Wot I Think: Warhammer 40,000 – Dawn of War 3

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 [official site] wants to be everything you like about the series, and its very different predecessors, in a single RTS. Missed the big armies and the base building? They’re back. Prefer fighting with beefy heroic units with lots of special abilities? They’re here too. It’s trying to be all things to all men, women, Orks and Eldar, and crikey does it come close to succeeding. So close you can hear the heavy metal roar of an Ork Waaagh tower and the thudding of Space Marine boots.

For the first time, Relic have put all three of their favourite factions on equal footing straight away instead of holding all but the Space Marines back for expansions. The heavily armoured space fascists, Orks and Eldar share the spotlight in both the campaign and multiplayer – a relief after the spate of Space Marine-only affairs. And it’s in the design of these factions that Relic have done some of their strongest work.

Each group scratches an itch. The Emperor’s finest are like a fist smashing a face: punchy. They charge and leap with bolters blasting and swords held high, getting into brawls quickly and pinning down fleshy foes with big hammers and even bigger knockbacks. They’re as subtle as a fart in an elevator, as evidenced by their special ability: they can queue up drop pods, containing more Space Marines, primed to be dropped right on the heads of their foes.

The Eldar and Orks aren’t quite as intuitive, but benefit from an additional layer of complexity. The former, along with their speed and predilection for fast, ranged strikes, can link up buildings to create a web of teleporters, and even teleport the buildings themselves. They’re perfect for hit-and-run tactics and surprise assaults. Their green enemies, on the other hand, overwhelm with numbers and the power of their psychic rage – the Waaagh. They grow in strength as they loot and salvage scrap to be used for upgrades, new vehicles and additional Waaagh towers.

While all three factions feature a broad range of line units, from melee units that can lock down enemies to ranged troops who fire devastating weapons that need time to set up, they still feel fundamentally different. Here’s an example of Marine combat.

Gabriel Angelos and a couple of squads of Tactical Marines are surrounded by pumped-up Orks, roaring and flailing with their cruel axes. They’re outnumbered, health rapidly being whittled down, and they can’t make it back to their base. Angelos, an Elite and thus blessed with more health and a suite of handy abilities, could make a break for it. He could leap over the Orks and leg it to safety, leaving his men behind. Instead, he leaps up, not over, and when he lands in the centre of the green tide, every enemy in the area flies backwards.

With extra breathing room, Angelos’ troops open fire, but they’re quickly forced back into desperate melee duels by another wave of enemies – enemies too busy to watch the skies. A roaring noise competes with the din of battle followed by, seconds later, two explosions. Two more rings of Orks are flung backwards. The drop pod doors open up with fresh soldiers pouring out, setting up firing positions and chasing down fleeing Nobz and Boyz.

Swap out the Space Marines for Eldar and the story changes. With their speed and penchant for slowing enemies, they really shouldn’t be surrounded in the first place, but if they are, they’re in a bit of a pickle. A whole jar of pickles. Eldar have a lot of strengths, but sustained melee engagements ain’t one of them – they crumble faster than me after a brisk jog, which is to say very quickly and with no small amount of embarrassment. Still, there are ways for them to escape using clouds of smoke and handy stuns, but if they choose to duke it out with the Orks, they won’t come out of it nearly as well as Angelos and his buds.

Some people will scoff at the idea that MOBAs can teach RTS games anything, but the MOBA inspiration behind unit design and ability synergy is a massive boon here. Though not quite as developed as the heroes from the likes of Dota or Heroes of the Storm, every unit – not just the Elites – has a hook and an ability that make them a valuable part of a team. And this goes well beyond the rock, paper, scissors formula. The value of a unit is more fluid, more situational, and depends on the squads around them creating opportunities.

It would be lovely, though, if everyone could maybe die… less? Or at least at a slower rate. It’s a bit of a jump from the incredibly hardy but small squads of Dawn of War 2 to these considerably more vulnerable facsimiles. It’s hard to get invested in a unit when they could get wiped out in a few seconds. It’s almost like Space Marine armour is actually made out of polystyrene. Sure, it’s lighter, and it’s probably more comfortable, but is comfort worth dying over?

