Dawn of War
Dawn of War is a Real Time Strategy game for the PC set in the Warhammer 40k universe, produced by Relic Entertainment and released in 2004. As of the most recent expansion, Soulstorm, almost every playable army in the setting is present in the game in some form, with the notable exception of the Tyranids. Many popular stories and memes on /tg/, such as Love Can Bloom, have their origins in Dawn of War. Author C.S.Goto has written books about it. Apparently. You wouldn't know it by actually reading the books.
The best part of the series is widely held to be the narration, featuring lines delivered with gratuitous emphasis and pauses at seemingly-random intervals. This sounds very grim and dark and is not at all ridiculous.
The game IS well known for its implementation of a combined morale, squads and alternate resource system, the potential of which was skullfucked by some of the most hilarious attempts at balance seen in the modern era. Seriously, you could throw a horse on a see-saw and it would do a better job. The visceral hand to hand combat and 'sync kills' were also praised, since watching your little dudes chainsword that other guy's little dudes is always entertaining, at least until all those other little dudes got back up again and raped you to death. FUCKING NECRONS.
The game was highly successful, though it was a cock-grinder when it came to online play. Fuck Gamespy. Please note that as much as the /v/idiot-inclined neckbeards love to criticize it, Dawn of War was considered an amazing game when it first came out, and people would not stop screaming about it.
Well-known characters from the games include:
- Force-Commander Gabriel Angelos
- Farseer Caerys
- Farseer Macha
- Farseer Taldeer
- Farseer Idranel
- General Sturnn
- General Vance Motherfucking Stubbs
- The Harlequin
- GODDAMNFUCKING NECRONS
- Khornate Sorcerer of Alpha LegionSSSSINDRIIIII
- Chaos lord Carron
- Dark Apostle Eliphas
- Space Marine Brother-Captain Indrick Boreale
- The Vindicare Assassin
Dawn of War
The original Dawn of War release featured the Blood Ravens chapter of the Space Marines, led by Brother-Captain Gabriel Angelos, as they battle against an Ork WAAAGH on the planet of Tartarus. It is not long before the Eldar (led by Farseer Macha) and the Alpha Legion of the Chaos Space Marines (led by Lord Bale and the Chaos Sorcerer SINDRIIIII) show up, and as it turns out there's a demon imprisoned within an artifact on the planet that wants to use the bloodshed of the battle as a sacrifice so he may escape his prison. Spoilers, by the way.
Lord Bale is quite the irritable fellow and has little patience for Sindri's complex plans, frequently growling "SINDRIIII" at him in frustration. There is also a black Inquisitor (who isn't a stereotype, honest) , who is unsurprisingly incompetent. Although there is some evidence to claim that he was the Daemon of the Maledictum all along.
I'd like to see that evidence, then. Well, aside from the fact that he's useless. The novelization claims this was the case, but on the other hand, it was written by C.S. Goto. The idea that the Inquisitor is not somehow a Chaos traitor comes into play in the Space Marine ending of Dark Crusade, where he appears (and presumably takes a bit of heat off the Blood Ravens since he's buddies with them).
The Winter Assault expansion added the Imperial Guard as a playable army, and features two alternate campaigns that take place on the planet of Lorn V. It introduced Farseer Taldeer, General Sturnn, Ork Warboss Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter, and the Chaos Lord Crull. Though the branching campaigns mean it is possible to achieve multiple endings, based on later games in the series, the canonical ending is probably that achieved by the
Eldar Imperial Guard in the Order campaign.
Infamous for featuring a Khornate warband that used Sorcerers and Horrors, and having a Warlord who was not even that angry. Khorne was very angry and beat Tzeentch up until he orchestrated the defeat of this Warband.
But seriously, Crull was still pretty awesome. All Khornate guys are. Only he was considerably less awesome than, say... Arbaal the Undefeated. (Is he still alive?)
Also known for Guardsmen that are equipped with lasguns that can punch through anything. Even tanks.
