Dawn of War 2, Multiplayer Beta ready for action!!!

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Here is a nice set of screenshots of the new Dawn of War 2 multiplayer beta along with an excellent early review of the Beta gameplay from Ixal onΒ  The Escapist

Since a few days the Dawn of War 2 multiplayer beta is online and open to all Soulstorm buyers and a few people lucky enough, that includes me, who managed to get an beta key.
Read here my impressions of the game after a few days of gaming both against bots and human.

Dawn of War 2 continues the tradition of small scale RTS games which Relic is known for. Other than in games like Red Alert you don’t mass produce hundreds of units and mindlessly send them against the enemy. Instead you only produce a dozen squads and/or vehicles and try to outflank the enemy to gain a tactical advantage.

People who have played Down of War 1 might at first be a bit confused when starting with DoW 2, as this game is much closer to Company of Heroes than DoW 1. It includes many features known from CoH like its cover system, rear hits on vehicles and suppression which is even more deadly than in CoH.
But it is not a simple CoH clone with new textures. Many elements were tweaked for a even more action packed gaming experience. DoW 2 is more of a blend of DoW 1 and CoH with a mixture of tweaks and improvements.

The game has two multiplayer game modes, both known from CoH. Victory points, where you have to capture certain points to drain the enemies 500 VP to 0 , or annihilation where you have to destroy the base of the enemy.
All this games can be played either 1 vs 1 or 3 vs 3. You can of course only play a 2 vs 2 by closing two player slots, but that are the matches the maps are optimized for. And the focus is clearly on 3 vs 3 games, something a few people are not happy with as finding other competent people to play with is not always that easy. Also when one player has a bad machine he will lag the game for everyone.

Before you start you have to select your race and your hero. Each race has three heroes to choose from which represents a techtree or doctrine for the CoH players. Different heroes have different personal abilities, slightly different global abilities and can be equipped with different weapons.
As you can see the choice of your hero has a big impact of the game. But that does not mean that your hero is a army slaying killing machine. You still need the rest of your army and even offensive heroes should not attack superior forces alone.

The biggest change compared to both DoW 1 and CoH is that there is no base building at all with a few exceptions. Some heroes can build turrets on the map, and you can build power generators at some fixed locations to increase your resources. Also, some global abilities can create buildings with certain abilities like teleporter gates.
But other than that there is no base building. All your units come from the same building and your tech level doesn’t increase by building new barracks, but simply by clicking on the “Next tech level” button.

Some people don’t like this, but personally I don’t see why this is bad. It frees you from stopping the combat just to place another farm or other in itself useless building. And if you really want to build something, play a hero who can build turrets. Those are the important buildings anyway.

When the game starts you have your base, your hero and your scout squad, meaning the weakest combat squad available to you. The first thing you should do is to start capturing points as there is where your resources come from. The points you can capture are requisition points which increases your requisition rate. Requisition is your primary resource which is used by every unit and some global power. You already start with a nice income of it. Capturing extra points increases this income by a small amount.
The second type of points are power nodes. This nodes alone give you a tiny amount of power which is used for high tech units and upgrades. To increase the power output of a point you first have to activate the power point which costs requisition. And then you can buy additional power generators for even more requisition which increase the power output by quite a bit. Be aware that when the enemy captures the power point he also gets the benefit of all generators attached to that point for no cost. So think before you buy generators if you can hold the point or not. If you are attacking, you can also destroy enemy generators instead of capturing them
If you play with victory points enabled then those are your third type of point available. Each map features 3 victory points and when you control more VP than your enemy then the enemy looses ticks.
Be aware that you can’t build listening posts on points to protect them. Requisition and Victory points can be captured back by every wandering enemy infantry unit. Power points first have to be deactivated (with damage), but then can be captured. Its on you to protect your points from the enemy.

There is also a third resource in the game which is gained by killing enemies. Depending on the race this resource has a different name, but the use stays the same. It is used to power global abilities. These abilities are different for every race and hero and can be activated anywhere on the map as long as you can see the point. This global abilities can heal units, give them short duration buffs, summon units or activate the races big explosion like power, for example an orbital bombardment of an small area.

