Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a real-time strategy/tactical role-playing computer game developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ for Microsoft Windows based on the fictional Warhammer 40,000 universe. It is the sequel to the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War video game series. Dawn of War II was released in North America on February 19, 2009 and in Europe on February 20, 2009. The events of the game chronicle what will become known as the First Aurelian Crusade to the Space Marines of the Blood Ravens Chapter in the Sub-sector Aurelia of the Imperium of Man's Korianis Sector. The box art summarises the setting of the game as follows:
"It is the distant future and the Imperium of Man has spread across the entire galaxy. But our days of expansion are long past. Where once we fought to conquer, now we fight simply to survive. Savage and bloodthirsty aliens ravage our worlds. Our defenders die by the billions in endless wars of attrition. Devious enemies lure us into traps and snares. Advanced alien technology claims millions of lives in mere moments. Now, from beyond the galaxy's edge comes the greatest threat yet to our survival. Once, the Emperor of Man led us in battle. We were unstoppable. But no longer. The Emperor of Mankind has withdrawn to Terra to rule from his Golden Throne, leaving us to fight on in his name. Across the stars, our fading armies fight a thousand wars. We face constant attack from ruthless aliens. We have little hope for support from Earth and we are losing the battle for human survival. Our only hope lies with the Space Marines, genetically modified warriors of superhuman ability. The pinnacle of human potential. But the Space Marines are few. The galaxy is large. And our enemies are countless. It is humanity's darkest hour."
The gameplay of Dawn of War II is markedly different from that of the original Dawn of War and its three expansions. Jonny Ebbert, the game's lead designer, describes the feel of the game by saying that it "takes everything that was great about the original and combines it with the best that Company of Heroes had to offer. There is a heavier focus on cover, which gives more substantial defensive bonuses. Accordingly, there is also a new emphasis on methods of dealing with units in cover. Some weapons, such as grenades and other explosives, can destroy cover, while others, such as flamers, ignore cover bonuses completely. Other differences between Dawn of War II and its predecessors include improved unit AI (squads under fire seek cover, for example), more realistically-sized vehicles, and an improved physics engine.
As a Games for Windows - Live game, the game uses the Xbox Live Achievements system from Xbox LIVE, and is the first widely released, PC-exclusive game to use it. Because of this, a player must be able to connect to the Windows Live servers in order to access the game's multiplayer features. The game also requires authentication via Steam.
Dawn of War II features a non-linear interplanetary campaign, playable as the Space Marines faction.The campaign can be played either as single-player or cooperatively with another player through an online connection.
The game's campaign departs from those of its predecessors in several key features. One of the most notable departures is that there are no base-building elements, unlike in the previous Dawn of War titles. Instead, the player chooses the units to be used prior to beginning a mission, cannot build new units once the mission begins, and has only limited reinforcement options.
A major part of the campaign lies in choosing which battles and even planets to fight in, and there are consequences regarding which missions are chosen. There may be multiple distress calls to answer, for example, each available for only a limited duration. Once a mission is chosen, the player may still have to choose between various objectives, having to decide between saving civilians or obtaining a powerful piece of wargear, for example.
Once a war zone and mission is selected, the player chooses only four squads to take part in the coming battle. Each squad is unique in its combat specialty, personality, and even the voice acting of its squad leader or sergeant. There is a strong narrative focus on the sergeants of these squads who can increase in experience and skills as the campaign progresses, and cannot ultimately be killed. Rather than dying in a mission, squad leaders are "knocked out" and can be revived either by a friendly unit in close proximity or upon completing the mission.
The campaign includes many elements traditionally associated with RPG-style games. Squad leaders and commander units can be equipped with the wargear which is gathered from battlefields and slain enemies and by accomplishing objectives during missions. Throughout the campaign, as a Space Marine kills enemies and achieves objectives, he gains experience, "levels up", learns new abilities, and gains bonuses.
