Dawn of War III WAAAGH!s are the best WAAAGHs!

It’s still early days for me in Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War 3 [official site] , and, truth be told, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it. It’s tricksy beast, a little higher-maintenance than I’m used to from this series, with less attachment to any individual squad/unit, but the pay-off for that is far vaster armies and a more spectular sense of Only War than ever before.

The stand-out element for me so far, though, is the Ork Waaagh! Dem boyz really go to town when they hear the call to war.

The Waaagh!, lest you’ve not heard of it, can mean several different things in 40K fiction, but the closest to a catch-all is that it’s what happens when a group of Orks get really, really excited about war. In 40K lore, it can involve millions of Orks racing to invade/stomp a mutual target, but for the purposes of videogames it tends to be a short-term, army-wide buff.

And so is the case in Dawn of War III, though at least we get army sizes in the hundreds rather than dozens. A Waaagh! is as two-fold concept in DOW3 – there’s your Waaagh! level, dictated by how many Waaagh! towers you’ve built, and which affects which units are unlocked to build. Then there’s a Waaagh! itself, which is manually triggered by the player by clicking on the big button hovering over one of said towers.

Truth be told, I’m not much enamoured of the Waaagh! towers concept – it’s rather an artificial method of invoking something that is essentially a collective hard-on for killing, and it’s a bit clunky for the towers to share this responsibility with opening up the tech tree. But never mind, because it’s what happens in a Waaagh! that matters. Basically, the Orks go Full War Boy. Heavy guitars and jets of flame and thunderous drums and then a crescendo and fireworks and axes waved aloft and Waaagh! Glorious. Glorious.

It’s at it best when triggered in the middle of a fight, because your Orks become temporarily overpowered and can turn the tide of most battles, which means that the Waaagh! seeps through the screen and affects me too, but I captured what a few Waaaghs! triggered in quick succession outside of battle looks like, as it’s easier to tell what’s going on:

(Unfortunately something weird happened to the sound there – the crescendos should be harder and louder, and yes they do shout WAAAGH!, but you get the gist of it).

I love it, every time. It also made me belatedly realise just how close Mad Max: Fury Road’s War Boys are to 40K Orks – feral nutters thirsty for carnage, charging about in massively bespiked vehicles. What is Chrome but a call to Waaagh!?

I suspect the circle of inspiration has been completed, for the musical element of DOW3’s Waaagh! very much puts me in the mind of the Doof Warrior:

Alternate comparison: given that, hilariously, Dawn of War III is set on a planet named Cyprus, the Waaagh! is a pretty good evocation of a Friday night in Ayia Napa.

Anyway. Top Waaagh!ing. I was convinced I’d be playing Eldar when I picked up DOW3, but the greenskins are handily out-charismaing everyone else in the game.


  1. thekelvingreen says:

    Behold the ork goff rokkerz! Back in the first edition of 40K these orky musicians would drive your boyz into a fighting frenzy, allowing them to move and fire twice.

  2. NetharSpinos says:

    In the fluff a Waaagh! is generally best described as resembling a cross between a pub crawl and a holy war.

    Is anyone genuinely enjoying DoW3? Steam reviews – as far as they can be subjectively trusted – are “mixed” (read: terrible) and most of our group weren’t too impressed with the beta.

    • Walsh says:

      I’m annoyed by a great many design decisions. I guess I’ll keep playing but I have to pretend its not a RTS and it’s just a shitty MOBA knock off 40k game.

      I hate the gameification/dumbing down/etc of many systems like cover, stealth, unit upgrades, weird shit outside of the lore like power core (wtf is that).

      This seems to be one that the critics generally like/love but the community dislikes intensely, especially folks who played previous DOW games.

      • Unclepauly says:

        Out of 100,000 sales on steam there is 2000 positive reviews and 1400 negative reviews. Take that as you will. I take it as there’s a very vocal minority who are completely pissed and are showing it. The majority haven’t showed their opinion yet.

    • Banks says:

      I am. DOWIII is a much richer and skill based game than the first two. There is nothing like it.

      But bear in mind that the learning curve is quite steep and you will feel miserable during the first few hours. I hated the private beta, I started to like it during the open beta and now it’s by far my favorite in the series.

      So yeah. Brilliant game. Deceptive learning curve.

      • Titler says:

        I’d love to know where you’re seeing the increased skill levels; especially when they’ve gutted so many of the environmental influences that would have allowed them to be expressed…?

