s to the rescue!
Remember how you had to look for a specific island to find a particular type of fertility? Well, now you don’t! Thanks to the DLC, players can now grow any crop they want. Albeit it’s not industrial-scale farming, it should be enough to sustain early to mid-game demand with ease.
Aside from being able to grow any crop, Hacienda offers other functions as well. Players can set up various breweries to get the spirits flowing, build additional storage units, assemble fertilizer works, and even create larger living quarters for Jonaleros and Obreras.
However, there are a few limitations to Hacienda. Since it functions a lot like the Palace of the Old World, it has a specific functional radius. This limitation adds a whole new layer of problematic dynamics to deal with.
Since most New World islands don’t have large areas to build upon, finding the perfect place for the Hacienda will be a challenge. Even when a location has been found, players will have to carefully place roads to save space. However, on the bright side, the radius of influence does grow as the population increases.
Nevertheless, the benefits outweigh the initial troubles caused by a landslide once it's up and running. For instance, I'm missing out on the sugarcane fertility needed to grow the crop and produce rum on my current island.
Without this commodity, buildings in the New World cannot be upgraded. Furthermore, as it's also a luxury product, a sizable amount of revenue is being missed out on in the Old World. A Hacienda solves these problems by allowing players to grow any crop within its sphere of influence.
No doubt, eventually expanding to an island with Sugarcane fertility will be required, but for the time being, there's no urgency. I can set up a Trading Post to settle the island and take my own sweet time expanding.
Speaking of fertility, one of the most valuable buildings built from Hacienda is Fertilizer Factories. In addition to placing them near animal farms, they require Steam Motors to make.
Now, depending on how far along a player is in the Old World, obtaining them may be a tad difficult. Once set up and in production, fertilizer can be used on farms in the New World and Old in Anno 1800.
With the ability to boost crop production, many farms can be scrapped to make space for other buildings. This allows players to repurpose the space and the population itself, which can be very useful at times.
While on the subject of population, within the radius of influence of the Hacienda, players can build Jornalero and Obrera quarters. They have more living spaces compared to their nominal counterparts, which can come in handy if one type of population is in short supply.
Aside from functional buildings, players can even decorate their Hacienda with ornaments. Each ornament placed increases the attractiveness of the city. This is a good thing as the player's island will need higher levels of beauty to unlock and use robust policies.
The Anno 1800 Seeds of Change DLC provided by Ubisoft was played on the system with the following configuration:
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
- GPU: RTX 2060 6GB
- RAM: 16GB
For the duration of the playthrough, there was no lag or noticeable stuttering. Even while rapidly jumping between the New World and the Old, the transition was flawless.
Although the Seeds of Change DLC redefines the potential of the New World, I wish there was little more than Haciendas offered. Some basic production units aside from spirits would have been nice. Then again, this is just a personal take.
As things stand, the New World of Anno 1800 got more interesting. Players will focus more on their colonies than the Old World cities. With the new layers of dynamics that the Haciendas offer, the possibilities for expansion and planning are endless.
While more DLCs are coming to Anno 1800 in Season 4, I look forward to what the developers have in mind for Haciendas. Given how they function in the New World, there’s a lot left that can be done about them. With that being said, I shall now return to my colonies and rush Gold expansion.
Anno 1800: Seeds of Change (Season 4 DLC)
Review Cody Provided By: Ubisoft
Reviewed On: PC
Platform: Windows PC
Developer: Ubisoft Blue Byte Studio Mainz
Release: April 12, 2022