The Sub-sector Aurelia of the Korianis Sector had long been deeply important to the enigmatic Blood Ravens Chapter, as both a source of new recruits for the fleet-based Chapter and a major source of technology, weapons and other manufactured items drawn from its capital, the Hive World of Meridian. At an unknown time late in the 41st Millennium, an unnamed Blood Ravens Force Commander and Sergeant Tarkus launched a deep strike onto the desert Feudal World of Calderis to aid Captain Davian Thule and his company of Blood Ravens Astartes in engaging a force of Orks who are threatening the people of Calderis. The Blood Ravens Neophytes drawn from the Aurelia Sub-sector were needed more than ever after the Blood Ravens suffered terrible losses during the campaign conducted by the Chapter in the Kaurava System. As the Blood Ravens strike force on Calderis drove away the Orks they were confronted by the Mekboy Badzappa and his Wartrukk. Although the Mek escaped, the Astartes collapsed the mine through which the Orks had been assaulting the human settlement on Calderis and claimed victory. The Blood Ravens next attacked from the Strike Cruiser Armageddon into a hamlet on Calderis where Scout Sergeant Cyrus was waiting for them to help defend against another Ork assault. The strike force managed to fight their way to the Blood Raven commanding the defence of the hamlet, Sergeant Avitus, rescue him and save the hamlet from the Orks.
The Blood Ravens then received word that the Orks had attacked two more key locations on Calderis and they understood that someone with more tactical skill than a normal Greenskin was leading them. The first attack was led by a Stormboy Nob named Skykilla and the second by the Warboss Gutrencha. After their defeat of the Orks, the Space Marines extracted information from Skykilla and Gutrencha and discovered that both had visited the Felhammer Mine recently. They also learned that Mek Badzappa was there as well. Sergeant Cyrus remained onboard the Armageddon to provide technical support as the strike force moved to drive the remainign Orks from Calderis. When the strike force of Astartes entered the mine they discovered an Eldar Warp Spider Exarch and his retinue were already there but they vanished before they could be engaged just as the Orks attacked. The Astartes were rescued from Ork gunners by Sergeant Thaddeus. They also found Badzappa and his mob under attack by an Eldar Warlock and a company of Guardians. Although the Astartes slew the Warlock, the wily Ork Mek escaped once again. As the Warlock died, he spoke of the existence of a greater foe that threatened all of the Sub-sector, but the Blood Ravens remained unconcerned by what they took to be the random babbling of the member of a xenos race known for their duplicity.
The Blood Ravens next travelled to the jungled Feral World of Typhon Primaris to eliminate the Eldar activity that had been detected on that world. A Warp Spider Exarch was stirring up the Feral Orks of the Evil Sunz Clan located in Typhon's jungles into revolt and he and his force had to be put down. This Exarch mentioned nothing of the so-called "greater foe" once confronted by the Blood Ravens but Thule asked the Eldar to return to Calderis as Mek Badzappa was launching an attack against the capital of the desert planet, and its citizens were reporting plants mutating and small purple creatures killing livestock. The Space Marines returned to Calderis and finally killed the Ork Mek, but they were soon attacked by Tyranids drawn from a probable splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Leviathan who had entered Sub-sector Aurelia intent on devouring all of its worlds. Thule was mortally wounded by a Tyranid Warrior and Techmarine Martellus lead the Blood Ravens on Calderis back to safety after they destroyed the Tyranid attack force.
The Space Marines returned to Typhon, leaving Apothecary Gordian in charge of caring for the badly wounded Davian Thule. The Blood Ravens killed the Eldar Ranger Nemerian, who has been stirring up trouble for the Imperium amongst the Feral Orks, and return to Calderis to kill the Tyranid Warrior who had mortally wounded Captain Thule.
After this the Blood Ravens were faced with three primary objectives to complete: gathering a sample of bio-toxin from the Tyranids that could be used to create a genetic poison against the splinter Hive Fleet assaulting Sub-sector Aurelia, securing data from an ancient Astronomical Array from the Dark Age of technology located on Typhon Primaris that could pinpoint a critical weakness in the approaching Tyranid Hive Fleet, and defending the great hive city of Angel Forge on the Hive World of Meridian. Securing the Astronomic Array will granted the Blood Ravens the abilities to unleash orbital bombardments and deep-strikes, defending Angel Forge allowed Sergeant Tarkus to gain a suit of Terminator Armour, and gathering the Tyranid bio-toxin added a Dreadnought to the Blood Ravens strike force, which was actually the revived Captain Davian Thule, his body having been interred within the cybernetic coffin of the Dreadnought. Meridian was the target of constant Eldar attacks and it was ultimately revealed that the Farseer Idranel of Craftworld Ulthwe had been planning to lure the entire splinter Tyranid Hive Fleet to Meridian using the world's human population as bait. Then the Farseer planned to destroy it to eliminate the Tyranid threat to his Craftworld but at the expense of destroying a vital source of manufacturing for the Blood Ravens.
