Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War 3 Shows First Action

Relic showed the first smidgen of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III [official site] in-game action during E3 while my back was turned and none of you simpering cowards thought to remind me? This is heresy of the foulest order. Right then! You rabble get to sit on the naughty warstep for the next millennium.

For the benefit of good warboys and wargirls, here’s the not-really-gameplay-despite-what-Relic-say look at a grizzled Gabriel Angelos duffing up some Eldar with the help of his Space Marine chums and a 14-metre mech named Imperial Knight Solaria:

That’s not bad, that. Not bad at all. Good bot. Relic say they’ll show more of that mission in the next few weeks.

As well as dropping that video, Relic have started explaining more about Dawn of War III. Which is nice, as all we’ve really known before is that it’s a bit Dawn of War II-y but with base-building and a greater scale.

Here is a short look at Angelos and the Space Marines and here is introduction to the game’s ‘Super Units’ like Solaria there. Relic explain that dropping a honking great warbot from orbit isn’t a no-brainer, as it is a trade-off against ‘Elite Units’:

“Both Elites and Super Units are selected before the game starts and are deployed using Elite Points, which are earned during the match. In general, Super Units have more health than Elite units, but are also slower and require more forethought when it comes to positioning. Super Units land on the battlefield in spectacular form, announcing their arrival so that your allies can aid you in battle… or so your enemies can ready their retaliation.”

And they certainly can be countered. Relic say:

“Super Units provide overwhelming momentum to your late game strategy, but they are still susceptible to well-timed counterplay. That is, deploying Solaria onto the battlefield won’t automatically turn a fight in your favor. Without allied support to ward off enemy anti-armor units, she will be vulnerable to their attacks. Successfully countering an enemy Super Unit isn’t only about army composition – it is also achieved with smart battlefield strategy. Solaria is vulnerable to slow-moving, but high damage abilities such as Orbital Bombardment, and a well-timed stun or shield can negate the effects of her Gatling Barrage.”

Or maybe you’ll could make the correct plays, time attacks right, stop their counter-attacks, and then get your mech to dance gaily over the battlefield with Ironstorm missiles and Avenger gatling cannons going off like victory fireworks.

Dawn of War III is due to launch in 2017. Space Marines, Eldar, and Orks are the only factions confirmed so far and, honestly, I’d be okay if the Chaos Space Marines don’t pop up this time around. I was a bit tired of their pantomime villain antics by the end of Dawn of War II: Retribution.

Do check out the rest of our E3 2016 posts, previews, odds, ends, and gubbins.


  1. HefHughner says:

    Reminds me of Diablo 3, tbh.

  2. Hunchback says:

    Saw that yesterday or so, i was quite underwhelmed. I was hoping for something much … newer. :(

    • Asurmen says:

      Like what? I’m not sure what would have fit the 40k theme.

      • Hunchback says:

        Well tbh i don’t see much of a difference with DOW2, even in terms of graphics… So dunno, i am not a game dev :P

        • Xocrates says:

          I believe Relic has said that units actually have less detail than in DoW 2 so they can have more of them at the same time.

          Personally I think gameplay it looks fine, but the planet they choose to show it off does looks pretty sparse and blank, which might make the game look worse than it actually is.

  3. NetharSpinos says:

    I was beginning to wonder when RPS would mention this, it’s been floating around the ‘tube since a day or two ago. And yes, it would be a refreshing change for Chaos not to be the main antagonist for once; Orks & Eldar are more than capable of doing it themselves, after all.

    I really hope the aerial stunts that Gabriel is pulling off there don’t make it into the final game, though. There’s 40k silliness and then there’s just pissing daft.

    • KDR_11k says:

      DoW2 without expansions had Tyranids as the big bad.

      • Mokinokaro says:

        And this, going by the quotation from the reveal trailer, is likely to have necrons (the quote is taken from a necron codex.)

      • Asurmen says:

        I never found this argument convincing. Without context, it’s just a generi-dark quote.

  4. slerbal says:

    I was sad that they seem to have changed the voice actor for Gabriel Angelos :(

  5. yabonn says:

    – Wait for backup!
    – There’s no time!

  6. Arathain says:

    It looks perfectly nice and all, but I sit comfortably in the perhaps smaller camp that preferred Dawn of War 2, particularly in multiplayer. I realise many associate the 40K license with scale and spectacle, but I like DoW2’s focus on small numbers of intimately detailed, tactically rich units. I think you get much more flavour and atmosphere that way. Plus the positioning and ability use of individual squads and characters becomes so important.

