I hope someone from Relic reads this. I know I'm just another singluar voice in a crowd of disagreement but hopefully someone can take some inspiration from the below and maybe DOW4 will be the game I wanted (its got to be my turn again since the RPG RTT/Twitch-moba/competitive crowds have been covered since Dark Crusade)
I know there's several very distinct camps out there with regards to their ideal DOW but ill throw in my vision for my ideal DOW below:
- All the races in the 40k universe
Most, if not all codex units
One thing I have noticed that confuses me about DOW3 is that its meant to be the largest scale of the 3 games and yet it has the least field-able units. I know this is the first part of potentially many dlc's to actually "finish" the 40k universe this time round (we can certainly dream) but if you take into account the differentiation you were able to do on DOW1 units with upgrades, DOW1 has probably closer to double the "unique" (in DOW3 terms) units once you upgrade them with different weapons.
I haven't included builder units in any of the below and also couldn't work out if there were new units added in DOW2 chaos rising because I only bought chaos rising after retribution was out and they don't differentiate on the wiki. I haven't checked orks although I'm guessing it would be similar.
DOW1 pre-winter assault so original original release/pre-imperial guard - Space Marines
DOW2 Chaos rising - Space marines
DOW3 - Space Marines
DOW1 soulstorm - eldar
DOW2 chaos rising - eldar
DOW3 - eldar
I'm sure this makes it easier to balance for competitive play but I'm not a pro-gamer, I've never watched twitch and I have no ambition to get to the top of any silly ranking ladder. Perhaps I'm not the target audience, which is fair enough. I just wanted to play 40k in real time in a game without having to buy a ridiculous amount of plastic and metal and take some form of strong hallucinogen. Its not so much that anyone said we would get full unit rosters finally and obviously there is a development cost to it, its more that we're well over a decade on from DOW1 and we seem to be losing far more content and mechanics than we've gained.
- In a way screw balance - I think the unbalanced nature of the 40k universe makes it interesting. If you can play a game with just placeholder unit graphics and immediately be like thats the shooter unit, thats the heavy anti infantry, thats a lower tier vehicle regardless of race, then what was the point in having different races in the first place. Why not just make one race/team/faction, it'd be super balanced and competitive and nobody would play it.
- I think Relic should have gone more extreme than even the DOW2 directional cover and had more densely populated maps like hive cities where instead of garrisoning in buildings your infantry move through them at a slower rate. Then relying more on a system of line of site and weapon range, you can ambush other players, sneak round and flank, fight gorilla warfare style or be ambushed yourself when moving into the building. Then you have vehicles that wont be able to enter the building but can demolish or destroy it, potentially revealing their location and perhaps requiring more than just knocking into it. Creating vehicle choke holds in the streets so you can ambush with infantry and play on the reduced mobility of the massive titan type units. The reason I'd like this system instead of the currently no cover at all, is I've read about 25 Horus Heresy books and generally very few races have the tactic of stand out in the open in a line facing the enemy while you both fire continuously at each other until one or both of you are dead, probably because other than the followers of nurgle they'd be wiped out.
- Personally i'd scrap doctrines, surely theres more strategy in choosing these in response to your opponents choices within game
- Id split elites into Titans and Heroes. Titans require huge amounts of resources each time you build them, because they would require a huge amount of resources to build and would still be capped (although optional). Heroes can use elite points or whatever to represent the scale of the battle drawing these more legendary heroes in. Recruited at buildings during the game, because strategy.
- Unit abilities, have less of them on basic units, keep em on elites and heroes. Bring back morale, being pinned by suppressive fire and add bonuses for attacking from behind and flanking. Basically make the ability of a unit be its micro instead of click button, aim, kill squad. Try to get away from move unit in front of enemy and start twitching abilities until one side is dead and have it more tactical and strategic. Before anyone says you can't keep track of that many units at once and it would be impossible due to scale, Total war.
- Surviviability. The game should be focused on the 40k armies and be supplemented by the super-powerful titans not based on capturing enough with basic units to begin the real battle between elites. Titans should have severe weaknesses and disadvantages for the amount of damage potential they bring e.g. slow moving, much more difficult to find paths, maybe something like concentrated fire from multiple units increasing the damage done or increased damage from behind.
- Move all non-unique units out of the elite system and back into the game. Cap them if neccassary.
- Have units gain a basic degree of experience (doesn't have to be too complex, maybe tier 1, tier 2, tier3) and apply bonuses based on the level. Then maybe you can promote a top level unit to First company or some similar title and have the unit graphic change so they can be picked out in battle. You could also have unit upgrades like the ability to use plasma weapons based on the units level or veterency. This all rests on units surviving for longer, which is absolutely key in this being a strategy game. If you build a unit send it to fight the enemy and its fairly instantly killed, your available strategies are limited to you either clicked the ability in time or not. If the unit can disengage and retreat or survive long enough to reposition themselves better you've just opened up a wealth of tactical and strategic options for every engagement. This in turn passes the skill emphasis from being able to click abilities quick (NOT-MOBA but twitch style gaming) to playing strategically in real time (RTS?)
- Game modes and options. Annihilation (turrets and other defenses should just be buildings), victory point and whatever that one is where you have to assasinate their General. I understand what the idea behind power core was but to me its annihilation without the ability to move your base. Up to 8 players, whatever teams you want and FFA. Be able to customise all the settings.
- Damage types. Im not sure how it works now but shooting a bolt pistol shouldn't do the same damage to a tank as it does to an IG soldiers head. Perhaps many many bolt pistols can slow and deteriate the armour until it can then be damaged in a similar manner. I think for light weapons vs heavy armour it should be a calculation based on the rate of fire from all attacking units, simulating a barage of fire weakening the armour making it easier to get through and maybe just the sheer amount of fire causing the heavy armoured units sensors to malfunction slowing them or locking them in place so you can flank with an melee unit.
- bigger maps and much more of them
- Buildings are a difficult one as demonstrated by DOW3 you can simplify it down to basically infantry/vehicle/hq/tech but then once built they have little strategic value. Maybe we could move to a capped by buildings approach where 1 infantry building will support 1-3 of the units it can produce. This means you have to build more of the buildings and protect them and also means you can attempt to attack these buildings to reduce certain types of enemy units. Have unit specific techs/doctrines here in a choose two of or something type situation. It sort of fits that you'd need barracks, armories and training centers to support the units anyway.