The scarcity of properly hardy soldiers is something I could perhaps live with if there were more ways to mitigate damage. Unfortunately, after experimenting with a cover system in DoW2, Relic have chucked it in the bin in favour of no cover system at all. There are capturable areas that provide a destructible shield, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be fighting anywhere near one; nor is one bit of cover really going to stop a lot of your troops from being riddled with holes. I like the clarity of these defensible positions, but there’s no flexibility. The result is that a great number of fights are pitched battles in open areas.

Line of sight and high ground have an impact, and hidden units – either through an ability or an area that cloaks them – mean that sneak attacks and ambushes are perfectly viable tactics, so battles are never just a matter of smashing armies together, but there’s no real room for a defensive player. As well as a dearth of cover to hide behind, there are incredibly few fortification options and units aren’t capable of being garrisoned in buildings. This is especially strange when you consider the multiplayer mode, which involves protecting your team’s power core while trying to take out the opposition’s.

Everyone is on the offensive in multiplayer. You might, like I did at first, build up your forces, protect some important resource points, and keep an eye on your power core, but you won’t make many friends, and your allies will probably blame you for the loss. Maybe they’re assholes, but they might also be right. If you’re not constantly harassing the enemy, taking out their Elites, and generally getting up to mischief, then you’re probably not helping.

That’s not really the important bit, mind. Who cares what your team thinks? The real problem is that playing defensively is so incredibly, dreadfully, mind-numbingly dull. Got a couple of guys hiding behind some smoke? Placed someone in the magical shield bubble? Great, you’re pretty much done. Build some more units, I guess? So now you’re bored and you aren’t really helping.

That aside, Dawn of War 3’s multiplayer battles are still great. 3v3 in particular is a glorious mess of clashing armies and territorial punch-ups. Here’s the gist: two teams duke it out over their respective power cores, each placed at opposite ends of the map. To take out a power core, at least one of the turrets protecting it must be destroyed, and to take out a turret, you’ve got to take out the shield generator protecting it. And to keep the conflict going at all times, resource points dot the map and create new objectives for players to fight over.

With so many targets and an escalation system that increases resource generation and building health every 10 minutes, there’s an aggressive, relentless flow to these battles, and first blood is usually spilled within the first minute. With drop pods falling from the skies, buildings teleporting willy-nilly and giant Elite units slaughtering entire squads in seconds, it can be chaotic and sometimes hard to parse, but this chaos is also the source of some of the most exhilarating RTS brawls I’ve had the pleasure to win and lose.

While the constant attack, attack, attack might seem repetitive, there’s plenty of diversity when it comes to choosing how you’re going to be aggressive. See, before every multiplayer match, and to a lesser extent campaign mission, you choose a loadout – three MOBA-like Elites and six doctrines, essentially augments and buffs. These can dramatically change the tone of your forces, or shore up any gaps in their capabilities.

Orks aren’t very sneaky. They are too loud and, let’s face it, too smelly for stealth. But with the right combination of Elites and doctrines, they can be almost as sly as the Eldar. Zapnoggin’, for instance, can teleport groups of Orks into or out of trouble with his fancy Ork magic, while one of their doctrines allows them to hide underneath the scrap they normally use to unlock new weapons and armour, littering the battlefield with potential ambush sites.

Doctrines and Elites require skulls before they can be unlocked, however. You can earn a fair amount of currency from the campaign and keep earning it through multiplayer matches. I’m still not entirely convinced by the unnecessarily complicated system, however. You’ve got army doctrines that are, not surprisingly, army wide; presence doctrines, which only work if the Elite they’re connected to is present on the battlefield; and command doctrines that work when a specific Elite is in your loadout. Then you’ve got to take into account levels, because command doctrines can only be unlocked when an Elite reaches level 3, and when it hits level 8 that same doctrine can be unlocked as an army doctrine and… I’m losing you, I know I am.

I’m some 1,600 words into this Wot I Think and you’re probably starting to notice that I’ve been avoiding the campaign. Unfortunately this is not because I’ve been building up to Dawn of War 3’s best feature. Nothing about it works for me. Not the paper-thin characters, not the plodding story, not the endless journeys across maps that keep growing. There are a few individual missions that I’ve definitely clicked with, but as a whole, the campaign is…well, it’s a disappointment. It’s the one place where Relic’s attempt to merge elements from the two earlier games doesn’t really work, and the juxtaposition of linear, scripted missions with base building is incredibly awkward, cursing many missions with a confusing pace.