    This is an early version, of course, but there’s not a whole lot of personality to these battle lines on dull terrain blasting each other.

    • golochuk says:

      I agree, this looks like a throwback to DoW I. We’re back to needless basebuilding, and two big blobs of infantry standing stock still and trading fire across a featureless plain until the other blob falls over.

      DoW II was a better game, and it’s a shame that it’s been discarded.

      • Asurmen says:

        Since when was DoW1 ever like that?

        • socrate says:

          Never these 2 apparently never played it,quite frankly i would love DoW1 version more then this which was tons of stupid micro that weren’t really fun…if i want fun micro il play Starcraft 2…but this was just not fun to witness..i also missed the huge army clashing together which doesn’t happen anymore and if you could actually equip single squad member then it might be more fun like at first in DoW1 which they then removed sadly in further expansion…and the loot in DoW2 felt a bit too Mmo for me..it never ended up being fun the unit finishing move also seemed to be extremely tonned down in DoW2 which was a big bummer since it was the only RTS to have done this while physically interacting with each other physically and not to mention the campaign which was really boring and extremely repetitive and boss fight that felt like copy paste version of a WoW raid boss.

          Oh and lets not forget the fact that Tyranid always looked like a really dumb version of zerg…you don’t see a swarm these days like in the old Starcraft so it was kind of nice to see other people succeeding in making it work sadly with DoW2 then went with few unit and battle always felt extremely underwhelming and even their multiplayer where you would each play a hero unit felt like a horde mode for dota which is not a good thing quite frankly.

          But from what ive seen Warhammer franchise tend to attract dumb people that just want to see dude running around with chainsword and will buy any crap they come up with and these game have had few really good one and alots of really really really bad one.

          But seriously choosing space marine again as a dumb campaign faction is getting sooo old and shows again that they Game workshop have no idea what their fan want and how i particularly am starting to hate that faction…it almost seem like they have literally no idea what to do with the other faction they just seem to be there just to be a faction they can push onto “the main faction” to give them enemy.

    • unitled says:

      Yeah, I did love the scale and carnage of DoW1, but I’ve never been a fan of Base building, and it doesn’t feel to me like it fits in the 40k setting in particular (we already have a load of mechanics from the Tabletop game to allow squad reinforcement during a battle!).

      Still, while I think I preferred DoW2, I still love DoW1, so a blend of the best of both is certainly something I’ll look at.

      • Christo4 says:

        I am also looking for a blend of both to be honest.
        Yes, base building wasn’t really it’s best point because it doesn’t fit in the universe, and while in Dow 1 you had a sense of scale, but sometimes it just ammased to there just being two blobs, in dow 2 i felt like the scale was much too diminished in comparison.
        So i’d like something in between them in scale, with no base-building, or perhpas limited one. Like, instead of just three space-marines in a team like in Dow 2 (if i’m not mistaken), you can have 6 of them, make the maps slightly bigger and otherwise they can keep the rest i think.
        The only faction i really enjoyed in Dow 2 multiplayer were the orks for this exact reason. They didn’t feel too small in numbers but not too many as to become just a blob. Even though they should have cus they’re orks.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      Im in that camp too, preferred the small squad tactics of DoW2.
      What they’ve shown here looks a bit…generic?

      Too early to call though, im not writing it off just yet but im not exactly shouting ‘Shut up and take my money’ either

  7. alphax1983 says:

    Doesnt look much different from DoW2 both graphics and gameplay wise. I was hoping to see something “cool and jaw dropping” not more of the same….

    • Hunchback says:

      I am glad i am not alone in this, i was worried i’ve turned into a cynical twat with old age… :D

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Well there’s supposed to be base building and larger armies, so there is that.

    • Christo4 says:

      And it’s somehow worse with the cartoony art-style and siliness…

  8. xfstef says:

    Gameplay animations look jittery AF. I hope they optimize it.

  9. Calculon says:

    Definitely underwhelmed. Also I can see they have a loose interpretation of the ruleset (*retch*)

    • Mokinokaro says:

      An accurate representation of the ruleset wouldn’t work at all as an RTS.

      • Chiron says:

        I look forward to the day the AI spends 20 minutes looking through the rulebook and then creatively interprets the rules in his favour

  10. Vandelay says:

    I would say this looks like it is (heavily choreographed) gameplay footage, just with the HUD removed and using a cinematic camera. Graphically it looks pretty much what you would expect, although I would say it looks a bit bland, if anything.

