Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War
|This article is about the first game; for the game series, see Dawn of War (Series)|
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War is a RTS (Real Time Strategy) game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. As of 2008 the game has received three expansions: Winter Assault, which was followed by Dark Crusade and Soulstorm. The sequel titled Dawn of War II was released on February 19, 2009 in North America.
|Series||Dawn of War|
Dawn of War is not a computer adaptation of the table-top game. Instead, it adheres to the design conventions of the Real-Time Strategy genre of computer games, as interpreted by its developers, Relic Entertainment (of Homeworld and Impossible Creatures fame). Dawn of War is an unconventional RTS in that it eschews resource management in favour of increased focus on the battles themselves. Instead of harvesting gold or lumber, as in earlier, more traditional RTS games, funds (for units, buildings, upgrades and research) are acquired through the capture of Strategic Points, Critical Locations, and Relics, and through the construction of Power Plants. Each of these various things produces resources constantly at a set amount, decreasing the workload of the player by eliminating the need for "harvesting units." A game can be won several ways (depending on Victory Conditions that are set pre-game), but in most matches of Dawn of War, the game is won by either destroying the enemy's Headquarters building, capturing 75% or more of the Strategic Points and holding them for a period of time, or capturing 75% of the Critical Locations and holding them for a period of time. By making the resource generators a victory objective, the gameplay of Dawn of War becomes more streamlined and fast-paced than an ordinary RTS. Management of units in Dawn of War requires more micro-management than in most RTS games, as players must constantly monitor squads in order to maintain optimal troop counts, assign leaders, issue upgraded weaponry, and use special abilities (such as the Jet Packs on Assault Space Marines).
The single player campaign follows a battle on a planet known as Tartarus where a force of Space Marines of the Blood Ravens Chapter has landed in an attempt to assist the Imperial Guard in holding back an Ork invasion. Captain Gabriel Angelos leads the operation, marshalling his Brothers and the Guard to fight back the Orks and give the local populace enough time to be evacuated. Complications develop when a number of Chaos items are located, leading Angelos to believe that the invasion of Tartarus may consist of more than meets the eye. As the Ork assault worsens, the operation is complicated further by the arrival of the mysterious Inquisitor Toth, who brings news that a warp storm is coming and that the remaining Space Marines must flee before it engulfs Tartarus. Determined to find and eradicate the presence of Chaos, Angelos ignores the order and presses on with Inquisitor Toth in tow. He is soon surprised by another presence on Tartarus, however: The enigmatic and deadly Eldar. After fighting them off, Angelos uncovers the full extent of the invasion of Chaos on the planet--they have been using the Orks to distract the Marines, buying themselves enough time to uncover a long-buried artefact of mighty Daemonic power. The conflict becomes a race against time for Angelos and his Space Marines to stop the forces of Chaos from using the artefact before the warp storm traps all of the warring parties on the planet together.
|Winter Assault (2005)|
Winter Assault introduces the Imperial Guard as a fully playable faction and makes adjustments to the existing armies, such as balance changes and the addition of new units (one for each faction).
The campaign follows an Imperial General and his regiment as they trek across the wintry battlefield of Lorn V, in search of a lost Titan war machine that has fallen into the hands of Chaos. It features six missions for a combination of Imperial Guard and Eldar, and six missions for a combination of Orks and Chaos. The Space Marines are not playable, though they make an appearance.
|Dark Crusade (2006)|
Dark Crusade features the Tau Empire and the Necrons as new playable factions. The game is both a stand alone game with only the two new factions available for multiplayer and an expansion to the previous games with the possibility to activate all seven armies in multiplayer. The singleplayer campaign features the conquest of the planet Kronus on a strategic map. Numerous unit limit changes were made in the expansion to promote more diverse armies.
Furthermore, each faction from the previous instalments is given an additional unit.
Soulstorm introduces the Sisters of Battle and Dark Eldar as new playable factions. The singleplayer campaign features the conquest of the planets and moons of the Kaurava star system. While there are four planets and several moons to conquer, the actual number of sectors to take is not much greater than that of Dark Crusade, where a sector takes up about the size of a country; In Soulstorm they are about the same size as continents.
Soulstorm also introduces air units. These units do not actually fly, but hover a certain distance off the ground, granting them the ability to pass over impassable terrain and immunity from melee attacks.
Dawn of War was a critical and commercial success, and still boasts a large multiplayer and modding community. Its first expansion, Winter Assault, was also largely considered a success, though some players felt that it did not address unit balancing issues and introduced even more balancing problems.
Most criticisms involved the single player campaign: Many believed its missions to be repetitive in nature, and some felt that it was quite short at only eleven missions. This did not prove to be a major blow against the game's reputation, however, as its multiplayer mode (both against humans and a robust skirmish AI) was its focus and its biggest strength.
For most who still play it, game's true depth is realised in its online multiplayer. Players select their race to play from the four available, and fight skirmish battles from 1v1 through to 4v4 across a selection of maps. The game was heralded as the greatest Sci-Fi RTS to date and has been selected for inclusion in the 2005 World Cyber Games championship.
The Tyranids were to be included in the game, but the creators thought that the biologic nature of this race doesn't match with the futuristic nature of the other species in the game. Another important factor in this decision was the game's graphics engine and the resource gathering method.[Needs Citation]
- Official Dawn of War website (Accessed 2010.03.18)
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War at THQ (Accessed 2010.03.18)