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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War is a real-time strategy game set in the universe of the Warhammer 40,000 table top game.
Four of the teams from the table top game are playable in Dawn of War:
- Space Marines,super soldiers charged with the protection of the Imperium of Man from the other three teams
- Chaos Marines, a heretical "dark" version of Space Marines that came into existence when half of the Space Marine chapters fell to evil in what is known as the Horus Heresy
- Orks, ravenous greenskins who live for battle and would control the entire galaxy through sheer weight of numbers were it not for vicious infighting within their ranks
- Eldar, mysterious former rulers of the galaxy whose rigorous military program and eldritch technology somehow prove inadequate to retake it
The game's style seems to revolve mostly around the Space Marines, since quotes from Marine religious doctrine are offered on the Main Screen, and the single-player campaign has the user lead a company of the Blood Ravens, one of the (supposedly) thousand Space Marine chapters.
Dawn of War preserves most of the classic real-time strategy elements, but its biggest and most interesting diversion from the old is in macromanagement. There are two resources, Requisition and Power. All four teams gather each resource the same way. There is no impetus to create swarms of "villager" type units to gather resources. Instead, Power is gained simply by building Power Generators (which go by different names among the different teams but operate in exactly the same way), and Requisition is gained by holding different types of control points scattered around each map.
In this way, the game blends micro- and macromanagement because the way to capture these control points is of course with troops. In the same way that games like Starcraft demand that the player immediately build several worker units and set them on the nearest resource pile, it is prudent in Dawn of War immediately to build a few squads of light infantry that can quickly capture points and increase the flow of Requisition.
A squad is rendered immobile and defenseless while capturing a point, and a captured point is only slightly less vulnerable than a neutral point (it takes slightly longer to capture). To help protect a player's "economy," two of the three types of points, Strategic Points and Relics, can be given a last line of defense by building specialized structures (called Listening Posts or something similar) on top of them. Critical Locations, however, may only be protected with boots on the ground and are thus usually centrally located on the map so as to provide greater opportunities for conflict. Though it seems redundant to include both Strategic Points and Relics in the game when both produce Requisition at the same rate, the important difference lies in the fact that each team possesses high-level units in its tech tree that may only be produced of the player controls a Relic. Thus, Relics are normally found some distance away from player starting locations (though there are exceptions in some Skirmish maps) and there are never as many on the map as there are Strategic Points. Also, both Strategic Points and Critical Locations are keyed to victory conditions in Skirmish games (win by holding 50% of all Strategic Points for 8 minutes or 66% of all Critical Locations for 6 minutes), and since these two conditions can be turned on and off independently, the relative importance of the different types of points is variable.
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Dawn of War IRC Channel: #dow on RTSnet