Ultimate DoW2 Retribution Gallery! Yes!

By Jim Rossignol on January 21st, 2011 at 7:18 pm.


We have all the Warhammer 40,000 Dawn Of War II – Retribution screenshots! ALL OF THEM. The gallery below is easily the biggest and best screenshot gallery we have ever done. All the images can be clicked on for full size, and they show Imperial Guard in action, Inquisitor inventory screens, and loads of other Imperial, Chaotic, Orkish and Tyranidical happenings from the game. We’ve got a preview coming up later too, because one of our sinister agents actually managed to play the game. More on that later. Go browse the images!


















































In conclusion: SPACEBIFF!

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91 Comments »

  1. MrWolf says:

    RPS + DoW2 just crashed teh interwebz.

  2. Xocrates says:

    BANEBLADE!!!!!

    Hum… I mean

    Jolly good, those certainly are some interesting shots of screens you have there.

  3. Kevin says:

    Love the screen of the Plague Champion giving that Scout an upper-cut with his Power Fist. SHORYUKEN!

  4. Thule says:

    The Emperor approves.

  5. Davie says:

    I am very happy to see that Baneblades are appropriately gimondous. And that second-to-last screenshot seems to promise battles as big as the original DoW. More good news.

  6. Flakfizer says:

    First pic “Do my hands look big in this?”

  7. zergrush says:

    Very nice screens, thinking of getting this on release day.

    I barely touched the Chaos Rising MP because of SC2, will probably go back to DoW2 with this exp.

  8. EC- says:

    Thank heavens for broadband internet connections. This page would not have been possible in the days of dial-up.

  9. mandrill says:

    WANT! Unfortunately can’t afford :Sad Panda:

    And I’m not posting comments too quickly, my last comment was hours ago :/

  10. WMain00 says:

    I AM THE EMPEROR’S JUDGEMENT!

  11. Kevin says:

    Love the screen of the Plague Champion giving that Spess Mehreen Scout what for. SHORYUKEN!!!

    Can we look forward to you and Meer hosting some custom games in the beta so that the great RPS public can stomp you guys?

  12. Brumisator says:

    RTSs other than Starcraft exist?
    …interesting.

  13. Fumarole says:

    Looks like I’ll be playing DoW2 again.

  14. frymaster says:

    screenshot shows martellus on the Marine side… interesting, I wonder the “canon” traitor was from the last game then?

  15. Pijama says:

    1 – INQUISITOR. Nice. Awesome. Excellent, in fact. And she has a superb “I will put a hundred thousand peons to the torch if I have to” look that me likes a lot. :D

    2 – What’s the deal with the Diomedes prick – we are commanding a new company now? And even more worrying, Martellus? Bee-a-kuhz:

    *SPOILERS*

    Come on, I had a pure game in Chaos Rising… Martellus being a canon choice would be a rather sad panda option. :(

    *END SPOILERS*

    3 – Pirate orks are made of win.

    • subedii says:

      Caution, major spoilers for Chaos Rising:

      1 – INQUISITOR. Nice. Awesome. Excellent, in fact. And she has a superb “I will put a hundred thousand peons to the torch if I have to” look that me likes a lot. :D

      That is pretty much the case, going by her bio on the DoW2 site. Basically after all the problems with sub-sector Aurelia and then Chaos making it onto the scene, the Inquisition has decided that the sector is too foul to save, and are handling it with the subtle and “tread lightly” approach that they’re so fond of. Meaning: Exterminatus. Of course, this bodes ill for the Blood Ravens since that effectively means the death of their chapter. Adrastia is there before this happens, commandeering the IG to investigate other things.

      Adrastia is clever and proud, yet at her core she is an idealist – she believes in Imperial dogma without any notion of doubt, and performs her duties accordingly. She comes to Aurelia feeling that its inhabitants have brought their impending doom upon themselves through incompetence and weak faith, which shows in her haughty contempt and cavalier attitude towards them. However, as a Witch Hunter, she deems the accusation against Kyras to be extremely serious and warranting investigation – a heretical Space Marine Chapter Master and Chief Librarian is the epitome of what the Witch Hunters seek to root out and destroy. To this end, she will employ any tool necessary to investigate him – be they Imperial, Eldar, or even Orks.

      Her demeanor is bemused and cavalier. She is, at least at first, unconcerned about the feelings of those under her charge, and does not hesitate to motivate them by pointing out that they will be slaughtered by the exterminatus should they fail her, whereas she will not.

      You can get more info on all the other squad commanders appearing from the main DoW2 site, they just set up a Retribution section.

      With regards to number 2, yep, new squad. The old crew alongside Gabriel Angelos have been branded as Traitors. Cyrus and Martellus are supposed to be renegades as well, but Diomedes is surreptitiously allowing them to join in with him in trying to get rid of Chaos once and for all from the sector. Cyrus is trying to convince Diomedes that they’ve been betrayed by the Chapter master. More info on the new Space Marine campaign heroes here:

      http://community.dawnofwar2.com/blog-post/space-marine-campaign-heroes

      There’s been no mention of who the “canon” traitor may have been in Chaos Rising. It would be difficult to start off directly from CR, there were like 4 different endings depending on how corrupt you were and whether Diomedes survived or not.

