Dawn Of War II Megapatch Incoming, Battlereport

By Jim Rossignol on June 24th, 2009 at 10:48 am.


Balance issues have been making DoW II players frown and cuss, and Relic have been busying themselves making a super-patch to fix it all. It’s almost ready, and the guys have released a battle report (below), narrated by designer Jonny Ebbert and balancer Clint Tasker, to demonstrate some of the fundamental changes. You can keep an eye on further developments over on the DoWII devblog. Even more interesting, perhaps, is this in-depth report by Game Replays, who went out to visit Relic to check out and report on the 1.4 update. Yep, they’re taking it that seriously.

Thanks to RPS regular Sub Edii for the tip off.

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34 Comments »

  1. distended says:

    Anything of interest to us SP and co-op players?

  2. minipixel says:

    So is it time to buy it? :p

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    Looks like a pure multiplayer update.

  4. Crispy says:

    Not entirely sure about the T2 cost increase.

    Previously Tier 2 was 250 requisition/45 power and T3 was 300/90. Now T2 is a whopping 300/125, so T3 must be hugely expensive. I can see why they did this, but I think the knock-on effect is going to be more low-level capping infantry and therefore longer battles, which not everyone will want. T3 is usually when the match goes into the end game, with big, expensive units battling for ultimate dominance in the game. Now T3 is going to take longer, so games will probably be lnoger to boot.

    Another reason T3 is going to take longer is they have increased the amount of units that can effectively power harass, keeping that power coming through at a trickle for most of the game.

    Even with VP battles, more units on the field means more units capping/decapping the VPs and these units can be replaced more quickly if lost (T1 units’ build time is very short).

    With matchmaking for 3v3 still taking a good few minutes to get you into a Ranked match, it seems the average game length of 10-20 minutes for a 1v1 match is going to increase, I’d guess by as much as 5-10 minutes. 2v2 and 3v3 games are longer still, but it’s not as easy to predict how the match length might increase for this because there are already a lot of units on the map in a 3v3.

    So now it sounds like I am now only going to be able to get in 1-2 games in an hour instead of 3 or 4.

  5. subedii says:

    This updates pretty much multiplayer focussed. It’s safe to expect that new SP content will be incoming though, Dawn of War 1 had no shortage of addons.

    On that topic, one thing I do wish though is that they’d give the ability to play random people in co-op, instead of just your friends list. My GFWL friends list is largely bare, and what few people are in there are from Gears of War 1. Co-op would have been a good opportunity to add to that, but I guess that’s not going to happen.

    Getting back to the multiplayer patch though, and this is all pretty awesome news. Tier 1′s going to be a lot more balanced now, and Eldar look like they’ve got some nice buffs. Changes to the Tyranids means they can’t just blob around anymore, there’s going to be more of a mix on the field, and a lot more units by the time people upgrade to T2.

    It’s a really fun game to play online, probably the first RTS to really get me hooked on online play, I like it more than CoH. Problem is that the balance issues were causing the community to whittle away, and it was getting harder to have a decent game online, so this update is looking really good about now.

  6. Rook says:

    They said they lowered the cost in the Tier 3 jump

  7. Sunjammer says:

    I trust i’m not the only one disheartened to see a battle report in which the Tyranids trounce the Eldar, and the Eldar struggle with map control?

    I love playing the Eldar, but they are hypertechnical and lack effective point defense that can stand without a ton of backup. Having to be everywhere at once is something the ‘nids excel at with their numbers, while Eldar players have to sweat blood to keep up. This patch doesn’t seem to really rectify that.

  8. modulus says:

    The Eldar player lost a lot of units he didn’t need to that game. Like guardians and their grenades. Anywho… World builder! WOO!

    http://community.dawnofwar2.com/blogs/?p=702

  9. modulus says:

    He did lose two entire guardian squads needlessly. I don’t know. It definitely looks like Eldar got some nice lovin’. AND the warlock didn’t even use the Anti-Tyranid wargear (Immolator). Anywho! World builder! WOO!

    http://community.dawnofwar2.com/blogs/?p=702

  10. subedii says:

    @ Sunjammer: Whilst it might not have been the best idea to show the Eldar player losing, he lost because theTyranid player outplayed him. The Eldar player made some silly mistakes and losing those squads was a heavy toll.

    You say the patch doesn’t rectify that, but the video clearly shows that the Eldar have gotten some major buffs now, in particular it looks like Banshees are far more devastating in combat where before they’d fall quite easily. Over the course of that replay you can see how the Tyranid player was forced to retreat again and againt when confronted with those Banshee squads, that just wouldn’t have happened in 1.3.

  11. Alex Norris says:

    I’ve been waiting for this to drop to an acceptable (read: not £35) price for a while, now. Thanks for the link, Paul S.

  12. Sunjammer says:

    subedii maybe i’m just being difficult about it. I’m all for better Banshees, but once the nid player pushes out Carnifexes and harass support fire with burrowing units, the Eldar just fall apart at the seams. Seeing a fire prism pummel a carnifex without really touching it in a meaningful way wasn’t very happy either.