Unlike other RTS games you don’t build hundreds of units sending them wave after wave against the enemy. At most you command two dozen units and have to play tactically to outflank the enemy.
People who have played CoH should already know the cover system. Cover comes in two grades, yellow and green (the latter being the better) and a unit in cover can hold of two or more units of equal power easily. So having cover and denying the enemy the use of cover is very important. A different form of cover are buildings which can be garrisoned. Those buildings act as 360Β° cover and units in them are very well protected. But don’t worry, on the maps in the beta buildings, are not placed so that they allow total map control. They are useful, but not game breaking.
CoH players might also be familiar with suppression When a unit is out of cover and under fire by a heavy weapon it quickly becomes suppressed. That means it moves slower and takes even more damage, likely being destroyed in seconds.
That makes it very important that you flank the heavy weapons, which typically have a limited arc of fire, as frontal assaults are destined to fail (unless you have vehicles or special abilities).

All this is already known from CoH. What DoW brings to the party (besides heroes) are melee troops. Some troops are not very good in ranged combat (or able to fire at range at all), but are very dangerous in close combat. Also, when a unit is in close combat it can’t fire their ranged weapons. So a all ranged army seldom leads to victory.
Another new thing are jump troops. They provide an additional way to flank a heavy weapon, not by going around, but by going over (or under) it. And they are needed because otherwise heavy weapons might be a bit too strong, especially as those weapons are rather cheap.
One should also mention what DoW 2 lacks, and that is artillery. There are no mortars or higher forms of artillery in the game except for the highly expensive final global ability. That means that if you want to hurt the enemy you must do it up close and can’t spam artillery.
Another big equalizer are vehicles. Weapons which are good against infantry are normally very bad against any vehicle. So even the best defense against infantry crumbles when a vehicle appears. So a good mix of units is needed to stay competetive and it is impossible to have all required units on all choke points all the time.

So how does the game play? In my opinion very well. Its fast paced, but not too fast to become unattractive for non pros, and requires a good, but not overwhelming amount of micro. Units move a bit slower than some people are used to it, but that gives you a nice little breathing time between the combats. Just the game browser could use a little work as it has no filters.
An interesting feature is the revive countdown. When you loose your hero you can revive him by paying requisition. The amount of requisition depends on his level and is quite highe at first and counts down. When you wait long enough the price gets lower and lower till it reaches the bottom where it costs only 250 points to revive him.

Should you buy the game? Most likely. But better download steam and participate in the open beta which starts on January 28th.

Check back here often as I might later add a description of the different races. I will also answer question, so ask away. (I am also happy about every non question comment).

Update 1: Races

On to the races.

There are a total of 4 races in the game, each with 3 heroes.
Note that when I talk about special abilities, I mean those abilities which are activated by using the third resource. Each hero also has personal abilities like being able to heal others.

Space Marines

The races you also play in single player. They are the defenders of mankind and interstellar knights mutated by implants to be super humans and wear huge power armours.
Space Marines are the strongest soldiers in the galaxy. As such their units tend to be very strong, but also rather expensive.

Their global abilities include calling a drop pod with tactical marines, teleporting in a squad of terminators and bombarding an area from space.

Their heroes are:
Force Commander
The leader of the army. He is a tough close combat fighter which can be equipped with better weapons and armour or even turned into an terminator. His special abilities are calling close combat assault terminators and a war cry which increases a units defences.

Apothecary
A healer, the only one in the game as far as I know. Otherwise you have to heal at your HQ. He can be equipped with either items which increase his healing power or increase the abilities of other soldiers. The exceptions are his weapons. The Apothecary can become a rather fearsome close combat fighter.
His special abilities are reviving all heroes on the map at once and making all infantry invulnerable for a short time.

Tech Marine
A Tech Marine focuses on vehicles. He is not a very good fighter, but he can build turrets, teleporters and, with the right equipment, lay mines. His special abilities are repairing all vehicles on the map and calling down a Venerable Dreadnought which is stronger than the normal version.

Space marines have a small unit list. Generally they will have less troops than other races but those units are quite powerful. Most of their troops are specialized anti infantry or anti vehicle, but some can be equipped to deal with either threat like their expensive tactical marines.

Orkz (Yes, that’s how they are written)

Orkz are a comic relieve race who speak very funny. But that doesn’t mean that they are any less dangerous on the battlefield. Their global abilities are reinforcing the squads around the commander . Also nearly every infantry unit have the Waaagh ability which increases the strength of all nearby units. And this ability stack, so 5 units each using Waaagh makes all of them five times stronger (ok, not exactly, but you know what I mean).

