Contrary to what you might think, playing Dawn of War multiplayer is a very different affair to almost every single strategy game created. You have *four* different races to choose from, each one of which is wildly different. You have to deal with two types of resources, which - while not uncommon - is a game in and of itself; it's easy to run out of either kind within a matter of seconds. You can't play a defensive game; the *ONLY* way to really win at Dawn of War is to be on the offensive. You have squads of troops - becoming more popular these days -, and you can add up to four heavy weapons, and have several to choose from. These can save you or kill you. It's up for your enemy to decide.
Dawn of War is not a game you can learn in a day. It's an extremely complicated game, really. While you can beat the single-player campaign with impunity, multiplayer will eat you up and spit you out. And then ask what's what the main course is. You can't come off the campaign and expect to win. You might have a few games now and then that you'll win, but trust me, you will almost ALWAYS lose the first few.
With this guide, I hope to help make multiplayer easier to understand. I will offer tactics, build orders, and weapon descriptions. I will explain why some units are better off left alone, and why you should mass produce others.
The first resource you need to learn about is Requistion, commonly reffered to as Req. Don't worry, this is a brief summary. You start off with 1000 Requisition. Requisition is automatically generated by your HQ building - Settlement, Stronghold, and Webway Assembly -, and this brings in a decent amount. Everything costs some amount of Requisiton. This is probably a little more important than power. You can increase the rate at which you bring in Requsition by building listening posts on captured strategic points and relics, and then by researching upgrades at these posts.
The second resource is Power. This isn't generated automatically; you must build generators to bring this one in. You only start with 100 Power, and pretty much everything critical you need to start with will cost at least 50-75. Generators aren't exactly cheap at the start either. Generators - until upgraded - only provide a paltry amount (6) of power, so you will need several. You can increase the power generated by researching at constructed generators.
Whatever you do in this game, MAKE SURE YOU CAPTURE MORE THAN TWO FRIGGIN STRATEGIC POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Capture at least 5! In fact, you should all be holding an equal share the SP's. If you're on a team game, be nice and share. If it's a free for all, take every damn one you come by. Also, PUT YOUR STUPID LISTENING POSTS ON THEM AND UPGRADE THEM!!!!!!!! THIS IS VITAL. DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE.
Unlike other games, it isn't absolutely critical that you supply defensive units to protect your resourcing operation; for the most part, the bulk of what you generate is right around your base. Yes, you will tend to capture points distant, but supplying any troops to them is a waste of their use and can often make the difference in a battle. If you're smart, you'll upgraded all of your listening posts to at least the first defensive upgrade, providing some light defense for your base. They're only ever effective against infantry, but the second level upgrade offers some pretty heavy punch, as well as increasing their ability to survive enemy fire. Just remember when you are being invaded that no matter what level upgrades you have, generators and listening posts are extremely popular targets.
Dawn of War is one those games where pretty much any little thing you can think of has some affect on the game, whether it be troops in battle, or the troops blowing the s**t out of your base. They way you set up your base can have a very decisive effect on just how quickly the enemy can smash through you - as well as how quickly your troops and tanks can manage their way out of the base. I will try to cover as well as I can a good way to setup your base without trying to favor any one race over the other - although it's incredibly easy to make Space Marine references and very hard to explain Orks at all without being direct.
You start off with your HQ and one build unit - Servitor, Heretic, Bonesinger, Gretchin/Grot -. Woopty friggin doo; that's how most strategy games start you off. The *FIRST* thing you should be building is your troop building - Barracks, Temple, Aspect Portal, Da Boyz Hut -. While you are doing this, have your HQ building queue up two (or three if your prefer) more builder units, two light infantry - Scout, Cultist, Guardian, Slugga -, and if you feel like it a squad cap upgrade. Have the first builder unit join the one building the troop structure and put them in a group. These'll be the one you want to build your bigger buildings. The second one out - and third, if you ordered it - should be his/their own group; have it start building a generator. Knock that out early and you'll have at least enough to get you some of the way through Tier one.
