DoW III Is Released…and So Is the Hate

Posted on 28 Apr 2017 by
Stephen Haselden

It’s only been a day since Dawn of War III’s release and it’s off too a roaring star…Nope.

1k reviews and barely a 50% rating, thats is pretty abysmal. Personally I think this is a shame, and it’s more a reflections of the myopic nature of the Warhammer 40K fan base, than of the games true quality. That being said, Relic would do well to consider what their fans are saying – after all, Games Workshop fans in particular, are used to paying exorbitant prices to fuel their hobby.

Ignoring the claims that DoW3 is a MOBA (which is just not true), so what is it that the fans seem most annoyed about? Here are some of the specific criticisms I found, which I can’t exactly argue with:

  • It’s not the first Dawn of War and you cannot move your main base.
  • It’s not Dawn of War II and the Heroes have less abilities, and are overpowered.
  • The maps have lanes and are too small to allow varied strategies.
  • The use of MOBA Generators and Towers means you cannot rush the enemy.
  • There is no Co-Op Campaign.
  • There is no Dark Crusade style Campaign.
  • There is are no individual race Campaigns.
  • Dawn of War III promotes Blob Warfare.
  • I bought the game, and now I have to grind to unlock things!

Ok, I actually added one thing to the list myself…“There is no Dark Crusade style campaign”. Dark crusade is the jewel of the Dawn of War franchise. It gave gamer’s the chance to launch a grand campaign, with full strategic control, and with each huge battle being just a footnote for the overall campaign. It is possibly the best RTS Campaign ever made.

So, nearly all these complaints have one thing in common; they are comparing DoW3…to the previous games in the series. The last two complaints are about more general issues; The point about blob warfare is totally valid, and would be an issue with any RTS (I can name quite a few that are even worse in this respect). The point about grinding is a bit more subjective, the more you play, the more stuff you unlock so it all depends on whether you find the game fun (also DoW II had a similar feature, and everything was a lot harder to unlock there).

All the rest of the complaints are still valid, but only if you expected Dawn of War III to be a clone, or a straight progression of the previous games, which DoW3 clearly is not that, its something new. It is an evolution of RTS and some MOBA mechanics, but it is its own game. I can see why Relic have gone down the route they have, the format of DoW3 lends itself strongly to Esports, which is extremely lucrative if you get things right. However, for fans who wanted a game that is strong on strategy and faithful to the Warhammer 40k lore, then DoW 3 is nothing short of heresy.

If you’re not one of the Emperors faithful, and if you’re susceptible to the whims of the dark gods, then you might be able to look paste Dawn of War III’s heresy and find a fun multiplayer RTS that has a high skill level and short demand on your time (20 – 50 mins per game). The sad reality is, that this amount of backlash is the sort of thing that could end series, and that would be a huge shame.

Dawn of War is still well loved, and has a core of fans desperate for the remake they want to see. I’ve defended DoW 3, it is a good game, but rather than trying to break into Esports, perhaps Relic would do well to make the strategy game fans are demanding, and then just give them the option of Esports…if they want it.

Official Press Release

London, 27 April 2017 – Relic Entertainment and SEGA Europe welcome players back to battle today with the release of Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III on Windows PC. Dawn of War III brings the iconic Warhammer 40,000 universe to life, immersing players in the explosive brutality of galactic war as they vie for supremacy and survival.

Dawn of War III marks the franchise’s return to real-time strategy essentials like base building, massive armies, and resource management, while retaining the series’ innovations in powerful heroes and unit customization. The result is a fresh take on RTS, made even better by the introduction of the largest units and most devastating abilities Relic has ever produced on-screen.

This is a huge day for everyone at Relic,” said Philippe Boulle, Game Director of Dawn of War III. “Seeing Dawn of War III in the hands of players is the culmination of years of effort. We’ve been blown away by the reception at shows, and during betas. We’re thrilled to get it in the hands of fans.”

The battles of Dawn of War III surge to life as three familiar foes clash once more: Space Marines, genetically modified super soldiers fighting for the Imperium of Man; the Eldar, a mysterious race imbued with powerful psychic abilities; and the Orks, a brutal and violent horde of hooligans that are as entertaining to watch as they are terrifying to encounter.

A mysterious prophecy, a powerful weapon, and a planet re-emerging from the Warp set the events of the single-player campaign in motion. Told from the perspectives of all three factions, you’ll uncover a dark truth lies beneath the surface as the fates of Gabriel Angelos, Farseer Macha, and Gorgutz ‘Ead’unter become increasingly intertwined. The 17-mission campaign challenges you to command epic heroes, assemble huge armies, and wage war across a range of hostile environments.

In Multiplayer, the scale of Dawn of War III hits its peak as teams of up to three players go head-to-head in a fast-paced fight to the finish. But before you hit the battlefield, you’ll need to forge an army. With three factions, 27 elite heroes, and 60 Doctrines available to unlock, there are unprecedented options to shape your playstyle, and obliterate your foes across eight dynamic maps.

This release marks a huge step forward into a new era for the studio,” said Justin Dowdeswell, General Manager of Relic. “It’s the perfect way to kick off our 20th year of making great games and a strong sign of what’s to come. This is only the beginning.”

Comments (2)

Posts: 19
Posted 02 May 2017, 21:08
I bought it because I thought it was still kinda fun in the beta, but the more I play, the less I like it. They finally did skimmers right, and the game almost feels like DOW 1 and DOW 2 in the early game, where your units and micro matter, but then it just sort of goes schizo and thinks it's Supreme Commander. The end game expects you to keep building replacement armies while your current army gets annihilated by a single elite unit. The campaign is also really boring, and suffers from the same problem DoW 2's campaign has; you're not playing an RTS match. The enemy isn't building up their forces at the same time you are, they just sit there on the map and wait for you to attack them. I could have overlooked the glaring, lore-breaking design choices (super soaker lascannons, full plasma gun tac squads, and a chapter master who looks like a primarch but moves like a Harlequin), if the game were fun. It's just not my style of RTS, and my style of RTS is pretty much everything else Relic has ever made.

Posts: 53
Stephen Haselden
Posted 03 May 2017, 15:41
Yep "blobbing" does become an issue late game there are actually too many resources when you get to that stage. I'd like to see a game mode without phases, that give you more control over what resources you have but in a much smaller scale than in "phase 3". This would give you better control of exactly what units you have when, and just gove you far more flexibility in tactics, and less reliance on blobs.

A bigger econ boost for smaller armies, like in DoW2 would also stop the early game snowballing... but you're getting ideas out of me now, before I've written the review :)