I'm not going to tell Relic what to do. I'm not going to tell SEGA what to do. I'm not going to speak for the community or tell them what to do. I'm not going to demand what I think are the best gameplay components for DoW 3.
It's evident the game is a failure. That is not an opinion. That is a fact. Sales were low. Multiplayer matches are extremely low. The reviews from both players and critics were middling, on average, at best.
The game cost tens of millions of dollars to make. How much, only Relic and SEGA know for certain. Most AAA titles with large budgets hover at 40-50 million. Relic undoubtedly worked with significantly less. DoW 3, despite its solid past performance is not Call of Duty, or Battlefield or Halo, after all. However even a speculation of half the budget means the game would've had to have sold over half a million copies to break even and that's just unlikely judging from Steam numbers and VGchartz direct sale metrics.
Relic has patched the game and pushed some updates but they have not stepped forward to explain the current state of the dead multiplayer and gameplay concerns. Whether that is due to Relic or SEGA (or both) is speculation but it's obvious they don't want to share the poor state of the game and are likely keeping their diminished future support a secret to prevent an early backlash.
Ultimately, I prefer DoW 1 gameplay. Many players do as well. A sizeable contingent prefer DoW 2. A very small number, based on the gameplay statistics, prefer or like DoW 3 gameplay. It is not likely that design issues with DoW 3 stemmed from creating a DoW 1/2 hybrid since DoW 3 misses key elements that made both games unique, big sellers:
Natural Cover, Dynamic Cover, and Garrisonable Environments.
Morale and Advanced Fallback Behaviors.
Complex/Destructible Map Terrain.
Large Libraries of WH40K Units.
The reality that all players must accept, without hurling insults and attacking others on their gameplay ability or intelligence, is that Relic might just be done with the game. In fact, it's quite likely that Relic can't (and maybe also won't) inject additional funds and resources into a game that has already generated 90% of its logical fiscally productive capability. In short, the game is unlikely to make more money and short of a few more updates (and a single, barren expansion as a loooooooong shot), we're basically looking at DoW 3 "as is". The game, is essentially what we have right now, ...forever.
Therefore, because Relic might not be able to dedicate the funding and manpower hours to correct a game that presents minimal resources. Especially a game with so many issues and points of contention. Therefore, since Relic can't serve everyone's needs for a game, and can't/won't add the merest basic features that DoW 1/2 possessed, it would fall to the modding community.
Therefore, the greatest chance for the game's survival is to ensure that the game is sufficiently moddalbe to promote continued play, variations in gameplay mechanics and content that would add the necessary longevity for DoW 3. However, as of now, modding in DoW 3 is even more draconian than Space Marine or Dawn of War 2. New races, units and advanced mechanics are all but impossible to add. Should those barriers be lifted however...
If the barriers to modding were removed, enterprising players/modders could make changes that would add many of the features that were affectated in the past...and more.
We could eventually add our own new races.
We could modify and create a larger library of units per race.
We could alter issues with core gameplay mechanics to fit our individual whims and needs.
We could add advanced armor systems.
I believe that working on removing the barriers and creating more comprehensive tools and letting modders do all the "heavy lifting", as it were, is the most efficient use of time and probably poses the last, best chance at salvaging DoW 3. Therefore, the next six months, towards the game's 1 year anniversary, are crucial. If Relic can't/won't remove the modding barriers (and they may very well be unable to do so if they designed the game to be modding-unfriendly), and we don't see a new cache of mods spring up, then the chances that DoW 3 is dead are extremely high. It's simply unlikely that Relic will dedicate continued resources and manpower to a game that has a minute chance of generating revenue.
To reiterate: Relic has a responsibility to its staff/employees and to the health of the company. If AoE 4 has the potentiality of generating successful cashflow, it makes perfect sense for them to taper DoW 3 support after one year and focus on the new IP title.
However, and this is me speaking personally because I do not speak for Relic, nor can I command them to do what I want them to do. If Relic does indeed abandon the game out of a necessity pursuant to their own employer responsibilities, I think we all, as customers also have a responsibility to ourselves. They laid an egg with this game. If they abandon it and don't unlock the modding necessary to prolong the game's value, I will certainly not purchase another Relic game ever again. It's not personal and I'm not issuing a threat but, instead, a statement of fact. Just like the creation of DoW 3 and AoE 4 is "business" for them, Relic isn't my family and I'm not honor bound to support them monetarily when they provide incomplete, unsupported products.
It's just business.
I'm not arguing that people should stop debating on the forums but I am saying that the next six months will be key and of utmost importance. If modding can't be unshackled and the prospect of a DLC/expac withers on the vine, the lucrativity of DoW 4 will be extraordinarily damaged and the IP will be impaired and placed in suspended animation. And personally, at least for me, I won't be buying anything from Relic, ever again.