Warboss
The biggest ork around. He is a fearsome close combat fighter who can have very effective weapons. His special abilities are a war cry making a squad harder to damage and increasing the close combat power of a squad

Kommando Nob (That’s also written that way)
A stealth hero which can sneak around invisible and debuf the enemy. His equipment is centred around this and can increase his sneaking time etc.
As special abilities he can make a squad invisible and call a squad of Kommandos

Mekboy
The tech marine of the Orkz. He can also place turrets and Waagh Banners which make orkz near them fight harder. He can also teleport.
Special abilities are increasing the firing speed of a squad or making a vehicle faster.

Orkz are a close combat race. Their ranged squads aren’t the strongest and all of them die easily. That is countered by orkz being generally cheap. They have a nice variety of units with upgrades. Generally as ork player you are always short on requisition, even more than others

Eldar
Eldar are the speed race. Their warriors are a bit weaker than others, but they are fast and use hit and run tactics. Their global abilities are creating portals and creating a psychic storm which damages everything in the area.

Heroes are:

Warlock
A close combat specialist who focuses on doing damage. Slice enemies up with a sword? Check. Shoot psychic blasts? Check. His special abilities are reducing the incoming ranged damage to a squad and making all squads move faster.

Warp Spider Exarch
The Exarch can teleport himself and others around the map and is equipped with a mediocre gun. Still, he can appear everywhere and vanish again as soon as he gets in trouble.
As special abilities he can summon a squad of Warp Spiders and increase the ranged attack of a squad.

Farseer
The Farseer is more of a supporting hero who disrupts the enemy rather than combats directly. As special abilities she can turn of the fog of war in an area for a short time and summon the unique Seer Council which is a close combat squad.

Eldar troops are fragile and rely on speed to get into cover from who they can destroy the enemy. The term glass cannons fits nicely.

Tyranids.
The only race not available in DoW 1. They are invaders from an other galaxy who absorb biomass to add them to their forces.
Their global abilities are instantly creating more troops at their base and terraforming a small part of the map which damages enemies and increases the abilities of Tyranids

Heroes are:

Hive Tyrant
An awesome close combat fighter, probably the best from all the heroes. But he is rather slow. His special abilities are placing nests which allow Tyranids to reinforce and creating spores which can create troops.

Ravener Alpha
He can create tunnels which allow for instant travel. As Special abilities he can detonate other Tyranids which damage enemies and call in Spore Mines which are a suicide unit.

Liktor Alpha
A very fun hero to play with. He is a good melee fighter and has a really long tongue which he can use to grab other units and pull them towards him. As special abilities he can reveal the location of all enemy heroes and. Like the Hive Tyrant create spores which produce units, just a different kind

Tyranids also rely on masses. Their units are very specialized and have very few upgrade options, if at all. Their high level units are rather strong.

How balanced are the races? Its too early to tell, really. I haven’t even met someone who plays Tyranids yet.

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TWiW Episode 20

Here we go again with another episode of This Week in Wargaming.

I want to pause for just a moment on this 20th episode to thank everyone who has made the show a sucess. You, our loyal listeners make all of this worth while, and the invaluable help from all my brother podcasters and hobby bloggers that have made our roundtable shows so special.

So thank you, all of you, we would not be doing this if not for you!

Enough of that, and on to the show notes for episode 20, your hosts are

 

Troy McCauley from Samurai Gunslinger and This Week in Wargaming

Zac Belado from Tabletop Gaming News

 

Grenadier Nightmares Return

Ork Stompa and Imperial Guard Stormlord on Advance Order

Kraken Productions unviels official Alkemy forums

More AE WWII previews: This week the Creatures of the Apocalypse

Company B and JTFM aquire Chieftan Models Range.

Forge World Ogryn Renegade with Hounds of Xaphan

GF9 Add new tokens to thier Sci Fi Infantry set

Uncharted Seas previews next faction, The Sky Pirates!

Thanarias Elves now available for order for Uncharted Seas

Antenociti’s Workshop to produce Science Fiction Figure Range.

Stuido Miniatures Zombie Preview.

 

DOWNLOAD EPISODE 20 DIRECT

Army List Workshop: GT Ready Mechanized Space Marines

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Army List Workshop: GT Ready Mechanized Space Marines

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So its time for another installment of Army List Workshop from Andrew (Stelek) Suttons Yes the Truth Hurts blog

This one is a very effective list designed for the GT circuit that I expect would do very well in the hands of an experienced Marine player. Andrew provides it in answer to a request to critique a players existing Space Marine List which is also included here for reference.