They usually start out by limiting your army to a handful of squads and forcing you down a bunch of corridors, fighting your way from A to B. Without wrinkles like cover, suppression and resources, it feels more like Diablo than an RTS. Sometimes, that’s the entire mission. A few squads and an Elite, jogging from one end of the map to the other. The majority, however, let you start building a base during the second phase of the mission. That’s when things start to feel like a strategy romp again, with armies duking it out over capture points and assaulting each other’s HQs.

I’d still do terrible things for a more reactive campaign AI, mind you. It feels like enemies never really act unless the invisible director tells them to. When they attack, it’s because they’ve reached that point in the mission when they’re meant to try to take out your base. When fast patrols start scouting and hunting down your minions, it’s because it’s part of a secondary objective, not just something an enemy with common sense would do.

Aside from Homeworld, Relic’s best campaigns tend to be non-linear and based around capturing territory across one or more campaign maps – a simulation of actual warfare. It’s desperately needed here. Without it, there aren’t enough decisions for players to make. From start to finish, the campaign feels like you’re playing someone else’s story, not your own. And while decent RTS campaigns increasingly feel like my white whale, I can usually depend on Relic for something better.

There are moments, many of them, during multiplayer and AI skirmishes, where I’m absolutely certain that Dawn of War 3 is the best game in the series, even with its missteps when it comes to cover and fortifications. I could happily continue rambling on about the brilliant faction design or how I still squeal with glee every time I drop a gargantuan beast of an Elite like Imperial Knight Solaria into a fight – you haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed her impossibly huge guns turning an army of Orks into green-red paste. If you’re only interested in the campaign, however, then you’re unlikely to find as much to get enthused about.

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 is out on April 27th.

82 Comments

  1. Walsh says:

    How is this already out to review when the multiplayer open ‘beta’ is just starting?

    • Fraser Brown says:

      Because reviewers have had access to it for a while now. And there have been 3 MP betas.

    • SaltyGaming says:

      Famous Websites have access to closed beta-alpha versions for the reviews.
      This review is nice, we also wrote a review. The game will be Legendary.

  2. Eightball says:

    Sounds like the campaign of DoW2: Retribution taken to it’s logical conclusion.

    Shame.

    • Doomlord says:

      Nah, that was a blast. Sounds like you’re incorrect here. Shame.

  3. Zephro says:

    The campaign being rubbish is a big disappointment as I’ve got no intention of playing Multiplayer. Oh well Total Warhammer 2 to wait for.

    • ramirezfm says:

      To quote another review “It’s not a flawless mix, and the multiplayer contents are a bit lean; but distinctive factions, a solid campaign, and largely compatible mechanics give Dawn of War 3 a strong base of operations.”

      So… well… let’s wait for let’s plays…

      • Fraser Brown says:

        No – they are wrong and I am correct. But there’s no harm in watching other people play it before making a decision.

      • SaintAn says:

        What’s the source? A lot of gaming blogs are not reliable for much of anything these days. Like PC Gamer, GameSpot, Polygon, Destructoid, etc. So it’s important to know where an opinion is from.

    • Daymare says:

      Me, too. I’ve looked forward to the SP campaign, haven’t played an RTS since SC2: Heart of the Swarm and never played any PvP matches anywhere. HotS’s campaign didn’t have a good story, but the matches sure were fun and the plot kept me engaged to play along, in a pulpy sorta way. How does DoW3 compare to it, I wonder?

    • Hoot says:

      On the flip side of that coin, I completely ignored the campaigns of the first 2 games (played for an hour, decided they were boring and badly acted) but put hundreds of hours into the multiplayer.

      Truly, if they just released a multiplayer only DoW I would buy it. The campaign does nothing for me and I likely won’t bother with it this time round, just jump straight on the ladder.

  4. gabrielonuris says:

    You know, I really think that I am the only one to like DoW 2 more than DoW 1. I just wish they could make a sequel do DoW 2, with the same mechanics. Maybe a spin off?!

    I like RTS games, but DoW 2 has a style of gameplay that we’re always lacking. It’s like Ghost Recon/Rainbow six from above; it’s like a more polished SWAT.

    From the top of my mind, the only game I can remember that has this feeling is Fallout Tactics.

