DoW2 - Multiplayer Beta

Info for Dawn of War players

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DoW2 - Multiplayer Beta

Postby Dufflious » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:09 pm

So, I downloaded the beta on Monday. It's pretty pleasing to note that I did it with the intention of playing in the evening, but Steam gave me 500-900kb download speeds all the way to it arriving on my harddrive, so managed to get a quick game in before work.

So the first thing you note is it takes a long time to boot up - on my rig, which was built in November, it took some 4 minutes perhaps - but I can forgive this. There are some major graphical bugs, and coding bugs, in so much as an impatient user as I hammers the esc key to get into the fight. Regardless my impatience was rewarded with crashing. After 5 attempts I eventually managed to get into the game.

Now, any of you who have played an Xbox live game knows the drill. You sign in, look for a game, shout abuse at foreigners until you get into the action. But to do any of this, you need a Windows Gamer ID, which is like a passport for games, mixed with an online profile. You pick a gaming style, which accounts for nothing, an avatar of things everyone else already has, and then you're allowed to play online.

Now the DoW2 Beta will only allow you to play online - which I think is good. Try the game at its most difficult to code part and the rest becomes easy by comparison. Anyone who knows me at all will know that by the time I'm asked what race I already know I will answer Space Marines. So in I went, choosing the Blood Angels colours and surprised to find myself faced with three choices.

You see, Relic have taken this unique learning experience as a seasoned creators of RTS's, DoW was obviously their first brainchild, but by today's standards seems almost primative. Another genius moment for the Relic team was the WW2 RTS, Company of Heroes, which was a brilliant game that only fell into the records of mediocrity by its shortcomings as a multiplayer platform. Using a very clever cover system in which individual units now seek out cover from Jerry's Lead and dive behind disused tractors or behind walls. Both technologies have been married together at Camp Relic and have really come together well. One of the best things of CoH was that it allowed you to personalize how you played - there was a tree for everyone. The Defender, the Rusher, and the slow-building mother of all tanks kind of player. Now this idea has been ported over with Dawn of War 2

So as I have selected my race, and my colours, I find I have three choices. Assault, Support or Defense. These seem very Codex worthy things to follow, and each has a supporting HQ unit. Assault has the tried and tested Force Commander, Support has the once infamously useless Apothecary, and Defense has the Mars Tech Expert Techmarines. Now, I don't like to run into a situation with all guns blazing not thinking about how I plan my moves - and one thing I have caught from a friend, is I like my men to stay alive. So using an Apothecary seems wise at worst.

So after finding a game, I find I am somewhat invariably linked up with a Tyranid and Eldar Player in a 3v3. This is good, I hope my teammates can cover my inexperience at this game with some gribbly xenos flak. So I start and find that I have a bastardized Chapel-barracks/Orbital relay. No servitors, nothing. But I do have my apothecary, and I do have a unit of scouts. So I send them to a power point located below my base and watch the counter tick up, Similar to as it was, except that you first 'capture' a node for small income of power, then activate it for a higher number, then add extra generators... you see where i am going with this.

It's still a Dawn of war game, but now you are forced into the action - if any of you have had the pleasure of playing squad command, you will notice several elements of it splattered in the game too - for example all your units are placed in a ranking system at the side of your screen, for easy access. Your leader unit is at the top and units below it. All units can gain XP in the usual way - kill stuff, do stuff. Your HQ unit will gain levels even if he is not in the field - my Apothecary so kindly grabbed 4 levels as my waves of assault marines took out various orks.

One of the things I want to cover is the new combat system. It is no longer "point gun at target shoot until dead", everything's very much alive. For one thing, if your marines are being sprayed with bullets, they will slow down behind their cover, less eager to pop their heads up and return fire. They gain the 'suppressed' debuff, which is like moral breaking in the old Dawn of war, they ain't going no-where unless it's back home to Mumsie. Which you can do at any time, with the "retreat" button, which means if your precious ambush goes FUBAR'd then you can run them out and hope they can dodge bullets.

At another time, my Marine squad comes across a orky listening post and begins to fire from a cautious distance, not knowing the cover in front of them well. So I push mr.Apothecary forward and he spots some more cover. Without my having told them to, the Sergeant of the Tac squad moves forwards into this cover, with another marine hot on his heels. This marine then lays down covering fire as the Sergeant charges forward with his chainsword.

I found this really cool - and can only suggest you play this as soon as possible. The game you all love is still there - but it's really better now. I can't wait to see campaign which sounds really up my street. It's like DoW met Commandos in a back alley and had a illegitimate spawn which is this.

The Beta is free from Steam, download whenever you can. But I preordered mine with the Advanced Vanguard set. Well worth it.
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