DOWII Retribution Gets Multiplayer Beta

By Jim Rossignol on January 17th, 2011 at 6:45 pm.


And it’s starting on the 31st of the month. THQ say: “The beta is scheduled to go live on Monday 31 January when global press and key Dawn of War® community members will be given access. It will then broaden to include everyone who has pre-ordered Dawn of War® II – Retribution™ on STEAM to date on 1 February. Finally, anyone who has bought a Dawn of War game through STEAM or has registered a Dawn of War II product on their STEAM account will automatically receive an invite on 8 February. There will be no open registration phase to this beta.” Full details here.

The beta will feature all six multiplayer races from the forthcoming expansion, including lovely, squishy Imperial Guard, and holy crap I am overdue getting into a multiplayer RTS again. This could be it.

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47 Comments »

  1. KauhuK says:

    I wonder… I have pre-ordered the collector’s edition from Gamestop. Though it was said the the collector version can be only bought from THQ. Seems I gotta check the official forum about this.

    • subedii says:

      Someone asked this at SA, Jeff Lydell gave a short response:

      We are working on getting physical box customers beta keys for Feb 1.

      So I guess it’s a wait and see thing.

  2. subedii says:

    Looking forward to getting my Autarch on.

    EgonSpengler (Jeff Lydell) has been posting a fair amount of stuff on the SA forums regarding the main game, for those that want a good summary of the details:

    http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3382031&pagenumber=1

    Also, a little piece regarding the change from GFWL to Steamworks:

    http://www.gamereplays.org/dawnofwar2/portals.php?show=news&news_id=730075&home

    Retribution is still a P2P game. We do have a nice new tech out of Steamworks which is their NAT reflection server. If a connection to a player fails, then we will route through Valve’s servers.

    We’ve done tests internally where we start a match between two players, then block the IP connection between the two and the game continues gracefully. In theory it should mean any two people who can connect to Steam can connect to each other. I say in theory because there are certain problems which will require us to be in beta to truly test.

    This should go a long way to improving connections between players. NAT problems are one of the contributing factors to poor connections and skill mismatches.

    Looking forward to it. Just hope the playerbase makes the jump.

    • Sabin says:

      Just wanted to say thanks for those links. Hadn’t seen those before. My piqued interest is now at fully excited.

  3. pkt-zer0 says:

    Article requires a “nothing compared to Starcraft 2!” tag.

  4. Theoban says:

    Saw this, thought I’d play some DoW II, Games for Windows live needed an update, ‘your computer may restart’ took ages, got bored, quit. Oh Games for Windows Live, you card.

    • The Hammer says:

      Pretty much the same experience I always get when I want to try DOW2 again, just in case I was too harsh to it the first time…

  5. WMain00 says:

    DoW2 is pretty awesome.

    End of.

  6. Premium User Badge

    mpk says:

    I just couldn’t get on with the original multiplayer beta of DoW2 – so much so that I didn’t pick up the game at all, despite having the original and all it’s expansions.

  7. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    Is DoW2 any good?

    I didn’t bother with it when I read that you couldn’t build bases any more (true?)

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      If that’s how you’re gauging if it’s any good or not, then no, it’s awful.

    • subedii says:

      No base building.

      It’s not really ‘that kind of game’ where base building would really make it better. The way the gameplay is designed, not having base building crammed in is pretty much a good thing.

      Singleplayer centres around tactical control of a selection of hero squads over the course of a series of missions. Instead of base building, the game works via an RPG mechanic. Squads level up over time giving them new abilities, and you gain access to better and different wargear over the course of the game. In Retribution they’re going to be ramping this up a bit more with squad requisitions in the field.

      Multiplayer has bases but no base building (the most you can build is power generators around nodes, and in-the-field support structures like turrets and “WAAGHH” banners). As in DoW1 the gameplay’s focussed on capturing and holding key requisition and power nodes. You still have teching, but this is in the form of upgrading your base over the course of the game as resources come in. As a result, decapping points and destroying enemy power generators also becomes a key part of gameplay. It gives structure to the gameplay without becoming a micromanagement hassle (or as Starcraft 2 players put it, a focus on “Macro”) that other RTS games often have.