Dark Crusade saw the addition of the Necrons and the Tau (led by Shas'o Kais), and was the first game in the series to drop the mission-based format of the previous singleplayer campaigns, instead adopting a Risk-esque strategic map where players were required to use their army to conquer the entire planet of Kronus and defeat all the other races present. Using the army to attack enemy-occupied territory resulted in playing a skirmish game against the AI, with the victor gaining (or retaining) the dispute territory.
Love Can Bloom originated from this.
Introduced the world to the Dark Apostle Eliphas the Inheritor, famed for his snappy comebacks and fantastic putdowns which set him at an intellectual level above your average Chaos Lord.
Soulstorm added the Dark Eldar and Sisters of Battle as playable races, alongside flying units. Similar to Dark Crusade, the campaign takes place as a battle to control territories on the strategic map, but the fight now takes place over several planets in the Kaurava System, instead of a single planet as in previous games.
Continuing a long history by now, it has some hilarious dialogue. Memes extracted from Soulstorm include: Baldeale, METAL BOXES, SPESS MEHREENS and more. The game is sometimes referred to as "Baldstorm", in reference to Indrick. The game also brought us Cornholio the Cultist, among a dozen or so other lesser memes.
All that aside, it's still quite fun to play. Unless you want to play in the campaign, that is. Soulstorm's campaign has an open memory leak that causes it to take upwards of 4-7 minutes to load a map on a top-end PC that can run DOW2 smoother than buttered glass. This was a problem in Dawn of War vanilla's initial release as well, but that was patched within a week - in this case, it was never fixed.
The single-player of Soulstorm also did away with the "building up" of the map (placing all of your high-end structures and capturing most of the nodes on the map so you could create massive, unstoppable forces instantly when you had to defend) that you could do in Dark Crusade, which was double-edged. The AI actually stood a chance against you, which made the battles slightly more interesting, but you also couldn't just upgrade a monolith instantly and steamroll the AI's attacking force, which meant you had to deal with 6+ regions getting attacked EVERY SINGLE ROUND of the overworld play when you started conquering more territories. And the auto-resolve system didn't give you the best of odds. So, instead of being able to actually conceivably finish the campaign in a day or two, you would probably instead end up spending about 30-40 hours on just defending your same stupid territories in the end. Then you'll probably spend another 10 hours actually taking over territories and beating all the strongholds. Combine that with the open memory leak, and you might have to play for a week straight to actually win. What fun.
Reports of someone being shot in the head with a laser-pistol.
- Dawn of War III has been confirmed to be in the making. Although Relic was picked up by Sega, so hope and pray to the Golden Throne it comes. holy Emperor's munchkins is it going to be awesome, unless incompetence fucks it up.
Timeline for Self-Destruction
Dawn of War was a brilliant game at launch - and one that saw the game suffer worse and worse as time went on. To chronicle this disaster so that none may forget, the entire tale of Dawn of War's fall from grace is listed here.
Dawn of War
Dawn of War was blessed - and cursed - to have a gameplay style not quite like anything else when it launched. The combination of hard counters and the ability to customize armies was hailed as a brilliant move, and though the balance was far from perfect (due to every race but one mostly comprising heavy infantry and thus being especially vulnerable to the Eldar race's use of said hard counters), a good time was had by all. There was a lot to love from every faction and there was considerable love towards fluff and crunch even with the errant bit of flaming stupid (Sindri invoking the blood god). Whilst the multiplayer balance wasn't quite great, it was for the most part a fair fight and there were ways to get the most out of each unit in the game, and literally everything was viable to some degree or another.
When Winter Assault was announced, players were psyched. An army heavily centering around light infantry (the Imperial Guard) was announced, with new units for each existing side. Some of the new units were things that were extremely demanded (Chaplains for SPESS MEHREENS, Fire Dragons for Eldar, Mega Armor Nobz for Orks), but Chaos players were a bit perplexed by the new unit that was brought to the table for Chaos: Khorne Berserkers. The unit never seemed to fit in with Chaos tactical doctrine, especially considering that there were no less than 3 other melee units available for Chaos. But no one complained since Chaos is never complete without regular shouts of BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! Nonetheless, players eagerly awaited Winter Assault.
