2017 sees a return to the 41st millennium with Dawn of War III, the latest in Relic Entertainment's rendition of Games Workshop's gloriously grimdark military sci-fi setting.
Released for PC on April 27, #DawnOfWar3 will (initially at least) focus on the conflict between three of the most memorable Warhammer 40,000 armies: the Orks, Eldar and Space Marines.
Longtime fans of the series will recognize that this trio is so even keeled against each other in terms of attitude, aesthetic and ability, that there couldn't be a better choice of armies to showcase what Dawn of War III is capable of.
Which Dawn Of War III Faction Is Right For You?
Now, as we all get stoked for galactic war to break out once more, you might be wondering which of the trifecta of races is best suited for your tastes.
Watch the Space Marines, Orks and Eldar duke it out in the gloriously grimdark trailer for Dawn of War III:
To decide which faction best represents you, you're not only going to want to check out the rank-and-file units, but also get to know the generals — the larger-than-life special characters whose personalities inspire the fighting style of their armies.
1. Space Marines
No Warhammer 40K game would be complete without the Space Marines (a.k.a "Spehss Mahreens"), the franchise's most recognizable creation and the Emperor's finest. Also known as the Adeptus Astartes, these genetically engineered super soldiers encased in hulking full-body armor are fearless and fanatically devoted to the Emperor of Mankind.
The Space Marines are the elite warriors of humanity and the best all-around soldiers, relying on small numbers of versatile, well-equipped troops to handle any situation.
In WH40K lore, the Space Marines are organized into distinct chapters, each with a unique history, philosophy and color scheme. The story of Dawn of War III focuses on the Blood Ravens, a secretive chapter specially created for the video game series.
With powerful assault, tactical, scouting and vehicle options, the Space Marines have an answer for every battlefield situation. The most well-balanced of the factions, the Adeptus Astartes excel at holding ground.
With no obvious vulnerabilities, the rival factions need to make the most of their specialized strengths to stand a chance against the Emperor's finest.
Faction Ability: Drop Pods
The Space Marines have the ability to call down drop pods for reinforcements. These can easily turn the tide of a tough battle with the element of surprise, or be used to lure enemies into eating much more firepower than they anticipated.
Super Ability: Orbital Bombardment
Aside from drop pods, the Space Marines can also call an Orbital Bombardment, which scourges the ground with a devastating laser beam from space, capable of annihilating huge swathes of enemies. The laser bombardment is slow moving but grows in size and power the more enemies it kills.
You might be a Space Marine player if:
- You like to command a tight, disciplined elite force
- You want flexibility to try a variety of different strategies
- You like an army with a unified aesthetic and color scheme
- You've got a soft spot for humanity in a future of eldritch horror
Newcomers to Warhammer 40K can toss everything they think they know from Tolkien and Blizzard out the window, because this ain't no Warcraft in space.
WH40K's Orks are hulking green barbarians with a somewhat low-tech Mad Max-style scrappy aesthetic and a communal psychic aura that powers their machines and drives them into an unstoppable battle frenzy. What they lack in discipline, they certainly make up for in ferocity and sheer numbers.
A fungoid race bioengineered in the distant past to be unstoppable warriors, the Orks are the least pretentious and most humorous of all the factions in the grimdark universe. Orks don't need to angst about heresy or destiny to justify their wars — they fight for fun, cursing and wisecracking all the way.
Orks are a horde army that are not individually powerful but capable of overwhelming in their waves of large numbers. In Dawn of War III, you'll want to gather your forces around Waaagh! Towers and activate their buff ability that will make your Orks extra killy for a short time. Then it's off to do what Orks do best — fighting and winning.
Faction Mechanic: Scrap
The Orks aren't mere brutes, however. They're pre-programmed with the technical know-how to scrabble together makeshift machinery from junk parts and power said machines with their powerful psychic gestalt field.
In game terms, Dawn of War III enables Orks to scavenge scrap from the battlefield. This scavenged material can be used to upgrade existing units or even assemble new machines and tanks to send into the fray.
Super Ability: Roks
This ability employs a traktor beam to hurl down space debris from orbit to slow and crush your enemies. After raining a multitude of smaller roks, the beam slams down a massive rok to devastate the area.
You might be an Ork player if:
- You favor an aggressive play style, applying pressure early and keeping it up
- You love ordering around a huge number of troops
- You enjoy your fighting flavored with a huge dollop of black humor
- You've got more than a few facial piercings
The Eldar may superficially resemble space elves, but their pretty faces and pointy ears belie a ruthless, inhuman intelligence. An ancient civilization wielding devastating psychic powers and highly advanced technology, the Eldar fight desperately for the fate of their dying race — and woe betide anyone who stands in their way.