Enjoy:

GRAND TOURNAMENT MECHANIZED SPACE MARINESm1640020_99120101068_40ksmarmouredstrikeforcemain_445x319

So, I am finally down to the point (and it is about here you can
start quote me if you post my email in your blog), this is my
Ultramarines list. It is a good one, has won me about 75% of the
games played, but it is far from a power build, and I fear that in an
American GT, I’ll have a hard struggle making it victorious for me. I
must make it more competitive, but I fail to have any good ideas how
to. Maybe you have some ideas how to make it more competing? -I am by
no means comitted to Sicarius – he’s a fun choice, and his leaderhip
boost is very nice. But by himself, …he is not really a fight
machine like Calgar or Lysander. I guess I should switch to one of
those guys? or..?

My very best Regards,
Henrik

Ultramarines 1750

Captain Sicarius 200

5 Terminators 230
cyclone

10 Tacticals 235
meltagun, m.melta, power fist, [ rhino ]
10 Tacticals 195
flamer, lascannon, power weapon
10 Tacticals 185
melta, lascannon

2 Landspeeder Typhoon 180
2 Attack Bikes h. bolter 80
2 Attack Bikes m. melta 100

Land Raider 250

Predator 95
h. bolter sponsons, storm bolter

Reply:

Thanks man, glad you enjoy. πŸ™‚

Just fyi, St John is a great personal friend of mine (who forgot my birthday, bastard!).

Also oops I posted your whole email…I hope that is ok, having lots to say isn’t a detriment around here. Knowing how the Swedish system works is a good thing! It’s certainly different. My concept of ‘power builds’ and how to restrict them in a tournament is frankly just imposing an unfair restriction on players. Gaming isn’t a socialist republic, ya know. lol

Anyway on to your list and how it looks from a US players perspective.

It’s not horrible, but it’s not great either.

The Land Raider is a big target with very little else to stop anyone from focusing fire on it.

The Termies are a shooty unit…great, what’s the assault unit? A tactical squad?

I think with some tweaking you can get a good generalist list together that will stymie most opponents.

It isn’t your list, but it will work better than what you’ve got now.

It’s a true mech list, not the mixed bag you are currently running.

You also don’t need to run the foot special characters in a list like this, they encourage you to take a 200 point guy and stick him in a 250 point LR with a 200 point squad. Quite a lot of points, yes?

Now I realize this is quite a bit different from what you are running, but what you are running is a battleforce army and they do not do well in US tournaments against strong lists run by weak players or weak lists run by strong(er) players.

Try this out and see what you think:

1750 Pts – Space Marines Roster – Mech Marines

1 Master of the Forge @ 120 Pts
Artificer Armour; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Converison Beamer
5 Scout Squad @ 163 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x5); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Scout Armour; Camo Cloaks; Sniper Rifle (x4); Heavy Bolter w/Hellfire Shells; Sergeant Telion
1 Sergeant Telion @ [0] Pts
Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Bolt Pistol; Scout Armour; Stalker Pattern Boltgun

1 Dreadnought @ 105 Pts
Dreadnought CCW; Multi-Melta; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm Bolter
1 Dreadnought @ 105 Pts
Dreadnought CCW; Multi-Melta; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm Bolter
1 Dreadnought @ 105 Pts
Dreadnought CCW; Multi-Melta; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm Bolter

9 Tactical Squad @ 205 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Flamer; Multi-Melta; Rhino
1 Sergeant @ [23] Pts
Bolt Pistol; Bolter; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades
1 Rhino @ [35] Pts
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm Bolter

9 Tactical Squad @ 205 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Flamer; Multi-Melta; Rhino
1 Sergeant @ [23] Pts
Bolt Pistol; Bolter; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades
1 Rhino @ [35] Pts
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm Bolter

9 Tactical Squad @ 205 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x9); Bolter (x7); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Power Armour; Flamer; Multi-Melta; Rhino
1 Sergeant @ [23] Pts
Bolt Pistol; Bolter; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades
1 Rhino @ [35] Pts
Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Storm Bolter

2 Land Speeder Squadron @ 140 Pts
Heavy Flamer (x2); Multi-Melta (x2)
2 Land Speeder Squadron @ 140 Pts
Heavy Flamer (x2); Multi-Melta (x2)

1 Predator @ 85 Pts
Autocannon; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Heavy Bolter
1 Predator @ 85 Pts
Autocannon; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Heavy Bolter
1 Predator @ 85 Pts
Autocannon; Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Heavy Bolter

Total Roster Cost: 1748

I can almost guarantee that there will be ruined buildings at the GT’s next year. So your scouts can have a 2+ save most games.