    • Walsh says:

      I had no idea that there were multiple possible traitors. Now it seems underrated in my book.

    • Chris D says:

      There was more than one traitor? Serves me right for being a goody-two-shoes I guess. Now I’ll have to play through again.

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      Yes, apparently the canonical ending is the one where your squad is slightly corrupted, not enough to be considered traitors and executed, as in ending #3, but lauded for your dedication despite the conflict, and whichever squad member had the most corruption becomes the traitor.

      Going to guess it was Tarkus, since his fall was the most believable, Thaddeus was too idealistic, and honestly it would be stupid to make it Avitus because the ‘altered’ voice messages sound exactly fucking like him. *spends weeks unscrambling message* “Sacred Terra — it’s exactly the same but with slightly less static in the background!”

      Then again these are the space marines we’re dealing with.

    • Stompywitch says:

      This is something that I think has been neat about the DoW2 series: by tightly focussing on one war, in one system, they’ve been able to hold together a storyline through the series. Now, there’s good reasons for that – being able to recycle a lot of expensive assets, frex – but I think I’ll miss Aurelia when we’re gone. It’s been a lot of fun.

      Apparantly we’re also going back to the Judgement of Carrion… and to Cyrene. Yay!

    • subedii says:

      Well let’s be honest, Martellus would make the least sense as the traitor anyway, simply because he’s the one that freaking decoded the thing, and even led them to the Space Hulk where they could get the necessary codes and the background on Galan and Kyras.

    • Kyrne says:

      Having played through the game twice, i got a different traitor each time. First was Tarkus which kinda made sense as i was playing, and the second time it was Martellus which was a bit odd for that very reason.

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      I would in all honesty have preferred the ‘pure’ ending to have revealed Ploppy Imperius, the hitherto unknown hive-world janitor who cleans the latrines aboard the Litany of Fury, as the traitor. It would even have been much less laughable and he probably wouldn’t have had that bullshit tank in the revenge mission either.

  16. Navagon says:

    Want more space hulks.

    NEEDS MOAR SPACE HULKS

  17. imirk says:

    I henceforth require all orks to wear pirate hats

  18. DiamondDog says:

    What’s a Baneblade?

  19. Daiv says:

    When I see this sort of quality of animation in the DoW series it just makes me WANT an augmented reality version of this. Let me superimpose the little armies on my tabletop and let them fight it out over my desk.

  20. phuzz says:

    Leman Russ!
    Why is it that I can recognise a 40k tank from 40 paces. Surely my brain could be doing something useful with that space?

    (but really I’m super proud of myself)

  21. Kryopsis says:

    Thank you very much for providing the screenshots in proper resolutions and without forcing me to click through multiple pages to access them.

  22. ExMortis says:

    Here’s hoping the lack of “Force Commander” means we have total (or at least, more) freedom of character choice this time. It looks like they’ve reworked the skill categories from Health/Melee/Ranged/Energy to just Health/”Attack?”/Energy, so you wouldn’t even be able to build him much different on a second playthrough :/

    It was especially a drag hosting co-op as you were always stuck with FC. He didn’t even do anything in the story! He never spoke!

  23. ChampionHyena says:

    Looking at Eliphas, Cyrus, Martellus, and all the other characters Steven Jay Blum is undoubtedly still voicing tells me just how much I’m gonna hate the acting in this game.

    Ah well. Bring on the violence!

    • Pijama says:

      He is a competent voice actor, but a bit overrated – particularly whenever doing the “Cyrus/Grunt” voice.

      Whenever he tries something different though, I like it. Shows he has a bit of range.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I want Steve to voice every single character. He could have arguments with himself and everything.

    • Coillscath says:

      Seriously. He’s worse than the guy who voiced the Space Marine Commander/Half the imperial guard units in Dark Crusade. You can pick it’s him within the first couple of sentences he speaks.

  24. Kandon Arc says:

    I’m so happy Imperial Guard are back (and in such numbers as the screenshot implies). One of my favourite ways of playing the first Dawn of War was creating an IG army made up entirely of guardsmen squads and sending them in unrelenting waves at the enemy, all the while quoting Zapp Brannigan.

  25. noobnob says:

    Squishy, squishy Imperial Guardsmen. Best thing in Dawn of War Dark Crusade was to watch them fly due to the force of the explosions of your own artillery shots.

    Edit: While playing as the Imperial Guard, of course.

  26. lasting damage says:

    Good set of chops on the IG commander, even if everyone will be playing the Inquisitor.

  27. sneetch says:

    /giggling giddy hand clapping

    Imperial Guard with a Baneblade!

    Oh and other stuff too. I suppose.

    Want this nao!

  28. Cradok says:

    I see we’ve moved completely away from Gabriel Angelos now. Shame, we never did get a resolution of the Daemon at the end of DoW1, or of the various interesting stuff set up in the DoW novels (I know, I know, CS Goto, but they were interesting in spite of that).