    • Crafty_Banana says:

      You’re not alone! I loved the zoomed-in style of the campaign in DoW 2 and its expansions, with each cluster of enemies and fortifications being it’s own little tactical micro-challenge. I also greatly enjoyed watching the dreadnaught’s assault cannon level entire city blocks.

      It really nailed what I wanted from an RTS/RTT in single player; the number of hours I’ve sunk into it attests to how much more satisfying I found it than the usual, wearying parade of skirmish maps against a flailing AI.

    • ramirezfm says:

      You’re not the only one.

    • Arathain says:

      No, me too. DoW2 is my favourite multiplayer RTS. I loved the focus on a small number of resilient, hyper-detailed squads. That and the cover system made every encounter wreathed in nuance.

      I love Relic RTSs, and I’m keen to give this a go, but it sounds like they’ve moved away from a lot of the things I adored about the second game.

    • Eightball says:

      DoW 2 master race reporting in

      • Carlos Danger says:

        DoW 2 was my favorite, DoW 2: Retribution I despised. Seems to me that DoW 3 follows in DoW 2: Retribution’s footsteps which is a shame.

        Will be waiting a year or so till at least a 50% sale.

        • Eightball says:

          Agreed as well. Retribution’s campaign felt like it was designed by someone who loathed 2 and Chaos Rising. A bizarre quasi-expansion.

      • Subtle says:

        Master race? hahah good one can’t handle macro while you micro your units. Get good :)

    • FrozenHobbit says:

      I know how you feel. I pumped hundreds of hours in DoW2 and its expansions.

    • GardenOfSun says:

      You’re far from alone, I think. For some odd reason – probably tied to the so and so campaigns – there has always been this feeling on the net that DoW2 was inferior to the first, but mechanically speaking, at least in my opinion, the opposite is definitely the case. DoW2 Retribution’s multiplayer in my opinion is the single game that has come closest to capturing the charm and fantasy of 40k battles, and while also renovating the genre too; so much so, in fact, that I still don’t quite understand why many of its features haven’t become a staple in the following years(because sure, I can understand diehard competitive players would love forever the SC2 formula, but it’s still beyond me how people can call “strategy” such a gamey mindnumbing exercise in apm; might as well call Dota2 or LoL “strategy games” too at that point).

      Sadly, I was insta-disappointed when I looked at footage of this DoW3 thing, because it immediately looked like some kind of cheap console action game, showing a design direction that would baffle me if I didn’t know the mass sensibilities these companies are forced to cater to. But aye, there I am grumbling like an old geezer again. ^_^

      • gabrielonuris says:

        I thought DoW 2 worked wonderfully with its levels functioning as “mini tactical sandboxes”; we don’t see those mechanics anymore, where AI, setting and gameplay work with each other in perfect unison.

        Knowing what the market usually thinks it wants, I was already expecting DoW 3 to not be like DoW 2 in the slightest, unfortunately.

    • Hellraiserzlo says:

      Not alone, I got 1.5k hours on dow2.

      • Hellraiserzlo says:

        I kinda like dow3 mp, but not enogh to buy it.
        The constant aggression is fun but you get to a point early on if you are doing well where progressing is gated by having to fight a strong building(the cores shield), so I had to get defensive and tech up at that point, if I leave I might loose all my foreword structures and resources, if I stay it’s just boring with my units standing in place.
        Also elites are ridicules, they can delete squads in a couple of seconds and late game turns into this crazy resource income ramp up where you pump constantly units and throw them into the meat grinder with attack move.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      It’s a great game generally – I really love how accessible the co-op is for campaign. Co-op helps the harder difficulties actually be fun, rather than a grinding slog. As with the other commentary, DoW2 is my preference as well (for campaign – never really got into MP for DoW2).

    • acoff001 says:

      Chiming in to agree, I prefer the gameplay in 2 for sure.

    • Syra says:

      DoW2 is probably my favourite multiplayer game ever mate, it’s definitely the way relic should have gone with more nuanced systems instead of whatever this appears to be :/

  5. Darth Gangrel says:

    Warhamer 40,000? Burn the ham(-er), kill the typo, purge the headline!

  6. aircool says:

    No cover system sounds weird for a game based on 40K, especially for races that use cover as part of their overall playstyle, I’m thinking Dark Eldar and Tau here. Tau in particular would have to have some major modifications as they also play quite defensively which doesn’t appear to fit in with the multiplayer style.

