Dawn of War 2 Removes GFWL: The Unclean Is Purged

Burn the heretic! Oh, they already have. The latest game to throw off the absurd and malfunctioning shackles of the multiplayer infrastructure/DRM that was (and how good it feels to use the past tense) Games For Windows Live is Relic’s stout RTS/ARPG mash-up Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2. The sting in this redemption song is the loss of LAN and direct connect support.

The Chaos Rising expansion has been similarly blessed, and both titles will now use the Relic Battle Servers that power the multiplayer for assorted Company of Heroes and earlier DOW games (which had their own GFWL infection burned out earlier this year). Achievements and leaderboards will also use Relic’s own systems now.

The bad news, however, is no local networking mode any more, plus the ability to pause multiplayer games has also been lost during the switchover. All this sounds sad, but I honestly can’t tell you whether that’s a big deal for the existent DOW2 community.

For the time being, I’ll take the win. I lost a bunch of savegames, unlocks and army paint schemes due to GFWL’s myriad peculiarities, and while one might argue that is too late in the day, it’s good to know that good ol’DOW2 will still be playable if I do revisit it in the years to come.

The Steam update that made all this happen has gone live already – full details here.

Assorted other games have freed themselves from GFWL in recent times, a partial list of which is on our prior coverage here. GFWL itself remains in a state somewhere between life and death, much like the Emperor of Man, as Microsoft remain resistant to pulling the plug on it once and for all. I’d speculate that’s purely to avoid ‘another failed MS product’ headlines, but then that would be speculation and nobody likes that, right?


  1. eggy toast says:

    With today’s budget laptop being able to run most current games, LAN mode should be seeing a resurgence, but it’s not happening.

    • Xocrates says:

      Thing is that broadband in general, and mobile broadband in particular, are becoming more widespread, so companies have less reasons to support LAN.

      • jezcentral says:

        Still, everyone should be going to LAN parties, regardless. :)

    • amateurviking says:

      Today’s laptops also have a nasty habit of not coming with an ethernet port. Or an optical drive.

      I fear change.

  2. jalf says:

    I’d speculate that’s purely to avoid ‘another failed MS product’ headlines

    I still maintain that it’s because no one at MS knows where the GfWL server is located. They’ve paid no attention to the service for years, and now that it’s time to pull the plug, no one in the company even knows where to find it.

    • Baines says:

      I’ve a feeling it is because of publishers who refuse to update their GFWL games.

      Microsoft was willing to take the reputation hit for not patching GFWL suppoort out of their own titles, but are they willing to take the blame for all the other publishers who refuse to do such patching? Maybe someone at Microsoft realized it might be better to let the service stay on life support for a few more years until the titles largely age out of relevance/interest.

      The alternative version of the same idea is that publishers which what decided to not update their games have lobbied Microsoft to keep the service running, both to avoid the PR hit and to keep scraping in late sales on aging titles.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        I find it really difficult to believe that Microsoft are capable of caring about their reputation. Or really even thinking about it…

  3. drewski says:

    And I was so close to getting all the Achievements.

    • N'Al says:

      Hah. I actually spent some time last year playing through the Chaos Rising campaign specifically to get the final single player achievements I was missing before GfWL was supposed to go offline.

      Sad? Clever? YOU TELL ME.

      • Ross Angus says:

        I admire your quest. Sometimes, great things happen “because it’s there”.

      • drewski says:

        I’ve been doing that with all my GFWL games!

        Only had three missions left for Chaos Rising too.


    • Squirly says:

      Good news – now you can get all of them again for Steam!


  4. tobecooper says:

    The infection didn’t spread as far as you imply – old CoH and DoWs didn’t have GfWL. They used Gamespy. I strongly believe that if we are going to burn the heretic, kill a mutant and purge the unclean, we should perform these actions on the proper individuals. Watch where you point that sword, brother! The Emperor is watching!

  5. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Oh, that’s what the massive update was when I opened Steam last night.

  6. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    I’m still holding some hope for FUEL.

    • frightlever says:

      I mean FUEL works with GFWL and it doesn’t look like they plan on actually shutting up shop for a while but goddamn it took me a while to get Fuel running on my HTPC because whatever pre-installed GFWL nonsense came with the Steam version of Fuel caused the game to hang. Eventually I figured out I had to download and install the latest version and log into my account before it would work. Of course I then logged in using my Xbox Live account instead of the one I use for PC games on GFWL and there’s no combining accounts, of course, but whatever.

      Fun game for just tootling about in while splayed out on a big comfy chair.

    • Rhygadon says:

      Agreed. FUEL is the only game that’s still keeping me worried about the end of GFWL. A patch seems pretty unlikely, so I suspect it’ll all come down to how much support MS offers for keeping old logins on life support. I’d hate to lose the ability to pop into FUEL whenever I feel the need for an hour or two of high-speed scenic meandering.

  7. lordfrikk says:

    The sad thing is that Relic’s servers won’t probably last as long as Steamworks, might as well have put in on there instead. Oh, well.

  8. Haplo says:

    Worth it.

  9. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Now if they can just remove Steam too…

    • Borsook says:

      You could just remove your steam account. Please do.

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      I’ve never understood the aversion to Steam.

      The aversion to GFWL I get. It ran badly, fucked up your saves, and made purchasing and installing DLC a nightmare.

      The aversion to Origin I get. It doesn’t add any value, doesn’t make multiplayer with friends any easier, and you still have to use stupid shit like Bioware points to buy ME or DA DLC and Origin can’t even install that DLC for you, you have to install much of it manually.

      But Steam… steam just works. It rarely goes down, and when it does go down it’s offline mode works perfectly these days. It updates your games quickly, it makes playing Steamworks games with your friends a breeze, it allows trading, the workshop, makes finding and downloading DLC idiot proof.

      I actually go out of my way to rebuy games on Steam that I own other places because I find Steam that bloody convenient.

      And Valve is a privately owned company, which I far prefer to a publicly owned company. A publicly owned company is a money making behemoth that cares not for anything but profit. A privately owned company is whatever the owner decides it is, and I find Gabe’s vision of the gaming industry to be one I agree with.

      • LurkerLito says:

        I’ve never understood the aversion to Steam.

        That’s probably because you never had a issue with steam before. People who have don’t like several of it’s “features”. I have significantly more than 500 games on steam, but I can tell you if given a choice, I will always buy the DRM-free version of a game because I had an issue with steam once. Long story short, if Steam’s system screws up (completely their fault during a purchase), your entire account with everything you ever bought from them gets locked, not just the item you were attempting to buy. Add to that one of the worst support systems ever created (average wait between replies is 2.5 days), trust me for all the advantages steam has, this alone is worth avoiding it.

      • Moraven says:

        I never understood the aversion to Origin. It just works.

        Not sure why Bioware is not put into Origin yet. Probably because they did not want to waste hours on implementing it. It originally was put in to avoid the Steam cut that Valve takes on DLC sales. Titanfall and BF DLC work fine in Origin. I imagine the new DA and ME will be the same way. Don’t blame Origin for something before it existed.

        Delusional if you think private companies do not care about profits. They still have private stakeholders.

        For how much money Valve probably makes, they put next to nothing into customer support for Steam.

        • Steve Catens says:

          I never understood the aversion to Origin.

          How hard did you really try? Because I’m pretty sure with even minimal effort, things like diminished free market competition, EA’s long history of wildly anti-consumer practices which leave many people leery of being forced to accept them as gatekeeper of their content, the debacle where forum bans were resulting in losing access to games, or just garden variety objections to online DRM would have come to mind.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Hold on hold on hold on.

            Let’s break this up:
            A) How is a new store backed by a large publisher “diminished free market competition”? It’s increasing competition.
            B) “wildly anti-consumer practices” like their much more lenient return policy, frequent free games and their honestly pretty good handling of cock ups?
            C) The “debacle when forum bans were resulting in losing access to games” was resolved, and quite promptly as well.
            D) “garden variety objections to online DRM” would also imply never using Steam or any other DRM store. I have serious doubts all the people with aversion to Origin, or even a significant fraction, also happen not to use Steam.

            Look, EA aren’t angels and Origin isn’t perfect, but an awful lot of criticism for the software is fabricated or biased.

          • Steve Catens says:

            @ Friendly Fire

            A) Ok, then, I’ll just waltz over to Steam with their frequently competitive sale pricing and buy Mass Effect 3. Oops! Guess not.

            B) I’m not going to have this conversation because I respect you too much as a thinking person to believe that you really need every anti consumer boondoggle from EA over the last decade or so, from the monopoly on sporting game franchises where there used to be competition driving quality, to draconian Securom DRM schemes, to the SimCity fiasco, listed. If you deny EA has a history of anti-consumer policies, you’re either shilling or being willfully obtuse.

            C) It happened in the first place?

            D) I don’t disagree. People with garden variety online drm issues would be as likely to resent being forced to use any online storefront as a content gate. But that wasnt the point. I was responding to a commenter who said he “couldn’t understand” why anyone would object to Origin, not object to Origin over Steam.

          • drewski says:

            Steve – You might have an argument about Mass Effect 3 on Steam when Valve get around to letting EA sell Half Life 2 though Origin but until then, sorry, nope. EA are just doing exactly what Valve have always done when it comes to platform exclusivity for their own titles.

          • malkav11 says:

            And it’s shitty in both cases. The difference is that Valve is a developer, and has less than ten games under their belt, whereas EA is the biggest publisher in the industry.