  29. pkt-zer0 says:

    This article is also missing the “nothing compared to Starcraft 2″ tag.

    Anyway, pretty screenshots. It’s a shame the DoW2 demo was incredibly disappointing.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      DoW II at least did something new compared to SCII, which in gameplay-terms still is an RTS as archaic as the original StarCraft was. As an RTS-fanatic I was hugely disappointed in what essentially was a remake, the SCII campaign had its good times but didn’t beat SC1 for storyline.

      I think it’s telling Blizzard hired the lead designer of DoW II for Heart of the Swarm. Retribution, if good on all fronts, should deserve anyone’s attention.

    • subedii says:

      ignore pkt-zer0, for some reason he has this weird compulsion to post that line in DoW2 related posts.

      I mean it’s fine to be a fan of Starcraft 2, but just going around crapping on other games that aren’t Starcraft 2 for self-justification is a bit sad.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      DoW II at least did something new compared to SCII, which in gameplay-terms still is an RTS as archaic as the original StarCraft was

      This line of reasoning never made much sense to me. Novelty alone matters little, and it’s definitely no substitute for quality.
      Also, what are the specific innovations you would’ve liked to see in SC2? Just wondering because most people I’ve seen cited features that would take away from the game, rather than improve on it.

      ignore pkt-zer0, for some reason he has this weird compulsion to post that line in DoW2 related posts.

      That reason would be this, obv.

    • The Hammer says:

      subedii IS NOTHING COMPARED TO STARCRAFT 2.

    • subedii says:

      Ah, if that was just a reference to an ANGRY MAN type guy, then my bad. I think I missed that post.

      With regards to Starcraft 2 though, I feel it’s been made deliberately obtuse in the base micromanagement (what Starcraft players call “Macro”, but it’s still micromanagement) as a sop to the existing hardcore playerbase. In real terms they didn’t have a choice in the matter.

      Simple things like the queuing system. Every base structure (unless you’re Zerg, we’ll get to that) has a queue of 5, but you mustn’t use it!, that holds up resources! Instead you’re supposed to come back to your structure every time it’s finished producing, and click to produce another unit. In the early game you are literally producing workers from your base until saturation. So for literally the first 12 minutes (with little variation), you’re clicking on your HQ, starting a unit. Every 30 seconds.

      The suggestion that you could say, put this on a repeat queue isn’t just hated by Starcraft fans, it’s almost considered outright heretical. And then you dump on top other micro mechanics. Protoss with their Chronoboost, and Zerg with their ridiculous Spawn Larva mechanics at every hatchery. 99% of the time there’s no actual decision making taking place there, you ALWAYS chronoboost (if you’re not, you’re wasting it) and you ALWAYS spawn larva. It becomes a ritual, and it’s something that’s easily automated, just give the option to toggle auto-cast. There’s no option to automate such things, because that individual micromanagement is literally seen as the core of the gameplay.

      There’s plenty of examples like that. Like you say, the “fans” consider this as something that takes away from the game somehow if you were to remove it. I just see it as added on busywork. And frankly, you can add in all the busywork in the world to a game, but that doesn’t mean the same thing as “more depth”.

      EDIT: I mean, Zerg are statistically the least played race, and people go “Gee I wonder why? Why wouldn’t people want to play Zerg?”. It’s freaking obvious why, with the mechanics involved Zerg are the most micromanagement (or “macro” if you require) intensive race by far, and playing them properly simply requires more effort.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      There’s no option to automate such things, because that individual micromanagement is literally seen as the core of the gameplay.

      It kind of is, this is a real-time strategy game, after all. Time and attention management are part of that. Regardless, a repeating queue could hardly be considered an “innovation”, so I don’t think that’s particularly relevant here.

    • subedii says:

      It is an innovation, one that was brought in after Starcraft 1, and was deliberately not implemented in Starcraft 2. Having to queue up a worker at 30 seconds, every 30 seconds, on the dot, isn’t strategic, it doesn’t add to the fun of the game, it’s a ritual.

      An quite frankly, if that style of micromanagement busywork is a core of the gameplay, then Blizzard have very definitively dumbed down and removed core elements of the game with their implementations of things like MLB, Smart-casting, and autocast.

      That’s the thing, Blizzard received gigantic backlashes over even those simple measures. Let me put it as I perceive it. It’s not because the core of the game was destroyed, it’s because design limitations in the first game were made by the hardcore competitive community into pillars of the game in a way that Blizzard never intended. Blizzard were caught in the ultimate rock-and-a-hard place because any deviation from even the minutia was met by unremitting hostility from an entrenched fanbase who viewed any change for any reason as heretical.

      I look at Blizzard’s approach to Diablo 3 by comparison, and it’s night and day. D2 had a popular following but it never had the hardcore competitive scene that Starcraft had, not even close by orders of magnitude. So they’re far more free to completely change the formula, and they are making drastic changes to how the game works. It’s going to be a very different game, and it’s also going to be evolving the ARPG formula in ways that its competition currently isn’t because they’re still trying to model themselves off of Diablo 2.

