The Dawn of War 2 multiplayer beta went public on Steam last night, so I imagine everyone who cares has played it or is about to. I can’t talk about the full game much until my review goes online, since there’s still an embargo for internets.
I just want to mention that of the three very different ways to play – single-player, co-op and multiplayer/skirmish – this is the least satisfying. It is, however, the only way to play as the Eldar, Orks or Tyranids, so get that out of your system as much as is feasible.
If you’re not much into RTS multiplayer, you can play this beta just against the AI. But doing so bears almost no relation to the real single-player game – it’s not even in the same genre.
Update: Just one more thing…
I think the worst thing about DoW2 multiplayer is that it always ends just as it’s getting good. I can’t play Annihilation because the bases are just so tediously tough – it seems to take hours to destroy them, during which you’re just watching a healthbar go down rather than smashing up power generators and barracks as you might be in a normal RTS.
But the Victory Point mode, while strategically more interesting, just freaking stops. In my review I say the rounds are too short, and they are, but I’ve since had time to work out why they feel that way. When the enemy team run out of victory points, it’s when you feel like you’re just poised to crush them and are relishing the prospect. When it’s you, it’s when you feel like you’ve just turned the tide and are back in the game.
It’s irritating because the solution is so obvious. When one team runs out of Victory Points, the match shouldn’t end. Instead, the nigh-invincible shield that seemingly protects their bases should go down. All players receive a message that those three bases are now vulnerable, and the winning side quickly sweep in to smash them up.
It could even incorporate a comeback mechanic, where if the losing team are able to capture all three victory points before the winners destroy their base, they’re protected again and will start to regain Victory points.