          • drewski says:

            That’s not really a difference. If you have a problem with EA doing it, you can’t legitimately excuse Valve just because they don’t make many games.

      • drewski says:

        I’ve never had a problem with GFWL.

        So either “I’VE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE PROBLEM WITH GFWL” or “hey some people have different experiences that’s cool”.

  10. Spacewalk says:

    GFWL was a spawn of Nurgle so it is nothing but good to see his taint cleansed.

    • gnodab says:

      Burn the heretic! Kill the mutant! Purge the unclean!

      also: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Now we only need Bulletstorm and Dark Souls and all will be well.

      • Xocrates says:

        God yes for Bulletstorm. Last time I installed it it wouldn’t go into the menu without login in into GFWL, it wouldn’t login into GFWL without updating, and it wouldn’t update without exiting… which required going to the menu.

        • drewski says:

          Downloading the latest version of the GFWL client directly from Microsoft after installing but before playing should solve that loop.

          • Xocrates says:

            Oh, I managed to install it. Problem was I couldn’t exit the game without forcibly stopping it – and it did this multiple times because GFWL isn’t sensible and installed multiple updates instead of just one that would actually bring it up to date.

    • chargen says:

      I will not join you in cleansing Nurgle’s taint, sorry.

  11. Borsook says:

    It’s really good news, pity it doesn’t like Dark Souls is going to follow.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Yeah, Dark Souls and Space Marine would be good additions to the list.
      Edit: Actually, is Space Marine even GFWL? I just remember the online being awful.

  12. Gog Magog says:

    The chapter banner flies high.

  13. spacedyemeerkat says:

    Word of warning: this update clears your campaign progress.

    • drewski says:

      Also the game won’t launch without it. So if you have a some mid-campaigning going, you just lost it.

      • Shadowcat says:

        So… don’t play it online, yeah? If it launched okay yesterday and it doesn’t go online, presumably it’ll continue to launch just fine?

        • drewski says:

          That should work as long as Steam hasn’t been online since the update was launched…but most people won’t realise it’s been updated until they launch Steam.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            And this is the problem with Steam : it still treats all its games as MMO’s, which is weird since Counterstrike was AFAIK mostly played in LANs.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      That’s GFWL for you. I remember it encrypting numerous saves because *gasp* otherwise people could cheat for achievements!

      • drewski says:

        Is the encrypted saves thing a problem for modders? Otherwise it’s never seemed like a big deal to me.

  14. secuda says:

    This land belongs to the Emperor!

  15. MadMinstrel says:

    Cool. How do I import my old save from two years ago?

  16. SpacemanSpliff says:

    “You lost this war before you started fool!”

  17. CKScientist says:

    The title image is from the Space Marine game, not Dawn of War. How terrible.

  18. Ender7 says:

    This is good, too bad I did not like DOW II. I LOVED DOW I and still play it, but dow II I did not like, nor did I like that they kept the name of the first game which was an RTS and used it on a second game that was squad based and totally different.

  19. Boult Upright says:

    Steam Achievements have appeared for Red Faction Gorilla as well. Nice.

  20. fuggles says:

    Dawn of War 1 is 10 years old in the next couple of weeks, modding community still going. DoW2 never added mod tools – very sad. Outside of Co-op most people only play DoW2 Retribution I think.

    Still, if anyone wants a guide to DoW1 mods then just ask. Heck, if anyone at RPS cares I could write a coupla hundred words on the whole shebang

    • drewski says:

      Yeah, I think that’s the most frustrating thing for a lot of primarily single player people – Relic “saved” Dawn of War II for the multiplayer and in the process destroyed tens, if not hundreds of hours of campaign data, for a game which the overwhelmingly vast majority of the multiplayer community don’t play at all.

      Serious Dawn of War II multiplayer gamers are all on Retribution – Relic have kinda just screwed the rest of the Dawn of War II community for nothing.

      • bleeters says:

        I don’t know, I’d consider actually still being able to play that campaign for the forseeable future a plus.

        I can’t say I’m particularly bothered about my singleplayer saves. What was I ever going to use them for, really? It’s not as if there’s much entertainment value in starting up my ‘end game’ save and doing communication tower defense missions over and over.

        • drewski says:

          For anyone who hadn’t finished the campaign, it’s a big deal.

          And as Microsoft have yet to announce any intention to shut down GfWL permanently, those singleplayer campaigns remained perfectly playable for the foreseeable future.

  21. malkav11 says:

    I can’t imagine GFWL had anything to do with pausing in multiplayer or doing LAN support, so I am forced to surmise Relic just didn’t want to bother. Which is too bad. I don’t know that it makes any difference to me, but still.

  22. HisDivineOrder says:

    Microsoft doesn’t want to admit they failed until they have something to replace it with. But every publisher removing support suggests to me that even though MS is quietly mothballing the thing, they ARE in fact mothballing it.