    • Xocrates says:

      Loving both the Starcraft and Dawn of War series allow me to say that in general I agree with subedii. Though I find his criticism of the queues odd since pretty much every RTS (including both DoW games) use the same system. There are exceptions, yes, but they’re not the norm.

      That said, I agree that Blizzard pretty much had little choice but to make essentially Starcraft 1.5, though it should be noted that they did an exceptional job at it, making it both the game biggest strength and weakness. Starcraft 2 does a marvellous job at being instantly recognizable while being different enough that it feels like a new game for fans of the original.

      I must admit however that it amuses me somewhat the people complain so much about how little SC2 has changed while crying bloody murder everytime some other game they like is changed to appeal to a broader audience.

      (What do you mean I’m typing too fast? I took bloody forever to type this and even made pauses to check on the finer detail)

    • subedii says:

      The queues thing is admittedly a minor nitpick in some ways, but to be honest I feel it’s symbolic of the kind of design problems that Starcraft 2 faced.

      Other games have queue systems certainly, but in say, Supreme Commander 2 (and I know a lot of people will shudder at my merely mentioning that game), you can tell it to go an an infinite repeat queue, and the resources will only be used up as the next unit started construction. Allowing you to do similar with your command centre wouldn’t make the game less strategic or less fun, it would just lower the freaking APM.

      And I also agree that Starcraft 2 should not have to change its core gameplay mechanics, and Blizzard did a good job of sticking with that. Starcraft 2 doesn’t need cover mechanics, or retreat mechanics, or a delineation between melee and ranged combat. Those are for other games. But the problem is the hardcore fanbase made the kind of busy-work micromanagement that was simply a design limitation of the original game, into their core necessities for the sequel, when it doesn’t actually make for a better game.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Also, what are the specific innovations you would’ve liked to see in SC2? Just wondering because most people I’ve seen cited features that would take away from the game, rather than improve on it.

      I don’t think anyone necessarily demands this or that known feature to be in SC2. Since StarCraft’s release (1998) Gas Powered Games, Massive and Relic all came up with several exciting new RTS features of their own. Blizzard didn’t with SCII which is still WarCraft II in space, albeit balanced and polished (but so was SC1). I am not even asking for a drastical shift like WarCraft III was compared to WCII, just “something” that sets the game apart as an RTS. Radar towers and destructable blockades aren’t enough to say the least.

      Also, SupCom 2 is good and can perfectly exist next to the original/FA. That’s coming from someone who invested most of his RTS time of the past few years into SupCom/FA.

    • Xocrates says:

      @SwiftRanger: Even setting aside what SC2 did with the Single Player Campaign (which plot quality aside is one of the best in an RTS in the last decade) and with the matchmaking, I find your argument a bit disingenuous not only because you argue in vague terms on how the game should innovate, but also because you seem to have missed that all the arguments on how SC2 isn’t like other modern RTS means the game actually has “something” that sets it apart. Namely the old-school hardcore RTS gameplay that nearly died out in recent years.

      SC2 didn’t innovate its gameplay in any significant manner… so? I love innovative and clever gameplay as much as everyone else in this site, what I don’t get is why that seems mean that I’m not allowed to enjoy quality game just because it isn’t innovative, particular on a time where Indie games get most of their inspiration from games of old.

      Which actually brings to mind a fairly interesting comparison: Starcraft 2 is like Super Meat Boy. Old School Gameplay adapted to a current generation and polished to a mirror shine.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      It is an innovation

      Yeah, sure, technically it is an innovation. Still not one particularly relevant to the discussion as far as I can see. Surely you’ve got a better example than this?

      An quite frankly, if that style of micromanagement busywork is a core of the gameplay, then Blizzard have very definitively dumbed down and removed core elements of the game with their implementations of things like MLB, Smart-casting, and autocast.

      “MLB”, heh. Anyway, the above should illustrate that there is indeed a difference between limiting the marginal utility of added APM and removing basic attention requirements. Should they have gone further with the automation, and added repeating queues as well? Or even further than that, adding programmable logic to handle repeated decisions (a la FFXII’s gambit system)? I don’t see the need for that, as the “micromanagement busywork” is already on a level managable for most people.

      I don’t think anyone necessarily demands this or that known feature to be in SC2.

      They should, though. Arguing for change for change’s sake isn’t all that solid an argument. There’s a word for that, and it’s not “innovation”, but “gimmickry”.

      just “something” that sets the game apart as an RTS.

      Xocrates already pointed this out: there aren’t a whole lot of Starcraft-styled RTS games other than SC2 itself.
      And as I’ve said previously, I see no reason to take novelty over quality: the fact that something has already been done before shouldn’t stop you from doing it better. Heck, if that were the case, the concept of genres wouldn’t even exist: no FPS after Doom, no RTS after Dune2, no platformers after Mario.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Old school remakes are good for side projects like Counter-Strike: Source, Quake Live or Serious Sam HD, not for a full blown sequel to a game which was already hindering the RTS genre in its evolution in 1998. SC1 was a great game in singleplayer, had great support, balancing and online focus but even then it was dated in every other regard. Like I said, I want new stuff and toys to play with. We still have SC1 to play with if you desperately want that experience with incredibly stupid UI limitations. Aside from Battle.net, the toolkit and some campaign “choices” SCII is standing still in time. It’s like seeing a remake of Doom II, only playable with keyboard, being hailed as the standard all current FPSs should aspire to be.

