There Is Only Beta (Until The 14th, Anyway)

By Jim Rossignol on July 3rd, 2009 at 8:03 am.


The latest update for Dawn Of War 2, There Is Only War, is now up on Steam. Instructions for how to activate it are here. The update comes with the “world builder” level editing tools, and there’s a PDF instruction document for that here. We’re totally expecting an RPS community map. The full list of other changes included in the patch is here, and boy, that is a lot of changes. The beta runs to 14th July, when it will go live for the retail game.

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44 Comments »

  1. Jockie says:

    Oh dear, reading through the changelog is not pretty.

    I usually do team battles with two friends. Me as space marines, one as ‘Nids and one as eldar and this patch has taken each of our core tactics and systematically destroyed them! 50 power for my precious Assault Marines?!!

    Looking forward to hitting up the new maps nonetheless.

  2. Crispy says:

    It’s worth noting that the World Builder is locked to High/Ultra display settings and cannot be reduces. Be prepared for the possibility that you won’t be able to run the mapmaker on a lowe-spec PC even if you can run the game.

    Not sure about a community map, but I’m currently writing a guide for prototyping effective DoW2 layouts and will also be making a few 1v1 maps if the World Builder will let me.

    On the balance changes, too early to tell because there’s so much changed. You’ll need a full week of playing to really get a grasp for the main concerns, but I’d imagine it will take a couple of months for all the skeletons to come out of the closet. I personally think the Kommando Nob and Techmarine are going to be the new OP commanders, although the change of SM armour may not make the TM fully viable. Orks have had great buffs, though, so as long as the K-Nob’s pathing has been fixed, he will be a force to reckon with.

  3. Some Guy says:

    the realy stupid thing is that you cant use the find a game with the beta

  4. Gurrah says:

    Eight additional maps is all I needed to hear – downloading NOW!

  5. unique_identifier says:

    i haven’t played this since the original beta but the recent multiplayer updates have got me interested again, to the point that i’d consider buying it if it went on sale.

    - does anyone know where this can be picked up cheaply? (I’m in australia, if that helps…)

    re: jockie “50 power for my precious Assault Marines?!!”

    i’m not sure how insightful it is to react to specific items out of the changelog, especially in isolation – it sounds like the devs changed a hell of a lot of the game. the devs weren’t liking how the emergent dominant strategies in competitive play were panning out, hence the update.

    If you watch the two dev battles or listen to the dev q&a session you’ll note they’re making a big song and dance about raising the resource cost for tier2, which should add some more strategic depth to the early game (if you tech too early, you’ll lose map control, then be unable to exploit the tech advantage since you lack resources, etc). the devs have also been raving about tier 1 and `tier 1.5′, with 1.5 being the tier 1 units with nonzero power cost. Also, for space marines in particular, the power armoured classes have had a change in armour type, which apparently makes them a lot tougher against foes not equipped with power weapons…

  6. unique_identifier says:

    editing my previous post..

    @ Jockie: But your general point is entirely correct:
    “this patch has taken each of our core tactics and systematically destroyed them!”
    i think that’s the point of the patch – its a big game changing strategy changing tactics changing thing! hopefully the new game will play better, but we can only wait and see.

  7. subedii says:

    Unique_identifier has it right. The gameplay has changed a lot, and from playing a few matches last night I honestly feel the general gameplay dynamic has changed for the better. Unlike before, late stage games see things like walkers and tanks as a rarity, you’re spending far more power on other early game counters so it’s difficult to tech to tier two. As part of a mixed force they become the brutes of the battlefield, anti-armour isn’t nearly as prevalent simply because it’s not cost effective to build it without armour to shoot at.

    It’s actually similar to what happened with CoH, tanks used to be a battlefield mainstay until they patched the game, and now they’re much more rare but all the more significant when someone gets armour up.

    Other notable changes are that health regen at bases is half what it used to be, so retreating your units is far more costly in time. There’s a much more noticeable ebb and flow as waves crash against each other, forcing the enemy to retreat is a bigger victory than it used to be.

    As for the balance changes, Eldar got some much needed buffs and they can hold their own far better on the battlefield now. Problem for the Space Marines now though is that Banshee spam pretty much dominates them early game because of the heavy armour change (Banshee’s newly classed power weapons do extra damage to space marine armour now). Shotgun scouts can be a viable counter but take a tonne more micro to use effectively than massed Banshee blobs. Without the option of fast teching to Tier 2 anymore it seems like a prety hard counter at the moment.

    There are quite a few balance niggles I’m seeing and hearing about but in general this patch feels like it has been a huge improvement on the previous game. I’m looking forward to getting more playtime in with the beta.

  8. subedii says:

    And just because I know people will pick at it: All of the above opinions are subjective and temporary, and based solely on one nights play of the beta.

