Sign up for the Dawn of War 3 multiplayer open beta

Signups have opened for the Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War 3 [official site] multiplayer open beta test due to run later this month. The open beta will let all and sundry play a limited slice of multiplayer from April 21st to 24th, ahead of the RTS’s proper launch on the 27th. It’ll have all three factions, though not with all their customisation options and Elite units, along with three maps. After reading Fraser Brown’s Dawn of War 3 preview, I’m certainly up for a weekend of waaagh!

If you want in, sign up over here. You will need a Relic account as well as Steam. The beta will run from 10am PST on Thursday, April 21st until 10am PST on Monday the 24th (that’s 7pm UK time – unless Sega got confused and meant PDT, in which case it’s 6pm). Beta keys will start arriving in inboxes on the 12th, then beta pre-loading will begin on the 18th.

It’ll pack 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 battles against other players — no AI scraps in the beta — for all three factions on three maps. Beta factions will only have six of their eighteen Doctrines, which give special buffs and abilities, and only five of their fifteen Elite units. I wonder if I can round up some of my old 3v3 DoW 2 teamies.

Check this FAQ for more on the open beta. But what’s it like to play a short burst of Dawn of War 3? Fraser wrote after his preview stretch:

“It feels like Relic are doing something new. When Dawn of War 3 does seem familiar, it’s in the same way that a lion and a chimera seem similar. Systems have been tweaked and contorted and reimagined so that there are myriad surprises, even for someone who is an old hand when it comes to RTSs. There are so many moving parts that it can be a little intimidating, however. Even the maps have these twists, like long grass or smoke-filled areas that render units invisible, or interactive objects that lower bridges and open up new paths. Diving into the multiplayer as I did, it can be as confusing and cluttered as it is thrilling and complex.”

And can I pet this chimera?

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  1. subedii says:

    Personally I'm going to have to disagree with that.

    DoW2 hewed FAR more heavily towards MOBA territory than anything they've shown of the mechanics for DoW3.

    If anything they appear to be trending more towards the first game than the second.

    About the only thing that I see regularly referenced for the idea that the game's gone "all in" on MOBA is that there's a sequence of map objectives leading to destroying a base power core.

    In some respects borrowed from MOBA design, but to me that just reads as being points of contention to fight on. And more importantly, a heck of a lot more fitting for the gameplay than trying to outlast a countdown clock of tickets.

    Still, I'm willing to be proven wrong once the game comes out, but like I said, so far I'm seeing DoW2 had far more of a MOBA influence to it (before "MOBA" was even a term. Back then the devs were gushing about Heroes of Newearth).

    I mean:

    - Before the start of the match, each player picks a hero unit / champion.

    - Champions which then levelled up over the course of a match as they gained XP

    - Buying items for heroes to upgrade and change their abilities

    Heck, there were about 18 heroes by the end, each of which had roughly 9 pieces of wargear they could select from. That was pretty heavily influenced by MOBA design.

    And that's just the heroes. It's leaving aside the other mechanics and issues: much smaller scale, no base building in order to emphasise in-field tactics, far greater emphasis on preserving those units because they were such a big investment. Even to the point where other players could resurrect your hero in the field.

    Meanwhile I'm looking at DoW3. The scale is larger as a given, but then they've also de-emphasised unit preservation (to the point of even removing the retreat mechanic), in hand with this they've thrown in the escalation mechanics so that the scale increases over the course of a match, swapped out heroes for elites that are purchased for the the DoW3 equivalent of DoW2's "red". Instead of hero choice being the pre-start metagame, they've now got Doctrines (which appear to make even bigger changes than CoH2's bulletins). And each side seems to have far more of a unique hook than before (Scrap mechanic for orks, drop pods for Space Marines). All packaged around the Dawn of War staple (and there are few staples in this series) of in-field resource points that you need to take and hold to progress.

    I'm just reading this all as more on the RTS side than MOBA side. MOBA to me means emphasis on controlling one super powerful unit (and potentially some minions), and doing direct battle with other heroes. Then you've got the ancillary stuff like leveling, creeps, items.

    I'm not even sure where you're getting the cover system thing from. The fundamental issue is that the directional cover that DoW2 borrowed from CoH barely worked as armies scaled up, and led to frequent auto-pathing issues (when it wasn't frequently screwing up and leaving 1/3 of your squad out of cover). Problems that were only amplified with horde races that fielded more units. The cover system in DoW3 appears to hew closer to DoW1.

    EDIT: This was a lot longer than I expected, sorry. It's just that I've played a ridiculous amount of DoW2. I loved it but the idea that DoW3 has gone "all in" on MOBA compared to DoW2 of all things is just crazy to me.
  1. Hoot says:

    This is awesome news.

    How I feel about the multiplayer will decide whether or not I buy the game. The DOW campaigns have always been trash IMO, it’s the multiplayer I played the last 2 games for.

    • Premium User Badge

      Drib says:

      I have exactly the opposite opinion, but I still want to sign up so I can play a game I’m looking forward to.

    • emotionengine says:

      You’re calling one of the most memorable RTS campaigns ever made (Chaos Rising) trash? What are you on?

      • DudeshootMankill says:

        Oh man, Chaos Rising was great? I loved the other DOW’s but i ended up skipping that one.

      • shde2e says:

        I liked the Chaos Rising campaign (and to a lesser extent, Soulstorm) as much as anyone else, but when you get down to it they were just a pile of skirmish maps with modified starts, chained together by a very simple meta-game.

        It’s pretty fun to play, but not exactly a high point of game design. Even the basic and recycled campaign of DoW2 blows it out of the water.

      • Asurmen says:

        I couldn’t stand Chaos Rising or Soulstorm. A bunch of skirmish maps tied together? May as well just play against AI on multiplayer.