    Then again, I’m a hedgehog player from the days of Total Annihilation and can’t do all this actions per second crap or whatever it’s called.

    I enjoyed the previous iterations although they weren’t perfect, but I’ll probably give this one a miss.

    • Asurmen says:

      They didn’t need anything during DoW1 though.

      You can ignore lore if it improves gameplay.

      • Eightball says:

        While it was very subdued in DoW1, cover was there in the form of areas with high and low cover you could move troops into (usually craters were high cover and rivers were low cover).

        • Premium User Badge

          Nauallis says:

          Rivers were no-cover, unless that’s what you mean by low. DoW1 units take more damage in rivers than they do normally.

        • Asurmen says:

          I am aware of that. My point being is that it was A) only in specific areas and B) everyone had to attack. There was nothing defensive about Tau in DoW, so no modifications were required.

        • Crowbar says:

          I wouldn’t say it was subdued. It was a core mechanic and the +/- cover areas on maps were placed in important strategic locations that you had to account for in your tactics.

  7. kud13 says:

    That’s a shame about the campaign. Oh well, gonna wishlist it and wait for a nice discount.

    I actually quite liked the original DoW2 campaign. The “choose your own order of objectives” meta-game is generally the best way to structure RTS stories, imho.

  8. NetharSpinos says:

    Welp. It’s not perfect, but I’ll take it. I greatly enjoyed DoW 1 & 2, so it’s basically a taken I’ll be having DoW 3 too, idiosyncracies notwithstanding (looking at you, circus-trained Angelos…).

  9. Leonick says:

    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 [official site] wants to be everything you like about the series, and its very different predecessors, in a single RTS.

    If only that was true. Cover changes and lack of co-op campaign were already disappointments. Completely linear campaign doesn’t help.

    Still getting it, but maybe not right away.

    • wodin says:

      Sounds like it’s moved even further away from anything I like in a realtime game..fragile units, hectic pace, just not for me.

      • Premium User Badge

        Herring says:

        Well, those things worked for SC2 and BroodWar, arguably THE RTS games.

        • meskus says:

          There are RTS games and then there are THE RTS games with more then tank rush and quick mouse/key bashing mechanics. I like SC a lot and I played it a lot but DoW and CoH are completely different kind of RTS. More feeling and planning, less rushing and bashing kind of THE RTS games for my taste. In this games combat is more focused and personal so to say. In SC games units are generally more disposable apart from hero units. I really liked preserving my units as much as possible in DoW and CoH till the end of the misson, it felt more engrossing and right to make to the end with veterans. Even in SC I didn’t like mass dying of units. Also I more of SP or COop campaign type player even if I play lot of MP. What I surely do not like is MOBA mechanics in DoW and such games.

  10. Vandelay says:

    Campaign sounds disappointing. I hope it is at least better than Retribution’s, which was painfully dull.

    The few multiplayer woes sound more like personal preferences than actual gameplay problems though. I don’t have too much of an issue with the game encouraging offense and discouraging passive play. That is a standard part of Relic RTS games and should really be expected.

    I am perhaps more on the hold off until a discount thought now than I was before reading this, but I’ll see how I feel after some time with the beta.

  11. ColonelFlanders says:

    Oh no. I really loved the cover system – how it doesn’t exist in all RTSes baffles me. As if all wars are fought with a big cluster of guys just stood there shooting each other?!

    Must say im disappointed and confused by the omission of this feature, I hope the rest of the game holds us without It!

  12. Imperialist says:

    Basically the roadmap for relic:
    DOW1 and its expansions- Old School RTS that introduced unique-for-the-time elements to the genre.
    COH1 and its Expansions- New school RTS, with a few lingering old school elements. Relic strikes gold, nearly changes the landscape for isometric RTS games.
    DOW2- Pure new-school RTS with RPG elements. Focuses on actual strategy and tactics. RTS fans cry foul, 40k fans rejoice.
    COH2- Really just COH1, with mechanics that havent aged as gracefully. Stagnant.
    DOW3- Old school RTS with hero units (like WC3). No attempts to change or bring the genre forward. Gabriel Angelos ripped from the cover of Small Soldiers, diet space marines, trippy trailer.
    In a time where 40k is flourishing and starting to be taken seriously…
    Literally the definition of two steps forward, one (or 3) steps back?

