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?