    Also: Calderis Refinery is freaking brutal. Six players + tiny map is pretty much the definition of “There is only war”.

  9. Jockie says:

    Yeah played a few games this morning, Space Marines seemed very weak, got dominated by Slugga Boys and Banshees repeatedly. I tend to use apothecary commander, but he gets absolutely raped by Banshees now, drops in a matter of seconds.

    SM’s don’t really have any dedicated melee, except the aforementioned assault marines, who can’t usually be bought till late T1 and are pretty fragile (they suffer the same drawbacks of the new heavy armour and drop like flies). Pumping out a Dreadnaught and using scout spam with shotguns seem to be just about the only effective tactics for SM’s at the moment, and they’ve always been weak at capping compared to the other races, so getting the resources for the Dreadnought is easier said than done.

    I may have to switch back to playing Eldar or give the Orks a go, until i see someone effectively utilising SM’s because I was really struggling with them this morning.

  10. Jockie says:

    On the positive side, liking the new maps a lot and the general flow of the game seems a bit better, vehicle pathing in particular is improved. Just a few balance niggles, which hopefully will be smoothed out during the beta. If anyone wants to hit me up for a game btw my Live Id is Jockieuk

  11. Dominic White says:

    I kinda admire Relics willingness to shake the game up so much in a patch. They obviously weren’t happy with how the multiplayer side worked out (despite being quite successful), but most other studios would just try to tweak and tune what’s already there, rather than altering the fundamentals.

    Here’s hoping it works out.

  12. Andy says:

    Must be the first time I’ve had to verify my age in order to view a changelog….

  13. Inferno says:

    Just for the heads up for anyone wondering about this latest patch: It changes the game SO much for the better.

    As the devs said T1 now lasts much MUCH longer and this makes the game thoroughly more enjoyable experience, you see more units out on the field and the unit placements in tiers has been shuffled around (insanely so for the nids). Vehicles can make more of an impact when they first appear since t2 doesn’t come for a while but aren’t devastating. It reminds me of the original DoW pre expansions where infantry were all you saw for the start and also of the dark crusade patch that added and changed so much on how that game worked!

  14. Inferno says:

    also jockie banshees are MEANT to do massive damage in melee, they’ll drop like flies at range if you can catch or supress them. Don’t send a support/healer hero into melee against specialists :p I know he used to be a tank but that’s changed.

  15. Asskicker says:

    I hope there will be a discount on steam when this patch gets final, I’ll be buying it then!

  16. Jockie says:

    Just kicked some arse with my Ork army, it is fun pumping out lots of units, I actually approached the pop cap for the first time in ages and spanked some silly eldar around. I even built a Deff Dread for shits and giggles and it took out 3 shurikens before blowing up spectacularly.

    @Inferno , I had a couple of non upgraded scout squads laying down fire on the banshees and was trying to use the apothecary to engage them, so they didn’t rape both the scout squads. I was expecting to have to heal and maybe retreat him, but at least force the banshees to pull back until i could pull my shuriken to the area (right at the start of the map, so they weren’t upgraded banshees). But he literally lasted about 3 seconds before dying and I ended up having to retreat both scout units.

    I played with an SM marine player just before and he did get champion award, but he seemed to be using the old tac marine spam which I’ve never been fond of.

  17. Jockie says:

    Also, Play.com are selling DOW2 for a tenner I believe, no sign of a steam deal though.

  18. SwiftRanger says:

    Good stuff, now that Ork singleplayer campaign.

  19. jalf says:

    Also, Play.com are selling DOW2 for a tenner I believe

    Says €28 here.

  20. Sunjammer says:

    Jockie, if you have 2 vanilla scout squads and a medic up against banshees, i think the idea is to retreat. Neither of those are an effective counter. It’s totally fine to back off.

    Stoked about the eldar upgrades. Can anyone confirm they no longer suck HORSE DONG at holding down a point or harassing?

  21. Wolfox says:

    It says somewhere that the map editor can only make multiplayer maps. Would those maps work for skirmish too?

  22. Hunam says:

    Played it earlier, love it now. The SM have been improved massively as has the gameplay. Plus you can do high resource start where you start with 10,000/10,000 resources, which leads to massive battles in minutes.

  23. Jockie says:

    Ah sorry, was reffering to this with the play deal: http://www.hotukdeals.com/item/427629/warhammer-40000-dawn-of-war-2-9-99-/

    Couple friends picked it up, bargain at that price.

    I’m not overly impressed with the beta, played a 2-2 against two space marines, they had about 10 scout squads with shotguns all clumped together capping all the points, nothing of our Eldar/Ork army could do anything at all in T1. So we rushed to tier 3 and destroyed them with 2 tanks, mekboy and a well placed rok artillery strike and somehow won because they were so assured of their victory they hadn’t bothered to keep the vps capped.

