DLC REVIEW: ANNO 1800’s “Seeds of Change” is a Great Start to Season 4

Reading Time: 5 minutes

We’ve made it to Season 4 of Anno 1800 and with the first of three DLCs, “Seeds of Change” lays the foundation to make the most out of a region that has lacked serious updates since launch: The New World. If you’re not familiar with the game, Anno 1800 is a city-building RTS developed by Ubisoft Mainz that can be played solo, multiplayer, or co-op. In it, players can create their cities, plan efficient logistics networks, settle new continents, send out global expeditions, and dominate their opponents with diplomacy, trade, warfare, and tourism.

Anno 1800 Season 3 added new challenges and changes to how you plan your Old World Cities, and now with Season 4, we’re finally getting the chance to expand the New World from pure farming colonies to thriving cities that can function without running exhaustive trade ships from the Old World. While may not seem like much, the New World has been lacking in variation and development for quite some time now. For us, we’ve been covering the series since co-op’s introduction, and each co-op game we boot up to review new DLC have one thing in common: The New World is packed with farms, little to no ornament usage, and made to be efficient, not interesting.

In fact, running the New World became an upkeep task instead of something exciting like expanding in Enbessa or the Passage. Instead, the New World just became the location that had to be done knowing we topped out on upgrades extremely quickly. While this zone wasn’t “set it and forget it” since it has much-needed resources for island happiness in the Old World, it did become a chore that offered more headache and joy. And that’s a shame because the New World offers a lush beauty and vibrancy you don’t get in other Anno1800 zones. Thankfully,  “Seeds of Change” has brought much-needed mechanic changes and building elements that have made the game feel like something completely new. Finally, players can upgrade the New World beyond the current Jornaleros to Obreros cycle by building haciendas. 

Haciendas comprise of one main building (limited to one per New World island) that is expanded into a sprawling estate to produce agricultural goods. An almost self-contained system, the Hacienda serves as the focal point and comes with a policy slot to help mitigate needs and workforce on the island, similar to the Palace in the Old World but on a smaller scale. With both ornamental and functional elements, the Haciendas require ample space to build effectively since your complex will contain farms (which will grow sugar cane, corn, coffee, caoutchouc, cocoa, potatoes, spices, or grain at only 64 cells), breweries (which produce rum, beer, atole, schnapps, and hot sauce), warehouses, fertilizer factories (which require animal farms to be within the radius to produce dung as a byproduct), and larger Jornalero and Obrero housing (a 4×4 module that doubles the occupancy).

Connecting this all to the main road can be a challenge, there are also limited paving tiles that allow you to build roads within the complex that use the Hacienda as the focal point. For example, in building your Hacienda, you only need one spot connected to the main road system. Then you can enclose it in ornamental fencing and create an entire complex that only needs the Hacienda to function. While you may not understand the impact of running a Hacienda estate immediately over time the addition of fertilizer alone allows you to boost production of existing farms and remove surplus which of course, frees up more land. It is important to note too that the fertilizer produced in the New World can be used across regions in the game to help optimize other farms as well. Additionally, Hacienda farms include items that previously needed to be imported. The ability to farm crops not fertile on the island and from different zones is a game-changer.

At its core, “Seeds of Change” is a pretty perfect DLC that brings development and change to the New World. Additionally, the ability to remove reliance on trade routes from the Old World is a much-needed quality of life boost that helps players form a vested interest in their New World islands. There is very recognizable ease that comes with the Hacienda addition and of course buildings that hold double the population of a regular Jornalero or Obrero tile.  But that ease is best experienced from a new save, or one that hasn’t extensively built New World islands with an infrastructure that only supports efficient farming and exporting.

Seeds of Change - But Why Tho (2)

This isn’t a bad thing though. To kick off this review, we booted up our current co-op save which is at about 100 hours. Now, you don’t need to play that long to unlock the new content for “Seeds of Change” but we wanted to see how easily the new elements could incorporate into existing games. And the truth is, it was hard, like, really hard.

In order to get the most out of your Hacienda you need a large swath of land. However, every large space on our existing New World islands had been dedicated to population or endless farms to try and keep our Old World population happy. Now, you can adapt “Seeds of Change” into an existing game, even with a poorly planned city if you begin by optimizing farms and removing surplus farms with the fertilizer you create. Then, you move to adjusting the population tiles. However, the former takes time because of how much fertilizer is produced and the latter isn’t a simple one-for-one swap since the new building tiles are 4×4 instead of 3×3.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a negative at all for “Seeds of Change.” In fact, pushing players to be thoughtful about their city planning in a region that hasn’t done much outside of exporting for years is a fun exercise that makes the management elements extremely entertaining. But it is important to know that building a city plan with the intention to accommodate the Hacienda complex and new population modules is a much easier task than having to change something that is already built.

A strong DLC in its own right, “Seeds of Change” lays a solid foundation for the final DLC of Season 4 coming in Late 2022, “New World Rising.” This DLC will close out the Anno 1800 season by adding a brand-new population tier and more islands to the New World. As players who have been desperately wanting more reasons to be very involved with planning out New World islands, “Seeds of Change” is a perfect start to Anno 1800 Season 4.

Anno 1800 Season 4 PassA is available now for $24.99 USD which saves $10 on the total price of individual DLCs. When bought alone, the “Seeds of Change” DLC costs $7.99.


Anno 1800 Season 4 - "Seeds of Change"
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

A strong DLC in its own right, “Seeds of Change” lays a solid foundation for the final DLC of Season 4 coming in Late 2022, “New World Rising.” This DLC will close out the Anno 1800 season by adding a brand-new population tier and more islands to the New World. As players who have been desperately wanting more reasons to be very involved with planning out New World islands, “Seeds of Change” is a perfect start to Anno 1800 Season 4.