E3 2016: Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 3 Announced, Focuses on Accessibility

There's a new Dawn of War coming, and it brings with it a handful of intersting tweaks designed to draw in first time or longtime dormant Warhammer fans. 

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SEGA and developer Relic Games have announced Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 for the PC. 

During a previous live press reveal at E3 Judge's Week, Relic team members gave a brief gameplay demo and discussed some of the highlights and new features introduced in Dawn of War 3's all-new campaign, including new mechanics, locations, and features.  

Dawn of War 3's story focuses on the conflict between three factions; the “tip of the spear” warrior class known as Space Marines; the Eldar, a race whose battle strategy involves a “hit and run” style of combat; and the Orks, a brutish, violent group with an insatiable need for bloodshed.

According to members of the development team, the game is being created with three specific goals in mind.

One, it had to feature visually thrilling battles, full of unique animations and carefully-designed models.

During the announcement presentation, they cited specifically the changes they’d made to area of effect attacks like grenades, tweaking them ever so slightly to allow for the opponent to react and (hopefully) counter before being destroyed. Through this, they hoped to balance combat better and improve Dawn of War 3’s visual feedback.

Second, they wanted to stres the player's ability to build armies. To emphasize this, they introduced super units, powerful heroes with uniquely impressive abilities that—when used right—could turn the tides of battle.

In a hands-off gameplay demo, we saw the Marines’ Imperial Knight Solaria and her powerful abilities. Using both the Gatling gun and the missile functions of her Imperial Knight form, she is able to clear the field around her using a steady, powerful bullet spray or launch a directional missile offense at multiple enemies at once with damage escalation.

The super units for each faction vary dramatically and have different strengths, weaknesses, and uses that are intended to encourage players toward experimenting and finding the heroes that best suit their play style. It’s another way people can customize their experience and make it as strategically deep or challenging as they want.

Third was accessibility. In Dawn of War 3, Relic development staff wanted to bring their love of Warhammer and make it available to a wider range of people, thus (hopefully) bringing more people into the fold of Warhammer fandom. 

Strategy games are a difficult genre to introduce to people, especially when they don't have prior experience with it or simply haven't played in several years.  Being conscious of this, developers at Relic have focused Dawn of War 3’s direction toward being a more accessible and approachable game to players of all experience levels.

Approachable it may be, but one of the leading devs giving the presentation was careful to stress accessibility did not mean Dawn of War 3 was going to be “dumbed down” in any way. Rather, they were focused on maintaining the core tenets of a Warhammer game, all while introducing ideas intended to make it appealing to new and seasoned players alike.

Visit Shacknews for more updates on Dawn of War 3 as they become available. 

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty