Hello all and time for some general strategy talk. Hopefully this will increase the overall performance of most readers in game and also save a lot of questions about basic concepts.
What follows is a general strategy guide to understanding DoW. I would like to see the game become diversified with different tactics and build orders so I will not go into details, however there are a few key things people need to remember.
Let's start with figuring out your race:
This step is important because it basically sets the stage for what you are going to do next as far as deciding your role, but let us not get ahead of ourselves and take things step by step.
Each race has it's specialties and before you play them you need to be aware of them.
Fast reinforcement, low cost, large selection of troops and vehicles, somewhat difficult to start out with due to a "difficult" tech tree, starting units suffer from low hp's to make up for superior numbers.
You see... the Orks work in unison with something called Wagh, and wagh can only be accumulated by building wagh banners. So your tech is basically your amount of wagh banners. HOWEVER wagh takes time to charge up and so building one does not imediatley dump wagh into your wagh storage, be patient and you will see that your wagh increases and voila you can afford those population requirement orks without having a single ork in the field if you so choose. Orks take some time to learn, but are quite rewarding and can be used in so many different ways.
Orks excell at Hand To Hand mainly.
HIGHLY SPECIALIZED!! I can not emphasize this enough. Eldar are the most highly specialized race in the game period. Their tech tree is less difficult than the orks but a little more "strange". Anyway... Eldar have to research aspect stones in order to get their squads. This makes up for not having to buy heavy weapons for their squads due to them allready being equipped with it from the get go, but it does make them more suceptible to tactical changes since they would have to researchs a new unit to be able to respond. If you decide to go Eldar read the text under each unit and see what it is strong against. In general Reapers are for HeavyInfantry, WarpSpiders are for Infantry and Brightlances take down vehicles and buildings fast. With warping everything (yes I do mean everything), cloaking buildings, strong base defences and highly specialized units they are dangerous and fast if used correctly however suffer from severe HP deprivation so use your troops wisely.
Eldar excell at RANGED combat primarily.
These are your most widely used "plain jane" troops in DoW. With a wide variety of troop selections, weapon selections and vehicle selections they are an allround force never to be underestimated under any circumstances. Each individual marine squad can be outfitted with everything from a flamer to a missile launcher and thus can be a highly mobile and versatile army. With good morale breaking units, scouts, and strong spearhead units, drednaughts, and a simple tech tree the space marines are easy to use however still yield secrets to be discovered.
Space Marines excell at ALL ROUND combat.
THESE ARE NOT SPACEMARINES!! I have myself fallen into this trap many a time in my beginning days at DoW and only recently have I started to actually notice the subtle differences that change the playstyles drastically. The main thing that set Chaos appart from Space Marines is that they inherantly aim worse, must be to much warp gasses, and thus will loose most any firefight against races that are more ranged driven (Eldar and SM). The clue with Chaos is that there are a lot of them, not as many as orks but more than sm and they are marines which makes them quite the resilient little bastards. Chaos have a multitude of interesting and unique upgrades that set them asside from any other race. The ability to infiltrate, hide, all their marines from view is one that should not be underestimated if you suddenly find yourself at a stalemate. Having said that I will reitterate that Chaos are NOT... NEVER HAVE BEEN, well that is a lie but bear with me, AND NEVER WILL BE Space Marines. Unlock their secret and watch as they are quite the proficient little killing machines.
Chaos Excell at Hand To Hand and are VERSATILE.
Now once you have chosen a starting race you have to decide what you want to DO with them. Yes you could just go out and find out, but let's run through a few simple steps first to help you out a little. Remember that this is a general guide... I don't want to instill tactics, just a general understanding of how the game works and how it differs from most other games.
There are some fundemental things to realize... this is WAR and there are no safe spots. The entire map is filled with important points called Strategical Points, Critical Points and Relics. These all yield THE SAME AMOUNT of income to train troops with, however they take different amounts of time to convert to your side, also called cap which is short for capture. They should be captured in a fashion that suits you best. A rule of thumb that you may want to remember though is that the faster you cap them the more resources you get. Strat points cap the fastest, followed by Relics and then finaly Crit points. So chose wisely which you should fight over.
