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WH40K: Dawn Of War - Games Workshop Redeems Itself??
Saw a few comments on GA and thought it might be worth it's own thread as this could be the saviour of Games Workshop's otherwise deeply unsatisfactory record at failing to combine the rich atmospheric and action-orientated depth of it's table-top gaming universes with anything that approaches a truly impressive and contemporary game.

Since the demo has been out a few days - what do people think?? Is it just the same old tedious RTS bolleaux that is desperately and transparently relying on the table-top gaming connection both for sales and to cover up for the fundamental lack of gaming substance....or not??


Download Demo:
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Initial Thoughts... 
I played the tutorial, a skirmish game, and the campaign map, all of which went swimmingly until "that moment" in the campaign which I managed to survive but took a hell of a pounding.

So far, well, my tongue-in-cheek baiting in the first post is not far off the truth. It IS standard RTS fare (from what little experience I have of that genre), and hardly distinguishable gameplay-wise from, say, the GC2 demo I played earlier this year. And it IS therefore relying heavily on the GW styling as a selling point......and, well, that IS effective, it does what it says i.e. a GW version of a fast-paced RTS game, and seems to do it pretty well. The GW side is faithful and coherent, if a little cheesy, and definitely gives it the proper flavour that will be especially appealing to GW fans.

A bit more:


- GW styling - both in the units, their look, and the sounds, is great. This styling actually makes me do the one thing I need to do to really want to play an RTS - give two shits about the units (something I've only previously done in BZ2 and MC2). Rather than some random hover tank / armour troop stuff, these are SPACE MARINES, DREADNOUGHTS, LAND SPEEDERS, and as a GW fan they're actually of interest to play with. Big selling point.

- Action is very visceral and impressive, particularly close-up and in close combat.

- Good (though not outstanding) graphics and good effects.

- Pretty easy to control and move around in, fairly easy learning curve. Units generally do what you tell them to.

- The way buildings and units arrive, i.e. via drop-pod or drop-ship, is good and appropriate. However this could have been described more accurately in tutorial.

- Troop types are distinctive and effective, upgrades and leaders add character.


- Suffers from the standard, seemingly unavoidable, and highly detrimental RTS problem that to appreciate that action you have to be zoomed in but to have any control over the battlefield you have to be zoomed out.

- Need to be able to zoom out more.

- Needs an easier menu system to select units without finding them on map or clicking through unit button (e.g. BZ2's F-key selection).

- Lack of restrictions on unit building types (e.g. can have lots of vehicles with no troops) is very contrary to the GW ethos and reduces the character of the game.

- Easy just to plow more and more troops into battle without caring about casualties, again contrary to GW Space Marine ethos, and avoids the need for serious tactical thinking. More restrictions on troops etc would be more in spirit with the game.

- Gameplay is quite standard.

...overall, from what I've played so far, I'd definitely get it. As I said before, it is what it is, a standard, but good, RTS that is convincingly set in the GW universe....and that's good enough for me =). 
1 more thought. The intro movie - very cool, particularly the bloody flashes you get showing just how brutal the action is...and of course the dreadnought.

It will be very very cool when one can play a game with that quality of of graphics....despite D00m3, GFX and hardware technology has a hell of a long way to go yet!! 
P.S. Forgot This... 
Link to Blues News item featuring download links...

If some mod can add that in the original post that would be cool. 
Trying to play a skirmish map again on Medium skill.

Fucking desperate! 
Hard difficulty can be tough, but not impossible. On the 2 player map, try this build order:
Queue Two scout units, then a servitor. Waypoint the first scout to the closest strategic point, the second to the other.
After you've queued your units, build a Generator.
Have your second servitor build a chapel-barracks as soon as it pops out, and your first one to build a listening station on the strategic point closest to your half of the map. Once your scout squad closest to the bridge area is done capping have them go cap the special cap point on the bridge (can't remember the name of it.)
Once your Barracks is done, build a Force COmmaner, and after that just try capping as many strategic points as you can, and build listening stations on them. The ones closest to the enemy area (ie, the ones closest to their bridge) you should upgrade to upgrade 1 with turrets.
Before your Commander is out, you should be attacked by a squad of marines. Don't worry too much, because you should have upgrade 1 Listening ports on your points anyway, and when your commander gets out it's all gravy.
BUT, before your commander is out, when it's almost done building, start a marine squad. When the marine squad is done, attach your commander to it, and start on a armory.
Reinforce your marines while you waltz over to their cap points and start wreaking havoc.
In the meantime, add a monastery to your HQ and start pumping out lots of assault squads. You should have plenty of assault squads, say at least 3, with your marines, all reinforced.
If that doesn't end the computer quick, and you see them setting up a Machine Cult, then switch to regular marines and upgrade them to have missile launchers. Also get a machine cult of your own and make dreadnoughts to counter his. If you keep the pressure on his strategic points and eiuther make plenty of assault marines or dreadnoughts/missile launcher marines, you should be able to counter his units pretty easily. But keep busy at all times, either capping points, building units or constructing buildings, and be aggressive. 
sorry, shoulda spaced that out better it's ugly and hard to read. 
I've played a little and so far it seems average. Good graphics and pretty balanced combat. Nothing jumps out at me and makes me want to get the full version when its out though. I'm also not a GW geek so that may have something to do with it. Here's to hoping that generals-engine lord of the rings RTS has more going for it. MMMmmmmm hordes and hordes of orcs. 
Another cool thing - freezing the game at the end to have a look at the maps - great to see the units in action.