The troop structure can be anywhere the front lines face - the way out of your base is the general area you should put the troop structure, so that way your troops automatically delpoy right where the enemy has to walk. The generator can be anywhere you like; typically the safest palce to get your generators up and running tends to be somewhere you can't access with capturing a strategic point and placing a listening post. So the first doesn't matter all that much.
Have your light infantry begin immediately capturing the nearest strategic points. By the time the first one is around half-way captured, the generator should be complete. Have the builder who was working on it come next to the SP and wait for it to be captured. As soon as it is, select the builder and place a listening post over it. Then have the squad move on to the next SP.
The builders who were on the troop structure should begin working on an armory building - Armory, Soul Shrine, Pile'O'Guns - right away. Have the troop building queue up the commander unit and - if possible - a squad or two of troops. At this stage in the game, the commander - Force Commander, Chaos Lord, Farseer, Big Mek - and one squad of troops should be enough to get you through for a few minutes while you work on the economy. Make sure to occasionally put an extra trooper in the squad. Don't bother upgrading the light infantry; once you get a few strategic points and any relics/critical locations in the area, delete them. They serve little further purpose - which will be explained later.
As soon as the armory building is complete, select your first upgrade; the heavy weapons upgrade. This lets you carry four instead of two heavy weapons. This is a very handy little upgrade to have around. The armory should be in the back, where it is protected. Once this is gone, you cannot upgrade your troops, or build most buildings and troops. If it is destroyed, and you build another one, at least you won't have to do all that research again. As you get the resources, select the other two upgrades you have available.
Once you get to this point, the rest of Tier 1 consists of building troops and improving your economy. You'll want to have a commander unit and at least three or four squads of reinforced and upgraded troops. You should get out of Tier 1 as soon as your economy is stabilized and you have the resources. Tier 1 is a dangerous place. You have far too limited options to be worth sticking around here.
Tier 2 (achieved after researching Monastery/Desecrated Fortress; must build and research certain buildings with Eldar and Orks; will get back on those)
This is where everything starts to get, well... bad-a$$. The first thing you'll notice is that you get much better heavy weapons options for your troops; unless you have this obsession with flamers, i'd stay away from the tier 1 options (unless you're fighting Orks; i'll explain later). Space Marines and Chaos get Plasma guns and Missiles. Both of which are lots and lots of fun. Orks are Orks; they fight melee. Eldar - IIRC - get a bunch of research options, but they're stuck with what they spawn with. Which are actually fairly decent...
The second thing you'll notice is the butt-load of new toys to play with. You get access to vehicles in tier 2. Space Marines get Dreadnoughts, Hellfire Dreadnoughts, Landspeeders, Rhino's, and Whirlwinds. Chaos gets Predators, Rhino's, and Defilers. Orks get everything, I believe. I'll double-check for ya. Eldar get all but the Fire Prism (but thanks to their goofy build orders, they take a bit longer to get), meaning you get the Vyper, Wraithlord, and Falcon.
Lastly, you'll notice the new research options; you get to start upgrading things like troop accuracy and health, armor, speed of troops, and all sorts of other junk. This is the stage where you get to build up the core of your army, get your economy into overdrive, and prepare to slaughter/be slaughtered.
The first thing that you should build is your vehicle structure - Machine Cult, Machine Pit, Support Portal, Da Mek Shop -. This will give you everything (almost) that you need to kill an opposing army. While this is being built, select your HQ and research an upgrade to your vehicle cap, so that you can actually build more than one vehicle. If funds allow it, select the final squad cap upgrade if you haven't already.
If you are still capping strategic points, then have the lone builder keep working on securing those with listening posts. If not, have him build another generator (or three), and then research the first upgrade to your power. Vehicles demand a *LOT* of power, so make sure you have it in plenty. You'll want at least four regular generators, and if possible, a Thermo-Plasma generator (Bigga Generator if Orks) to keep a good company of armor rolling in.
Once you have the power, build a vehicle. You have a number to choose from, and you don't want to choose the wrong one. In practice, you will almost *NEVER* find anyone building troop transports, since they have little armor and no firepower. Infantry aren't as slow as they'd like you to believe, or as vulnerable. If you don't have the power for a Dreadnought/Wraithlord/Defiler/Killa Kan, then get a Landspeeder/Hellfire Dreadnought/Vyper/Falcon/Wartrak. Either way, you should have a vehicle capable of some decent combat.
Once you've started building up your vehicles, then if you haven't already, finish building some generators, than start building up what you need for the secondary commander unit. Orks go about this in a different way. They start with their secondary, the Big Mek, and then get the Warboss in Tier 3. The Eldar Seer council requieres I believe some moderate research, but i'll have to check. The forces of Chaos who wish to have a Chaos Sorcerer require only a Sacrificial Circle (well, two of them if they want anything to get done with some speed), and the Space Marines need to build the Sacred Artifact to get the Librarian.
Make sure you get some the abilities for your commanders. The Space Marines have the most useful one of all; Word of the Emperor for the Librarian. Infantry units within a certain range will not die in battle until the effect wears off or the Librarian is killed. This can make or break a battle. The Eldar Farseer has a number of good abilities, but no one - not even the Eldar primary! - can come close to the Librarian. The Chaos Sorcerer has Chains of Torment, which keeps an afflicted squad from doing anything and deals damage. The Seer Council has Embolden and entanglement, but I need to double check those as well. The Big Mek has, well, a lot, but he does get the Kustom Tellyporta, which lets him teleport a short distance.
The buildings which give you the gifts of the secondary commander also have upgrades for the primary commander - normally these are health upgrades, or an ability that slightly improves morale around him/her. These make very little difference, but under certain conditions they can help so they're good to have around. Also, for the Space Marines the Sacred Artifact provides the healer unit, the Apothecary. They take no squad cap, fight melee, and enhance the healing rate of the squad they are assigned to. The Ork Mad Doc does the same thing. The others don't have healers.
In Tier 2, you should be worried more about attacking than much else. It can take an awfully long time to get to Tier 3, so you might as well go ahead and make here your home. Try to attack as quickly as you can; the key in Dawn of War is to be both quick and to be on the offensive. You must take the fight to the enemy; don't let them come to you, because when they do that, it tends to hurt you more than it does them. Make sure that *YOU* are the one afflicting the damage, not them. That is the key.
Tier 3 (Achieved after researching Fortress Monastery/Unholy Monastery; must research and build certain buildings with Eldar and Orks; will get back on those)
The end-all stage of war. Once you get here, bloodshed reaches whole new levels of wow. Yes, that's wow. Wow as in "holy shit!" Once you reach here, death gets fun. Once you're here, you no longer need coroners; you need a hazmat squad.
You only get one or two new buildings, but the new toys they give are loads of fun. Space Marines get Predators, Land Raiders (argued by many to be the SM super-unit; they have no official one), Terminators, and Assault Terminators (the other possible super-unit). Chaos gets Obliterators and the Bloodthirster - the super-unit. Bloodthirsters are not somethign you want to cross. Wait till you see what they do to commander units; they pick them up, squeeze them like a sponge, and watch the blood go flying in numerous directions. Eldar get the Fire Prism, and the Avatar - the super-unit. It ain't as cool, but at least it doesn't lose health. Orks get the Warboss and the Squigoth - the super-unit. This is the ultimate super-unit. It steps on you, gores you, and it zaps you with the Zzzap gun. And it carries troops. It's awesome.