    • Fiatil says:

      I pretty much agree with this! Except I’m solidly in the RTS camp and am looking forward to the beta this weekend. I loved DoW 1, CoH 1, not so much DoW 2 because I don’t want a squad tactics game, so this seems right up my alley.

    • Asurmen says:

      Don’t see any problems with supposed steps back.

      • Imperialist says:

        I guess it depends on your perspective. Is the original Command and Conquer playable today? To some people. To me, it represents a time when the technology limited the scope of games. You had tiny little units, volleying back and forth like colonial-era musketeers until one side was utterly wiped out. We have better technology now…surely we can do more with it than create a pretty version of 2004?

        • Asurmen says:

          That only works on the basis that technology massively limited 2004, and it didn’t really. Not in the terms I think you’re thinking of.

        • Thants says:

          I don’t see how RPG-esque elements and a cover system has anything to do with technology. You can just say you prefer that style rather then act like it’s about Progress. DoW 2 hardly more realistic or anything.

        • Bull0 says:

          C&C is not only still playable today, but it is a fucking riot to play. Get off my lawn etc

  13. Premium User Badge

    Nauallis says:

    Fanboy opinions for the zombie emperor! Bodily fluids for the bodily fluid god! Chaos! Arguments! A bathtub full of multicolored power tools!

    I should probably read the review.

    Edit: Oh snap. I’m not really a MP-heavy player for RTS games. What’s funny is that WH40k games, aside from Relic’s previous DoW entries, are generally extremely cheesy and have paper-thin plots. Even the books are like that. That Relic has fallen into that pit with the rest is sad, but not particularly surprising. That’s kinda WH40k’s thing.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      Edit timer up. Before I get corrected by other fans, I know; the good books are Abnett’s Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies, a handful of Bowden’s titles. And usually it’s the titles that flesh out parts of the Imperium and the galaxy generally, that are not exclusively about endless war. Those novels are interesting. Even the Gaunt’s Ghosts novels are cliché. Generally, there’s nothing wrong with writing about the battles and the glorification of the various armies and factions – that is after all the setting and the whole motif of the WH40k universe. It does get tiresome though, when one plot is largely the same as the next.

      Anyway, blah blah blah, opinions!

      • Imperialist says:

        I think alot of what you say may be right, but ultimately how the 40k universe weaves together is the most compelling part. Theres also the fact that theres 3 seperate branches of 40k fiction:
        The older novels dating between 1995 and 2004.
        The newer 40k novels between 2005 and now.
        The Horus Heresy.
        It really is pretty much its own genre, and theres a large quantity of EVERYTHING, from detective noir, to grand battles, to examinations of the human psyche and the lasting effects of PTSD. If theres one thing ive learned about 40k, its that you cant generalize about it…theres just a huge amount of content. Some of it is gold, some of it isnt. Some of it is shallow bolter porn, some of it is rather deep.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nauallis says:

          True, true. My problem with the Horus Heresy is also arguably the best thing about it – the fact that it switches authors with every sequential story, and thus despite being a “series” it’s more like four or five separate series joined together as the authors write their own portions. It’s great for story, terrible for any temporal sense. The first what, three, four or five books all move the plot forward, introducing characters, some of whom persist from book to book. Those are great. The Great Crusade is fleshed out, Horus’ portion of it and his protags/antags are setup. We get to the Istvan event. And then somewhere around book five or six the books just go back to before the heresy and start over. This repeats two times with the first 10 books. It’s not until after a dozen novels that are essentially about the same portion of the story, that we actually start getting into the battles that occur AFTER the Istvan dropsite massacre and the bloody plot (pun intended) starts moving forward in time again. And then goes back to origin stories. Again. It’s tiresome, though I admit that tiresome is a weak complaint about WH40k. That said, you are right that the Horus Heresy series is quite good… it’s dragging out though. 28 books, 5 are compilations. I stopped around book 14 or 15. Oh well.

          After writing all that, I gotta say that I am glad it’s comprehensive enough that I can have this many complaints about the series and the universe/genre, because it really is quite an amazing and grand world they’ve built over the last 40? years.