    Mass spam tactics seem to be winning the day though – Slugga spam > Banshee spam >all SMs.
    Exception being scouts with shotguns > All

    When spam rules the day it’s safe to say the game isn’t balanced, hopefully people will expand their repetoire of tactics and build orders a bit as the beta progresses.

  24. Hunam says:

    One thing that really grinds my gears in map builders is the inability to just press a button and test it out. Instead you have to go into the game with a -dev command and fanny about that way, which puts a real crimp on testing/fixing work flows.

  25. jalf says:

    @Jockie: So you’re saying that you beat scout spam by using a more varied strategy, and yet spam > all? :p

  26. Psychopomp says:

    After a few matches, I feel as if they’ve made Slugga Boys FAR to powerful. Nothing I did in the early game could break their hold on their bits of the map. The second I tried something, my squads were swamped in a sea of Ork’s.

    Which is all fine and dandy if I fucked up, but this all started before my scouts had even finished capping a point. It looks like they start Ork’s off with two Slugga Boy squads.

  27. Psychopomp says:

    Yes, I’m a Apothecary/Space Marine player.

    WHERE YOU GO EDIT?

  28. Zyrusticae says:

    Good stuff. I’m enjoying the new (reinstated?) observer mode. Nice for when I just want to see some WAAAAAGH! but am not in the mood for straining my brain.

    There are definitely some balance issues, though. Fexes were pretty scary before, but now they’re completely absurd. They seem to be more effective than looted tanks, predators, or fire prisms, with their massive HP, monster armor, and effectiveness against all targets. The power armor weakness to power weapons also seems to be a bit on the extreme side. (That said, Space Marines were pretty tough before, and could go an entire game without reinforcing even once…)

  29. Him says:

    From a few games I played last night I had a few observations. The TechMarine is more viable as a commander; the nerf to signum armour hurts a little, but now that the sniper scout deathball is no longer viable it’s not so noticeable. The boost to his PG and standard bolter fire is a welcome change.
    Scouts are all about the shotguns now. Seriously. Unfortunately because they’re moderately fragile they need micro, and once they’ve had a spot of rough and tumble they generally need to be drawn back to base costing you precious time.
    ASM squads aren’t a melee unit. They’re a disruption unit. Treating them as stand-up fighters will see them beaten down.
    Vengeance rounds actually make HB devs a viable choice for a whole battle. Sure, you could micro them into usefulness in 1.3.2 but vehicles put paid to them quickly in t2.
    Orkz? Well, Orkz is best. We all knew that.
    Angel Forge on a 3 v 3 is an unholy mess of carnage. I love it.

    TL;DR – Space Marines – now weaker than expected. Tacspamming is still their surefire way to success.

  30. Jockie says:

    @Jalf, yeah, kind of a contradiction, but the game should have been over by the time we got that armour out, considering I basically only had a high level commander fielded for the end of T1 and all of T2. They were just being lazy with capping points so we used webways to our advantage.

  31. subedii says:

    I think I’m going to use this patch to learn my way around Da Boyz. There’ve always been far too many Space Marine armies around and I’d like to contribute something different to the team.

    Well it was either that or Tyranids, but people complain enough about Tyranids as it is, and Eldar are common enough.

    Mechboy looks good.

  32. Feintlocke says:

    I love Dawn of War II but didn’t play multiplayer enough to fully grok the non Space Marine armies. Therefore my understanding of the need for all these balance changes is base at best.

    The good news for people in my position is that the patch will hopefully bring about a flurry of multiplayer activity meaning the matchmaking will be more accuracte. Looking forward to it!

  33. ChampionHyena says:

    I loved the game before, but it’s true, the patch really does change things for the better. Increased focus on Tier I makes it more infantry-heavy, and that just feels more… Warhammery. I love having Banshees and Stormboys be useful.

    Space Marines took a ding, though. A bit too much, if you ask me. Maybe it’s just my lackluster skills, but it seems that their Tier I guys didn’t get a commensurate buff with the others. They’re getting hacked apart in most every match I play. And they’re STILL expensive, so by the time you can afford upper tier monstrosities like Dreadnoughts and Predators, you’re already being overrun by armies who didn’t waste resources on fragile (and now dead) troops.

    Feedback in the forums seems to echo this, so I’m glad that a.) I’m not the only one and b.) there’s enough of an uproar about it that Relic might give our favorite Space Linebackers a little bit of a tweak before the patch goes out to the masses.

    Oh, and a personal, inexplicably esoteric note: I have always loved being able to observe AI battles. Now I can. Elated.

  34. Thomas says:

    Might buy the game if the feedback to this patch sounds positive for a while.

  35. Arturo says:

    Balance changes are quite good so far. Those complaining about certain things should keep in mind that the counters have changed, with more than one way to deal with any problems.