        * They’ve removed cover except at fixed points
        * Suppression is gone
        * Maps have no destructible terrain, and fixed lanes
        * Any unit can cap a point, including builders so there’s no sacrificing to hold them.
        * Maps are too small and fixed for logistics to ever come into play
        * Buildings themselves are only built outside the base to act as forward healing points.
        * Armies are basically Creeps compared to hero units

        Seriously, if that comment isn’t just a bit of quick counter-majority trolling, I’d love to hear where you think the skill in play lies; because I honestly can’t see how removing all of the skills from a game, be it terrain reading or fast counter application makes for more, not less skill?

        And before the spectacularly toxic Fanbase Inquisition turn up again; I wanted DoW3 to succeed… hell, I had some of my mod work officially published with the Winter Assault expansion in Poland of all places, I’ve had plenty of magnificent experiences with the series… but DoW3 was just not a good enough game, as the player-base reviews now show. All deceiving people about the quality of the game, and throwing sulks that people call a MOBA a MOBA does is leave people stuck with products they know they’re not going to like, and strings the bitterness out because you don’t want to listen to them when they say how they feel…

        Critics are the industries’ best friend, not fans, because critics push for improvements.

        • fuggles says:

          Hey titler! Another refugee from the forums. Which mod did you get published? Well done!

          I wish someone had taken note of my game modes as they added a lot of different ways to play dow soulstorm, some modes I have not seen in any other RTS. Granted the dictionary one was a bit silly, but at least you learned something whilst playing.

          Smack talk mode was also fun!

          Dow3… History is not going to judge it kindly it would seem. A shame. maybe an epic or total war game next?

        • Banks says:

          Dawn of War III does not have depth in those areas because those are not actual mechanics in this game. Instead, DOWIII has it’s own new mechanics, some of them very fun an innovative.

          It’s perfectly fine if it’s not what you wanted or if you outright hate what’s here. Sure, there’s a LOT to improve and lacks more content like factions and maps, but if you’re an RTS fan I cant understand how you don’t find anything interesting and enjoyable here.

          I am personally having fun, It’s the best RTS since Starcraft II and I like even more than the previous DOWs, apart from the campaign. The campaign is an uninspired chore.

          • Daemoroth says:

            You… you really sound like a shill. He asked you how, by removing his provided list of mechanics, the game ends up richer and requiring more skill. Your response seems copy-pasted from a brochure or “My Big Book of Dodging Questions”, saying nothing of substance at all?

            I’m extremely interested in a proper response since I’m on the fence about getting it, having the same concerns about lack of depth. If all you have to say is “DOWIII has it’s own new mechanics, some of them very fun an innovative.” without actually naming/describing them (Is that written on the back of the box or something?) I’ll continue to avoid it.

        • Unclepauly says:

          The critics are giving it an 80/100 across the board. Out of the 100k sales so far on steam it has 1400 negative reviews and 2000 positive. I would wager the whole story isn’t in yet.

        • jonnoc says:

          Wow I just had to reply because the critics here seem to be ignorant. Please play the game more before commenting. Each of the three races are UNIQUE and play differently from each other.

          Suppression is gone? I guess no one uses heavy bolter devastators or ork lootas. They slow units they attack which is generally what suppression is right?

          Fixed lanes? its a MOBA? What? You know what a MOBA is right? The game doesn’t automatically send down (or up) units for you to the enemy base on fixed lanes. There are no fixed lanes nor computer generated creeps.

          The heroes are there to support the troops you have. Depending on the hero, you can equip a skill you’ve unlocked for them to augment a specific troop or give a bonus to a building or a race mechanic. So the ork player you fight against today won’t be the same one tomorrow not only because of the different troops or tactics he/she would wield but also because of the skills and heroes brought.

          This is not DOW2 there is no RPG aspect to it which is a bit disappointing but it is what it is. I would have loved to see progression in that sense where you feel your heroes were getting stronger as they level but nope. I hope though they would add something to that effect in the future.

          I agree on the comments about cover, them being in fixed points. I would suggest that they add a way for you to create your own cover to add more strategic options. With destructible terrain though there are maps where you can destroy something to open up a bridge or a gate but if you are looking for something like DOW2 then tough since it went away because they changed how cover worked but it really isn’t game breaking.

          All in all for me its a good game. Please for those people saying it has no depth play the three races, play against different people, and if you would still conclude that there is none then I don’t think anyone can help you.

          I hope this comment helps someone properly and counters people calling it a MOBA or have other ridiculous statements who probably don’t know how to play an RTS.

  3. Al__S says:

    The Orks were always somewhat Mad Max influenced; the Gorkamorka table top game (Necormunda with Orks and vehicles) being possibly the best recreation of the original Mad Max movies on a table.

    • grimdanfango says:

      One of these days, it’s going to occur to someone to make Gorkamorka into an Xcom-style persistent-campaign tactical game, reasonably faithful to the original, and it will be the finest 40k game ever created!