      As for being vague about innovations: Blizzard has to come up with them, not me, it shouldn’t even look at its competitors, just be unique ffs. With its current clickhappy approach to gameplay (which is hilariously regarded as part of the skill in a strategy game) though it doesn’t do a damn thing that WarCraft II didn’t do before, that’s what is bugging me. Even in terms of story, setting and units it’s all rather disappointing. Barely any new stuff or abilities you didn’t see before in other RTSs and the Xel’Naga, instead of being a new race that would mix up the meta game, are the same boring “we’ve come to destroy you!” threat like the Daemons of WarCraft III. Blizzard are repeating themselves, period.

      SCII campaign was decent but pls don’t try to compare it to the original, more cutscenes doesn’t mean better cutscenes or better story.

      Describing what other RTSs have done to evolve the genre as mere gimmicks just goes to show that not every SC-player has thoroughly played those games.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      SC1 was a great game in singleplayer, had great support, balancing and online focus but even then it was dated in every other regard

      Funny you say that, considering that SC1 was horribly imbalanced on release and the singleplayer missions were woefully uninspired.

      Like I said, I want new stuff and toys to play with.

      85% of the units are different, half of them are completely new. That should count for something.

      We still have SC1 to play with if you desperately want that experience with incredibly stupid UI limitations.

      And what if I want an improved experience, without the stupid UI limitations, and with excellent matchmaking? Hey, look, that’s what SC2 is for.

      Aside from Battle.net, the toolkit and some campaign “choices” SCII is standing still in time.

      subedii above pointed out some of the changes that received “gigantic backlashes” from the community, surely you could acknowledge the existence of those, at the very least?

      It’s like seeing a remake of Doom II, only playable with keyboard, being hailed as the standard all current FPSs should aspire to be.

      Or like seeing a remake of a Quake 1 mod, with a bunch of stuff removed, and fancier graphics, being hailed as a great FPS – oh wait, Team Fortress 2 is actually pretty good (well, was before the recent itemization nonsense, anyway).

      With its current clickhappy approach to gameplay (which is hilariously regarded as part of the skill in a strategy game) though it doesn’t do a damn thing that WarCraft II didn’t do before, that’s what is bugging me.

      That seems like a reasonable argument, based on extensive experience and sound logic.
      …lol j/k.
      Seriously though, you’ll have to do better than that.

      Describing what other RTSs have done to evolve the genre as mere gimmicks just goes to show that not every SC-player has thoroughly played those games.

      I’m not describing those features as gimmicks. I’m describing the level of “innovation” you seem to be looking for as such, because you have not gone further than saying that things should be different solely for the sake of being different. And are apparently incapable of going further than that.

    • Xocrates says:

      @SwiftRanger: While SC2 is pretty good, I’m yet to see anyone claiming its gameplay should be hailed as the standard for RTS.

    • subedii says:

      Alright fine, “MBS”. I got the acronym wrong.

      And yes the game does need more automation, because those aspects of micromanagement gameplay, as I’ve said several times now, don’t make the game more strategic or more fun. And removing them wouldn’t detract from either.

      You see, the reason I brought up queueing is because it’s symbolic of the kind of design problem that Starcraft 2 faces. It’s precisely the same kind of thinking, that you need to literally “add in” extra mouseclicks and that this somehow means “more depth”. It’s why the queueing system doesn’t make any sense. It’s why chrono-boosting can’t be set on autocast. Or Spawn Larva. And yet, carriers can be set to autocast?

      I’d say the way it works at current is half-measures, specifically because Blizzard are stuck trying to make things work more efficiently but without having the fanbase scream their ears out. The innovations I’m saying are needed are to do with that thinking, and are very much relevant to the game. Otherwise, the next question is a real problem: How do you get more players playing Zerg? Because statistically they are the least played race. And the reasons for that aren’t balance, it’s because they’re the most complex to use and are the most micromanagement (again, ‘macro’ if necessary) heavy race. This is literally something they’ve said themselves:

      http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/09/26/blizzard-on-starcraft-ii-1-2-patch-zerg-balance-issues/

      Chris is also keen to address the ongoing idea that Zerg remains underpowered – an idea fuelled partly because so few Zerg players made it into the top 200 Starcraft II players in North America.

      “That’s not actually the case,” says Chris. “We have fewer Zerg players overall. I avoid playing Zerg as much as possible because I find them to be just more complex in general. Zerg, or rather larvae management is harder for me to deal with, so I don’t enjoy playing them as much.”

      So would some alteration on larva mechanics really destroy the core of the game? Or is it just possible that keeping such an obtuse mechanic has had some side-effects for the game itself? This has an effect on how people are capable of playing the race, and the game in general. Players could “handle it” as you say, but why should they? If they’re not willing to kill or alter certain aspects of micromanagement, the only other alternative is to power up Zerg themselves, which would be horrendous for balance, something they also acknowledge and most certainly don’t want to do.