Upon completion of all three objectives, the Tyranid bio-toxin was ready for delivery. However, the Navigators of the Blood Ravens Battle Barge Litany of Fury, which had been making its way to the aid of the Aurelian Sub-sector for some time, were psionically assaulted by the Tyranid Hive Mind which placed the vessel in grave danger of becoming lost in the Warp. This effectively eliminated any potential reinforcements for the Aurelian Force Commander -- but the Hive Mind had been weakened by this exertion and sent its Hive Fleet to sonsume Typhon's bio-mass so that it might replenish itself. The Blood Ravens' strike team deployed to Typhon and administered the engineered bio-toxin to the Hive Mind through its feeder tendrils. In the space battle high above the jungle world, the Armageddon was destroyed and Apothecary Gordian was killed.
As the genetic poison took effect within the Hive Fleet's bioships, all appeared lost as the strike team possessed no means of retreat and massive waves of Tyranid creatures were preparing to attack. Suddenly, Captain Gabriel Angelos and an entire company of Blood Ravens landed on the battlefield from the recently arrived Litany of Fury and protected the beleaguered Aurelian Blood Ravens strike force from the oncoming swarms of Tyranids. Angelos himself joined the Aurelian Force Commander's strike force his aid proved decisive in killing the Hive Tyrant Alpha who was controlling the swarm. With the Hive Tyrant Alpha dead, the Tyranid swarms became undirected by the Hive Mind and turned on each other even as the bioships in orbit sicked and died. The Blood Ravens had won the day and the Sub-sector Aurelia and its billions of people had been saved from complete annhilation by the Great Devourer.
Dawn of War II includes a skirmish game as well, playable either as single-player or multiplayer, and uses the Games for Windows Live online gaming service for multiplayer games and matchmaking.
Prior to a match, a player chooses a faction and one of the chosen faction's three commanders. The various commanders are used to complement different strategies. For example, a player who chooses the Space Marine army can choose among the offense-oriented Force Commander, the support-oriented Apothecary, and the defense-oriented Techmarine.
Unlike most contemporary real-time strategy games, including Dawn of War, most of the unit and research production in Dawn of War II is done from an army's headquarters building, and unit upgrades are performed on the field of battle itself. The focus in the game is on frontline combat and unit-based tactics rather than the more traditional base-building style popularized in titles like Command & Conquer and the Age of Empires series.
There are only two game modes in the skirmish game thus far. There is the standard Victory Point Control mode where the key to winning is controlling the critical victory points on the map until your opponent's victory points run down to zero, and in unranked custom matches there is also the annihilation mode where players attempt to completely destroy their opponents' units and structures. In both modes, players fight to control requisition and power nodes which supply factions with required resources. In online ranked play, players compete in 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 matches. Annihilation games are not supported for ranked play.
The Last Stand
On October 14, 2009 Relic released a new game mode (as part of their 1.8.0 patch) for Dawn of War II, called The Last Stand. Players take control of either a Space Marine Captain, an Eldar Farseer or an Ork Mekboy, and co-operate with two other players in order to take on waves of AI controlled units. With the release of Chaos Rising, the Tyranid Hive Tyrant and Chaos Space Marine Sorcerer were also made playable. As the players play, they gain experience points which unlocks 'wargear' for their character.
This cluster of worlds stands on the very edge of the Imperium of Man. From this frontier came the Blood Ravens, a chapter of the Emperor's own Space Marines. Now savage aliens seek to overrun the sector, and break the Blood Ravens once and for all. Captain Davian Thule and a handful of Space Marines lead the raw recruits defending these worlds. Now, another Space Marine joins this desperate battle... a newly promoted Force Commander of the Blood Ravens Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, ready to lead in our darkest hour. You are this Space Marine.
One-time masters of the galaxy, the Eldar are now few in number and slowly dying out. Those few, however, are among the most dangerous enemies of Man. Following specialized paths of rigorous training throughout their long lives, the surviving Eldar are masters of terrible psychic powers, deadly warrior skills, and incredibly sophisticated technology. Skilled in foretelling the future and manipulating lesser races, the Eldar would gladly sacrifice billions of humans to save a handful of their own.
The Ork Menace
Savage and bloodthirsty, barbaric and brutal, Orks infest the galaxy from end to end. Green-skinned and ape-like, these aliens are brutal combatants and form into massive war bands which set to burning and pillaging everything in their path. Most dangerous is the Warboss, largest and most cunning of the Orks. These huge chieftains can inspire the fear and discipline necessary to trigger a massive WAAAGH! -- an Ork uprising that can topple entire systems if not stamped out quickly.
