Warhammer 40 000 – Dawn of War previewed by Lord Ciar

Dawn of war is an RTS developed by Relic with the full support of Games Workshop the inventors of the warhammer 40k universe, the Warhammer 40k universe is a dark and gloomy future where mankind has colonised over a million planets and is ruled by an Emperor encased in a golden throne, this keeps him from dying from a mortal wound he got fighting the forces of Chaos that tried to destroy him.

Mankind is not alone in the universe, aliens of all kinds exist in this universe, the ancient and powerful Eldar species the brutish savage Orcs and the all consuming Tyranids all stalk Human kind for their own reasons. Yet a greater danger exists, the taint of Chaos the living embodiment of all dark and evil thoughts and feelings of all the species in the Universe, the four Gods of Chaos strive to dominate and subvert all life by luring warriors of all kinds to their cause. The most dangerous are the Chaos Space Marines once mighty genetically engineered warriors of the Empire of man now crazed worshippers of death and pain.

All these races and more you shall have to fight with your forces, you fight on the side of the Empire, the so-called “good guys”. While the tabletop version of the game is widely know and respected the RTS developed by Relic isn’t just a copy of the board game, it�s a game based on the warhammer universe but not bound to the rules of the tabletop game. Although some elements that could be adapted to fit the game play where off course used. This was done to provide a good game experience while the developers still strived to be true to the Warhammer 40k universe itself.

The object of the game is to conquer points on your map, these points can be used to drop in weapon systems or bunkers from orbit so you can more easily defend them basically turning them into outposts. Your troops are genetically engineered super humans also known as “Space Marines” mighty warriors armed with the best the Empire can provide in armour and weapon systems. While early screenshots depicted them as Ultramarines in fact Relic has now revealed they will use a completely new chapter, the Blood Ravens.

The support given by games workshop to Relic while making this game was incredible, not only did Relic get permission to invent some new vehicles and a full space marine chapter (a sort of clan of warriors who share the same genetic changes) Games workshop shall be releasing all these to be used in their tabletop game creating a seamless crossover to each platform.

You will not be able to customize the war gear on your troops to the same extend as the tabletop game. But you will be able to outfit squads and terminators with several different outfits. You will have to do this because units who are outfitted for infantry combat for example will not be able to destroy a tank, or will at least have a very hard time doing this, while anti-tanks weapons will be able to do so quite easily. Something that every RTS fan will love because it means you will have to think and act like a real commander, combining weapon teams and having them cover each other to provide support.

This visualization could turn out to be exciting. It might be same as a situation where an experienced trader just has to visualize all that the trading robot QProfit System is doing for him. While it takes care of the transactions, all a trader is expected to do is observe and keep track of profits.

Morale is also important in the game, your troops will not run away when their moral is low but they will perform much worse unless you deal with their problems, long range artillery, snipers and being outmanoeuvred all have impact on your morale thus adding to the realism of the game. Off course you can counter this by other means like a war cry from you Captains or retreating to a point where the snipers or artillery is not able to hit you. Morale also improves one quality of your troops, the speed in which they run, so you’ll be able to pull back from the battle more easily if you chose to do so.

The engine of this game is a beauty, it is fully 3d and you are able to rotate a full 360, zoom in for a close combat view or zoom out for a more practical look at the battlefield. Pausing the game whenever you want or slow down the action to a sort of bullet time giving you more time to react.

The animations and quality of the models is extraordinary for an RTS, you see models reaching for ammo before they fire it, streaking missiles and shells are actual objects you can see leaving the barrel and land on the target (or miss the target) Large units and specials (like orbital bombardment) are impressive and if possible even more details with beautiful fire and lighting effects. A game I recommend every RTS lover to play, and if you enjoy Warhammer you should already have your copy preordered, I know I have…