So I think it’s fair to say Dawn of War 3 isn’t doing as well as a lot of people had hoped. It’s a game that, in my opinion, has a lot of good and bad points both – as many games do. The thing is, I’ve seen a lot of people coming out with suggestions such as “Bring back cover/morale”, “Remove elites”, “Remove doctrines”, etc. I know that would be something that at this point is not easy to do, so I came up with 3 quality of life suggestions for the game that may help it to resonate better both with myself as a long-time DoW fan and with the other fans and newcomers alike.
1. Perfectly Normal Super Units.
Now, as far as the elite system goes, that’s fine. But there’s a specific omission of 3 units I’ve noticed, in the form of the Land Raider, the Squiggoth/Battlewagon, and the Eldar Avatar (well, maybe an avatar is over the top, but maybe something similar?) as super units. I have a feeling any talks within relic of these units is either that they are unnecessary/un-needed or that they will be coming as elite units in the future. I don’t think that should be the case – I think with 9 elites for each race, it’s already good as it is. This isn’t a MOBA, this isn’t Overwatch, we don’t need new heroes to level up and grind for, we just need more stuff. Having these super units return as normal units that can be worked towards as tier 3 vehicles with a large sum of resources required (possibly even an unlock research required too?) would give players a near-elite unit they can work towards without the use of elite points. This would be useful for pushbacks in the event the enemy manages to put a stranglehold on the usually one or two elite point generators on a map, as well as give players more options I feel. Right now, I feel obligated to always have an imperial knight, mork/gorkanaut, and wraithknight because of their status as “OP superunits” in my elite tree. Were there a near-elite superunit I could build by default without any usage of elite points, I would consider removing that top-tier unit in favor of perhaps another hero or infantry. It would allow players to diversify without worrying about their late game effectiveness, while also making it so those who DO still stick with the elite superunits can have a massively effective late-game if not kept in check by players. It would also breathe more life into the factions’ normal unit roster, which right now is a little bare. (And please don’t make the land raider drop-pod deployable :P)
2. A Leader, his Weapons, the Turret
One of the thing that made squads in previous Dawn of War games feel more special and veteran was the leader unit. This was, in most cases, a Sergeant for the Space Marines applied to squads such as tactical marines, assault marines, and scouts, the Nob being added to sluggas/shootas among other things, and the Warlock or Exarch for the Eldar units such as Dire Avengers (guardians) and Howling Banshees. In this game, they could retain some things they did before – perhaps increased squad health/health regeneration, perhaps a different loadout than the other members (Power fist for assault marine sergeant? Chainsword and bolt/plasma pistol for tac sergeant? The obvious advantage of a Nob in a Boy squad?) to increase a squad’s effectiveness in general (not to mention the simple added benefit of a 6th member). Leaders were a big part of the previous games, costing you resources and, in DoW 2, population cap, which they could still do here. They could be locked behind either the construction of the tech building, a research IN the tech building, or maybe tier 2 HQs and be a welcome addition. To add on to that, the addition of basic unit weapon upgrades would also be a nice thing to have – right now, it really only applies to the Space Marine’s Tactical Squad. Other squads should have these sorts of options – what about Ork Boys getting flamers? A dreadnought getting its assault cannon and lascannon/multi-melta upgrades? These are things that would open up tactics to the game that players could do and help bring back some of the feel of the old Dawn of War games without sacrificing the feel of this one. And let’s not forget turrets.
Turrets are, in my opinion, something that shouldn’t be a doctrine. Luckily the doctrine was free, so it’s removal would be no issue from a playerbase standpoint – no wasted skulls. Turrets are hardly effective and even if they were, they should be something you can just build – locking out 1 of only 3 doctrine spots for something so commonplace in both previous games is ridiculous. But not only that, it would also help to have some sort of turret upgrade. Previously, you could upgrade them into either more powerful or anti-vehicle variants, and I feel like that would be a nice addition as well – perhaps even allow Listening Posts to receive similar treatment with either a more powerful or anti vehicle upgrade, or both.
3. The Great Map-For-All
Right now, every map in the game is designed for Power Core. At least, the official maps are. I’m not here to call Power Core garbage like so many others – it’s fine as a game mode and a welcome addition. But for a large amount of the playerbase, Annihilation is the mode of choice, and these maps with their clear-cut lanes and lack of open areas simply don’t translate that well. Playing annihilation on workshop recreations of Dawn of War 1 maps is actually quite fun, and I know at any time I can switch back to the power core official maps. But the thing is, why are no official maps like the community ones? This could be a prime opportunity to spotlight the community by making certain high-production maps official or even improving them yourself, remastering maps from previous games (specifically Dawn of War 1), or just making new ones from scratch with big open areas and lots of room to play with and spread out (or run away) on. These maps are what helped make the first Dawn of War so great to play, and some official maps of this type will greatly help Dawn of War 3 in my opinion – especially with the above changes implemented to make longer games more fun with more to do.
There’s also the issue of teams. Now I know this could likely be a much more difficult thing to implement, but for the future, perhaps the possibility of Free-For-All or multiple player-selected teams as in the first game (and even somewhat the second). Having maps tailor designed for player-set teams would be great fun, not to mention those maps would be versatile and could work in any fashion – 2 teams, 3 teams, 4 teams, full on FFA, etc. so you could make them annihilation specific maps that could not only help the game, but knock out 2 birds with one stone for the future if and when a multi-team or FFA mode is implemented. And, again, remasters of DoW 1 maps would still work REALLY nicely for this.
Overall, Dawn of War 3 isn’t a bad game and I personally feel some guilt for having said things like that in the past. I am a long-time fan of the series and 40k in general, and I would love to see this game improve and have its’ playerbase rise back up again. But to really capture that feel of Dawn of War 1 mixed with Dawn of War 2 like you say you were going for, you just have to have at least some of the things that helped those games feel the way they did. It has a lot of good points – it’s genuinely fun, fluid, and bombastic and a great stress reliever as you watch many units all exploding into blood rapidly. But there are it’s bad points too, and I would hate to resort to saying certain systems should just be removed or that entire parts of the game should be recreated to satisfy a community when it may not even work. (and yes, I know I’ve said things like that in the past. I apologize for doing so. I was wrong.) But I would love to see it all pull together, and I would love to be able to say that Dawn of War 3 is going to sit up there alongside the first two as a game I’m always going to love and play in the future with my friends (and heretics alike). And I know Relic does a fantastic job of giving their games what the community wants, so…how’s it sound, mates?