      I loved the idea that if one of your mob sustained an injury, after the mission the doc *might* bandage the wound, or *might* get carried away, amputate the limb and replace it with an awesome mechanical appendage instead.
      Just think how attached you’d get to a ragged bunch of old veteran ork amputees in an Xcom style campaign! The fact that the vehicles worked the same way would only add to the brilliance. I’d also really like to see how they’d approach the rule that states the carrying capacity of a vehicle is officially however many miniatures you can pile ontop of it, and any that fall off while you’re moving the vehicle around must roll for injuries sustained from the fall, and be left where they landed.
      What an incredible game it could be.

      • Imperialist says:

        So…you mean just like Mordheim and Necromunda?

        • Ralphomon says:

          Except in Gorkamorka your entire mob has to enter the fray on a vehicle so you become as attached to your trukks and traks as you do to your boyz.

          I really miss Gorkamorka! That was a brilliant idea for a setting.

      • Einsammler says:

        You mean just like Mount Your Friends?

  4. spoileddecayingmaggots says:

    @ Alec: Wow! Dude, I SOOO said the exact same things while watching Mad Max Fury Road! I was like…wtf…this seems to be heavily inspired by Warhammer 40k! lol…aaaaand…substantiated! My ego purrs. =D

    • MisterFurious says:

      Mad Max was around almost a decade before Warhammer 40,000 came along.

      • spoileddecayingmaggots says:

        I understand mad max was around first, basically I’m just saying (as I wasn’t prolly born yet….1983) that while watching the movie I was continually reminded of 40k. I’m sure mad max may have inspired games workshop etc, I don’t necessarily doubt that.

        • Unclepauly says:

          I realize you were excited to post but if you’re going to toss things around and claim them to be true you should verify 1st. A quick google search would have sufficed.

          • spoileddecayingmaggots says:

            Mmhm, either way I was just saying I was reminded of 40k, that saying inspired was my bad, but you have to just be that guy right? You right…..me wrong. Get over yourself.

      • Premium User Badge

        Drib says:

        “Mad Max was around almost a decade before Warhammer 40,000 came along.”

        Did you see the part where he said “Mad Max Fury Road”? You know, the movie that came out only a couple years back?

        • spoileddecayingmaggots says:

          Exactly…fury road, thank you. Even though I’m sure he knew what I meant…

  5. aircool says:

    Whilst the new edition of 40K has been announced, my interest in all things, er, 40K-ish is at a high. However, I just can’t seem to bring myself to get DoWIII despite loving the others.

    I know I would just head straight online to play, but I’m absolutely terrible at all this build queue stuff and the constant need to attack. I don’t think I ever lasted more than five minutes in Company of Heroes, although I had average success with Battleforge if I was on a team.

    I’m still not sure what to make of it, even after reading the WIT and watching a few videos.

    • simmuskhan says:

      I concur with aircool, I’m too slow and terrible at the high pace versions of these games. I quite liked only having to control 4 small squads (one or two of which consisted of a single person!) and go through at my own pace. I’ve played the campaigns of the previous iteration a great many times with the semi-RPG-ness.

  6. spoileddecayingmaggots says:

    @simm, yep me too, really wishing this ended up more like DoW 2, but I think as I play and they release new content I will enjoy it more and more. I mainly buy DoW games for campaign anyways so multiplayer isn’t my big concern, although I loved how you could play co op campaign in DoW 2 and would have like to see it in the new campaign.

    • Unclepauly says:

      I agree the co-op part woulda been a big draw for me as well.

  7. necurbanapauperem says:

    An informative article but yon comments under it have I think given me enough info. No destructable terrain and a forced pace are worriers. No/limited base building was to be expected but along with limited supression seems to suggest no chance of turtling…. that could have reversed a fair number of other concerns.
    Fixed lanes…. So you mean a MOBA? Well that’s just the Little Chef of genres. If there was literally nothing else around but tarmac i’d give it a go but have to say with such an IP, it feels a little like an irreverent choice.
    Like using a digitally resurrected Freddie Mercury to sell insurance, or setting the next series of the Wombles under the stands of Hillsborough.

    • Unclepauly says:

      It lanes in the same way a lightly filled parking lot has lanes. You could choose whichever one you want to take but there is big open areas littered everywhere to do battle in. And in the game.

  8. Yontevnknow says:

    Take a great Ork mechanic, and tie it to a generic repeating loop of stock rock music. I would die a little inside every time i had to click the button.

  9. datreus says:

    Here’s the only review that matters:

    If it wasn’t 40K themed, no one would play it.

    So whether you enjoy it or not has a lot to do with how much you dig 40K, or just get off on that aesthetic generally.