The Tau Join Dawn of War 2 , Sorta

By Alec Meer on October 17th, 2011 at 5:02 pm.

The Tau are my least favourite of the 40k races. THERE I SAID IT.
Hopefully there’ll be a third expansion for Relic’s largely (but not solely) fantastigood Dawn of War II, and the usual clutch of new factions and units, but in the meantime a lone Tau unit has snuck into the current version of the game. Specifically, into the Last Stand survival co-op mode, wherein you pick a suitably 40Kian hero and attempt to survive as long as you can.

Controlling the suitably battlesuited Tau Commander in Last Stand will require a small payment of additional money – someone should totally invent a word to describe that – but is available in both the full version of DOW2: Retribution (but not just the base game, as far as I can ascertain) and the cheapy Last Standalone spin-off. Due out at the end of October, and in-action in moving pixel-based form below.

Oh – and the update will also involve purchasable “Imperial Guard Death Korps of Krieg multiplayer chapter pack, and a Chaos Word Bearers multiplayer chapter pack.” Man, that has been canny way of convincing the not insubstantial 40K fanbase to pony up a little more cash.

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75 Comments »

  1. Koozer says:

    The problem is, Last Stand isn’t good enough to warrant all these paid extras. Flesh it out into a real balanced game and I’d consider spending extra quids.

    • UnravThreads says:

      Oh, definitely. I quickly got sick of people taking forever to load into the game then dropping out instantly.

    • vecordae says:

      If only I could use those packs in single player.

    • Vinraith says:

      Let me play Last Stand solo or with two people and maybe I’ll start caring. Three is an incredibly awkward number.

    • Dante says:

      Couldn’t disagree more, I’ve played far more of Last Stand than the rest of the game. Hell extra heroes is exactly what I was hoping for from DLC.

    • Schiraman says:

      @Vinraith: Absolutely.

      Also: how about allowing me to play with four or five people? If it’s a choice between telling a couple of friends they can’t play with everyone else, or just playing a different game – we’re always going to change the game.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Schiraman

      Exactly. I can’t fathom why that mode wasn’t crafted to scale to the number of players. This business of locking it at an arbitrary number, too large to play with a friend, too small to play with a group of friends, is completely nuts.

    • Sassenach says:

      The whole last stand mode is strangely fixed, with variation between games limited to player actions and spawn points. I have the feeling it was made so precise so as to lend validity to the global scoreboard, which seems a bit of a shame. I did find it fun but the lack of dynamism eventually made itself far too clear.

      Also the levelling system is a pointless chore.

  2. UnravThreads says:

    Looks good, I guess, but I’m concerned that Relic are going Firaxis/2K with this and just settling for DLC. The last two expansions haven’t really been all that substantial I guess, and I’ve been a little disappointed.

    What I’d like them to do is double the heroes for each race, so you might have the Inquisitor and the current Commandery bloke for the IG as an example.

    P.S. Dear Relic, more female LS heroes please.

    • subedii says:

      I don’t get the complaints about lack of content. Each of the expansion packs added a whole new race and a whole new campaign. And Retribution also got rid of the freaking awful GFWL and moved everything over to Steamworks.

      Granted the UK pricing was stupid, but fortunately I was able to get a friend to gift it to me from State-side.

    • Maktaka says:

      Insubstantial? Each expansion added another whole race and an extra unit to each existing race, a new campaign, and more stuff in Last Stand. For $30 in a time when most companies aren’t even doing expansions (and charge $40 when they do), that’s pretty awesome.

      Regarding female leaders, they’re rather constrained by the source material on that one. Eldar, Dark Eldar, and Sister of Battle are the only factions that have female leaders at all, and only one of those is in the game right now. Frankly, I’m surprised they were able to swing a female Imperial Guard officer in Space Marine, as to my knowledge the precedent has always been to use dudes for every IG character.

    • UnravThreads says:

      I guess what I mean is that you get a one-size-fits-all campaign (At least for Retribution). I’ve not really played Chaos Rising, but wasn’t the campaign for that pretty much the same?

      It just never felt like a big expansion to me, more like… I don’t know, expensive DLC?

    • subedii says:

      That, and Inquisitor Adrastia was pretty rocking.

      And had a nice hat.

      EDIT: Chaos Rising adopted a different campaign model, instead opting for a linear series of custom made missions.

      Personally I felt CR had the best campaign of the three. It also had the whole corruption mechanic thing where you would gain access to different abilities depending on how corrupted you allowed your squads to become. Keeping them fully pure was actually a fairly difficult task at times, and involved its own problems if you wanted to “remove” corruption.

      Plus the games really are rocking when played Co-op.

    • sasayan says:

      The Tau also have a female leader (Commander Shadowsun). She’s only one, and they don’t point to any other members of the fire caste being female, but it’s something.

      I’m not normally one for these small type DLCs, but if it can put Tau in Last Stand then yes please. I do agree that the restriction to three and only three players with no scaling for less or more is strangely restrictive.

    • Selifator says:

      In the fluff female Tau have been mentioned and named, the low number of female characters has likely to do with the (presumed) mostly male playerbase.

    • Torguemada says:

      Imperial guard has tons and tons of female commanders, none as named characters for the tabletop but they exist in the world.
      Many of the regiments are unisex especially the cadians(that the commander in space marines belongs to), IIRC there have benn mentions of all female regiments too.

  3. belgerog says:

    Who needs the Tau anyways? They’re just there to appeal to the weaboo crowd.

    • frenz0rz says:

      Uhm, I disagree. I played as Tau in tabletop 40K when I was a kid, which was long before I knew who or what a weaboo was, or before I had watched any anime beyond the Pokemon TV series (which was mandatory viewing at that age). In fact, I still pretty much dislike anime, but I love the Tau and most of their units. Especially Kroot! I love how you’ve got these savage, uncivilized tribes of varying shapes, colours and sizes fighting alongside ranks super-organised and efficient Fire Warriors. Never really cared for the Vespids though, since they weren’t around in my day.

    • bill says:

      Not my thing, but basically ALL of 40k is designed to appeal to fans of something.
      40k basically just merges elements of any cool sci-fi they can find.

      Now I’ll go and cry because when I was a kid there was no such thing as Tau or Pokemon or Anime and I feel old…

  4. The Greatness says:

    Death Korps of Kreig? Are they the really spooky ones with the gas masks? Awesome… I would have an army of them if you didn’t have to pay 20 quid for ten of them.

  5. Xocrates says:

    I honestly hope this hints at a new expansion with the Tau.

    Not that I particularly like the Tau, but after the 7-9 races in the previous game this one still feels pretty empty.

    • Gundato says:

      I dunno. All we are missing are Tau, Necron, Dark Eldar, and Sisters of Battle at this point (from the first DoW with the final expansion that is best to not be spoken of).

      Personally, I love how it has been handled so far, even if my beloved IG are kind of limited.

      Besides, of the DoW guys , Dark Eldar and SoBs were kind of bland (but that might have been a budget thing), so that leaves Necron and Tau. Tau we’ll have to see (personally, a glass cannon doesn’t appeal to me with the DoW2 gameplay, and I don’t fancy my Tau army being mostly non-Taus).

      I WOULD like to see the Necron, since they definitely would mesh well with the gameplay of Retribution. A few moderately sized hordes of insanely resilient footsoldiers, and then one or two horrifyingly powerful and hard to kill Necron squad leaders. Although, I always hated how slow the Necron were in DoW1 (I mostly only played SP…). And god damn it whenever the Necron Lord died in my base…

    • Xocrates says:

      Frankly, it’s more that I want something keep me playing.

      It took until Retribution for them to add my race of choice AND allow me to play the (not particularly impressive) campaign with other races, so it saddens me that I’m stuck playing the same old content from the moment on I have a race I would like to use to explore new one.

    • Gundato says:

      One other problem might very well be style.

      DoW2 (moreso than DoW) is very much about fluff. A DoW2 marine (in SP) is on par with Abnett Marines (four or five can take out an entire planet of Dark Eldar…). A DoW2 Ork iz resilient and charges stupidly. A DoW2 Eldar is nimble and deadly. A DoW2 ‘nid has 40 thousand friends with him. A DoW2 IG is pretty much useless :p

      Tau might work as the glass cannons. But Necron are, fluff-wise, nigh unstoppable.

      And while I agree that more is nice, I think Relic is intentionally trying to avoid what happened with the last two expansions of DoW where plot and gameplay took a backburner to introducing new armies for MP.

    • subedii says:

      I agree with Gundato. Six races is NOT light on content, and I’m also really glad they didn’t try to go the route of adding TWO races per expansion. It’s been hard enough for them to balance the multiplayer as it is. The fact that they’ve managed to get it somewhat stable (and actually did a fairly decent job of introducing IG to the multi without as many balance issues as I would’ve expected) has surprised me no end.

      Then you’ve got the additional units for each race, additional maps, even two new multiplayer modes. All that and they’re still updating the game balance even now, two and a half years after DoW2 initially released.