...And then it hit. And there was RAGE. Out the gate, the Imperial Guard had poorly-coded weapons that caused them to be able to melee any unit to death, along with the guardsman's lasgun turning into a portable lascannon, effectively, a single squad of guardsmen in cover could pose a serious threat against heavy armor, like the SM Predators. Even after that, the Guard had serious problems with efficiency, as the entire faction from tier 1 to 3 was centered around attaching a Commissar and hammering Execute like an ass. This was nothing, however, compared to the filthy rape the rest of the game had suffered.
For reasons uncertain, the hard counter system had been ripped out of the original Winter Assault, and units now saw complete obsolescence - Dark Reapers were now a 100% improvement over Guardians and Kasrkin completely outstripped Guardsmen (understandable in fluff but in an RTS, not so much). Acts of stupendous idiocy hit regarding the upgrades for various units; the Space Marine commander would switch from his Daemonhammer to a Power Sword with his upgrade, losing his Veteran/Hero damage upgrades in the process.
The worst hits of all, however, were for Chaos - All special weapons for their Marine squads and all the special weapon upgrades (H. Bolters, flamers, plasma guns, and missile launchers) for their marines were wholesale stripped out in an attempt to streamline the tech trees and "differentiate the factions," ignoring the fact that people were playing Chaos because they were the Evil Marines. They too, had the same unit obsolescence issue; Raptors were totally outdone by Berserkers which were, in turn, totally outdone by Possessed. This was fixed slightly in patches and updates; Dark Crusade had succeeded in making the three a little more different due to the addition of Mark of Khorne (which panicked units) for Berserkers, fixing how Speed Demons and Purge the Weak worked for Raptor Champions, and generally making Possessed a little more streamlined - but these were all upgrades that would not hit until the tail-end of the WA patch cycle (for Raptors) or after Dark Crusade's patch (for everything else) - the latter of which would be over a year away.
In short: Winter Assault had not only fucked up a lot, but it actually removed more content for the existing races than it initially added.
Further attempts to "fix" the problems introduced by Winter Assault caused even worse fuck-ups, as Horrors became anti-vehicle (wut) and Terminators and Obliterators lost their ability to melee remotely effectively because the primary developer, Johnny Ebbert claimed that the combination of high ranged/melee damage and high HP (on a unit that was insanely slow and a last Tier unit, not to mention the need for a relic to at all build it) was overpowered, ignoring the findings of every single balance team working for Relic at the time. Later the spammability was fixed with hard-caps on Terminators and Obliterators, but them being piss-poor in melee remained in the face of every single argument regarding fluff/crunch (Terminators being armed with Powerfists, Obliterators having them grafted to their bodies) and finding of the balance teams.
Things continued to escalate as the bulk of the game became a tech-race to see who could get to Tier 4 the fastest and spam top-of-the-tech-tree units the hardest. This was also where a pattern began in which developers would show open favoritism to the Eldar, allegedly because most of the Staff's internal team were die-hard Eldar players. Fire Prisms became the most durable tank in the game, and the Avatar of Khaine gained the ability to allow the Eldar to field more vehicles and infantry than any other army period, adding a massive +10 to both pop and vehicle pop caps. On one of the toughest melee combat units in the game. Which most Eldar Players used by building then never moving him from their base so as to make use of that delightful +10 pop cap to infantry/vehicles whilst their Ultimate unit just sat on the couch of Khaine. It was one of the most-complained about facets of the game, and like most of the other items on this list, would never be addressed. The above would eventually become infamous as the place where the entire metagame went wrong, and was a path that the game would never fully recover from, despite noble attempts during both Dark Crusade and Soulstorm.
Dark Crusade had problems at launch, not the least of which was that it was a very bold attempt. Two new races were added and the game was still suffering the aftermath of what had been caused by Winter Assault. There was a lot of earnest attempts to fix the previous expansion's problems; hard caps were added to elite-level units, special weapons had slowly begun to filter back into the Chaos Space Marines (though no missile launchers or flamers ever returned and Horrors remained anti-vehicle), and the huge number of blatantly stupid problems with the Space Marines were fixed.
Unfortunately, the game remained riddled with problems. Cue another outburst of RAGE.