      Taking from Company of Heroes, the main gameplay mode doesn’t centre around destroying the enemy’s base, but instead is focussed on three victory points scattered across the map. Each team starts off with 500 tickets, and holding most of the VP’s causes the enemy’s tickets to tick down. Whoever’s reaches zero first, loses.

      The way the multiplayer’s structured is basically around points of contention. It’s very much based around tactical control of individual units, and the combat takes centre stage. Unlike SC2 where you’re getting worker units out and generally building up base / units for the first few minutes (alongside the scouting), in DoW2 your first combat confrontations usually happen within the first few minutes or less. To that end, the gameplay has a greater focus on things like unit positioning, special ability use, cover, suppression, melee/ranged dynamics, retreat/reinforce mechanics etc. Each army also has a commander (from a selection of 3 per side) that can drastically affect how the side plays depending on how they’re specced. Fighting a Warp Spider Exarch is often a very different affair to fighting a Warlock.

      Still, if you want base building, you genuinely are better off playing a game like Starcraft 2.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      @subedii

      Thanks for that, I’m more of a base building type so I guess it’s starcraft 2 for now.

      I played through homeworld 1 again recently, that doesn’t have base building but it has a gameplay element most RTSs don’t seem to have these days (correct me if I’m wrong): persistence across levels.

      All the funds that you collect in one mission will carry on to the next, so if you hyperspace out of a level without collecting enough you’ll be in trouble next mission comes.

      Same thing with ships, get almost annihilated in one mission and you’ve got to rebuild your whole army next time around (and there aren’t that much funds available in any mission).

      Makes for a challenging game!

    • subedii says:

      Yeah, but I was annoyed with the way it worked in Homeworld 2, and how the enemies for a given mission were specced specifically to counter your fleet. Ironically the best thing to do before warping out was usually to scrap your entire fleet and then rebuild it when you were in the next mission.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      lol! had no idea, will try it out if I play through h2 again, though h1 was better imo.

      can’t remember if the AI is any better in h2 though, h1 was FRUSTRATING when your ships refused to engage nearby enemies sometimes.

  8. The Hammer says:

    Hmm. I didn’t really like the DOW2 on release; for some reason it felt weirdly disconnected to me, and I just didn’t have fun with it. The first was bursting with personality, while the second felt sour, and diluted.

    However, I -do- have DOW2 on Steam, so I’ll be sure to give Retribution another go! From the sounds of it, it’s more like Dark Crusade, so that’s great.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      What’s the difference? Isn’t Dark Crusade/Retribution an expansion pack? I’m honestly curious about this, is the initial game drastically different from the ones played in the expansions?

    • The Hammer says:

      heretic,

      I meant that the roster of armies seems to be pretty consistent with how Dark Crusade was – Space Marines, Chaos, Eldar, Imperial Guard, Orks (not sure about Necrons) – and that the single-player campaign lets you play the game from the perspective of all the different races, meaning each one has a story to itself. You’re not forced to play as the boring Spesh Mareens.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      that’s good to hear, was tempted when it was on steam sale but didn’t get it in the end, will do next time!

    • The Hammer says:

      Which, Dark Crusade?

      I wouldn’t want you to get DOW2 if there’s potential for you to be disappointed! :P

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      Ah…

      I’d gotten confused with Chaos Rising and Dark Crusade LOL… turns I _have_ played Dark Crusade (dow1 where you fight these tough mofo necrons right?).

      As you say if you can play all the different armies then it sounds good. Will give dow2 and chaos rising a miss then, but will be watching this one.

    • The Hammer says:

      Aye, Dark Crusade was the Necron/Tau one.

      It was probably the best incarnation of Dawn of War, to be honest. I remember Soulstorm being full of bugs.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      Dark Crusade was the last expansion built by Relic. Soulstorm was a collaboration between Relic and Iron Lore, with IL I think handling the vast majority of the development and Relic being there to help them more than anything else.

      I think the change in devs showed.

  9. Ziv says:

    I just began to play DoW II that I picked along w/ chaos rising a couple of steam sales ago. Looks like I have to finish until Feb 8th.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Tagert says:

    So glad for the move to Steamworks.
    I recently finished DoW2 and it’s expansion and couldn’t throughout the entire thing connect to GFWL. Something wrong with my firewall they say! Well, I say that I created a DMZ to my PC, turned off my local firewall, let it have at it…and it still didn’t work.

    Fuck you GFWL. Fuck you very very much.