Some of the new abilities are just awesome as well. For example, take the SM Force Commander. Once you hit tier 3, you can give the ability to *pretend there's a drumroll**pretend it's really cool* bring down an orbital strike! 1337! It basically pounds the crap out of anything in range - friendly or otherwise. Very good if you utilize the Force Commander with a drop pod (explained later).
What you want to do from here on out is up to you. But remember to put the new in the back - they're quite vulnerable. Put a few turrets next to them as well. At this point you get the last upgrades to your listening posts and your generators. Make sure you get them, because now everything costs so friggin much that otherwise you can't afford anything. And also, remember that super-units are not under any cisrcumstances invulnerable. Massed missiles can in fact drop them fairly quickly. What they are good for is heavy support and drawing fire while you sneak some damage in. I'm not saying don't get them at all; i'm not saying go out of your way for them either. They're very expensive.
These are the generic heroes. Except they're cooler. Who else has Librarians that kick more ass than does Duke Nukem? OK, so they don't chew bubble gum, but they do rock.
These are very average troops; good morale levels, moderate unit numbers (they aren't as expensive Chaos), and pretty good firepower. With a little practice, some skill, and some tactics, you can turn these guys into the best race out there. But not always. You won't win every game with them, but you can win an awful lot. In my opinion, the have just a few weaknesses that make them tie Chaos for first place.
This is a cake-walk. This is easyness incarnate. You can beat these guys blindfolded. It takes an awfully sucky SM player (and a damn fine Ork player) to lose to an Ork army.
The first thing you should do is focus on your troops. This case is one where you can focus less on the money pit and more attention should be on the army. As weak as they are, Orks can get troops pretty quickly, and you don't want to be on the wrong side of the army in melee.
But just because they are good in melee... does that mean you should go for Assault Marines instead of Tactical Marines? No. In fact, I prefer Tac. squads, just so i'm not playing the game the Ork way; make them play by your rules. You don't have to reinforce the squads the whole way (maybe one or two couldn't hurt), but in Tier 1 you should focus on getting your armory up and going for maximum heavy bolters. Those baby's eat Orks alive. When Tier 2 rolls around, you should start churning out Dreadnoughts and then start going for a mix of heavy bolters and plasma. You shouldn't have to worry about missiles; that's what the Dreadnoughts should be doing. Make sure you keep the Marines and Dreadnoughts in seperate groups so that you can target troops and tanks seperately.
Tier 3 is when the Orks should already be dead. If not - and on the chance they break your troops - go for nothing but Terminators and load them with Assault Cannons. Only do this if you have no more than three Tac. squads, other wise just keep them around. If you go Termies, then slowly delete the Tac. squads to make space. For dealing with Ork buildings and tanks, go for Predators with full Lascannon armament. Orbital Strikes do a TON of damage to Orks - but they have no morale, so they won't break until their backs/necks/skull do. Do your best to avoid close combat unless it's your Librarian and Force Commander. If they fall below 500 health, then pull them out and let them heal. If the Orks get close or if they pull out some armor, then make sure you use Word of the Emperor. Especially if you have a Terminator army; then you'll never die.
This is a much more difficult battle than against Orks. You must first off be prepared to defend against Commander-based attacks that can wreak havoc amongst your troops, at which point theirs can start killing them. Their vehicles tend to be on par with SM ones, but the Fire Prism is a nightmare to try to kill, being fast, well armored, and *extremely* powerful. Their troops are usually weaker than the others, but normally have some excuse to make up for it - the Dark Reapers, for example, are slow, and require a second or so to set up their weapons, and can only have five total in their squads (not including squad commander), but their weapons do MASSIVE damage to other troops.