    Call me cautiously optimistic. I’m still stoked. I just wish i could see a battle report involving Eldar that doesn’t end in Eldar defeat because of economy and map control issues.

  13. subedii says:

    He also made the mistake of bringing out a brightlance too early when there was no armour on the field. It could have been useful but that got destroyed because he didn’t protect it. He just left it up there undefended and then tried to attack a whole army with it. By the time the Carnifex showed up he had to build another one which also got destroyed when the Tyranid player ambushed it when it was unprotected.

    Not sure how I feel about the Ravener’s disruption /enhanced muscle coil, but like they said, it’s similar to the ASM jump. Basically it comes down to protecting your long range units against melee.

    Also: Thank goodness they’ve sorted out the retreat pathing!

  14. Another morning comment system says:

    The patch notes are blocked for me at work, can anyone post them down here in the comments?

  15. subedii says:

    Bah: I forgot to log in for editing.

    In general I think that it’s good to be cautious, there are a LOT of changes going on, and this patch is going to need the beta it’s having to work out all the kinks.

    As for the Fire Prism, that got knocked out with rear armour hits because it got caught in a pincer. It didn’t even fire at the Carnifex apart from a couple of hits, it seemed to be firing mainly at the squads in front, and then later at the hive tyrant (which if you look, was taking some hefty damage because of that fire prism). When he moved the fire prism it was more responsive but then he just left it in the corner waiting for the Tyranid player to finish it off.

  16. subedii says:

    Sorry about double post, I made a mistake. That wasn’t a fire prism that was a Falcon, and the damage to the Hive Tyrant was coming mainly from the Banshee squads.

  17. 4AM_Pie says:

    All I’d like is for arranged teams to fight arranged teams. You know, like they had in Warcraft 3, you know, in 2002.

    There’s a pretty large gap between random thrown together teams and arranged teams on their on ventrilo server. Not necessarily skill wise but definitely in how focused and cohesive they are.

    Me, a Rank 2 and a Rank 5 fighting a full arranged team of level 50′s isn’t that fun. This is to say nothing of a significantly lower ranked team fighting a higher one. I just want the other side to be as jumbled together as mine always is.

  18. The Innocent says:

    @4AM_Pie

    Seconded. Why am I always stuck with the poonanners while the enemy team is composed of people who play games for money? Oh well. I’m excited for this update. The balances look great, and they’re very much needed. I like the game a lot, but some of those issues were seriously hampering the height of the needle on the fun-meter.

  19. MrBejeebus says:

    After playing the beta the gameplay didnt seem that brilliant to me, i prefered the original

    I’ll stick to MoW thanks :)

  20. Crispy says:

    “They said they lowered the cost in the Tier 3 jump”

    Actually they never said they lowered it, they said it was much less when compared to T2, but it does look like they lowered it marginally. It’s very difficult to judge how much it is because when either player pops T3 the req/power panel isn’t showing. Judging by the req/power bars on the new Observer Mode panel, T3 looks to be about 90 power (as before) but much less req, maybe 150-200 (50-66% of what it was before).

    So it looks like an overall reduction in req cost only, with the power cost the same or comparable. Considering power harassment is easier in 1.4, and there are more units being built to decap the req points (to negate the +5/min bonus for holding the point more than 30s), I can still see games being longer.


    Also, for anyone looking to judge the balance, it’s impossible from this video for two major reasons:

    1. The players are not very good. This is the second match I’ve seen them play (other one on GR.org) and they really struggle with basic elements of the game, especially the Eldar player who is terrible at timing retreats and really bad at aiming grenades and has awful platform/vehicle micro. Both players keep all their forces together almost all of the time, with little effort spent on sending single squads to cap/decap the rest of the map.

    2. They looked like they were using a restricted build order, the Eldar player especially. Warp Spiders are an awesome counter to Hormagaunts and Termagants, and the devs have said they have buffed them for 1.4, so it’s odd they weren’t built. There’s also no Wraithlord which is actually quite effective against ‘nids if they have no AV upgrades on the field. Again, the WL has apparently had its Shuriken cannon buffed in 1.4 to be as powerful as the Razorback.

    3. In addition to the BOs, the video was probably more than a little bit staged. This would explain some of the more pathetic moments of play like how a player would allow such an expensive unit as a Prism Cannon to die to a charge-up Sporemine attack in his own freaking base, and why the Hive Tyrant would retreat while his shield was still active.

  21. GRIMDARK says:

    They really need like a “Random Team-battle” option, where its just 4 guys playing without pre-formed groups. Then the matchmaker forms the teams by best Trueskill balance so it isn’t always Pro-team vs. PUG-team.

  22. Wirbelwind says:

    Looks fantastic. Yay more interesting T1 start!

  23. subedii says:

    @Crispy: You’re right, it is largely impossible to judge balance from the vid. I believe that these posts will answer all three of your points (Croak’s a developer on DoW 2).

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?p=10642773#post10642773

    You didn’t see any Rangers, Shuriplats, or Wraithlords that match either. The Eldar player just didn’t use all of his tools, and still hung in there pretty well for the early-mid game.

    The ‘nid player did use all of his tools, and used them pretty well.