    Orks seem to have gotten the best of the boost this time, am having quite a bit of fun with them. The nerf to the trophy rack is forcing a lot more interesting gear combos now. Although stickbomma damage is lowered, they are much better disruption troops now, especially with extended throw range

    SM are -not- underpowered, you just can’t use the same tactics. Early flamers on tac squads are more than capable of deailng with most problems, and they destroy power nodes very fast. Banshee spam is easily dealt with with flamers on tacs and a shotgun or two. The TM boost is also very nice, with standard ranged damage boosted quite a bit, and plasma pistol with overcharge doing very nasty damage to infantry. The change to heavy armor for most SM is quite nice, makes it a bit easier for the rest of us to have a chance versus tac blobs.

    Eldar have done very well this patch as well, the new shuriken on the wraithlord is quite nice, as are a few other changes.

    Nids I’ve played the least with on the new patch, but they do require more attention than just warrior spamming in 1.3

    Overall very pleased with the changes, extended T1 is much more fun now that it’s not just a race to t2.

  36. Arturo says:

    @ Psychopomp,

    Orks start with a single slugga squad, and 500 req, just like everyone else. You’ve got just as much time to get out appropriate units to deal with them, you just have to micro more and pay attention. As soon as you see who the sluggas are going after, pull them back and let your other ranged units chew them up while they chase your first squad around. There’s also usually plenty of structures around on most maps; orcs will have trouble getting anyone out of a structure until they spend for a burna or stickbommas, usually enough time for you to get shotguns or flamers on your tacs. Its crucial you just not lose any units in that first contact, dont be afraid to retreat off the bat if you don’t think its going to go well, but don’t expect to be able to out-melee any orcs right off the bat. Perhaps use the FC for distraction to soak up damage while you hit with range. Point is plenty of options, things aren’t unbalanced.

  37. unique_identifier says:

    loving the feedback here folks.

    for anyone who’s interested there are match replays with commentary ….

    http://www.esl.eu/eu/dow2/news/92452/

    ( as linked from community.dawnofwar2 )

  38. Dethgar says:

    So is DoW2 a good RTS game? I have a friend that loves 40k but hates this game, and says that there isn’t enough information on units and their abilities to effectively counter them. He also told me that the engine lags his machine(Quad Core 2.7g + Raedeon HD 4850).

  39. Dominic White says:

    @Dethgar – your friend is from Bizarro World. I run the game silky smooth at maxed out everything in DX10 mode with a slower processor than that. It is also a very good RTS – especially now that they’ve reworked things.

  40. subedii says:

    Yeah I’m going to agree with White here. Heck I’ve “only” got a Dual Core, and whilst my graphics card is a bit better I’m largely maxing it out.

    As for the game itself, well, it’s a fast paced RTS. If he was looking for a replication of the tabletop game he needs to look elsewhere. I might agree on information about unit roles, but realistically they’re usually pretty obvious in their nature. Assault Marines with jetpacks and power swords are obviously meant for lightning raids and disruption. Devastator Marines have huge support weapons they lug around and set up so they’re clearly for area defence / suppression. This carries across the other races as well, Tyranids are a bit more obscure admittedly since they don’t carry obvious weapons, but you learn fast enough through experience. If he’s that worried just load up a skirmish game and experiment with unit types.

    Whether you like the game itself depends on how you feel about fast paced, squad level RTS’s. It’s pretty intense and tactical when in a tight match, you need to be paying attention to your squads and thinking about the meta-game (do I push more units out now? Do I save resources to Tech up and bring this counter out instead?).

  41. EvenHumm says:

    High rescources suck

  42. Red Yama says:

    For SM players having trouble with sluggas/banshees early on, I’ve found the following effective (as Apoth and TM, I play random so haven’t tried FC yet): Build 2 extra scout squads for a total of 3, and cap in a beeline towards their “safe” power node. Don’t upgrade your own one until you’ve built a tac squad. Get flamers on that ASAP, then shotguns for all your scouts and burn their power to the ground.

    Try and avoid fair fights until you get flamers and one SG upgrade, as even with dancing you’ll be hard pressed to put the shees/sluggas down before they get in your face. With that upgraded little mob, you can focus down any infantry squad extremely quickly. It’s also helpful to get purification rites as apoth, as that knocks back enemy units around your heal target, usuful if they manage to tie up the tacs.

    It is a lot of power invested in T1, and feels wrong from a 1.32 pace, but 1.4 is a different game. Sorry for the TLDR.

  43. Eisenhorne says:

    That’s funny! You said there’s a “PDF Instruction Document”, the first thing that came to my mine is Warhammer 40K “PDF” to describe Planetary Defense Force, a local militia less than the standing army Imperial Guard. I was so hoping for a PDF Instruction Guide!!!

  44. draknahr says:

    FYI dow2 doesn’t have dx10.

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