      The logic that you can add in ‘depth’ to a game by adding in busywork mechanics like that is pretty much foreign to me, as I said before the only thing this does is raise the APM. You can call it “added attention requirements” but it doesn’t have any striking difference from auto-casting on the carrier in that respect then. They could have very easily refused to allow for say, smartcasting, and the the reason to keep it that way is precisely the same as to refuse autocast on some abilities where it would logically help.

      Also, you’re comparing something like this to bringing in the “gambit system”, really? Look, I’ll be blunt, that’s a complete strawman argument, and you know it. If you insist on it, I can argue why a system like that would remove the core gameplay of Starcraft 2 where other refinements wouldn’t. But otherwise, I’m just going to ignore that.

      tl;dr: If we’re talking how Starcraft 2 could be improved, I believe that there are areas that Starcraft 2′s gameplay could easily be streamlined without removing the core gameplay. The problem is fans attribute this to dumbing down and removing depth from the gameplay, when it really amounts to just lowering the APM of the game.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      And yes the game does need more automation, because those aspects of micromanagement gameplay, as I’ve said several times now, don’t make the game more strategic or more fun.

      The popularity of SC1 and SC2 would suggest that people are, at the very least, indifferent to this, actually.
      As for the strategerie aspect, choosing how to allocate your resources (time/attention in this case) would play into that.

      So would some alteration on larva mechanics really destroy the core of the game?

      Spawn larva is somewhat poorly designed, I’m not going to argue that. You were suggesting more general changes than that, though.

      Also, you’re comparing something like this to bringing in the “gambit system”, really? Look, I’ll be blunt, that’s a complete strawman argument, and you know it.

      I’m simply wondering where you would draw the line. How much APM should the game require, how much should it automate?

      If we’re talking how Starcraft 2 could be improved, I believe that there are areas that Starcraft 2′s gameplay could easily be streamlined without removing the core gameplay. The problem is fans attribute this to dumbing down and removing depth from the gameplay, when it really amounts to just lowering the APM of the game.

      Let’s run with your hypothetical scenario and say that this streamlining doesn’t affect the core gameplay. Even then, the result would only be a marginal improvement, so I don’t see how it’s a big deal.

      (Also, it still has nothing to do with SC2′s lack of innovation.)

    • subedii says:

      I’m not indifferent to those design decisions.

      I want to like Starcraft 2 more, but it’s precisely those design decisions that get in the way. They set arbitrary barriers to entry into the game without any positive effect.

      And it’s interesting that you say spawn larva is poorly designed, because every time I’ve tried to bring this up with fans of the series previously, the rebuttal is pretty much a pronounced “no”, followed by the argument that altering that aspect of micromanagement is taking away the core of the game. And then strawmen like the aforementioned gambit system (“Why don’t we just automate EVERYTHING then?!”. I’ve literally seen that thrown out on more than one occasion).

      As for “how much APM should you automate”, I’d say that’s the wrong kind of question to ask. APM is a means to an end, it shouldn’t be the sought after end in itself for the gameplay design of a strategy game. Which is why removing those barriers shouldn’t be an issue when it doesn’t affect either the strategy or the fun of the gameplay. And it’s also why more people (even at the highest end) end up playing Terran or Protoss than they do Zerg. They have fewer of those barriers to implementation. If you want to know why it’s a “big deal”, then you don’t really need to look further than the race split as it currently exists for an illustration of how it can hinder things.

      With regards to your final point. Starcraft 2 doesn’t need major innovations. It needs small ones, refinements that are in keeping with its gameplay style. Which is what I’ve been talking about here. And as I said before, I feel SC2′s been limited in that area because it has to appeal to core ideals that were originally just design limitations in SC1.

    • Nalano says:

      Dear Bog in Heaven, is Blizzard doing the same thing to RTSs that it does to MMOs?

      You can’t go to an MMO forum without every third thread directly comparing said MMO to World of Warcraft, as if the concept had not even been considered prior to the other thirty bajillion threads related to it. Now I have to hear how every RTS is compared with Starcraft?

      I mean, it’s not as if every FPS forum has to have a Halo reference. Dear lord.

      Look: Starcraft is over a decade old. The genre has moved on: Squads and reinforcement, cover and suppression, morale, strategic points, formations, supply chains, line of fire, shock and melee modes. These have all been introduced by a plethora of successful companies without requiring superhuman levels of micro because they’re not concerned with having to pick and order around a list of special abilities for each and every single damn unit in your army.

      The general does not inspect every rifle in his army. I like having my units think – just a little bit – for themselves, because that frees me up for more tactical and strategic decisions – y’know, more than just “hit this ability when we engage.”

      The mere concept that all these added gameplay features are mere “gimmicks” is like saying that alternate fire modes is a “gimmick,” or that companion AI in RPGs are a “gimmick.” No, we’re just not stuck with the limitations of nineteen ninety fucking eight.