        • emotionengine says:

          I think you and shde2e both miss the point. It’s less about the gameplay mechanics per se, which were interesting enough, but rather that Chaos Rising had one of the most compelling and well executed plots and character development seen in an RTS outside of maybe StarCraft/Brood War. The mere fact that it has memorable characters at all is a seldom seen achievement for the genre at large.

          [SPOILERS: How the game handled the final twist with the identity of the traitor depending on how you employ the Chaos gear and the decisions you make during and between the missions was brilliant].

          • Asurmen says:

            No I didn’t, I simply got expansions mixed up between the two games. DoW2 expansions were all good. Last two DoW expansions were absolutely pants.

    • SaintAn says:

      Then I must be Oscar the fucking Grouch because the DoW 1 games were great.

  2. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Really looking forward to this, I kind of hated 2 except Last Stand mode but have high hopes for 3. Dow1 is still my favourite RTS game.

    • Titler says:

      Unfortunately, you’re probably going to dislike the third game then; the second was heavily leaning that way, but they’ve gone all in for turning it into a MOBA in this game. The cover system which was so highly controversial turns out to be in support of that too.

      • Vandelay says:

        Sounds like DoW 3 is going to be a fusion of 1 and 2 to me. In fact, sounds like it is going to be far more of 1 than 2. They are bringing back the base building and ditching small unit counts. They are retaining the hero units of 2, but making them a late game unit that unlocks as you progress, rather than always present.

        Don’t really know where you are getting that this is going to be a MOBA and certainly don’t understand what a cover system has to do with that genre (are there any that even have a cover system?)

      • subedii says:

        Personally I’m going to have to disagree with that.

        DoW2 hewed FAR more heavily towards MOBA territory than anything they’ve shown of the mechanics for DoW3.

        If anything they appear to be trending more towards the first game than the second.

        About the only thing that I see regularly referenced for the idea that the game’s gone “all in” on MOBA is that there’s a sequence of map objectives leading to destroying a base power core.

        In some respects borrowed from MOBA design, but to me that just reads as being points of contention to fight on. And more importantly, a heck of a lot more fitting for the gameplay than trying to outlast a countdown clock of tickets.

        Still, I’m willing to be proven wrong once the game comes out, but like I said, so far I’m seeing DoW2 had far more of a MOBA influence to it (before “MOBA” was even a term. Back then the devs were gushing about Heroes of Newearth).

        I mean:

        – Before the start of the match, each player picks a hero unit / champion.

        – Champions which then levelled up over the course of a match as they gained XP

        – Buying items for heroes to upgrade and change their abilities

        Heck, there were about 18 heroes by the end, each of which had roughly 9 pieces of wargear they could select from. That was pretty heavily influenced by MOBA design.

        And that’s just the heroes. It’s leaving aside the other mechanics and issues: much smaller scale, no base building in order to emphasise in-field tactics, far greater emphasis on preserving those units because they were such a big investment. Even to the point where other players could resurrect your hero in the field.

        Meanwhile I’m looking at DoW3. The scale is larger as a given, but then they’ve also de-emphasised unit preservation (to the point of even removing the retreat mechanic), in hand with this they’ve thrown in the escalation mechanics so that the scale increases over the course of a match, swapped out heroes for elites that are purchased for the the DoW3 equivalent of DoW2’s “red”. Instead of hero choice being the pre-start metagame, they’ve now got Doctrines (which appear to make even bigger changes than CoH2’s bulletins). And each side seems to have far more of a unique hook than before (Scrap mechanic for orks, drop pods for Space Marines). All packaged around the Dawn of War staple (and there are few staples in this series) of in-field resource points that you need to take and hold to progress.

        I’m just reading this all as more on the RTS side than MOBA side. MOBA to me means emphasis on controlling one super powerful unit (and potentially some minions), and doing direct battle with other heroes. Then you’ve got the ancillary stuff like leveling, creeps, items.

        I’m not even sure where you’re getting the cover system thing from. The fundamental issue is that the directional cover that DoW2 borrowed from CoH barely worked as armies scaled up, and led to frequent auto-pathing issues (when it wasn’t frequently screwing up and leaving 1/3 of your squad out of cover). Problems that were only amplified with horde races that fielded more units. The cover system in DoW3 appears to hew closer to DoW1.

        EDIT: This was a lot longer than I expected, sorry. It’s just that I’ve played a ridiculous amount of DoW2. I loved it but the idea that DoW3 has gone “all in” on MOBA compared to DoW2 of all things is just crazy to me.

        • Asurmen says:

          This expresses how I feel about the MOBA ‘complaint’ and the comparisons between the DoW franchise better than I ever could.

        • Fiatil says:

          I agree with this! I’m coming at it from a bit of a different angle — I loved DoW 1 but did not like the reduced scale and lack of base building in DoW 2 at all. I avoided DoW 3 coverage for awhile as a result, but one glance at the steam page shows a game that appears to hew much closer to the original than to its successor. Tons of units and base building pushes it much farther away from the MOBA genre than DoW 2 was.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I guess the site is getting (war)hammered. I get an ‘unspecified error’ when I sign up. Whee!

  4. SaintAn says:

    Ugh, they force you to sign up for their newsletter.

    • Vandelay says:

      I was wondering why you have to sign up for an open beta. I should of guessed it was so they could have your e-mail for marketing.

      Does put me off slightly, but I’m sure they already have my e-mail from their other games.

  5. fuggles says:

    In the meantime I shall continue to add new races for Dow 1 on moddb – another one is nearly finished! Never mind apocalypse, combiner is where it’s at for me.

    I have strategically capped the fence and am sitting on it with Dow 3. Maybe in a sale at some point… It does have striking scorpions.

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