BTW Zwiffmeister, I just tried the second skirmish map on Standard skill for the first time and totally pwnx0red. Won by controlling the central control point but was pushing out from there with 4 Tactical, 1 Assault squad, commander, and 5 Dreadnoughts when the time ran down. God knows how that happened. I did learn that upgrading your control points is verrrry useful. 
On the two player map I find it's better to have more units earlier than bigger units. I don't know how you play, but I would get a squad of marines and queue up a ton of reinforcements right away. This is worthless ^_^. Getting another unit is about the same price as getting 4 reinforcements I think, and it's just plain better because you can reinforce your squads over the course of the game, where in any early skirmishes having only 1 8-marine squad against 2 4-marine squads, you will slowly be outnumbered by the 2 squads greater ability to reinforce. of course, an early Force Commander for 260 requisition can dominate an all marine start, so be sure to watch out for a fast Commander rush. I can't wait for this game :D 
...if I'm an experienced Terranid player, what's in it for me? 
you get to branch out from tyranids. I was thinking the same thing though, Tyranids are great, I hope they come out with an expansion that introduces the 'nids, maybe Dark Eldar too. 
...if I'm An Experienced Terranid Player, What's In It For Me? 
...much deserved cleansing in the weapons' fire from the Imperium's finest, of course. 
Small Squads Vs Large Squads. 
Personally I go with large squads, 2 heavy weapons and a sergeant as it's just more in keeping with the spirit of the game.

However there is one bloody obvious advantage / loophole with smaller squads - you can get a much higher heavy weapon proportion - twice as high in fact. 1 large squad (no sarge) will have 2/8 heavy weapons....2 small squads will have 4/8 heavy weapons. Okay this might be a way to simulate Devastator squads but personally I think it's a bit naff. 
But if you go with a smaller number of squads with heavier weapons then you're spending time and resources not reinforcing the squad, and can easily be overwhelmed by a larger squad, especially if the units are the same. Yes, 8 Plasma Guns are nice, but when you have only 32 marines against twice that much they won't count for as much because more firepower is MORE firepower, regardless of being better. 
/me jams old one eye's old one eye up the Imperium's finest 
Thought For The Day: 
It seems to me that the crucial tactics for this game revolve around: Army building speed, unit choices, and weight of numbers/strength - rather than actual combat tactics/strategy. I.e. what tends to win the games is how well you prepare for combat rather than what you choose to do with the combats.

I guess in part that's how it should be....but it does seem a case of Real Time Planning/Building rather than Real Time Strategy... 
Troop preparation is half the battle. There isn't a lot of micro management as in StarCraft, because there are no individual units. Instead, strategy in this case is more based on actual WH40K: cover, troop manuevering, and deciding how and when to go into melee. Troops in cover can usually beat a much larger force (notice I said usually.) Keeping your marines at a ranged attack then switching to melee as you get closer is better because marines do more damage in melee. Watch your morale, and customize your troops to their threats instead of building flamers right away. Stuff like that. 
My Thoughts 
I agree with Shambler... ;)

Erm, I just played the skirmish map (the second map with the control point in the centre) and won on standard skill (three cheers for me!) The first time I started playing I was a bit slow to get my armoury and second level stuff up and running, although I did build gun turrets and listening posts all over the place. Then the CPU came from nowhere with a fuckload of mech things and crucified me.

So I began again, this time making sure I got my armoury and tier two upgrades going asap. I also spread out and built listening posts all over the place, as well as thermo power generators on two slag heaps either side of my base. All well and good. No real strategy involved.

Then the cpu make some attempts to take me down, I have just about enough of an army to keep them at bay. Whilst I am doing this, I upgraded as much as humanly possible and started building lines of sentry guns (and then upgrading them, as well as all my front line listening posts.) This created a pretty damn good wall which seemed to decimates pretty much anything coming my way.

From this point on, I found that victory was simply acomplished by pushing my squads forward and reinforcing as much as possible. I'm not a very strategic (read as clever if you like) person, so this was my plan. I didn't go for strategic point capturing until I got my frontline to the centre of the map and captured the point because it was practically on my front door. I ended up annihilating the enemy a couple of minutes before a capture and hold victory anyway.

It was fun, but in the future I will try and use a bit more strategy... I think I will need to playing over the lan at work. 
I did find that pulling squads back and throwing in new squads during battles works quite well, since your wounded get a chance to reinforce and upgrade.

I heard that the CPU in the demo doesn't reinforce squads or upgrade often - even on hard. WTF!!? Those are two very important aspects of the game! I hope this is corrected for the finished thing. 
From my experience, the comp doesn't reinforce often, but it does seem to beef up its squads. As for upgrades, I cannot say. That's from skirmish, though.

It does seem, however, that the computer takes map-control a little more seriously. It tries to take over control points, and generally if I retreat from a point on the map and don't
attempt to retake it, the computer will fortify and possibly refortify the position if it loses it. It doesn't build a lot of turrets, if any, instead relying on its army.

Hopefully the computer will offer more of a challenge when the full game is released, but maybe it's only on modes harder than hard. I don't plan on playing many skirmish maps anyway, so it doesn't matter too much to me. 
"mech things" = "dreadnoughts" =) 
Oh Now What Zwiffle... 
I don't plan on playing many skirmish maps anyway

Was the game now not designed with skirmish play in mind so you won't sour yourself on it? 
Generally skirmish in RTS games is reserved for a simulated multiplayer match against a computer. In that respect I won't be playing skirmish (my mistake, when I said skirmish 'maps' I meant skirmish 'mode'.) I do plan on playing multiplayer, just not against the CPU. 
I'm Scared Of Multiplayer... 
I think I'd get spank0red. But still, might give it a go. Will be playing skirmish for sure yo. 
Well, at first, everybody will lose until they get a good feel for how all the races match up. Some people will just be naturally faster/more precise than others, but right at the beginning everyone starts off at equal knowledge. Of course, if you feel really really bad about it you could always make "1v1 No Rush 30 minutes!!" games. 
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