There are a number of differences between Sim Settlements 2 and the original Sim Settlements that returning players should be aware of. Sim Settlements 2, besides having a great number of under-the-hood improvements, has been restructured with a story quest which will gradually introduce its elements, and teach players how to use it.
Plot Types, Building Classes, Building Plans and Beacons will be unlocked as various objectives are met. Some of these unlocks will result from the completion of quests, others from building certain combinations of Plot Types, Building Classes or Levels, and some will happen from exploration, salvaging, or other actions. Add-on makers will be able to choose if and how their Building Plans are unlocked.
As with Sim Settlements, the player will have the ability to customize the mod's features. The story quest is optional.
The following are some of the most noticeable changes returning players may experience with Sim Settlements 2.
There is a magazine on the Sanctuary workbench that will instruct you to build, power, and activate a vanilla Recruitment Radio Beacon. The Sim Settlements 2 questline will start shortly after you do this.
Pro Tip: You can skip the magazine and just build, power, and activate a Recruitment Radio Beacon in any vanilla workshop you control to start the mod. It doesn't have to be in Sanctuary.
Virtual Storage is a new system that Sim Settlements 2 uses to balance the in-game economy and settlement production with construction and maintenance costs. The Resources, Scrap and caps in Virtual Storage are separate from the vanilla Workshop Storage, and once something has been added to Virtual Storage, it cannot be used again by the player directly. Resources and caps in Virtual Storage can only be used to build and level-up Building Plans and pay for the upkeep of Plots (and other workshop objects if maintenance costs are activated) which have already been built.
Industrial Plots produce various resources that are placed in Virtual Storage if space is available. Resources and caps can also be donated directly to Virtual Storage by the player through the Donate section of the City-Planners-Desk. However, remember that whatever you donate to Virtual Storage cannot be recovered and used by the player, so choose wisely. Additional Virtual Storage may be added through the construction of Storage Containers which are found in the Sim Settlements 2 Workshop menu. When Caravan connections are established between settlements, those settlements' Virtual Storage will be pooled.
The City-Planners-Desk has many more functions beyond importing City Plans and assigning Mayors. While not essential to using Sim Settlements 2, it is very useful.
Industrial Plots in the base version of Sim Settlements 1 were mostly used just to generate junk for your workshop, Sim Settlements 2 relies heavily on Industrial Plots for Resource and Scrap generation and sustaining your settlements. Without them, you will not be able to keep up with the demands of your growing settlement network. Industrial Plots work together with Storage Containers to provide your settlers with enough resources to continue building, growing, and upgrading their assigned plots. Different Industrial Plot Building Classes provide different resources.
Sim Settlements 2 has an internal economy that keeps your settlements growing and maintained. The different Plot Types and Building Classes work with and depend upon each other to keep this economy working.
Municipal Plots provide overall services to your settlements. Water and Power to start, Caravan Services, Communications, and even more advanced services will be unlocked through play.
The new Caravan Services Municipal Building Class provides an alternative to the vanilla Supply Line. Settlements linked by Caravans will share resources. The settler assigned to Caravan Services will not travel a route between connected settlements, but will be dispatched to retrieve Beacons once they become available through play.
Several Building Classes now have Basic, Advanced, and High-Tech versions. Non-basic Classes will be unlocked through play and will require Settlers with certain SPECIAL scores in order to be built/occupied.
Plot Types, Building Classes, individual Building Plans, Skins, and Beacons will be unlocked through play. The main Sim Settlements 2 quest will unlock many, including all the Plot Types. Building a certain number or combination of Building Classes or Building Plans will unlock others.
Many other things can provide unlocks as well, including some NPC quests and salvaging with Beacons.
Add-On Pack authors will be able to assign unlock conditions to their Building Plans if they choose to do so.