For tier 1 you should be afraid. Very afraid. Not because of rushes necissarily(sp), but because of the Farseer. She has more total abilities than the Librarian - in fact, she has the most. And they are very deadly. She isn't as tough physically as the Force Commander, as she barely has 1,000 health, but Farseers are still insanely hard to deal with early on. Aside from her, though, Tier 1 should be a breeze. Gaurdian squads are easily killed by a single Tac. squad, especially if you still have your scout squads and you have an armed listening post within firing range. Other, heavier infantry squads are quite expensive at this point in the game, making them far less likely to appear until you're starting to pump out our Tac. marines and a Force Commander. Deal with Tier 1 casually; meaning you sohuld be calm and try to get your base up sensibly and your economy should be your focus for the most part. Being calm will get you through this stage quickly.
Tier 2 is where it all starts getting ugly for you. The Eldar player will probably be getting Dark Reapers and Warp Spiders out at a good enough rate to threaten you with death already (Dark Reapers are very powerful, and Warp Spiders are bloody fast and can teleport), but then again, you have vehicles that are *vastly* more effective than anything they can get throughout here. Rather than pouring out marines by the bucket, start getting your Dreadnoughts and Whirlwinds/Land Speeders out and active. Make sure you get a good helping of plasma and missile launchers for your marine squads, and get a Librarian with Word of the Emperor quickly. You should also try to attack as soon as you can afford to, as delaying until tier 3 is a very bad idea. Why?
Tier 3 is where the Eldar get the Fire Prism tank, the best tank currently in the game. Sure, the Imperial Guard in Winter Assault will most likely have better, but until that comes out this is what you get. You can't best it without a Land Raider. And they can have more Prisms than you can Land Raiders. You need to attack before Tier 3. The Eldar also get the Avatar, which in reality only takes about 2 squad cap (it's a complicated piece of crap, don't ask me to explain), and is powerful enough to best a Bloodthirster. It's very hard to kill. If you do end up having to attack at this stage, try to get Assault Terminators; they're more viable than standard with AC's because the Eldar are poorly equipped for melee and they can stun the Avatar. Go for full lascannon Predators, and hold on to your feet. It's a bumpy ride.
These are extremely interesting battles, really. The Chaos Space Marines have enough commonalities to make them similiar to play for Space Marines, but enough differences to make them unique. These fights make for an interesting game. I'll see if I can help you get the edge here.
In tier 1, he has Cultists to take place of Scout Marines. These guys have much larger squads and can have the Chaos Sergeant equivalent - the Aspiring Champion - and can also carry Grenade launchers and Plasma guns, but they have a starting weapon second to last - the flashlight. Er, I mean, Laspistol. These things do virtually no damage. That, and these guys take two squad cap, compared to the Scouts one. If you see a mass Cultist rush, he probably has nothing that he can back it with. They may take out a Marine squad (two, if they're bloody lucky), but if you have a Force Commander, they're gonna die. Even if backed by a Chaos Lord, they'll still lose. Build up a few Marine squads, your Force Commander, and get to Tier 2 as quick as you can.
Chaos has these things called 'Possessed Space Marines', which are expensive, but are available at tier 1, along a unit called 'Horrors'. These are extremely expensive for tier 1, but it is possible to build up an army of them. PSM are melee specialsts; even without the upgrades they can get at tier 2 they are still deadly. Horrors are ranged specialsts. They cannot be reinforced at all, but they do some serious damage. Beware a rush of either of these troops at tier 1; i've seen it happen. Get your Dready's as soon as possible.
Throughout tier 2, you should be army building. Get some economy going, but focus on those Dready's and get some Plasma/Missile marines going too. It should be 60/40, the favor going to the weapon of your choice. I personally prefer Missiles, because I don't like the vehicles he can pull out. The Defiler is one of the best vehicles in the entire game; it is an indirect-firing unit (artillery), with very strong melee abilities. It isn't very accurate in ranged, but in melee it's deadly. Set up your Dreadnoughts with AC's and have them focus on any infantry you encounter (they'll survive longer), and try to keep your infantry going against the Defilers. Use Word of the Emperor to keep them alive. As long as the Chaos infantry stay closer to your boys and out of protective cover of the Defilers, your Dreads should be able to wreak absolute havoc on them. With a bunch of missiles, you'll also put some casualties on the Defilers.