    By the way to those who were turned off by DoW2′s change in gameplay (from base building to character progression) I have to say so was I. Then I actually got into the singleplayer and loved it. I consumed the entire game and expansion in a weekend. (Last weekend, in fact)

    • jalf says:

      Yeah, DoW2 singleplayer was excellent. Multiplayer was a disappointment, however (although Last Stand was quite fun)

  11. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Got to finish off DOW2 and Chaos Rising before this comes out. Very glad that they will be ditching GfWL and I hope this means that multiplayer will be a bit more populated. 1v1s seem fine and I assume 3v3s are too (I never wanted to be “that” guy who screwed it up for the team,) but I could never get a free for all game going, where I could just play around in a game with real people without being a nuissance to a team or have the pressure of the 1v1. Still, I managed to get a few 1v1 wins under my belt, before I stopped playing for no real reason.

    Any chance of a RPS Steam group getting set up for the release/beta?

    EditL Oh and meant to say I was bit disappointed in the pricing of this. Was kind of hoping that it would be expansion priced or there would be a discount for those that already owned DoW2, considering a fair bit of the content is already in the original and first expansion. Looks like the US prices are lower, but the UK prices have just replaced the $ with a £, meaning it is full game price. Couple that with the various special editions allowing access to special abilities and it all feels a mean. These extras better not be available in multiplayer.

    • Delusibeta says:

      Judging by the fact that the connections should be backed up by Valve’s servers. multiplayer performance should be quite a bit better this time round.

    • subedii says:

      That depends. Connectivity might be better, but there’s a bigger problem here when it comes to matchmaking. Just like with DoW 1 and its addon packs, and CoH and its addon packs, DoW2 and CR had a shared playerbase. Anyone who owned one (or both) could play with the other, they just had access to different sides.

      Retribution’s going to be a big shakeup of that because by dropping GFWL, they’ve had to essentially sever that connection between the two versions and end up splitting the playerbase, something which Relic have worked really hard to prevent from happening because they understand that a split playerbase is a terrible thing.

      So it’s a question of how many people make the switch over to Retrbitution. Naturally some people are going to buy Retribution without ever having played the first two, but it’s probably fair to say that the majority of the playerbase is going to have to come from the previous two games.

  12. SwiftRanger says:

    The pre-order extras sound like overpowered gear for singleplayer campaigns (again). Seems like UK folks get screwed with the pricing but I think their love for WH40k has something to do with that, THQ and GW are banking on that as this is going to be the ultimate DoW II version so far (excluding only the campaigns of the previous games).

    Looking for retail stores carrying the CE in mainland Europe. Those cards and the poster are all I am interested in (next to the actual game of course).

    And yeah, DoW II is pretty awesome, the best sci-fi Myth you could imagine. SCII has the upper hand on matchmaking and quantity of cutscenes but it feels like cheap antics when you actually play it. I think Blizzard realises this as they already snatched away Jonny Ebbert from Relic for the first Zerg addon.

    • subedii says:

      In fairness, the wargear they offered with Steelbook editions of DoW2 was usually rendered pretty pointless, and prone to how you wanted to spec your squads. Most of it was level capped and then later on you found something better, so you weren’t really using it for much longer than anything else. And later on Relic patched it into the full game as drops.

      Couldn’t say whether any of that will be the case here as well.

      As for retail pricing, yeah, pretty stupid. $30 =/= £30

  13. Nick says:

    I’m not paying £30 for an expansion this time around. We won’t get fooled again. I shall wait.

    • Hirmetrium says:

      What on earth sort of website are you reading where your getting the full £29.99? stop looking at steam and google some retailers. The “RRP” is 29.99, set by the publisher. Steam just follow suit.

      If your buying games from steam and not searching retailers, you will forever be ripped off.

  14. Laneford says:

    Alas I am only excited for the Single Player and it’s PHAT LEWTZ and the fact I can relive my tabletop days of getting monumentally slaughtered as the Imperial Guard. You multiplayer chaps carry on though.

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    The Sombrero Kid says:

    looking forward to this, this is a better multiplayer game than starcraft 2 but i am better at starcraft, the thing that killed this multiplayer wise for me was the gfwl matchmaking taking 10 mins minimum to find me a match so I’m hoping this one will fix that by finally putting a bullet in the gfwl implementation.