    Still looking forward to this though. DoW2 was a unique game, but it also came at a time when there were pretty much zero traditional RTS games being made and it just added to the disappointment for those of us that actually enjoy a bit of base building that one of the best in that field would turn its back on it. The RTS genre is still a bit patchy, with very few games really catching my personal interest and many ending up being mediocre.

  11. fuggles says:

    Fingers crossed, not blown away yet and not fond of dow2.

    If anyone cares, thousand sons and blood angels mods for dow soulstorm are now on moddb.

    I’m currently working on legion of the damned and have been working on some unique ideas. Dow1 – pretty much infinite variety.

  12. Horg says:

    Moving to somewhere in between DoW and DoW 2 should be the sweet spot for the series. The Retribution expansion almost got there, but I feel the more traditional RTS elements (large armies, resource management, base building) fell short against the power of the hero units (mostly a single player criticism). If they could take the level of balance that Warcraft 3 achieved between heroes / super units and army units, we might have the ideal 40K formula on our hands.

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      Somehow, it’s become mildly mind-blowing to be reminded that Warcraft began as an RTS series.

  13. FreshHands says:

    Just loaded up a quick game to make sure – DoW2 still is great. Looks awesome, sounds amazing and urges you to not sit on your arse.

    Don’t know, the game simply works for me, while recent entries to the genre (and this trailer) reminded me there were reasons for RTS games to somehow stop being a thing.

    It is true however that DoW2 is kind of a freaky hybrid – probably not what true enthusiasts need for a fix.

  14. DarkFenix says:

    Looks too much like DoW2, I’d say I expect disappointment, but disappointment would imply an assumption of quality to begin with. I loathe DoW2 with a fiery passion, it could have been a perfectly good spin-off from the DoW series, but oh no they have to destroy perhaps my favourite RTS series (it’s hard to think of DoW1 and all its expansions as just a single game) of all time instead.

  15. acoff001 says:

    That was my first thought as well, “Gabriel sounds wrong”. Hopefully the new guy won’t be too distracting.

  16. Doomlord says:

    Man, the new voice guy sucks for Gabriel so that’s a big disappointment (especially for a game that had such amazing voice work, previously).

    The art style seems a bit wonky. But my biggest gripe is that nothing seems terribly different or interesting. Whether or not that’s a marketing failure at this point or that they genuinely don’t have much new to showcase remains to be seen. But based on their FB page’s comments, no one is all that thrilled with what they’ve shown.

    We’re all happy it’s being made but right now, nothing we’ve seen so far seems too exciting.

  17. mitthrawnuruodo says:

    Will this be another generic RTS, or will be tactics focused like DOW2 (at least in single player).

  18. Vastial says:

    Eugh, not sure about this. It just looks so….shiny? The Warhammer Universe isn’t all pink laser beams and neon, it’s dark, gritty and unforgiving, I also noticed the inactivity of the units as they are engaging in combat? I hope this is a very early build as right now I’ll be giving it a miss due to how generic it looks.

    • klops says:

      The Warhammer franchise has been very colourful from the very beginning. The promotion line speaks about grim darkness, but the units themselves are (or at least were) brightly coloured.

      Perhaps the most popular units are even named Ultramarines. Their bright red marine buddies, eldars and whatever are also quite far from dark and gritty.

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      Given that 40k is full of gleaming bling, fluttering pennants and flashy energy weapons, I think the problem is the lack of persistent fire and smoke. The explosions look like fireworks.

  19. BathroomCitizen says:

    I hope the game does something really good to distinguish itself from its predecessors.

    DoW1 with mods had damn HUGE scale! It even had medium-sized titans!

  20. DutchLaw says:

    DoW1 worked for me primarily because success was (at least seemingly) a product of good planning and execution. DoW2 had a lucky dip feel to it, what with all those equipment choices… Yuck. Both were pretty, but prettiness doesn’t maketh the game… But any lack in that department can certainly add another nail to the coffin.

  21. Chiron says:

    Call me when Wargame: Epic gets made.

  22. Bobtree says:

    This is a 60hz video of what looks like 15 fps footage. It reminds me of buying the original DoW Gold disc that had framerate problems in its pre-rendered cut-scenes. Not an impressive promo.

    That said, I loved the DoW2 games, so I’ll wait to see what DoW3 delivers.

  23. poohbear says:

    meh, the graphics are way too cartoony for my tastes. This is 40k for pete’s sake and i expected gritty and dark setting, not a bloody MOBA for the kiddies. Wish they woulda stuck with the graphics of DoW2 which captured the setting perfectly IMHO. DoW2 graphics still look fantastic 7 years on, which is quite impressive.