          • Imperialist says:

            Well, keep in mind, since there are 18 founding legions, and you know how 40k fans are about faction/subfaction representation, they decided to give each legion AT LEAST one book. If you like Ultramarines, you really wondered what the 500 worlds were like back in the day. Now theres a sub-series on the Primarchs…because they are the big draw for the HH series (and people want to know their beloved chapter’s Primarch’s backstory).
            I think they just need to start flagging “backstory novels” so we can tell them apart from the “main” ones. Ah screw it, ill buy em all anyway.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nauallis says:

            20! 20 founding legions. And 2 are “unknown” to the current timeframe of the 41st millennium. Because pedantry!

            I’ve also been spelling Isstvan incorrectly, oh nuts.

          • Imperialist says:

            I know theres 20, but 18 are known. I dont count the other 2 :P

          • Dinges says:

            Im hoping that the mysterious 2 chapters are expanded upon/revealed during the course of the Horus Heresy series – they’ve been mentioned a few times already and there’s been other subtle changes to the lore as we knew it (coming from the old codex books).

            As for the series itself, the quality depends – Graham McNeil, Dan Abnett and a few others are basically my favourite writers (Especially Thousand Sons is fantastic, goddamn). Then there’s some books that are a bit too simplistic, and I’m left wondering why astartes, some of who lived for more than 200 years, are acting like big babies who can’t vent their frustration.

            Oh well!

  14. jeremyalexander says:

    That’s too bad. I’m not a multiplayer guy either. If you are going to put a campaign into the game, why half bake it? This is my fear for Star Wars Battlefront 2. Instead of a long meaty SP campaign that spans worlds we will get a 5 hour COD style SP throw away.

  15. Anti-Skub says:

    I honestly don’t understand the “It feels like you are playing someone elses story not your own”. You see it so much these days. People complaining that a game tells them a story and doesn’t just expect you to come up with one to fill in the gap.

    You know what other games told you someone elses story and didn’t let you make decisions? Starcraft, Red Alert, Homeworld, Warcraft 3, Total Annihilation…you know…the best ones.

  16. sosolidshoe says:

    So a lacklustre campaign and an RTS that apparently doesn’t have an entire S, my favourite one at that – yeah, I think I’ll just play the first two again.

    Seriously though, I actually think they have a bit of a cheek claiming the game is an RTS if there aren’t any defensive strategies. Turtling has been part of the genre since its inception, and it needs to be because not everybody is a 3-bajillion APM teenager with an intraveous drip of Monster energy drink going 24/7. Not to mention that not having to account for the possibility of running into a defensive player means the complexity in MP narrows fairly substantially right off the bat.

    • Fiatil says:

      The millions of RTS players who don’t have crazy APM but hate what turtling has done to games like CoH 1 disagree with you.

      The review shows that there are still ways to be defensive. They’re just not going to let you force a 2 hour long stalemate with a ton of strong defensive structures.

      • Imperialist says:

        Turtling is not only a video game strategy, but a real world tactical strategy too. I would argue that this whole trend of “only attack, never defend” is both illogical, and boring. The Germans totally turtled up the beaches at Normandy. The Allies had to zerg rush it. Cant we strike a balance? One where there are multiple strategies that can win if the player is both cunning and persistent?

      • Titler says:

        Beating those turtle defences, or just using my own to stall for long enough to launch my own decisive strike elsewhere were some of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had; defeating people who just thought they could APM their way to victory by playing a smarter strategy across the entire map is the whole point of the S in RTS.

        Instead, as the reviews start to come in, I hope people will finally be just as honest and admit that since DoW 2 days, Relic have moved ever further with the core of their gameplay towards twitch based MOBA style. And that’s not what we older fans enjoyed the most about the original and its expansions. We wanted huge armies and base building back to bring in logistics, shifting centres of production, flanking manoeuvres, and all the other benefits of having an open map you could apply Capital S strategy upon…

        I’ve not played the multiplayer of DoW3 myself yet; I plan to this weekend, in order to be fair and judge it for what it actually is. But my hopes sink the more review sites actually are honest and admit that it’s truly is a MOBA this time around.

        • Asurmen says:

          You said this is the other article. This is still an RTS, and not a MOBA. That’s why articles aren’t mentioning it.

