Before we begin I must stress this point - I love Dawn of War III. I've put over 120 hours into it, which is quite a bit for me to spend on a game these days. If I hated it I would have put far less time into it, like I did with Steel Division, which took effort just to get to the 20 hours I have logged into that mess. Dawn of War III, in its current state, is a fun enough game, but more importantly a very well-designed one. Whether or not you like the design is another story entirely, but the fact of the matter is that all the mechanics are very nicely interwoven - this is no Company of Heroes 2, where the game is very obviously a patchwork of differing and sometimes competing designs. This makes Dawn of War III, most importantly for me, the RTS that has the most long-term potential of any I can think of in the genre. It's got the right stuff. That being said, I am not motivated to play it right now. Simply put, Dawn of War III, right now, is extremely boring.
Not only have I put 120 hours into Dawn of War III, I've put over 700 hours into Company of Heroes 2, and God only knows how many total into that game's predecessor. Suffice it to say that I am somewhat of a fan of Relic's approach to the RTS. However, Dawn of War III in its current state probably ranks as one of the low points of fun of any of Relic's games, perhaps exceeded only by the mess that was Company of Heroes 2 circa the "March Deployment". What units these two points in time in the two respective games' development is an extreme blandness in multiplayer diversity. Finding a game is becoming increasingly hard, and what games are found almost always play out the same way, especially in the 1v1 department. Certain strategies (sniper spam, Tac Marine spam, etcetera) are extremely commonplace, as are certain Elites (Killteam Ironmaw anyone?). There are a number of reasons for this, a prominent one for the latter being that the game is Elite-centric, something I would consider a good thing if there were more choices when it came to 2-point Elites. But I'm not here to delve into the particulars and specifics.
What I am here to do is to just get my opinion on future development out there. The recent word we've gotten from Relic has essentially been that whatever plans they've had for this game have been suspended, and the pessimist in me says indefinitely, as they re-evaluate feedback and the direction they should take moving forward. While it is tempting to try and recapture that lost audience with a redesign of the game, fact of the matter is, that won't do anything to boost this game's numbers. That is a solution for nobody, as while it may attract some players back, the reasons for the backlash for this game are numerous, and not all legitimate. Like it or not the game has a reputation to the community at large, and negativity is widespread enough that I've heard the dreaded M-word used to describe the game from people who have never even seen gameplay of it. A redesign is not going to attract these people to the game, and it won't undo what has been done, and more importantly, it runs the risk of alienating those of us who are here to stay.
What work is to be done on the base of the game should really only be limited to balancing what we have, because what we have is ultimately a unified design and an extremely smooth, fun and interesting game at its best. The worst aspects of the game can be amended, but what would dilute them further, right now, would be more content. Even only three Elites was quite the breath of fresh air for the game, and while it is undoubtedly a lot of work to make new Elites and new units in general, it really is what this game needs right now. What Relic should focus on, ultimately, are the desires of their core community, that 500-600 or so people who play this game regularly. The game is, at its core, good - what it needs is new content, as that gives enough diversity, and more importantly, enough publicity, to both please the current fanbase, as well as attract new players into the fold. No matter how bad the negativity is, reputations can be earned, or re-earned, if the game has enough to keep people coming back. Making the game less linear in the multiplayer, making it more of a strategic playground, as well as adding more single player content and modes would go a long way, and generate the positive word-of-mouth that will shift the tide of opinion.
I love this game, and don't want to see it slide into obscurity. It deserves far better than that.