    Keep in mind that this match was played, then commented on hours after the fact. It wasn’t staged for one race or the other to win, it just worked out that the ‘nid player did better and used more unit types, and that’s what they went with for the video.

    In hindsight, it would have been better PR to show a match with the Eldar winning (they can and they do, often, internally). But with deadlines on getting the video edited, then approved (ESRB, THQ, GW) and the general excitement of being actually able to show y’all what we’ve been working on, nobody here really gave it too much thought, because it was an honest match that did show a lot of TIOW changes.

    Just keep in mind that there’s a loser in the next TIOW replay we post as well (Orks vs SM), but try not to take that to mean the losing race is UP, or the winning one is OP.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?p=10642773#post10642912

    Both players are testers that are not directly assigned to the DoW II project. They haven’t had a lot of playtime with TIOW changes, and it showed, with the Eldar player particularly.

    Once again, probably not the greatest PR move on our part, but that’s the same kinds of matchups you’re going to be seeing in Beta and after TIOW goes live, as people come to grips with the changes.

    Basically the players weren’t from the regular DoW crew, the Eldar player was worse and tried to stick with a few units instead of changing tactics, and the video wasn’t staged.

    Basically it can all be put down to them being inexperienced with the game. Not the best PR move really, but it was really just to act as a talking point for the devs to showcase the scope of the changes being made. More info will be coming once the beta hits.

  24. subedii says:

    Sorry, that second link’s supposed to be:

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?p=10642912#post10642912

  25. SwiftRanger says:

    Euh, PCG UK and some Relic devs have already hinted at upcoming singleplayer content (new items were already in 1.3.1 btw), the first source even speaks of a completely free Ork campaign…

    Btw, map editor is gonna be released as well now. Go Relic.

  26. Mehhh says:

    Is this the patch that adds depth to the game?

  27. Sunjammer says:

    I love it when people equate complexity with depth. That’s just a riot every time.

  28. Lilliput King says:

    Posting to agree with the people complaining about 3 v 3 team balance.

    Just ridiculous to put a randomly cobbled together team against a cohesive team of players on voice chat who know eachother.

    I’d like to see GRIMDARK’s idea implemented.

  29. Serondal says:

    I think it’d be better without a match making system all. Just let players host and join games like Starcraft allows and keep track of their over all rank on the ladder based on this. If you want an even match you find someone ranked near you and if they aren’t ranked near you then it won’t improve your rank if you win and will heavily effect it if you lose the match.

  30. Him says:

    I’m highly curious about the changes in T1, particularly in reference to rebalancing the SM players. Tyranids, as we all know, are OP – removing rippers is a great start, hormgaunts needing some micro to get the best out of them is another good adjustment. Eldar, from the video, look to have a little bite back in melee. Guardian squads I’m not convinced were weak for their cost; particularly given then low price / high performance of their ‘nade upgrade. However, if their ‘nades are getting gently rebalanced I’m not averse to the boost to their ranged damage.
    Orks, for the most part, are balanced.
    But Space Marines… ohhhh Space Marines…
    The increased length of the T1 stage of the game and the re-focusing of squads to a specific purpose has me worried. I see more tacspamming on the horizon. And I really, *really* would like to see either a durability or DPS upgrade on the Predator. The razorback has a HP boost. The dreadnought has a HP boost. The looted tank has a HP boost. And the Predator? About as much use as a .50cal mounted on a cow.

  31. Warskull says:

    I have to be extremely skeptical about anything Relic does after it took them over a month to fix a crippling pop-cap bug. On top of that when they introduced 2v2 they let a major bug which allowed you to enter a 2v2 with 3 players and play a 3v1 and they have yet to fix it. With every patch relic has put out you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    DoW II’s release was incompetent and the game very clearly wasn’t tested before it got out the door. No reason to believe they’ve cleaned up their act until they prove it.

  32. Crispy says:

    Mehhh says:

    Is this the patch that adds depth to the game?

    Watch this match if you really think there’s no depth to the game:
    http://www.gamereplays.org/dawnofwar2/portals.php?show=page&name=dawn-of-war-2-battle-for-supremacy-episode-1

    The depth in the game exists as:
    - Map control (requisition nodes, power farms and Victory Points)
    - Resource management (when to tech up, where to spend resources on which units and upgrades, from three different resource pools)
    - Unit movement micro (kite/garrison/get behind cover)
    - Unit attack (force ranged units into melee, use offensive unit abilities
    - Unit support buffs (e.g. attack/defense/speed modifiers)

    The reason people think this is not a ‘deep’ game is because it has less Macro than a traditional RTS like Starcraft. There are less units on the field, much less structure building and the tech tree is much more simplified. But the depth in DoW2 is in the fact every unit is upgradable, every unit has at least one ability that must be switched on/off, there is a cover system that affects all infantry units in the game. There is more potential for micro on a unit-per-unit basis in this game than Starcraft.

    I don’t think it’s any more or less deep. And the fact the Koreans are playing it competitively probably indicates it does have a good amount of depth.

  33. Sovietmudkipz says:

    I wonder how long it’ll take fans to produce a Helms Deep or Minas Tirith mod-map.
    Man, that’ll be fun :)