My review is too long so have no choice but to make several posts, please bear with me.
Okey, so let’s begin.
1) The control flow, it is awful and anyone who has played any other RTS game would agree. The camera has been improved since the beta but the key binding and shortcuts are really buggy. Double tapping a keybinded unit should automatically move the camera to the units’ position, this won’t happen unless you spam the key which is of course a waste of time and effort and therefore it would be easier to just find the unit on the map. This might not sound like a big deal but every second counts in a good RTS game.
Neither can you tab through a group of keybinded squads, well you can but the selection will jump between them randomly instead of simply going from left to right making it a useless option of ability control which would have been an essential mechanic in this game since every unit has a castable ability. There’s also premade shortcuts in the game like ctrl-a which purpose is to select the whole army instantly. There’s just one problem with this shortcut, if you already have for example a builder unit selected and press ctrl-a it will not only select your whole army but that builder unit as well, making it very easy to accidently send your workers into battle. So don’t use it.
2) Units lack specific purpose in DOW3. This is indeed a harsh statement, especially considering there’s a “counter” description next to every single unit. This is however ++heresy redacted++ and let me explain why. Unlike the previous games there’s only two armor types; heavy armor and normal armor. Buildings/vehicles literally have the same armor as a nob or terminator. This limits units strengths as this only allows for three weapon types; normal, piercing and true (which is good against both). Which means you don’t really need spectres or dire avengers, you could actually just spam reapers and they will counter both heavy and normal armor types alike. They’re also cheaper than spectres, they’re only disadvantage is their movability. Do you see where I’m going with this? Lets make a comparison to DOW2. In DOW2 plasma guns would have been effective against heavy armor but not so much vehicles, lascannon would have been effective against vehicles but not heavy armor or light armor, bolters would have been good against light armor but not great against heavy armor and useless against vehicles and so on. Neither is there a reason to see several units with the same purpose like the dark reapers/spectres/wraith guard. This is why we didn’t see dark reapers in DOW2 because there were already wraith guard which is basically a better version of the dark reapers and we didn’t see swooping hawks or shadow spectres because there was already warp spiders. Adding more models doesn’t make a better strategy game unless they have a specific strength and weakness.
3) So let’s talk about DOW3 base building. It is indeed back but at the same time it’s not. Since DOW3 has the same economic system as all other relic RTS games, there is no reason to expand your base like in Warcraft or Starcraft which means that only defensive capabilities actually matters. Despite what people think, there was actually way more base building capabilities in DOW2. Shocking? I would imagine so but hear me out. Yes, they have added a builder unit and yes it does construct big buildings but what is the purpose of these buildings? Just two things, produce units and reinforce your squads. All this really does is slow the pace of the game. There’s really just one tactical “capability” with these buildings which is that you can place barracks in the field so you can reinforce your troops but what most people seem to have forgot is that DOW2 had this as well. You could build relay becons, spawning pools and webway gates, Nurgle shrines that did the exact same thing. In addition to that you could build bunkers, cover, lasturrets, heavy turrets, heavy bolters for three different factions, three types of chaos shrines, waaagh banner, mines for three different factions, energy shields and you could also spawn capillary towers that gave passive boosts. So as you can tell there was actually more tactical building capabilities in DOW2 than there is in DOW3, however there was two huge issue which is why most people didn’t use these buildings. One of them is that buildings cost population points and the other is that heavy vehicles could just run over these buildings, instantly destroying them. To be honest I almost forgot about this issue as it was one of the first things I removed in my mod. Still though, the potential was there and it was easily resolved.