Pick and Choose your battles:
Since we are on the topic of fighting... One VERY important thing about this RTS game is to know when you are outgunned, outnumbered and when you should fall back. What is worth fighting for and what is not worth fighting for. I will let you iron out the details, but a skilled comander will be able to move his units to where they will be of best use to him quickly.
All around the map there are certain areas that give certain bonuses. These are called Cover and they generally do the same. Depending on what kind of cover you are standing in your units will either take less damage, heavy and light cover, or they will take more damage, negative cover. If you see cover that you can use to your advantage USE IT. Even if it means running around and not returning fire for a few seconds. Also... negative cover realy is VERY negative so try your best not to engage or get caught in it, however if you can catch someone else in it that is just fine, the "Art" of falling back! Oh and one thing... if someone is entrenched and you are having a hard time digging them out, move around them. Force them to come to you by attacking another point, base or whatever. Anything to force them to move to you and not the other way around. Pick your battles!
Weapon choice: This part pertains mostly to Chaos and SM.
Unless you are playing Eldar you have a choice of weaponry. In the case of Chaos and SpaceMarine you have 2 options available early upon completion of an armory, and then you have 2 options available later on in the game, upon completion of an HQ upgrade. Now here is the important part that took me a while to learn. This game realy does not put a HUGE emphasis on the "right weapon for the right job" mentality, at least not early on in your first few skirmishes. I will let you find out where the line goes, but I will tell you that being able to balance your army size and weapon choice are two of the most difficult things in the game. Just because you have the largest guns does not realy mean you will be left standing. If you want to go heavy weapons fast remember one thing. You are vulnerable. Your squads are going to be small and so you will not have as many "decoy" bodies before they hit something vital. So... although plasma weapons kill marines fast if you have a 4 man squad and 2 weapons there is a 50-50 chance that if you loose one member it will be a heavy weapon, and then where do you stand? How to balance this obviously differs from race to race, but just remember one thing... Chaos are not SpaceMarines, so just because something works for SM does not mean it will work for Chaos.
Pick a play style:
This is perhaps where I see the greatest difference in player skill. There are a ton of different ways to play each race, however one thing that is universal for every race is that in this fast paced game doing something half assed will get you killed and most of the time will lead to your demise. To many times have I seen someone with an awesome early game with great skill in troop movement suddenly stop because they got to where they were going, they captured that point and now they are going to sit on it and build turrets to secure it. What I am getting to is that people need to pick a style that they want to play and stick to it. If you want to be super active don't build a turret at every point you cap, and please oh please don't set up a "fall back" position with mines and turrets and this and that. If you are setting one up you are allready thinking that you might loose the next encounter and that you might need to use it. You are not focusing on one part at a time and what will happen is that most of the time a dedicated opponent is going to run right over you because either your defence will be to weak and he will plough through you, or your offence will lack in power and you will get cut to ribbons in his base leaving him to press his advantage. A change of pace mid game is great as it often throws your opponent off and it also shows good skill. If you find yourself outgunned early game fall back and if not press your advantage untill you think that it is not worth the cost anymore in which case you reconsolidate into cover and rebuild a sufficient force to finish the job. Fun is one thing... everything goes there, however I would think that most people want to increase their skill to where you finaly meet an opponent that matches your skill and constantly keeps you on your toes.
In closing... I have talked about a lot of things and different concepts, however the most important things to remember are these 3 things:
1: Know your race!
2: Have a plan and follow through with that plan!
3: Know when you are beaten before you are dead!
Put those 3 things together and you should do just fine!
For information on team playing specifically read the "How to be a better teamplayer tread". And for inside information on each race go to their respective forums. This tread though should give you a rudimentary understanding of how things work. And don't forgett to check out Fenris top replays in the Battle Archives section for some actuall game play situations that will show what this guide has told you in words.
Thanks for reading and good luck out there!!