First of all, Dark Crusade saw the implementation of what was, without a doubt, one of the worst "fixes" to a problem in gaming history. Having decided that combat was "too lethal" and that shooty units shouldn't be able to chase down and kill fleeing units, Relic introduced a flat change to the fire-on-the-move accuracy of every single unit: 15%. In one stroke, this "Fix" caused dozens of problems. No longer did the likes of Dreadnoughts ever see a weapon upgrade (because doing so would give it a functionally-useless weapon that would never hit as it moved towards close-combat and hindered its melee power to boot), and the weapon immediately made rapid-firing weapons dozens of times better than those that fired slowly, since it was much more likely that they could hit with a few shots than their counterparts. Vehicles and personnel intended to fire on the move (such as Terminators) became functionally useless, whilst the Eldar Fleet of Foot ability became tantamount to godmode (initially it reduced accuracy when activated, but now with the flat 15% fire accuracy, there was no reason not to use it when moving units.
The two new races were broken in half at launch, as well. Necrons required no resources and there existed multiple replays of players winning maps without ever capturing a single strategic point. It was possible for Necrons to go over the pop limit with Resurrection Orb, and the Lightning Field had no actual charge cap, meaning that it could potentially charge forever before discharging a burst of energy that could level a building in one shot. The Tau outranged everything, had no limit on Krootoxes, and had their tech tree lopsided so that one of their two available paths got both available upgrades (something that was never fixed in the patch). The Eldar Harlequin could fire a 10000+damage attack that would kill one unit in a squad, but due to how it was coded, could target and instagib a commander unit that was attached to said squad.
Further RAGE occurred when it became known that the "new" Imperial Guard unit, the Heavy Weapons Team, was revealed to have been in Winter Assault and had not seen use simply because it could not actively target enemies - which it still could not at Dark Crusade's launch. Yet more rage occurred when every single time anyone with anything remotely resembling common sense brought up flamingly stupid mechanics (such as Psykers killing themselves (which could be cancelled, no less) and Psykers breaking their attached squad when using Lightning Arc) were summarily dismissed despite pointing out the obvious (that this was fucking stupid).
A patch was promised in short order, but it would be well over 7 months before Relic would eventually patch the game and leave a lot unfixed in the process. Numerous facets that Relic's internal balance team disliked about several other factions (such as the fact that Basilisks were artillery units) caused them to get nerfed, whilst factions that said balance team liked (Eldar) remained untouched despite thousands of complaints about the race being blatantly overpowered. Even after their nerfs, the Necrons and Tau remained hilariously unbalanced. A second patch was promised, but was quietly cancelled and the official site then proceeded to state that a second patch had never been announced.
Hopes were high for Soulstorm. Whilst it was obviously going to have difficulties from the first two games, it was being produced by Iron Lore, which took community input extremely seriously and added a number of new features intended to make the game the most balanced it had been since Vanilla. And in many ways, they succeeded. Balance was considerably improved (the problem with Tau tech remained), A number of problems were fixed, and serious consideration was made to ensure that the two new races - the Dark Eldar and Sisters of Battle - would not fall into the trap of the old. This would be Iron Lore's last produced game, and they wanted it to be a hit.
Unfortunately, Relic and THQ had other plans. The developers were forced by THQ to put in Flying units - something the Dawn of War engine was never designed for, cutting out a lot of units that had been heavily-demanded by fans (Wraithguard, Leman Russ Demolisher, Chaos Dreadnought, Techmarines, Wyrdboyz, etc) in favor of the aforementioned flyers. Said flyers were notoriously buggy, absurdly unbalanced (The Tau Barracuda for example, were capable of leveling a base on their own) or fulfilled a completely unnecessary purpose (Marauder Bomber for Guard when everyone and their grandfather wanted Valkyries, which would have been actually useful considering that bombers were of no purpose when one factored in Basilisks). The budget was slashed repeatedly and the amount of time Iron Lore had was stripped bare, forcing the developers to create a cut-rate campaign that felt like a total rehash. And of course we should not forget the voice actors and scripting that were either so terrible or "good" that they produced 3 famous memes within the WH40K fanbase: "Spehss Mahreens" and "Emprah" as said by Indrick Baldeale and METHUL BAWKSES as said by the Champion of the BAWKS GAWD, all of whom were voiced by Scott Fucking McNeil (who also brought us Cornholio the Cultist, bringing the total number of memes brought about by this game to at least six). And then, just to add insult to injury, Relic released the game with an earlier beta version of the program which had numerous bugs and balance problems, including a refresh bug for the Dark Eldar Dais Dark Scythe ability, which would cause it to deal thousands of damage and vaporize entire armies.