The haughty Eldar strike with surpassing speed and agility, and are the most mobile of Dawn of War III's playable factions. With their sleek and elegant aesthetics, they're also the faction to go for if you want to deliver death with a touch of style and grace.
Capable of moving swiftly around the map and delivering devastating hit-and-run attacks, these elite units can dish out terrible damage and retreat to safety before the lesser races can effectively react.
The battle focus mechanic of the Eldar units gives them a short-lived regenerating shield that is depleted before they lose any health. This enables them to dart in and out of quick skirmishes without suffering longterm damage.
Faction Mechanic: Webway Portals
The Eldar can teleport their buildings around the map, including portals that can swiftly transport their troops over great distances. With careful planning, you can secretly plant Gates behind enemy lines that will allow you to deploy an attack force with speed boost for a perfect sneak attack.
Super Ability: Eldritch Storm
A controllable cloud of psychic energy that rains eldritch lightning on surrounding enemies, the Eldritch Storm can be channeled through a unit to enable them to punch through enemy positions.
You might be an Eldar player if:
- You love to run rings around your opponents
- You're a careful strategist who prefers to strike exactly when the time is right
- You enjoy micromanaging your troops
- You have an overweening superiority complex
Meet The Commanders
Dawn of War III's story is centered around the personalities of the different faction chiefs as they lead their forces to the world of Acheron and struggle to secure a mysterious superweapon known as the Spear of Khaine.
The single player is designed to alternate between the factions and give you a chance to see how they all fit into the story, but the commanders will also feature as powerful in-game units, usable in single-player and custom battles.
The faction leaders have all had their part to play in Dawn of War history and have something to prove in the new game. Who, in your humble author's opinion, is most fit to claim the Spear of Khaine?
Let's meet the cast of Dawn of War III's army generals.
Space Marine Commander Gabriel Angelos
One of the major characters throughout the series, Gabriel Angelos (I see what you did there) is the esteemed commander of the Blood Ravens' 3rd Company.
Although Angelos has faced down countless enemies of the Imperium, led successful campaigns, and even personally beat down a Daemon Prince with the God-Splitter hammer, I'm calling the Space Marine Commander the most tortured army leader of Dawn of War III's factions. Why?
Although noble and good-intentioned, longtime fans of the Dawn of War games will mainly know Angelos for the times he's dropped the ball. The Space Marine commander's list of screw-ups include releasing a Chaos Daemon from an ancient artifact, failing to spot the (obviously telegraphed) betrayal of Librarian Isador, and even having to exterminate the entire population of his homeworld of Cyrene.
All of the above missteps could have been averted with a little more foresight and consideration on behalf of the commander. If Angelos has any chance of redemption in my eyes for Dawn of War III, then he'd better shape up swiftly.
Ork Warlord Gorgutz
That's my boy! Gorgutz ‘Ead ’Unter has been a significant figure in the history of the franchise, having headed up the Ork faction in every expansion to the original Dawn of War.
The epitome of Ork fightiness and cunning, Gorgutz is much more intelligent than the average warlord, being at least cunning enough to retreat and rebuild his forces when the events of previous games have gone against him. He's also an Ork of style and taste, having long been a noted collector of the heads, skulls and shiny bits of his enemies.
While Angelos may angst over his checkered past, and Macha manipulates and obfuscates in service of a faraway destiny, Gorgutz is in the fight for the same reason that we the players are: To see a good battle with plenty of dakka and explosions! And Gorgutz gets what he came for, every time.
Eldar Farseer Macha
A Farseer possessed of highly advanced psychic ability, Macha led the forces of the Biel-Tan Craftworld in the original Dawn of War and returns to kick ass in the third.
In the first game, Macha proves a capable commander and pragmatic strategist who even manages to broker a temporary alliance with Gabriel Angelos and the Blood Ravens to stop the forces of Chaos. Too bad Failbriel had to smash the Maledictum and screw it all up.
I'm looking forward to seeing what this hardcore lady of war gets up to in Dawn of War III. Something tells me she'll be even less willing to trust the fanatic Space Marines with any truces this time.
Preparing For War
I've got mad love for Gorgutz and the Waaagh! But in all honesty, I'm really looking forward to giving all the factions a spin and seeing how they fit into Dawn of War III's story. Who knows? I might warm up to dour old Angelos by the end of it after all.