      Really, I only have good things to say about the ridiculous amount of support Relic have given the game. The paid DLC on the competitive multiplayer-side has been purely cosmetic and unnecessary, it just looks good, and the DLC for Last Stand well, it offers new ways of playing the heroes but is again, pretty optional, and doesn’t become a balance issue since it’s about co-op gameplay instead of competitive gameplay

    • Xocrates says:

      Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the game lacks content or that Relic did a bad job.

      All I said was that I wanted a reason to keep playing. That’s a personal problem, not one with the game.

  6. Ultraman1966 says:

    Well, I will definitely wait until the steam sales before splashing out on any DLC. I don’t mind paying for decent DLC but it’s got to worthwhile and as Koozer remarks, TLS isn’t sufficient enough to justify spending much on if at all.

  7. Schmitzkater says:

    I never really played any of the Dawn of Wars, if I wanted to start now what would be the best one to get? (Seeing as they’re all pretty discounted on Steam at the moment)

    I’m guessing I would mainly be playing the Skirmish/Multiplayer and Last Stand modes, since campaigns never held my interest for long.

    What’s the difference between those expansions, like Chaos Rising, Retribution or the Last Standalone?

    • Xocrates says:

      If you’re not bothered by the campaign, then Retribution is the DoW 2 to get.
      If you also want/prefer the original it gets a bit trickier since to play a race online (but not against the AI) you need to have the entry where said race was introduced, but since the online should be pretty dead anyway Dark Crusade is the best one unless you really want Dark Eldar + Sisters of Battle in which case you’ll want Soulstorm.

      As for the difference between expansions: Chaos Rising added the Chaos faction + a campaign, Retribution added Imperial Guard (and already included Chaos) + campaign, and also removed GFWL.
      Similar for the original: Winter Assault added Imperial Guard, Dark Crusade added Tau and Necron, and Soulstorm added Sisters of Battle and Dark Eldar.

      The last standalone is just in case you want to play Last Stand but not the rest of the game. It is otherwise included in Retribution.

    • Schmitzkater says:

      Thanks for the explanation!

      Since I do like a bit of Skirmish here and there that probably means I’ll just get Retribution and Last Stand for 2 of my friends. That would mean we could play (Last Stand) together right?

    • Steven Hutton says:

      Just pick up the Retribution standalone. It’s basically the latest expansion for DoW2 released as a single package. I actually think that the campaign mode from the Origional DoW2 is the strongest (Although it was a bit samey towards the end). But if you’re looking to try out the game you can’t go wrong with Retribution which has a campaign for all the races and lots of fun customisation.

      Also Retribution is the most recent and best iteration of the multiplayer mode which doesn’t get much love from RPS but about which I cannot say enough good things. Think of it as a well balanced and very entertaining modern RTS game for people who can’t be bothered with the tedious micromanagement of Starcraft. It’s fast, aggressive and varied multiplayer which places more emphasis on the intelligent use of your units and the environment and less on your ability to click a thousand times a minute to form your units into mathematically efficient firing arcs.

      Last stand mode is a fun diversion but I have to agree with everyone else in this thread when I say that I haven’t yet found it substantial enough that I felt the need to spend any money on Last Stand related DLC. Although I am tempted by the Tau who’ve been one of my favourites since their arrival.

    • Xocrates says:

      @Schmitzkater: Yeah, you should all be able to play Last stand in those circumstances.

      EDIT: Also, the sale should end in about 15 minutes

    • subedii says:

      If you want to play multiplayer, the Retribution is all you need, it will give you all races and Last Stand heroes (apart from the upcoming Tau one)

      The way it originally worked (or was planned to anyway, and largely did with Relic’s other game Company of Heroes), was that each expansion was standalone, and provided you with its campaign and access to its specific races for the multiplayer game. Didn’t matter which expansion or combination of expansions you owned, the multiplayer community remained one cohesive whole.

      So DoW 2 had the four races it came with. Chaos Rising was standalone, had a new campaign and just gave you access to Chaos if it was the only one you owned. Otherwise if you owned both, you had access to all the races.

      This changed with Retribution. Basically the original two games made use of GFWL for their multiplayer architecture, but as you might imagine, this was causing a variety of issues for things like updating, and matchmaking. So with Retribution they made a change over to Steamworks. This fundamentally broke compatibility with the previous two release.

      So instead of trying to work out some complicated scheme of inter-operating the two, they just gave everyone who bought Retribution the full set of 6 races. Which are:

      - Space Marine
      - Orkz
      - Eldar
      - Tyranid
      - Chaos
      - Imperial Guard

      The Last Stand is an additional multiplayer mode that Relic developed for DoW 2 and released for free, and it’s proven quite successful by all appearances.

      At the start, only 3 heroes were available in Last Stand with vanilla DoW2. Chaos Rising netted you another 2. With Retribution you get all 6 (one from each race).

      The addon DLC is split between the two modes. For the multiplayer, the DLC is purely cosmetic chapter / race packs which makes your army take after a specific faction from the 40K lore (you can still repaint all your armies by default, these are just custom made models that look cool).

      For Last Stand, the DLC adds new Wargear, and for the first time, a new commander for a race that isn’t even in the base game by default (The Tau).

      And… I think that about covers it.

      EDIT: So beat’d

    • Fiwer says:

      Dawn of War 2 has shitty multiplayer with no base building, it’s terrible. The campaigns are OK at best. Buy the first Dawn of War, the platinum pack or whatever its called. Better than DoW 2 in every single way.

    • subedii says:

      Good thing base building doesn’t equal fun or I’d be terribly distraught around about now.

    • Iskariot says:

      I agree with Fiwer. The bases in Dow1 had the function of a convincing, realistic strategical target. DoW2 (which I own and played) removed that and was unable to fill that void in a way that makes sense and is fun. Also do not forget the appalling static AI in Dow 2. Single play is boring and repetitive because of this AI that is only able to stand around and wait until something comes along.
      The DoW 1 AI on the other hand is aggressive, territorial, surprising and loads of exiting fun. Fun that in single player is sorely missing in DoW 2.
      And I loath this DLC milking thing that Relic has going on at the moment. It is disgraceful.

    • subedii says:

      Perhaps I’m remembering wrong, but the skirmish AI in DoW2 seems about as competent as the AI in DoW1. Which is to say, about as threatening a rabbit attempting to bare its teeth at you. With regards to SP, well, all I can say is ramp it up a notch or two and play with a friend, because you’ll need the help (and it is tremendous fun when played coop). There’s no base building in either MP or SP, but that’s pretty much because of the focus of the game being much more on the squad level tactical play (which you seriously have to make use of once the difficulty ramps up, you can’t just bludgeon your way through the levels, hence why a friend to take over two of the four squads can have a big impact as well).

      And I loath this DLC milking thing that Relic has going on at the moment. It is disgraceful.

      … Seriously?

      The entirety of the MP DLC has been purely cosmetic. And the Last Stand DLC, whilst additive, is easy to do without. They’re both pretty much unnecessary. The other options for them would be to simply cease all development on adding to the game, or continue developing and releasing all this stuff for free. But personally, I would expect them to want to see some return on their work.

      It’s really hard for me to read “disgraceful” behaviour into what they’ve done so far when all the meaningful content that maintains a cohesive playerbase HAS been provided completely free of charge. Which is new maps, new gameplay modes, and constant balance updating even now. And even a complete shift over from GFWL to Steamworks, whilst STILL allowing anyone who buys only Retribution to have access to the complete race package and multiplayer game modes (unlike say, DoW1, where what packs you owned defined this).

      EDIT: Also, if you’re interested in really good Skirmish AI, I’d recommend Supreme Commander 2. Although the SP campaign in that isn’t necessarily up to much I felt. It was OK but not brilliant, I found the MP and skirmish comp-stomps with friends much more fun.

  8. Matt says:

    Can’t help but wonder if this is a bit of a trial for a more complex DLC structure for DoW3 – being able to buy skins and maybe even races pic’n'mix rather than as formal expansions would be an interesting and moderaytely 40k-appropriate way to do it.

    would love to be able to play the Death Korps of Krieg in the campaign though. they’re scary looking little dudes.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head. It’s been speculated before on these very forums that DoW3 will go so far as to be free-to-play, so testing the waters with all of this (largely cosmetic) DLC is a smart move. If they’re making money off of skins, imagine what they’ll be able to do with units, heroes, and factions!

    • subedii says:

      Considering the fact that COHO tanked, it’s unlikely they’re going to follow that same model with DoW3. There’ll certainly be an enhanced online / microtransaction based element, but free to play is something I’m pretty doubtful on. In general unless all the paid DLC is purely cosmetic, such things tend to do TERRIBLE things to online balance, not to mention fun.

