Let’s not beat around the bush, Dawn of War 3 is in a tough spot; its player numbers are falling rather fast, general mood on the forums is quite negative and balance is questionable. It’s easy to be all doom and gloom about the future of the game, it’s harder to suggest places where Dawn of War 3 can expand and capture player attention again.
It is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, mostly because I’ve found myself playing less and less. Which in turn got me thinking about what was missing from the game that could actually make an impact with players. That answer is simple: **Cooperative Play. **
Now, it can be debated that Dawn of War 3 already has Coop in the form of Skirmish AI, but let’s not kid ourselves. It’s not really that fun. Real Time Strategy games are a prime genre for a focus on a solid cooperative experience either with friends or strangers. Likewise, the current way Dawn of War 3 plays absolutely makes cooperative play a blast – what with heroes, different units and abilities all work together.
I’m not simply suggesting Relic re-implements The Last Stand (though, that would be nice) but I want them to dream a little bigger, be a little braver and embrace the thought of players playing together. Make maps with real missions and give the players a real challenge.
Some of you might remember a mod for Company of Heroes called Joint Operations. I personally remember playing that with friend for hours, trying to beat the maps the people created and it was great. Relic should look to that and build maps with multiple objectives, having players fulfil different roles and maybe even weave some story into it.
Replayability is playing it with different friends in different roles, maybe add some per-game modifiers to up the challenge.
What this will do is make Dawn of War 3 stand out from other games. It goes from being a game where you have to focus on winning against other players to being more social, you and a few friends boot it up for a night of coop and enjoy yourselves.
Honestly, I think it could be the games saving grace.