You may recall from E3 2016 that I was quite excited to see Warhammer 40:000: Dawn of War III (WH40K DoW3) in action for the first time. Now that I am at PAX West, I was able to sit down and play that exact same mission I saw at E3, and since I didn't have the proper tutorials and hand-holding, I sent all of my Blood Ravens to their deaths. It wasn't pretty. I could feel the developer's eyes behind me looking at me in extreme sadness.
While that didn't go as well as I had hoped, at least I had a lovely interview with one of the game's designers, Carolina Mastretta. She wasn't a WH40K fan when she started working on this game, but she said it didn't take long to become a fan:
What made it easy [to learn about WH40K] was that there are so many people at Relic who are fans and are really good at the games. I started playing small tabletop games to understand how to build an army and understand how to play the game. By the time I was set on designing DoW3, I was fully knowledgeable on how to play a WH40K game and I knew how to bring in the tabletop inspiration to DoW3.
Mastretta went on to say that after she had this lovely knowledge under her belt, she looked at DoW and DoW2 to see what they could do to make DoW3 the best DoW game Relic had ever produced.
We have a very good history with Dawn of War and Dawn of War 2 that we're very proud of. But as designers, you get to the point that you can see the flaws, what you need to fix, and what you need to build up, etc. We looked back at DoW1 and DoW2 to see what made them very special. DoW1 was about base building, and DoW2 built heroes. What we're doing in DoW3 is focusing on both synergies. With the mission we have on the floor, you have a big army, you have three heroes [who] are either on the frontline or at the back, and the way that they collaborate with the rest of the armies is really important to us.
An example she gave was the leader of the Blood Ravens, Gabriel Angelos, who can be dropped down anywhere on the field, no matter where he happens to be standing beforehand. When he lands, he will heal the armies in his vicinity. I tried to pry more examples, but they're keeping some secrets close to the chest for now.
Another concern I had was that RTS fans or WH40K fans who aren't familiar with DoW might not tune into DoW3 out of fear that you need to have experienced the prior games under your belt. She did assure me that this is most certainly not the case, and the Relic team is doing everything they can to open DoW3 to anyone who is interested in the title.
RTS is a very complex genre, and Warhammer 40K is a massive universe. So we're making DoW3 as wholly accessible to newcomers to the genre and the franchise as possible. The campaign is a crash course in RTS mechanics as well as an introduction to the Warhammer 40K lore. That way, when you see DOW3, you don't see this wall of mechanics and lore that you don't understand. You see that there is a really fun and spectacular game to be played with really cool heroes and an awesome story.
She added that each mission will have their own difficulty settings so that newcomers to RTS or those who have been out of the RTS game for a long time can still feel at home with DoW3.
I did also try to pry in a little more about the multiplayer portion of the game, and all I could get was confirmation that
it did exist for both LAN and online options (EDIT) there will be no LAN option but there will be online multiplayer. She did say that we could expect the multiplayer to be simply "Big armies and hero units against other big armies and hero units. May the biggest army win." So maybe that's not really as simple as it sounds.
I hope that DoW3 is able to come into eSports, as the world of competitive gaming needs more WH40K in its life.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III will release in 2017 for PC.