From beyond the very edge of the galaxy come the Tyranid Hive Fleets; tendril-like swarms bent on consuming all life. Guided by a terrible communal intelligence, the Tyranids exist solely to strip the universe bare to feed their endless appetites. In a matter of weeks, Hive Fleets can strip whole systems of life. They are without number, without fear and without mercy.
An arid Feudal World of 25 million people first settled in the forgotten pre-Imperium past, Calderis is an Imperial planet whose native technology level is akin to Terra's early Industrial Revolution. An Imperial Planetary Governor oversees the planet from orbit, ensuring that the world contributes men and ores as tithes. According to the Administratum, the governor also "periodically permits" the Space Marines to recruit from the population. For the Space Marines, of course, the planet is a recruiting world and so "theirs", but they have neither the manpower nor inclination to maintain a constant presence on the planet - best to arrive every few years/decades to recruit. The feudal nature and harsh climate suit them well, as it makes the locals hardy and resilient stock from which to choose battle brothers. The planet has suffered from occasional outbreaks of feral Ork activity for centuries, but in recent seasons, the Greenskins have grown in number, power and resources. The governor has mobilized the Planetary Defense Force, armed with Imperial Guard issue gear, while the chapter has sent almost a dozen Battle Brothers to secure the planet. The fight is not going well.
The centre of Imperial power in Sub-sector Aurelia, Meridian is a teeming planetary metropolis, a massive Hive World of 32 billion human beings that serves as the sub-sector's capital world and features huge city-spires rising from urban landscapes the size of continents. Home to billions of Imperial citizens, the planet is also an industrial power, with valuable manufactoria producing everything from household goods to lasguns and aircraft. For most citizens, Meridian is sub-sector Aurelia, seeing as how it accounts for well over 90% of the total population and economic output. The governor of the sub-sector definitely shares this point of view, seeing the other worlds under his jurisdiction as little more than a resource frontier. His attention is always turned toward Meridian and its links to the larger Imperium. This willful ignorance of events on the frontier make him ill suited to defend his domain against the invading Hive Fleet. Even discounting the Tyranids, Meridian is hardly the secure bastion the governor pretends it is. Ork smugglers from the Blood Axe clan can be found lurking in the shadows of certain hab-spires, while Eldar infiltrate higher strata to recover artifacts pilfered from the ruins of Typhon. It falls to the Space Marines to break through this bureaucratic ignorance and muster a defense for Meridian and the Sub-Sector entire.
Choked by dense jungles in its highlands and fetid swamps in the lowlands, Typhon Primaris is a dangerous and unwelcoming Feral World with a small population estimated at no more than 300,000 people. Orks are endemic to the place and several centuries ago they wiped out the last of the human ancestors of colonists from the Dark Age of Technology. These people had long since reverted to a Bronze Age level of sophistication, and plentiful ruins attest to their civilization. Space Marines once recruited from this population. The Orks of Typhon Primaris are fractious like all their kind, but not the isolated feral tribes of Calderis. The Bad Moonz clan currently sits at the top of the Orkish power structure on Typhon. The planet is also home to small communities of Eldar Exodites. Eons ago an Eldar Craftworld fatally damaged by the birth pangs of Slaanesh during the Fall of the Eldar crashed on this world, and its remains are still hidden in its depths. The Exodites do not know this, but do sense a deep value for their people on this savage world. Human repopulation of the world is not an Imperial priority. However, the people who do live here are scattered across a variety of scientific stations, resource extraction sites and military training bases. As these stations begin to transition into true, if rugged, communities, the Space Marines have begun recruiting again. An Imperial Planetary Governor oversees the world and is mostly responsible for keeping the Orks in some form of check. Less well-know are the small number of Adeptus Mechanicus Tech-priests who have come to Typhon to examine several pieces of advanced technology from the Dark Age uncovered in the oldest settlement sites - and the Tyranids who are well on their way to infesting the low-land swamps of the world.
- Blood Ravens Force Commander (the Player)
- Sergeant Tarkus
- Devastator Sergeant Avitus
- Scout Sergeant Cyrus
- Assault Sergeant Thaddeus
- Devastator/Dreadnought Captain Davian Thule
- Librarian Jonah Orion
- Techmarine Martellus
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II (PC Game)