Still, even on release, the game was very well-received - and then, it happened. 19 hours after the game's initial launch, an infinite resource exploit was uncovered for the Sisters of Battle. By queuing up an upgrade for their listening post and then cancelling it, it was possible to get double the normal resource amount - ergo allowing you to do it rapid-fire for colossal amount of resources very, very quickly along with having infinite faith resource by simply auto-casting a faith ability so in-theory, a simple Celestian squad with a missionary attached could very well turn their durability like those of an Assault Terminator Squad with a Chaplain attached. After initially dismissing this as "not a real bug" and prattling on that players "should be happy with what they've got," a "hotfix" was promised within "one, maybe two weeks."
That one to two weeks turned into a nearly 9-month wait, whilst the game suffered horrendously. The "merit" system which was designed to award players with little collections of in-game multiplayer achievements was completely non-functional not only during this time, but after it. The lobby at launch read: "This is stand-in-news. Replace this with real news," and kept this for 6 our of the 8.65 months it took for the patch to hit. During this time, Automatch was broken and the use of a trainer (The Company of Heroes CheatMod, if anyone cares) allowing players to switch races on the fly and delete enemy buildings ran rampant, destroying anything that remotely remained of the game's competitive multiplayer environment. Smaller bugs and problems kept popping up during the wait: using dance of death would set Eldar players' resources to Zero. Charming an Ethereal with a Deceiver would give the Necron Army billions of hit points per unit. Observers could activate a Dark Eldar player's Soul Powers.
After 8.65 months, there was nothing left. The game was deader than a Sister of Battle at Matt Ward's place. But again, after 8 months of waiting and leaving the game to die, a small shard of hope appeared: the hotfix finally DID arrive which addressed most of the early problems present in the game, including the ability to use trainers in a multiplayer game and most of the SoB/DE bugs, which made the game relatively playable. However, much like how Zelda to the Nintendo Gamecube, it came too late and Soulstorm basically died out as many players just gave up on the game.
Relic had blamed everything from Steam to Gamespy to the black hole at the center of the galaxy for the delays, but everyone and their grandmother knew the full truth: they didn't give a shit because they were working on Dawn of War II. After the patch, the game remained broken with a lot left to fix (the Eldar remained blatantly overpowered and there were dozens of smaller problems plaguing each faction - all of which were easily fixed), but Relic was done with it and Dawn of War 2 was here. So if by some Emperor only knows reason you still want to play this game, you better just mod it out.
To this day, mentioning Dawn of War to certain users of /tg/ will result in a rant that makes this article seem like a U MAD? in comparison.
You have been warned.
With THQ going under, and Sega scooping up the license, there were questions whether or not we'd ever see another Dawn of War game. What no one expected was that not only is Relic still alive and kicking, not only are they still working on Dawn of War, but they're actually working on switching the games to Steamworks, and, shockingly, resuming patch support.
You can read all about it here. If you're a DOW fan, this is the equivalent of the Emperor's return in terms of huge-ness. Only time will tell if this turns out to be something absolutely amazing or if it's just so much brave words, but for the moment, /tg/ is hopeful.
For those who want an infinitely better Dawn of War experience, there's options. Mods exist that do everything from add new factions to change how the game is played - and almost all of them drip with quality and sexiness. From mods that re-invoke the feelings of Vanilla DOW, to mods that add things like the Armageddon Steel Legion and Tyranids, to the absolutely Epic Firestorm over Kronus, Purgation of Kaurava, and Ultimate Apocalypse, there's a huge number of mods available, and it's highly recommended you check 'em out.