      C&C 4 demonstrated that ably. Not necessarily via microtransactions, but they still locked off units to large chunks of the playerbase whilst giving them to others, and the result was a pretty unruly mess. The reason the DoW addon packs have worked so far is that they try to balance the whole races against each other, not specific units. If a unit is necessary for a race to function in a certain capacity, then it means you’re out of luck when you come up against the situation you need it in and don’t have access to it.

      Still, who knows how this will go. All we know at the moment is that it’s in production.

  9. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    There has been more than one interview in which they have stated that there will be no more expansions. I would love to see another one, but they’ve been pretty clear about it.

    The best we could hope for is some substantial campaign DLC–new missions or an entirely new campaign–that doesn’t add anything new in terms of game assets (art, models, terrain palettes, etc.).

  10. dirtyword says:

    “a small payment of additional money – someone should totally invent a word to describe that”

    Turgidebit

  11. sneetch says:

    I love the name, “Shas’O Commander” glad to see that – typo aside – the Tau-Irish/Irish-Tau community are being represented.

  12. Radiant says:

    The word you are looking for to describe just such a payment is a minuscule gratuitous pourboire.

    I believe Cliffsky is making a similarly named game after he’s done tanks, ships, cars and pop records.

  13. frenz0rz says:

    Erm, doesnt the word “Shas’O” meant “Commander”? So they’ve essentially called this poor chap “Commander Commander”. Or is it just a Catch 22 reference?

  14. eightbitrobot says:

    Goddamnit I was hoping the introduced them as a race.. my favorites.

  15. razzafazza says:

    double post!

  16. razzafazza says:

    pretty sad how far relic have fallen, in 2006 when the whole DLC mess started rolling with Oblivions Horse Armor …. Relic released a standalone addon (Dark Crusade) for 30 bucks which had more content than 3 other RTS combined….

    …nowdays even Bethesda has more or less reasonable DLC prices whereas Relic matches / surpasses even Activision in greed.

    then again they probably realized how easy us 40k fanboys are milked (just like GW :p) and are exploiting it …. but while doing so, pretty please with a cherry on top make DOW3 s singleplayer not suck as much as DOW2s and include a GOOD survival mode (not TLS…) next time, then maybe even i ll shell out 10 bucks for 1 new unit – despite being fully aware of being ripped off.

    • vecordae says:

      Or they could stop screwing around entirely with this 40K business and give us a proper sequel to the single greatest RTS of all time.

      That’s right. I am talking about Impossible Creatures.

    • iniudan says:

      Actually if you only had Dark Crusade you could only play Tau and Necron in multiplayer. You had to own the original to play Eldar, Space Marine, Chaos and Ork in multiplayer and Winter Assault to play the Imperial Guard.

      So I am not sure where you see a fall for it pretty much the same then before, except I admit I prefer the original DoW skirmish and multiplayer mode, don’t find the CoH model to fit well with DoW2 multiplayer (but in single player it work)

    • vecordae says:

      “they have fallen so far” is a dramatic way of saying “their games are deviating further and further from my ideal.” One commenter may declare, with absolute certainty and authority that a game developer has “fallen so far” while another may declare with equal conviction that “they’ve come so far”.

      It’s just personal taste. And my personal taste is that I want to crossbreed an elephant with a lobster as a way of doing battle.

  17. Kaldor says:

    I loved the Tau in the DoW1-Addon. They were simply something different and gave the setting a feeling of Star Wars-like vastness. Also their outsider role made it attractive in beating back the ancient terrible threat that had also all the others sweating.

  18. malkav11 says:

    I don’t think the words “a little more cash” belong anywhere near the ridiculously overpriced DOWII DLC. From what I understand, this single new unit for Last Stand will cost a full $10, as much as the Last Stand standalone release (containing six units) all by itself. Or equivalent to a third of the cost of Retribution, which has six (admittedly repetitive) full singleplayer campaigns, a full new race in multiplayer, and a new unit and arena for Last Stand mode. The cosmetic packs are $7.50 a pop for a mild reskin. Then you can buy a whole two wargear (the game already includes over 20 per commander) for a single commander unit in Last Stand for $3 a pop.

    I mean, hey, I’m not terrifically interested in buying this stuff anyway, but I can’t fathom regarding any of that as reasonable value for the money they’re asking.

  19. CalleX says:

    Pay to use a character in a game you´ve already paid for? thats called GREED and should be patched in for free as a sign of gratitude for buying the game in the first place.

  20. Ginga121 says:

    “will require a small payment of additional money – someone should totally invent a word to describe that”

    I believe we say, “a small fee.” Or call it a micro-transaction, maybe?

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