          Literally the only thing similar to MOBA is the objective, which isn’t all that dissimilar from DoW2 seeing as that had in build defences you had to breach.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nauallis says:

            Actually I get the feeling it’s more the overpowered hero units and underpowered army units, and the very linear “throw units in one direction down the length of the map” that is why people are comparing it to a MOBA. It’s still an incredibly stupid comparison, since MOBAs only exist because of RTS games, and WC3 in particular.

        • Ferno says:

          You say you haven’t played it yet but want people to be honest and tell you it’s a MOBA. I’ll tell you what. I have played it. It’s not a MOBA, it’s barely got anything like a MOBA in it. Stop speading this myth. I adored DoW1 and this is far, far closer to that than to DoW2 or any MOBA. This is getting tiresome.

          • Titler says:

            But I do have eyes, and had seen all the Closed Beta footage. It looked like a MOBA.

            All the main Reviews of the pre-Release game, people who were professionally discussing it and had played it themselves stated it takes direct inspiration from a MOBA. But for some reason you insist we not trust our eyes yet again.

            I’ve since played it myself, and am currently putting together a long video review of the entire series, the history of the development of the genres, and the experience I actually had in Dawn of War 3.

            IT WAS A MOBA.

            It is. Why do you try and deny it? They’ve effectively removed cover, there’s no suppression or need to dance units about. The 3v3 map has the EXACT MOBA layout, and the matches are effectively decided by people levelling up a hero (usually the Titan) to get into the unmoveable base. The only thing that forward construction of buildings does now is allow you to reinforce units; the maps are too small and bland for any kind of strategic play.

            IT WAS A MOBA.

            But thank you for providing evidence for the weird disconnect and sense of personal insult some of you strange fans have for basic concepts like accurate descriptions of products. Look for this thread and these comments also appearing in the video.

    • Asurmen says:

      Being defensive has never been an option in any DoW though.

  17. emotionengine says:

    Has there been word of a Last Stand mode coming to DoW III at all? I’ll admit I’ve sunk more hours into that mode than the “proper” multiplayer in Retribution, it was ridiculously fun with a pair of like minded allies. Even though I dread the metric crap tonne of DLC that SEGA/Relic would undoubtedly push out for such a mode alone, that only underscores the fact that it would also make business sense to include it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Herring says:

      Last Stand combined with moving it to Steamworks (rather than Games for Windows ****) was some of the best things they did.

      Last Stand is awesome.

      • Kitty says:

        It really is. It was the only thing keeping me in DoW2 after checking out the campaigns. But I also spend a ridiculous amount of time in Last Stand, because it was so, so fun.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    Such a shame.

    I was really hoping they’d go back to the war map style campaign structure of Soul Storm. Only the original, vanilla Dawn of War 2 repeated that, but at the same time stripped out a lot of what made it so good, such as being able to play the campaign as any race. I feel we never did get a proper Dawn of War 2 game that truly fulfilled the base game’s potential.

    And removing cover? Zoinks, NOT a good idea.

    Mind you, I doubt I’m the target audience for this game. I don’t play RTS games in multiplayer, partly ‘cos I’m probably too shit, and partly because I like to take my time.

  19. thekelvingreen says:

    Skulls as currency? That’s perfect.

  20. GentleRealSailor says:

    Comfort is absolutely something worth dying for

  21. Moraven says:

    Saw in another review Relic that it has Ubisoft style forced online single player. Likely due to the whole account progression system.

  22. keefybabe says:

    Multiplayer = people having a kick about in the park
    Emergent storylines = reality tv
    A well crafted SP campaign = drama

    The near constant current focus on the first two makes me sad. But hey, I have an enormous steam backlog.

  23. malkav11 says:

    I honestly can’t tell from this review if I’d like the game because you focus almost entirely on the side I’ll never play (MP) and then criticize the campaign from a perspective that sure sounds like someone who doesn’t actually like RTS campaigns (you know, proper ones, that aren’t just a series of skirmish battles strung together).

  24. b_dawson says:

    Was kinda hoping they get a bit back to DoW1 mechanics in MP, DoW2 was great in some senses, but DoW1 still strike me as the best in the series. Regarding the DoW3, hope they didn’t get too much tangled with this MOBA thing..

  25. WaRxXxPiG says:

    Yep. Confirms what I already suspected. It’s not DoW. Gamplay ripped straight from Blizzards play book with a 40K skin. And a garbage campaign to boot. Fuck Relic. Never buying anything from them again.