    • subedii says:

      The comment system keeps telling me my comment’s been submitted and that this is a duplicate. Apologies if this is the case, but this should have come through about 10 minutes ago.

      pkt-zer0:

      I’m not indifferent to those design decisions.

      I want to like Starcraft 2 more, but it’s precisely those design decisions that get in the way. They set arbitrary barriers to entry into the game without any positive effect.

      And it’s interesting that you say spawn larva is poorly designed, because every time I’ve tried to bring this up with fans of the series previously, the rebuttal is pretty much a pronounced “no”, followed by the argument that altering that aspect of micromanagement is taking away the core of the game. And then strawmen like the aforementioned gambit system (“Why don’t we just automate EVERYTHING then?!”. I’ve literally seen that thrown out on more than one occasion).

      As for “how much APM should you automate”, I’d say that’s the wrong kind of question to ask. APM is a means to an end, it shouldn’t be the sought after end in itself for the gameplay design of a strategy game. Which is why removing those barriers shouldn’t be an issue when it doesn’t affect either the strategy or the fun of the gameplay. And it’s also why more people (even at the highest end) end up playing Terran or Protoss than they do Zerg. They have fewer of those barriers to implementation. If you want to know why it’s a “big deal”, then you don’t really need to look further than the race split as it currently exists for an illustration of how it can hinder things.

      With regards to your final point. Starcraft 2 doesn’t need major innovations. It needs small ones, refinements that are in keeping with its gameplay style. Which is what I’ve been talking about here. And as I said before, I feel SC2′s been limited in that area because it has to appeal to core ideals that were originally just design limitations in SC1.

    • Xocrates says:

      @Nalano: To be perfectly fair, I don’t think anyone claimed those innovations are bad of gimmicky. The gist of the discussion is SC2′s lack of innovation and whether or not that’s a bad thing.

      I agree that after a while it becomes tiring to see Starcraft (1 or 2) being discussed every time a RTS is mentioned.

    • Nalano says:

      Nobody, Xocrates, except pkt-zer0.

      And you can’t make a qualitative decision as to the absence of something without making a comment about the inclusion of something.

      And if we’re going to play that game, then yes, Blizzard and its fans can do what they want. I just don’t have to play the game. But, like the endless MMO discussions, Blizzard still influences the genre at large, so it does, at least indirectly, affect me.

    • Xocrates says:

      @Nalano: I made my comment fully aware of what pkt-zer0 said. And what he said isn’t what you’re saying he said.

    • Nalano says:

      He dialed it back when pressed, but that’s one of the first things he said.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Look: Starcraft is over a decade old. The genre has moved on: Squads and reinforcement, cover and suppression, morale, strategic points, formations, supply chains, line of fire, shock and melee modes.
      By the same logic, TF2 would be bad because it lacks regenerating health and a cover system, as the “genre has moved on”. I don’t get why people are so quick to subscribe to the “old = bad” logic. I certainly don’t see it as a universal truth.

      As for the features above, pretty much none of them would fit into SC (I could explain in more detail if it’s not obvious), they wouldn’t serve to make it a better game, just a different one. And that is what’d be gimmicky. I never said this was the motivation for their inclusion in whatever game they appeared in.

      These have all been introduced by a plethora of successful companies without requiring superhuman levels of micro because they’re not concerned with having to pick and order around a list of special abilities for each and every single damn unit in your army.

      Doesn’t Dawn of War 2 have the previously mentioned features, while being way more micro-intensive than SC2? (Question mark included because I’m not all that familiar with the multiplayer side of it, but that would be generally the case for squad-level games)

      Nobody, Xocrates, except pkt-zer0.

      Nope. No idea where you’re getting that from.

    • Zyrusticae says:

      ITT: Old = bad, and people completely failing to disguise their wordy argumentation as anything else.

      Fun.

      Edit: Also, if you want “innovative” RTSes, THEY ALREADY EXIST.

      Somehow I don’t see every RTS ever released in the future suddenly going to have to become Starcraft clones just because it exists now. Seriously, what? That argument is weak. It wasn’t true for Warcraft II, Starcraft, or Warcraft III. World of Warcraft is unique as it is a social phenomenon, and as such can’t rightly be compared to other games on a similar level. Starcraft 2 does not share such popularity.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Funny you say that, considering that SC1 was horribly imbalanced on release and the singleplayer missions were woefully uninspired.
      It got balanced pretty quickly and even at release was a lot more balanced than most RTSs of that time which is the important point of note. Also, its campaign did a lot of neat tricks aside from the story part, even the biggest SC-hater has to admit that. You might want to play that unpatched vanilla version again…

      85% of the units are different, half of them are completely new. That should count for something.
      It counts for collecting some interesting abilities and units from other RTSs of the past 14 years, but new? No. A new race would have done something I think as for SC2 Blizzard hasn’t moved from its playstyle archetypes that the same three races in SC1 had.