You have 3 dreads, which really will scare assault armies and make them kill those dreads before they can cripple their force. Oddly enough, they also scare shooty armies (can’t let them get to me!) and mech armies (stupid multimeltas). Great, that’s everybody! Oh and Dreads scare most monstrous creatures even if it’s only slightly. πŸ™‚

The land speeders are able to do everything: kill tanks, kill infantry, and most importantly…go FAST and block enemy movement. It’s a must learn skill that sadly most US tournament players (ok, most players globally) have no clue about.

The predators are just nifty good anti-infantry. They don’t need SB, why pay more for so little? Just sit at 36″ and pound the enemy.

Your tactical squads are in rhinos equipped the way they are so you can zoom forward 12″ on turn 1 and put a lot of firepower into midfield. Run your 3 dreads and 4 speeders forward and all of a sudden you have a ton of shit threatening his entire army the next turn. The tacticals can combat squad if need be and just run the other half behind the dreads so the rhinos give dreads cover and the dreads give the marines cover. Not how it works in real life, where bullet magnets get you killed…but hey, this is a fantasy sci-fi game! πŸ˜‰

The you have two blasts that should wound on 2+just about anything from your scout/master squad and Telion being a prick and picking off heavy weapons…well, let’s just say this is the army I fear most when facing Marines.

Thankfully nobody local plays it. =)

A few have come awful close, but they still insist on running the Thunder Shield squad in a LR with a special character. Scary, yes. Also suffers from egg-basket syndrome.

Hope you have the time to build this and run it. I’d love to know how you do, using this or using something else…

Warhammer 40k Stompa and Shadowsword Previews

Here we have another very good series of preview photos for the Stompa and the Shadowsword.

You can see how many variants the Shadowsword kit provides and it really seems to be a fantastic deal to me. The Stompa, on the other hand, is very limited in its build options with pretty much no variants beyond the pictured setup. Many have speculated that there may be an add on kit, but I tend to think it more likley that if the Stompa sells well we will see something simillar to the Shadowsword kit for the Orks this time next year.

TWiW Episode 19 1-16-09

And we are back on Schedule, the weekly shows should be on track now that the holidays are over and Zac has recovered from his illness ( mostly ) Here are the show notes for this week, I hope everyone enjoys the show.

HellDorado Previews

GW Releases War of the Ring Teaser

Pricing Rumors for 40k Imperial Guard Release

AE WWII Previews and Concept Art

Incursion Gretel Von X and other previews.

Feature Previews for Tanhauser Operation Novogorod Expansion.

Mordhiem Fan Created Supplement Released.

Topps Withdraws Battletech and Shadowrun offer.

New Wargames Factory Zombie Previews

 

DOWNLOAD EPISODE 19 DIRECT.

TWiW Episode 19 1-16-09

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And we are back on Schedule, the weekly shows should be on track now that the holidays are over and Zac has recovered from his illness ( mostly )

Here are the show notes for this week, I hope everyone enjoys the show.

HellDorado Previews

GW Releases War of the Ring Teaser

Pricing Rumors for 40k Imperial Guard Release

AE WWII Previews and Concept Art

Incursion Gretel Von X and other previews.

Feature Previews for Tanhauser Operation Novogorod Expansion.

Mordhiem Fan Created Supplement Released.

Topps Withdraws Battletech and Shadowrun offer.

New Wargames Factory Zombie Previews

DOWNLOAD EPISODE 19 DIRECT.

TWiW Roundtable #2 Best of 2008

Welcome everyone and sorry for the delay.

Holidays were crazy, but the biggest issue honestly was that I got a new PC with a beautiful 24″ HD monitor, and ive been PC Gaming till my eyes bleed.

All is back to normal now, and I want to get the big holiday roundtable episode out to you before the regular show comes back this monday.

Our hosts this week are:

Myself, Troy McCauley from the Samurai Gunslinger

Luke Retallack from Worlds End Radio

Niel Shuk From The Meeples and Miniatures Podcast

Andrew Sutton from the “Yes the Truth Hurts” Blog

Our topics are simple, every gives thier top 5 wargames or wargaming news items from 2008, and we have a few interesting suprises in the list. I hope you all enjoy it.

Cheers and Happy New Year Everyone.

Troy

 DOWNLOAD ROUNDTABLE 2 DIRECT.