In tier 3, assuming neither side is about to win, things change for both sides. The Force Commander gets his Orbital Strike ability - which is typically the clincher in most battles -, you get Land Raiders and Predators, Chaos Predators (available in Tier 2) get their upgrades made available, you get Terminators, he get Obliterator's to counter them (thes guys aren't as tough, but still nasty), and he gets the Bloodthirster. It's the weakest super-unit in the game, but it's not like that means he's a push-over; he'll still kill a good portion of your army. You should try to get those Land Raiders going, as they'll be a great help, and get the Terminators of your choice; if you choose Assault Terminators (which i'd reccomend), make sure you have the Teleporters. They can be crucial to surviving any battle you fight. Don't use them against Defilers; use them against either the Bloodthirster or just skip past the armies and crush his base.
(CHAOS SPACE MARINES)
If you think that these guys are rehashed Space Marines with different textures, you are DEAD wrong. Chaos is wildly different from the forces of the Imperium. You don't have heavy infantry; you have daemons. Sure, you don't have as many vehicles, but Defiler spam is definitely a joy. The commander troops aren't as tough, but those demons wreak havoc.
Just like with Space Marines, this is a cake-walk incarnate. Easy as pie. Just don't get complacent.
In tier 1, you should focus most of your effort on tier 2, with a handful of troops to keep yourself safe. The idea is to get your resources so that you can dominate in the stage. There is very little special to recommend here, just try to keep yourself building rapidly, and keep maybe two troop squads around with a Chaos Lord if you think you need him.
But, deep in tier 2, it starts getting much more fun. Space Marines should stay at range for combating Orks, but Chaos has no such limitations, and would in fact be ignoring a few advantages by keeping themselves at a distance. The Orks game is close-combat - Chaosplays it much better. You see, they have these Space Marines that have been possessed by daemons; they are the Possessed Space Marines, and they are available right from the start. They *must* have all the upgrades on them in order to be at their best, but they are still good without them. These guys bring pure, unadulterated carnage to the battlefield. Better yet is that they beat the CC race at their own (very) bloody game. These should be the focus of your army.
If you still prefer range, then these guys are the choice for you - Horrors! Yes, they are Horrors; they are a squad of five daemons that cannot be upgraded or reinforced (even if they take losses), but they throw very pretty fireballs that do a lot of damage. They take two squad cap compared to the PSM's three, meaning that you can field far more of them. I prefer these guys in ranged combat than I do for Tac. Marines, but everyone has their own preferences. The nice thing about Chaos Tac. Marines is that despite reduced morale, they have much larger squads. Boltguns in mass numbers are very powerful, and they keep more of them than do SM Tac. squads. They are still stuck with the four heavy weapon limitations though. To each his own, but I recommend going with the Horrors - especially if you are fighting Orks. Besides, having to bring in that many mroe guys for the Tac. squads costs that much more money.
Whatever you did in tier 2 should bring about victory. But if it did not, you will in tier 3. You get your Preds in tier 2, but you have to wait until now in order to upgrade them with lascannons; you get Obliterators (the Chaos equivalent of a Terminator); and you get the BloodThirster! It'll never stand up to the Ork's Squiggoth, but it'll *DOMINATE* their infantry.
The problem you'll face in Tier 3 is the Ork's Warboss - an extremely powerful and dangerous commander unit - and the fact that your infantry take up so much squad cap. PSM take three, and the Obliterators take 4. You must try to field one or the other and focus on getting vehicles to deal with the Ork's vehicles. You can't go wrong with any choice, except the one that leads to defeat, which is complacency. Orks can do a lot of damage if you aren't paying attention because you believe that you are naturally, physically, mentally, and genetically superior to a guy who plays Orks. Just pay attention and you can win. But just make sure you don't tax your economy too much; everything in this is just so bloody expensive.