Anno 2070: das Ende des Regenbogens

, | Game diaries

This is mostly a lovely and polished game, but sometimes its German roots show awkwardly. A data log entry or tooltip lapses into German, as if you’re at a Prufpunkt und der Schutz bittet um meine Papiere. Not very pleasant, is it? So the last place I expected to find a poetic touch is the random name generator.

A verbal pot of gold, after the jump

Each of the islands in an Anno 2070 game is named. As is each of the ships. You can rename them if you like. Sometimes I do. But sometimes the random name is just too appropriate. In my ongoing scenario — 27 hours and counting — one of the islands is called Rainbow’s End. How pleasant. I settled it early on to grow sugar beets, which I combine with coffee to make energy drinks for my researchers. I keep the designated name.

But the sugar beet farms need power, and my early power comes from coal plants, so I had to build a messy coal excavator next to my farms. It’s still a mostly idyllic island. Oh, look, I can also get uranium here to help me transition to nuclear power. So Rainbow’s End is host to sugar beet farms, a coal extractor, and a few uranium mines. I set up a trade route to ship the goods to my main island, Omicron, and move on to playing the rest of the game. I don’t think about Rainbow’s End.

Eventually, the researchers on Omicron get unhappy. They aren’t getting their energy drinks, because the drink factories are idling for lack of sugar beets. It turns out that the ecological rating of Rainbow’s End has plummeted, and therefore the farms aren’t cranking out the expected number of sugar beets. A couple of oil spills from a nearby drilling platform have washed up on the shores of Rainbow’s End, and I haven’t gotten around to constructing effluent pumps at my laboratories. Effluent pumps are modules you load onto a boat and then activate, which turns the boat into a dedicated oil spill recovery craft for, well, however long as it takes. But I can’t really spare the ships, the cash, or the laboratory at this point. So I just build more sugar beet farms. A tooltip on every farm’s info panel tells me exactly how bad the situation has gotten. They’re running at 80% productivity, so I just need more farms. Easy enough. Then the acid rain starts. The farms drop to 70% productivity, then 60%, then 50%.

The situation on Rainbow’s End is untenable. I eventually have to buy sugar beet replica technology from Hiro Ebashi, the underwater tech merchant. This lets me set up new sugar beet farms on an island that wouldn’t normally support them. Off the top of my head, I have no idea what the name is of the new sugar beet island. I tear down the sugar beet farms on Rainbow’s End, and since I no longer care about the state of agriculture here, I build a whole mess of oil derricks, which don’t break and spill oil into the water. I might as well build more coal excavators and convert all the coal mines to uranium mines. The ecology rating continues to plummet. Eventually, it hits -999. The counter doesn’t turn over to 000.

The frequent acid rains don’t matter, since I don’t have any farms here. I also don’t have any settlements here, so no one is grousing about the poor living conditions. But still, things can get so bad that the Rainbow’s End is afflicted with respiratory disorders, which reduces productivity in all buildings by 50%. All buildings. Turns out it’s hard to mine uranium when you can’t breathe. Who knew? So I suffer a dip in uranium production, which affect the production of fuel rods I need to keep the nuclear plants running on Omicron. Respiratory disorders on Rainbow’s End leads to brown-outs on Omicron. See kids. The environment is important.

I mostly love that this island is called Rainbow’s End. That’s where you find a pot of gold! A lovely little island with plentiful sugar beets and an easy supply of uranium for clean power. But without paying attention to ecological balance, the name takes on a whole new meaning. Just look at the screenshot up there. There’s no day/night cycle in Anno 2070. That’s all pollution.

Rainbow’s end, indeed.

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