      And what if I want an improved experience, without the stupid UI limitations, and with excellent matchmaking? Hey, look, that’s what SC2 is for.
      The only improvement is the Battle.net UI and matchmaking, which comes down to having achievements and avatars, the SC online community still manages fine without those. In a community which openly questions the removal of the 12 unit selection limit I have to say you guys pretty much don’t care at all for UI, you want to make it yourself hard to play the game as that is the “skill” *cough* *cough*.

      subedii above pointed out some of the changes that received “gigantic backlashes” from the community, surely you could acknowledge the existence of those, at the very least?
      Making such a fuss over those changes says a lot about the SC community given how “gigantic” those changes really are (read: they’re so minimal it hurts).

      Or like seeing a remake of a Quake 1 mod, with a bunch of stuff removed, and fancier graphics, being hailed as a great FPS – oh wait, Team Fortress 2 is actually pretty good (well, was before the recent itemization nonsense, anyway).
      TF2 is good and looks nothing like the original while it adds exciting new gameplay concepts to the core game, it’s nothing like a remake, it’s just inspired by TF and TFC. SC2 didn’t do any of that, you could confuse a screenshot of it with one of SC1, it’s really that conservative. Replacing units and adding a few new ones didn’t alter much of the same gameplay style. Also, StarCraft should be compared to Doom II, not Quake (or a Quake mod), as the latter did new things in terms of gameplay and technical qualities.

      That seems like a reasonable argument, based on extensive experience and sound logic.
      …lol j/k.
      Seriously though, you’ll have to do better than that.

      It’s absolutely true though, the only things SC has improved on WCII is some racial variety and balance. Nothing about its core 2D plane gameplay f.e. has changed. And for the record: walkers walking over cliffs in SCII and units not seeing units on a cliff doesn’t count as crazy total 3D as some fans like to proclaim.

      I’m not describing those features as gimmicks. I’m describing the level of “innovation” you seem to be looking for as such, because you have not gone further than saying that things should be different solely for the sake of being different. And are apparently incapable of going further than that
      Euhm, BS, I clearly pointed to what other developers did over the past years and that an innovation as big as they implemented in their games would be very welcome in a SC game. I sure as hell don’t need to tell Blizzard what they have to do make a great current-gen RTS with something that sets it apart, they should know for themselves that doing a remake doesn’t contribute anything to the genre. Yeah, they should feel ashamed. Damn ashamed.

      As for old = bad, haha, try Total Annihilation or Dark Reign, lad, now those are games which haven’t been eclipsed yet in several areas. They even predate the original SC.

  30. Tetragrammaton says:

    The fact that I will buy this game after not enjoying the previous 2 DOWIIs proves beyond a doubt that I am weak minded buffoon beneath the glory of the golden throne..

  31. Stephen Roberts says:

    Now Dere’z a Hat dat I cud use! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

  32. Chaz says:

    I love the way they’ve made the characters look just like proper little painted lead figures.

    Ah that takes me back to the days of my youth. When I was 12 my dream was to get a job painting Citadel Minatures for White Dwarf magazine when I left school. I even entered one of the painting compos back in about 83.

  33. Thants says:

    What, you can’t just have a gallery with links to image files! You need to have some kind of overly complex custom javascript gallery that does the same thing my browser already can but worse. What kind of games website is this?

  34. Sunjammer says:

    Swell. All they need to do now is add “flying” units to just fuck the game right up.

    I kid. I like this. But Soulstorm, what the hell was that. Please, Relic. Keep a lid on it.

    • Nalano says:

      In short, an ill-thought out excuse to add two new races and still give those who didn’t necessarily want to play those races a reason to buy the expac anyway.

      That doesn’t mean they haven’t maintained their right to have dumb cash grabs: Look at the ludicrously overpriced “equipment packs” they’re selling separately for each race.

    • subedii says:

      Fortunately those are just for SP wargear. If it’s anything like last time they’re going to be useful for all of a few levels anyway.

      Also I’ve tried commenting twice in the mega-thread above but my comments simply aren’t showing. In theory my post in that one should have shown up ahead of yours Nalano.

    • Nalano says:

      I’m not seeing anything by you in that thread for the last seven hours. What was the gist of your failed comment?

  35. subedii says:

    Basically that amongst other things, asking how much APM the game should revolve around is the wrong question. APM is a means to an end, not an end to be sought in itself. And lowering it without sacrificing either the strategy or the fun of the game in itself is a logical innovation. One that didn’t happen because the hardcore fanbase adopted design limitations from SC1 as core aspects of gameplay for SC2.

    And a tonne of other stuff and examples and things. Feh.

    • subedii says:

      OK yeah, the comments / reply system is definitely acting weird for me here.

    • Nalano says:

      Hell, even FPSs are de-emphasizing twitch mechanics, in favor of squad management and tactical forethought. Well, FPSs not made by IW.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Basically that amongst other things, asking how much APM the game should revolve around is the wrong question.

      You realize that’s incompatible with saying that programmable logic for decision making would be taking things too far? It is, after all, also just a means to an end.
      Also, it is a perfectly valid question: the game isn’t a TBS, so APM is going to be a factor to some degree. And I don’t suppose your point was that all RTS games should be turned into a TBS.

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